I'm not going to talk about why I love Chrissy Teigen. If you love her too, you'll already know why (her Twitter, for starters). And if you don't, well, I'm not saying that we can't be friends, but—actually that's exactly what I'm saying. (Here, you can go read about threaded spaghetti hot dogs instead.)
I am, however, going to talk about her latest cookbook: Cravings: Hungry for More, which was set free into the big wide world just a few days ago. In typical Chrissy fashion (I call her by her first name because we are, of course, friends—in my mind), this follow-up to her first Cravings cookbook is filled with simple, delicious recipes, adorable pics of baby Luna (just wait till you see her in a matching avocado one-piece), and many, many stories we can all relate to.
Speaking of relatable stories, I have one for you.
Of all the recipes in Chrissy's new cookbook, one in particular caught my eye: the Everything Bagel Breakfast Bake. It combined two of my great loves: everything bagels and the simple brilliance of a casserole. I had to make it. But after taking one look at the recipe, which calls for eight eggs and three everything bagels, I knew this was not a recipe designed for one person (although under certain circumstances I could likely finish it alone). So I invited over two of my friends—Yih-Jen and Alex—to help me make the recipe, plus extra-fudgy brownies (because brownies are never not a good idea).
I set out to gather the ingredients the morning-of, a Sunday—and that's when things started to go south. I figured I would grab the everything bagels from my favorite bagel place near my apartment (the recipe says they're supposed to be at least a day old, but I spent all of Saturday watching the entire season of Maniac on Netflix, so obviously I was too busy to age my bagels). I arrived in any case to find a long line and zero everything bagels in stock. My second-favorite bagel place ran out of them just as I was about to get to the front of the line.
I don't have a third-favorite bagel place, but I found one a few blocks away that shares their space with a Nathan's Famous Hot Dog restaurant (take from that what you will) and had three everything bagels in stock. It probably helped that they looked pretty old.
The rest of the ingredients list was much easier to source.
I made sure to prep some of the ingredients—sliced the onions, thawed the frozen spinach, cubed the brick of cream cheese—before my friends showed up so that I could whip together the recipe as effortlessly as they do on cooking shows. I should have known better.
Things were going smoothly until the time came to put my bagel-stuffed casserole creation into the actual casserole dish—it was, of course, a bit too small to fit everything.
But I wasn't about to let that stop me, so I stuffed and smushed until the dish was filled to the brim, with a small bagel-y mountain in the center to boot. I carefully poured the egg-milk-half-and-half mixture (with a pinch of cayenne, too) over the bagels and veggies, and still managed to spill some onto my counter. No big deal. With nothing left to do but let it all bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, I thought I had crossed the finish line.
I was wrong.
About 15 or so minutes in, I started to smell something...burning. I opened my dinky oven to a cloud of thick smoke—the eggs had puffed up so much that they were spilling onto the bottom and getting singed by the flames underneath. The fire alarm started beeping and a gentle but assertive female voice kept repeating, "Fire. Fire. Fire." Since she wouldn't be quiet I asked Alex, who is very tall, to take out the batteries (don't worry, he put them back in before he left).
Whew. It took me about 20 more minutes in my smoke-filled apartment—despite the two air conditioners running, with a door and window open—to realize that I could just put the casserole dish on a sheet pan to catch the dripping egg juice. This helped a little, and about 30 minutes later (my friends had not run away in fear of their lives, surprisingly), the breakfast bake was ready to eat. With a golden, cheesy crust and crispy bagel edges, the near-death experience was worth the end result.
My friends mostly agreed: Alex described it as "a good mix-up of breakfast food" and "very satisfying/filling," though " too much of a pain to prepare for any old day." Yih-Jen loved "the cream cheese bits and the spinach," but "wished the everything bagel seasoning had come through more." (I blame the third-rate bagels for the latter.)
I will absolutely be making this recipe again, only next time with better bagels (I'll plan ahead) and a bigger casserole dish (maybe from her new Target collection!). And I'm not going to feel bad about almost setting my kitchen ablaze. It happens to the best of us—even Chrissy Teigen.
What recipes are you craving? Tell us in the comments!