Healthy Eating Means Balance
All the recipes have been perfected in our Test Kitchen to make sure they hit all the right notes: crispy pizza crusts, juicy burgers, oozy cheeses, irresistible fries, and desserts that make you want to sing a sweet aria. Our staff registered dietitians have made sure every recipe meets the same nutrition guidelines we use in Cooking Light magazine.
Bottom line: The next time a craving strikes, give in—with Cooking Light Crave!
Out-n-In California Burger
Here is a crave-worthy, reasonable version of a fast-food icon. With a similarly addictive sauce, this tasty handful is made healthier with lean ground sirloin and lower-sodium, lighter cheese.
BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza
This pizza is a classic crowd-pleaser and a beloved family favorite. For a kid-friendly pie, substitute fresh mozzarella for the blue cheese, and choose a sweeter barbecue sauce over a bold and spicy sauce.
Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts
Your family won't believe this comforting sandwich is light. For the kids, use beef broth instead of beer, and try mild wheat bread.
Tossing the fries in a small amount of butter and garlic after cooking makes them unbelievably rich, yet still lower in fat than fast-food fries.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
This soft, moist, and super delicious Chocolate Buttermilk Cake can cure even the strongest chocolate cravings. Perfect for any occasion, this cake never fails to satisfy.
Smothered Steak Burgers
Sautéed mushrooms, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce create robust flavors in this knife-and-fork burger.
Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Proscuitto
With artichokes, arugula, pesto, prosciutto, and Parmesan, this pizza has intense, addictive flavor. Splurge and try it with homemade pesto.
Open-Faced Pimiento Cheese BLTs
Pimiento cheese is a Southern tradition. A little Parmesan added to the standard cheddar-mayo mixture creates extra savory depth. You can make the pimiento cheese ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries
These savory Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries are less than 100 calories each, so go ahead and splurge on their cheesy, garlicky goodness.
Fresh Cherry Cheesecake Bars
With their combo of shortbread-like crust, creamy cheesecake, and fresh summer cherry goodness, these bars will make you the hit of the picnic.
Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread
A small amount of tangy goat cheese flavors the creamy spread. This low-calorie condiments adds a ton of flavor and soft texture to your next summer grill out. Double the spread and use it on grilled chicken or turkey sandwiches, or sub it as a dip for your party tray of chips and veggies.
Chicken and Herb White Pizza
Béchamel is often used in lasagna or as the base for a mac-and-cheese sauce. Here, it's flavored with galic and cheese, and replaces tomato sauce to make a delicious pizza.
Oven-Fried Catfish Sandwiches
This perfectly-seasoned catfish sandwich is ideal for when you are craving something fried and fishy. Set atop a hoagie roll with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, it's one hearty and satisfying meal.
Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip
Here's a great game-day party dip: You can make it ahead and reheat it when you're ready to serve. Chipotle chile powder is spicy, so adjust the amount to suit your taste.
Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
If you're a fan of the classic flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you'll love these Peanut Butter Cup Blondies. Blondies generally have the same dense texture as brownies, but without chocolate or cocoa in the base batter.
Mushroom Burgers with Fried Egg and Truffle Oil
Between the beef, egg, cheese, mushrooms, and truffle oil, this burger is an absolute umami bomb, exploding with meaty, savory flavor. Chopped, sautéed mushrooms in the burger mixture add low-fat moisture to the lean beef as it cooks.
Brighten a homemade version of a take-out favorite wth two different colors of bell peppers. Use your own color combo or any bell peppers you have on hand.
Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Good barbecue doesn't require hours over the grill. Our chicken sandwich starts with a rotisserie chicken and super easy homemade barbecue sauce. This sandwich is the perfect solution for those busy weeknights.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter
This easy, five-ingredient grilled corn gets its flavor from jalapeño peppers that are roasted, chopped, and stirred into honey butter.
This heart-warming cherry crisp is full of tasty flavors that are sure to leave you begging for seconds. Serve warm with a small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt for a creamy-crunchy dessert.
Caramelized Onion-and-Blue-Cheese Mini Burgers
Small but loaded with flavor: Caramelized onions, blue cheese, arugula, and sirloin fill your mouth with sweetness and pungency.
Four Cheese Pizza
Premium ricotta—like Calabro brand, which has a creamy texture and rich, full flavor—makes a big difference in this recipe.
A Dagwood sandwich, popularized by the comic strip character Dagwood Bumstead, is characterized by layers of sodium and fat-laden meats and cheeses. We've slimmed ours down by using no-salt-added and lower-sodium deli meats and lower-fat cheeses held together with a tasty homemade spread.
Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, and Peach Salad
This summer salad features seasonal tomatoes, watermelon, and peaches to create a sensationally delicious side dish that's appropriate for any occasion.
