In a small apartment in the city, the sound of rush-hour traffic filters through the warm evening air. A group of tired, hungry friends voices a serious craving for fast food. Crunchy, melty, salty, addictive fast food.
No one is willing to make a junk-food run and risk losing a coveted parking spot. Fast-forward 30 minutes. The coffee table is covered in dirty paper plates and crumpled paper napkins. A group of tired friends is now on the couch, happily satiated.
This was the scene after a recent fast-food craving for a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme hit. It may sound counterintuitive, but for us, at the time, making the stuff from scratch ourselves was oddly easier than the alternative.
If you’re not familiar with the Crunchwrap Supreme, it involves a large flour tortilla wrapped around taco meat, nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, sour cream and a crunchy tostada.
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Sometimes you need it. It creeps up on you in the same way you yearn for the special sauce from an In-N-Out Double Double burger to drip down your chin. And it’s that same feeling you get when you think about the takeout box of Panda Express orange chicken you can attack with some wooden chopsticks.
As an act of public service, we are providing our own recipes for copycat In-N-Out Double Doubles, Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supremes and Panda Express Orange Chicken. It’s not health food. But when you’ve just gotta indulge, know that these “unofficial” recipes will taste better than the real thing.
Homemade Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme
Makes 8 wraps
- 8 extra-large (12-inch diameter) tortillas
- taco meat (recipe follows)
- 8 small (4- to 6-inch) round tostadas
- cheese sauce (recipe follows)
- 1/2 head iceburg lettuce, shredded
- 2 small roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup black olives, diced
- About 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 bottle hot sauce
1. To assemble the crunchwraps, lay out each of the tortillas. Evenly divide the taco meat among the tortillas, spooning a small circle on top of each tortilla. Top each mound of taco meat with a tostada, then evenly divide the shredded lettuce, cheese sauce, tomato and diced olives. Top each with a heaping tablespoon of sour cream.
2. Carefully fold the outer edges of each tortilla toward the center, creating a circular package using five folds.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot. Toast each crunchwrap until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side. Serve immediately with the hot sauce.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (preferably 20 percent fat)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon chile powder
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add the oil to the pan, then add the onions. Cook the onions until they are translucent and just start to brown, about 4 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef to the pan. Mix the ground beef with the onions until well mixed. Add the cumin, chile powder, onion powder, garlic powder, ancho chile powder, ground chipotle powder, salt and sugar to the pan and mix well. Cook the meat until it browns, about 5 minutes. remove from heat and set aside.
- 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
1. Toss the cheese and corn starch together in a medium sauce pan. Add the evaporated milk and stir.
2. Heat over medium heat until the mixture thickens to a sauce, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. This makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce.
Nutritional analysis per wrap: 900 calories, 57 grams fat, 64 grams carbohydrates, 35 grams protein, 132 milligrams cholesterol, 1,668 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 56 percent of calories from fat.
Homemade In-N-Out Double Double
Makes 8 burgers
- 2 pounds ground beef chuck (80/20 fat ratio if possible)
- salt, to taste
- 8 white hamburger buns
- 16 slices American cheese
- sauce (recipe follows)
- 16 iceberg lettuce leaves
- 8 slices beefsteak tomato
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings
1. Measure out 16 (2-ounce) patties of meat and flatten each patty to a thickness of approximately 1/4 inch. Season each side of the patty with a pinch of salt and set aside while you heat the griddle.
2. Toast the buns, cut-side down, on the griddle just until the cut sides begin to toast, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Heat a griddle pan over medium heat until hot. Cook the burgers on one side until the patties start to brown, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip the burgers, adding a slice of cheese to the browned tops of each one. Continue to cook until the burgers are cooked and the cheese is beginning to melt, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
4. To assemble the burgers, slather about 1 tablespoon sauce on the toasted top and bottom of each bun. On the bottom of each bun, layer two lettuce leaves, a slice of tomato, one cheeseburger patty, a few onion rings, another cheeseburger patty and the top burger bun. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to form eight burgers. Serve immediately.
Makes about 3/4 cup
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons ketchup (scant 1/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 1/2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, sweet and dill pickle relishes, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt and sugar. The sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to two weeks.
Nutritional analysis per burger: 757 calories, 55 grams fat, 28 grams carbohydrates, 37 grams protein, 143 milligrams cholesterol, 1,489 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 66 percent of calories from fat.
Homemade Panda Express Orange Chicken
Makes 4 to 8 servings
- Orange chicken sauce (recipe follows)
- Fried chicken (recipe follows)
1. Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add the orange chicken sauce and cook until the sauce starts to bubble, about 1 minute.
2. Add the chicken to the pan and stir until each piece is well coated with the sauce, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Orange chicken sauce
Makes about 1 cup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of sambal chile sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
1. In a small bowl, stir together the water and corn starch to make a slurry. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, zest and marmalade along with the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chile sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, honey, pepper and salt. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture comes to a simmer, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Whisk in the corn starch slurry and continue to cook until the sauce comes back to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
- 1 1/2 cups corn starch
- Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Pour the corn starch into a shallow baking dish or bowl. Toss the chicken pieces in with the corn starch to coat, then set aside for a few minutes. Toss the chicken with the corn starch a second time to coat again. Set aside.
2. Add enough oil to a large heavy pot so the oil comes about halfway up the sides. Heat the oil until a thermometer inserted reaches 350 degrees.
3. Fry the chicken pieces, a handful at a time, until the chicken is firm and the fried coating is a pale golden. Drain on a cooling rack lined with paper towels.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 4: 718 calories, 30 grams fat, 54 grams carbohydrates, 53 grams protein, 132 milligrams cholesterol, 1,042 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 39 percent of calories from fat.