22 guilty pleasure recipes to make when you just want to eat what you want

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Shutterstock A healthy diet is important, but once in a while, you need to splurge, treat yourself, enjoy a cheat meal, or receive some comfort from one of your favorite foods. The following dishes run the gamut from classic unhealthy meals loaded with calories and carbs to greasy pub […]

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22 guilty pleasure recipes to make when you just want to eat what you want

A healthy diet is important, but once in a while, you need to splurge, treat yourself, enjoy a cheat meal, or receive some comfort from one of your favorite foods. The following dishes run the gamut from classic unhealthy meals loaded with calories and carbs to greasy pub fare to sugary breakfasts and decadent desserts. Here are 22 guilty pleasure recipes to make when you just want to eat what you want.

Ambrosia salad

Salads usually involve some type of greens, but don’t tell that to potato salad, pasta salad, or tuna salad. The biggest imposter has to be ambrosia salad, which is a fruit salad that not only includes marshmallows, but the fruit consists of canned mandarin oranges and jarred maraschino cherries. Oh, and as this recipe from Dinner, Then Dessert will tell you: The dressing is made of heavy cream, sour cream, and powdered sugar.

Bacon-wrapped dates
Elena Shashkina / Shutterstock.com

Bacon-wrapped anything could qualify for this list, but our personal favorite option is bacon-wrapped dates. We’ve seen a few different versions of this appetizer before, and would wholeheartedly recommend this recipe from Pinch of Yum, which calls for the dates to be stuffed with goat cheese.

A friend once likened a breakfast of biscuits & sausage gravy to starting your day by drinking cement. In defense of this dish, we’re guessing cement is not nearly as delicious, but both will weigh heavily in your stomach and digestive tract. Biscuits also feature white flour and nearly no nutritional value, and the sausage gravy is loaded with saturated fat and calories. That being said, when we see biscuits & gravy on a breakfast menu, they’re difficult to resist. Make them yourself at home with this recipe from Bless This Mess Please.

Our Italian relatives would be horrified if they knew we desecrated pizzas by adding hamburger, pickles, ketchup, and mustard—and so would a dietician. But a cheeseburger pizza like this one from I Wash You Dry is the combination of two of our absolute favorite foods, and it’s hard to say no to that.

It seems like people always need an excuse to eat hot dogs, like going to a ballgame, attending a backyard barbecue, or being a small child. Just wanting to eat what you want is a good enough excuse for us. But if we want to have a hot dog, we want to make it count, and thus concoct a classic Chicago-style hot dog like this one from Mashed, which uses an all-beef frank topped with sliced tomato, chopped onion, sport peppers, a dill pickle, relish, mustard, and celery salt.

Nuggets are to chicken as hot dogs are to pork, which is why the majority of chicken nugget consumers are kids. But it doesn’t have to be that way, just like chicken nuggets don’t need to contain random chicken parts. This recipe from Food Network still fries the nuggets in oil, but only uses chicken breast for the meat.

Crispy french fries topped with gooey cheese sauce, hearty beans, flavorful beef, and cool sour cream is a combination that just hits the spot—especially if you’re in need of comfort food. Dinner at the Zoo can help you step up your fry game.

These waffles from The Unlikely Baker aren’t just waffles with chocolate chips—there’s actually cocoa powder mixed into them. But there are also chocolate chips in them, which makes them double chocolate waffles. And if you want to add chocolate chips on top, that’s okay. And if you want to add whipped cream and/or ice cream, that’s okay, too.

This is one of those recipes that we love, but every time we eat it, we say, “We can’t do this again for a while.” That’s because it’s basically cinnamon rolls with extra sugar, extra brown sugar, and extra butter…plus icing on top. Making it even more tempting: You can bake the whole thing in your slow cooker with this recipe from Crazy for Crust.

What’s one of the least nutritious things you could eat? A candy bar. What’s the least nutritious way to prepare food? Deep frying it. Combine those two things and you get deep-fried candy bars. Just A Pinch can make it a cinch.

Nachos are already a bit of a guilty pleasure food, as are Doritos. But using your favorite flavor of Doritos as the chips in a nacho recipe? That’s some next-level thinking. (Or midnight munchie thinking.) My Casual Pantry has a recipe to get you started, but feel free to customize it with your favorite toppings.

Fettuccine alfredo is nicknamed “heart attack on a plate,” which is a pretty clear signal that it’s not a dish that should be eaten on a regular basis. This version from Modern Honey combines 1.5 cups of heavy cream, 6 tbsp of butter, and a heaping serving of parmesan cheese with a pound of carb-packed pasta—and it’s delicious.

Shout out to our friends across the pond in the U.K., as we also fancy fish & chips as greasy comfort food. But you don’t need a plane ticket, passport, or trip to a British pub to enjoy quality fish and chips—this recipe from Daring Gourmet can help you make your own at home using haddock, halibut, or cod.

Butter, cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, onion, and some spices combine to make this French onion dip from RecipeTin Eats. Of course, the guiltiest part of this pleasurable food is the fact that it gives you an excuse to devour an entire bag of potato chips.

We have numerous friends & family members who treat themselves to funfetti cupcakes when they need a pick-me-up. To be clear, we’re referring strictly to non-birthday occasions, as that’s when these festive, confetti-esque cupcakes feel the most like a splurge. Cream cheese frosting is mandatory for funfetti cupcakes, in our opinion, which is why we recommend this recipe from Mildly Meandering.

Jalapenos are low in calories and high in vitamin A, vitamin C, carotene, and potassium…so let’s dilute those benefits by stuffing them with fatty cream cheese and cheddar cheese, and deep-frying them in oil. That statement may sound like a deterrent, but it actually just made us hungry. This recipe from Classic Recipes makes us even hungrier because it also includes bacon.

As if a bacon cheeseburger isn’t unhealthy enough, this Luther Burger from The Spruce Eats uses two halves of a glazed donut as the bun. If you really want to go all out, you can even use a donut for the top bun and a second donut for the bottom bun.

Nutella is best consumed in moderation, which is why we love slathering a whole bunch of it on a big ol’ crepe or two (or three!) topped with some additional powdered sugar. Strawberries and/or bananas are great additions, too, and this recipe from Everyday Dishes even recommends—and explains how to make—caramelized bananas.

You’ll only need milk, ice cream, peanut butter, and vanilla extract to make this creamy peanut butter milkshake from Baking Mischief. Of course, that’s not including the toppings, which can consist of everything from whipped cream and chocolate to nuts, peanut butter cups, or Reese’s Pieces.

Our favorite way to add some protein to mac & cheese is by topping it with a hefty portion of pulled pork. There’s a decent amount of protein in pulled pork—which we love—but this dish is really our favorite because smoky barbecue sauce and gooey cheese go together so well. This recipe from Sweet Tea & Thyme proves it.

Ramen is a simple, cheap, tasty, and easy-to-prepare meal—and if you’re like us, you survived off of it in your 20s. However, ramen is loaded with sodium and lacks protein, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients, so it’s best to limit this dish to an occasional treat. If you’re going to treat yourself, consider a more elaborate meal than the packaged version, like this still-speedy recipe from Pinch of Yum that includes shiitake mushrooms, kale, carrots, and eggs.

Stuffed shells were obviously invented because someone ate ravioli and said, “But what if we used an even bigger piece of pasta and stuffed it with even more ricotta?” If all you want to eat are carbs, sauce, and cheese, try this recipe from Dinner at the Zoo.

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