Mocha Banana Split
On a hot summer day, there's nothing better than a creamy and deliciously sweet Mocha Banana Split. Make sure you love a kick of coffee flavor!
It's no surprise that these Salmon Burgers are seething with delicious flavors. The Dijon mustard adds a creamy touch, while the sliced red onion adds a nutritious crunch.
Fresh Tomato-Feta Pizza
This pizza is fresh, tasty, and a clear winner if you are a big fan of tomatoes and cheese. If olives are a deal breaker, leave them off; the pizza is still yummy.
With sauerkraut, corned beef, and rye bread, sodium is a serious issue in a traditional Reuben. Add dressing and cheese, and the saturated fat and calories start to climb, too. Not to fear: Our lighter, lower-sodium version is just as delicious. Chili sauce is a ketchup-based sauce. If you can't find it, substitute ketchup.
Adobo Chips with Warm Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salsa
When you're tired of the same ol' queso and chips, try these smoky adobo chips with some warm goat cheese and a zesty cilantro salsa.
Roasted Banana Pudding
Many folks say banana pudding is best the next day, after the cookies have softened and the flavors have mingled overnight.
These top-rated Cast-Iron Burgers prove that you don't have to own a grill to enjoy juicy, amazingly flavorful hamburgers.
Roasted Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
Slice-by-slice this yummy roasted vegetable pizza will disappear before your eyes. Ingredients like ricotta cheese, cremini mushrooms, and fresh zucchini will keep you from ordering for delivery every again.
Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce
If you can't find tahini, substitute an equal amount of peanut butter to make the sauce for these Middle East-inspired sandwiches. You can prepare the sauce and chicken ahead of time and stuff the pitas when you're ready to eat.
Barbecue-Flavored Onion Rings
Regular yellow onions will work in this recipe, but sweet onions have a milder flavor. Coating the onion rings with breadcrumbs in batches keeps the crumbs dry for maximum crispness. Rotate pans during cooking for even browning.
Lemon Cream Pie
This lightened cream pie classic is sweet-tart perfection and a delicious lemon ending to any meal. You'll love the make-ahead convenience. Brush edges of crust with egg wash for nice browning.
Southwest Salsa Burgers
Chipotle chiles and fresh salsa give these burgers a Southwestern kick that will heat up the dinner table in just 20 minutes.
Bacon, Onion, and Mushroom Pizza
Add bacon to anything and it becomes instantly irresistable–like this pizza. The refrigerated French bread dough used as the crust is quick, but it's also delicate. To work with it, find the seam in the dough and carefully unroll.
Mini Falafel Pocket Sandwiches
This traditional Middle-Eastern meal is a healthy and hearty choice for lunch or a heavier snack. The tahini-yogurt sauce drizzled overtop the falafel and the veggies adds a creamy texture and appetizing flavor.
Creamy Potato Salad
Serve this classic favorite alongside your favorite barbecue dish or just enjoy it plain. This simple side is chocked full of flavor and will bring happiness to anyone's taste buds.
Peach Melba Shake
Whether you're craving an afternoon snack, or a smooth, creamy, and fruity dessert, this shake will hit the spot. Put the ice cream in the blender last to easily make a smooth shake.
Grilled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers
Marinated tofu slices acquire a golden crust when grilled; the olive-garlic mayonnaise on the sandwich adds a Mediterranean flavor. Serve with grilled asparagus for a simple side.
Cobb Salad Pizza
Add quick-cooking chicken cutlets and refrigerated pizza dough to a mix of fresh vegetables for a light and lovely superfast meal.
Steak Baguettes with Pesto Mayo
Piled high with steak and veggies, the real treat on this sandwich is the sauce, a pesto mayonnaise. Use sirloin for a more tender bite than you get with cuts like flank steak.
Warm Caramelized Onion Dip
Forget the boxed mixes and chilled store-bought versions: This warm onion dip is on a deliciously different level. Serve it with hearty crackers or slices of French bread.
Chocolate Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwiches
If you've ever bitten into an ice-cream sandwich only to feel cheated of cookie, these little rounds deliver what you've been missing.
Chicken Parmesan Burgers
Get out of your burger rut with these grilled ground-chicken burgers that are a twist on a popular Italian-American dish. Serve on ciabatta rolls and top with marianara sauce and mozzarella.
Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza
Look for apricots that are slightly underripe so they'll stand up to the heat, or you can substitute two medium peaches. We like the smooth texture and intense flavor of imported Parma prosciutto in this dish.
Sloppy Joe Sliders
Serve up mini versions of a weeknight favorite. Make the sauce ahead of time, if you like. Just reheat it and toast the buns to finish the sliders.
