It’s that time of the year when everyone’s made some kind of New Year’s resolution, and for a lot of people that means trying to eat better. That’s all well and good—I would never begrudge someone for trying to be healthier—but if you’re going to spend most of your time eating kale and chia seeds then I think you deserve a treat once in a while. Pulled pork jalapeño poppers, fried chicken, and mac and cheese shouldn’t be everyday foods, but sometimes you need to indulge. If you’re going to break your resolution, we’ve got 22 fatty anti-resolution recipes to make sure you do it right.
Greasy, Gooey Snacks
Detroit-Style Pan Pizza
Long-beloved in Michigan, Detroit-style pizza has started to go national in recent years. It’s made with a thick, chewy crust; tons of creamy Brick cheese; and a sweet tomato sauce (in that order). Pepperoni is a classic addition, with some restaurants layering it on top to get crispy and others putting it under the cheese and sauce so that the fat seeps into the crust. Since we’re going big right now, we put it on top and bottom.
Pulled Pork Jalapeño Poppers With Raspberry Sauce
I love jalapeño poppers, but if we’re really going to be starting the New Year off right, we’re going to need something a little more epic. These smokey poppers are stuffed with pulled pork and wrapped in bacon. We don’t deep-fry them, but given all the pork I’d say they’re still a far cry for health food.
Cornbread-Coated Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese Wedges
Regular old deep fried mac and cheese wedges don’t go far enough, either. We bring back the pulled pork in this recipe, layering it with the mac, coating it all in a cornbread batter, and frying until golden brown. Freezing the macaroni and pork is key to not making too much of a mess when it’s time to batter and fry.
Totchos (Tater Tot Nachos) With Cheese Sauce, Charred Tomato Salsa, Chorizo, and Pickled Jalapeños
Our Ultimate Fully Loaded Nachos are already a gut-buster, but if you think tortilla chips are too boring then try using crispy tater tots instead. Our totchos aren’t just heavy, though, they’re also delicious, thanks to high-quality toppings like homemade charred-tomato salsa and cheese sauce, crisp chorizo, and fresh vegetables.
Rich and fatty doesn’t have to mean junk food. Pommes aligot is a dish from south-central France that takes mashed potatoes and makes them more intense than you would have ever thought possible. That means using the standard cream and butter, but also melting in more than half a pound of Alpine cheeses (we like a mix of Swiss and Gruyère). You also want to overwork the potatoes to release extra starch, which in combination with the cheese makes for incredibly gooey results.
Burgers and Sandwiches
Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
We have no shortage of grilled cheese recipes, but right now one of my favorites is this version that mashes up the sandwich with spinach-artichoke dip. We start with a simple dip made by sautéing onion, frozen spinach, and canned artichoke hearts and mixing with homemade mayo, then pair with creamy Drunken Goat cheese (Havarti is also a solid choice).
We make our Cuban sandwiches with three different kinds of pork: sweet ham, savory roast pork, and funky Genoa salami. That last ingredient might upset some Miami readers, but it’s a classic part of a Tampa-style Cuban. We pair the pork with Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread and cook it in a sandwich press or under a heavy skillet until all the ingredients meld together.
Rich and Creamy Croque Madames
The croque madame starts just like a croque monsieur: toasted brioche, ham, grated cheese, and Mornay sauce. Layered together and broiled you already have a serious brunch, but to take it one step further and turn it into a croque madame, top each sandwich with a runny fried egg before serving.
A fast food hamburger definitely doesn’t fit with health-conscious New Year’s resolutions, and our homemade Big Mac and Whopper recipes will both help you start the year off on a gluttonous note. Can’t decide which you want to make? Just split the difference by combining the flame-broiled Whopper patty with our reverse-engineered Big Mac sauce and both fresh and dehydrated onions.
The Double Bacon Hamburger Fatty Melt
Cardiologists, look away now. This burger takes decadence to a whole new level—not only do we use two quarter-pound patties and four slices of bacon, but to throw all sense of restraint out the window we replace the buns with three grilled cheese sandwiches. Make one of these in the next few days and you might not need to eat again for the rest of the month.