Get back to the basics with this easy slaw featuring thinly sliced radishes and fresh mint. Instead of a creamy dressing, it’s tossed with a citrusy vinaigrette. This easy slaw is just the side to serve with hamburgers, fish, sandwiches, hot dogs, or pulled barbecue.
Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce
The layer of sauce in the middle of the pudding is the secret to the velvety-rich interior. It's a decadent pairing, but if you want to gild the lily, add a small dollop of whipped cream.
Spicy Poblano Burgers with Pickled Red Onions and Cream
A poblano chile is the perfect mix of fruity flavor with a little bit of heat. Leave the seeds in your poblano if you want more fiery flavor.
Smoked Salmon Thin-Crust Pizza
The crisp cracker crust of this pizza makes a pleasing contrast to the velvety soft salmon.
Eggs Benedict Waffle Sandwiches
Two breakfast classics merge in this dish, perfect for weekend brunch or a light dinner. Toss any leftover hollandaise sauce; because it is made with egg yolks, it doesn't keep well.
Baked Mozzarella Bites
Serve this quick after-school snack to your kids as an alternative to traditional fried cheesesticks.
Chocolate Turtle Brownie Sundaes
Decadent, warm, and gooey turtle brownies meet creamy vanilla frozen yogurt drenched in a drool-worthy fudge sauce. Licking your screen yet? This dessert is perfect for any occasion and will always leave you begging for seconds.
Lamb and Turkey Pita Burgers
Cinnamon, ginger, and cumin give these burgers the warm, spicy flavor of the eastern Mediterranean. The burgers would pair nicely with a simple cucumber or cucumber-tomato salad.
Pepperoni, Onion, and Olive Pizza
We're jazzing up a classic pizza favorite by adding olives and thinly sliced sweet onion to the pepperoni.
Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls
This classic New England sandwich comes together in a snap if you purchase lobster tails and have them steamed at the fish counter. You can make the lobster salad a few hours in advance; fill the sandwiches right before they're served.
Bourbon Baked Beans
Bacon, bourbon, and maple syrup make this American classic special. Check your beans 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time to make sure they're not drying out.
Hello Dolly Bars
These bar cookies are also known as seven-layer bars. Dress them up by replacing the flaked sweetened coconut with toasted shaved fresh coconut.
Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots
Tender, golden shallots lend a lovely sweetness to this classic cheeseburger. Don't be afraid to cook the shallots to a deep golden brown: It will improve their flavor.
Enjoy your eggs sunny-side up on a pizza that bears the same name. Mâche, red onion, and Parmesan cheese join these savory eggs for an outstanding, savory Sunny-Side-Up Pizza that's perfect for brunch or a light supper.
French Toast Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
What kid (or grown-up, for that matter) wouldn't love this ooey-gooey sandwich? Serve the souped-up PB&Js with fresh fruit.
Macaroni Salad pairs well with just about anything. Cut back on the black pepper for a more kid-frendly version of this cookout staple.
Use fresh blueberries and peaches that aren't super ripe for this cobbler recipe so they'll hold their shape when cooked. To prevent spills, place the baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet before putting it in the oven.
Asian Tuna Burgers
This burger has some of the same flavors as a popular sushi roll. Be sure to process the tuna using quick pulses to prevent the meat from being overworked and overheated by the blade.
Roasted Garlic Pizza
A slice of this pizza makes a tasty hors d'oeuvre, or serve two slices with a tossed salad for supper. Roast the garlic a day ahead; cool, extract the pulp, and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the pizza.
Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Bacon Sandwiches
Try a slightly new interpretation of the classic BLT with a flavored mayo. You can prepare the mayonnaise mixture and cook the bacon up to one day ahead.
BBQ Potato Chips
These less than 50-calorie BBQ Potato Chips will be a huge hit with your tastebuds and your waistine. To get perfectly thin slices, use a mandoline or the thin slicing blade of a food processor.
Orange Cream Pops
Cool off on a hot summer day with these Orange Cream Pops. They are a healthy choice for both kids and adults.
Garlic-Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomato
Thyme, garlic, and Dijon Mustard give these burgers a French twist. Pan-grilled tomatoes enhance the already-juicy texture.
Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza
Ditch the tomato sauce and give pizza a makeover by topping with fresh peach slices and two types of cheese. A drizzle of tangy balsamic reduction perfectly balances the sweet summer fruit.
Herbed Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Tarragon and rye bread make a classic chicken salad sandwich extra special. You can make the chicken salad ahead. If you're packing it to go, keep the salad cold, and make your sandwich right before you're ready to eat to keep the bread from getting soggy.
Marinated Asparagus-and-Carrot Salad
Veggies bathed in balsamic vinegar are truly irresistible. This colorful vegetable medley pairs perfectly with just about any entrée.
Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Fudge
Make the combination of peanut butter and chocolate even better by stirring in instant coffee granules and topping the fudge with chopped peanuts.