Ultra-Smashed Brunch Burgers With Quick Jalapeño Hollandaise
Looking for a monster burger that you can feel okay about eating for breakfast? This brunch-friendly option tops crispy-edged smashed patties with oven-cooked bacon, fried eggs, avocado, and a spicy jalapeño Hollandaise. Toasted English muffins keep the breakfast theme going and soak up the runny yolk and sauce.
Ultra-Crispy Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Pork shoulder is one of my top picks for a winter dinner party—it’s decadent, affordable, and super easy. All you have to do is season with salt and pepper, roast in a low oven until the meat practically starts to fall apart, then max out the oven temperature to crisp up the skin.
The Food Lab’s Southern Fried Chicken
The perfect fried chicken should have super moist meat and an extra-crunchy crust. We accomplish this by brining the chicken in buttermilk (which both tenderizes and seasons it) and mixing some brine into the flour coating to add surface area to the crust. We use a two-stage cooking technique—frying then baking—to ensure that the chicken cooks evenly.
The Best Chicken Parmesan
We borrow the buttermilk brine and breading technique from our fried chicken to make chicken Parmesan, but give it a distinctly Italian-American flavor by adding Parmesan to the breading and serving the chicken with a slow-cooked red sauce, cubes of mozzarella, and more grated Parmesan. You can eat the chicken as is, but it’s even better on a party-sized sandwich.
Traditional French Cassoulet
Like pommes aligot, cassoulet is a French classic that proves that hearty, indulgent food doesn’t have to be junky. This super-filling stew is packed with poultry, sausage, pork, and beans—just what you need on a cold day. Cassoulet is typically made with duck, but we find that using chicken with a little duck fat gives you similar flavor for less money.
Cheesy Pastas and Casseroles
Tater Tot Casserole
If you’re from certain parts of the Midwest, Tater Tot hotdish probably has a special place in your heart. It’s typically made with ground beef, canned or frozen vegetables, condensed soup, and frozen tater tots. We upgrade our version by replacing the condensed soup with a mushroom béchamel, but keep the frozen tots because it’s hard to outdo Ore-Ida.
The Best Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
Both creamy and satisfying and a little more sophisticated than the typical enchilada casserole, this dish is made with a simple charred poblano salsa, simmered chicken, pepper jack cheese, and Mexican crema. Even though we don’t go too heavy on the cheese, this is still a rib-sticking dish.
French Onion Strata
The name strata sounds fancy, but at its heart it’s just a savory bread pudding. This hearty strata gets the flavors of a bowl of French onion soup from caramelized onions and grated Gruyère. To speed up the recipe we use quick-caramelized onions with a little sugar added—the flavor isn’t quite the same as slow-caramelized onions, but you can get most of the way there in significantly less time.
The Food Lab’s Ultra-Gooey Stovetop Mac and Cheese
This mac and cheese is better than the blue box and not much more work to make—you just need a mixture of melting cheeses, a few thickeners and binders (cornstarch, evaporated milk, and eggs), and hot sauce. It all comes together in 15 minutes, but if that sounds like too much work, then check out our three-ingredient recipe, which is even easier than boxed macaroni.
Crispy Baked Pasta With Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce
This comforting baked pasta is a little more time- and labor-intensive than mac and cheese, but it still only takes about half an hour. Mushrooms sautéed in rendered sausage fat add flavor and a meaty bite, soy sauce and lemon juice make the dish super savory, and a cheesy cream sauce brings the richness. Top with a layer of breadcrumbs for a crunchy finish.
American Chop Suey (Macaroni, Beef, and Cheese Skillet Casserole)
This casserole has a variety of names across the country—where I grew up in Indiana we called it chili mac—but by any name it’s a delicious piece of Americana. The dish is always made with pasta, ground beef, tomato sauce, and cheese—our recipe adds green peppers, onions, and a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (a classic addition in New England).
Baked Ziti With Two Mozzarellas and Parmesan Cream Sauce
At its best, baked ziti should be rich and creamy, but all too often low-quality supermarket ricotta makes it bland and grainy. It’s a little easier than it used to be to find good ricotta, but we still get rid of it altogether and use a Parmesan cream sauce instead, plus low-moisture mozzarella mixed in with the pasta and fresh mozzarella melted on top.