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Does Chrissy Teigen's 'Cravings' live up to the hype?

Cravings, by Chrissy Teigen, debuted at No. 1 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list and has remained on the list for past five weeks. Yeah, that's kind of big deal for any cookbook (sorry Martha), let alone one written by a celebrity (sorry Gwyneth).

Prompting us to ask: Can said model/personality/blogger create, let alone curate, a collection of dishes we would actually want to eat? Basically, does Chrissy Teigen deliver?

So we took it upon ourselves to cook a few of the dishes found in her book. As journalists we are born skeptics. We went in with no preconceived notions whatsoever. OK, maybe a little part of us would have loved to tell yet another celebrity to just stick with their day job.

Turns out, this model can cook. Like, she can really cook.

And this is not a diet or health book where Chrissy shares how she keeps her bikini body in shape. This book is all about comfort and indulgence. A concept we journalists are perhaps a little too familiar with.

Below are just a few of the recipes we tested.

Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal

According to Teigen, “They’re (recipes) all here – except dessert ... it is well documented how badly I suck at baking." So this dish is as close to baking the author gets.

Pro: What we love about this recipe is one of the main ingredients is yellow cake mix. Not some unpronounceable herb or obscure member of the millet family. Yellow. Cake. Mix.

Con: The effort is minimal but the end product is major, so best to save this for a special hosting occasion or group brunch. There's no way to make this breakfast for one. Which in reality, is probably a good thing.

Difficulty: Easy

Flavor: The sweet oatmeal and creamy custard base balances with the flavors of the raspberries and peaches nicely. Not a fan of those? You can easily sub blueberries or any other fruit.

Would we make it again? Yes.

'Everything' Chicken Sandwich Melts (without the sandwich melt)

A self-proclaimed "chile fiend," the cook brings a little added heat to this basic dish with paprika and cayenne pepper. We opted to not make the actual sandwich and stick to just the chicken breast and were not disappointed.

Con: No real cons here.

Pro: The recipe is for four chicken breasts so it is easy to double for more and freezes well if you are cooking for one.

Difficulty: Easy

Flavor: The heat and texture of the breading really sets this dish apart from your basic breaded chicken cutlet. The spices are not overpowering and there is a good heat thanks to the cayenne pepper.

Would we make it again? Yes.

Chrissy's Mac and Cheese With Cheesy Garlic Bread Crumbs

Chrissy has VERY strong feelings about her mac and cheese and how it compares with her hubby John Legend's. "I'm sorry, John. I love you so, so much and you are absolutely perfect. ... But my mac is better." And Chrissy, we would LOVE to do a comparison anytime you and John are free. Seriously, call us.

Pro: This recipe is basically a license to eat a bowl of cheese.

Con:  For the novice cook, this is one where you might want a helping hand — one for the constant stirring and a sous chef who can hand you what you need, when you need it.

Difficulty: There is a good deal of effort involved between keeping track of what to add when while continually stirring so as not to burn the milk/cheese. There are a lot of moving parts.

Flavor: This one went newsroom-wide and got rave reviews, including an "Oh My Gawd." The amount of Swiss cheese used was really the only bone of contention. Some people loved the fondue flavor it added, asking if there was wine in it. The answer would be no. Others felt the recipe could go lighter on the Swiss. Then again, the pan was wiped clean. And the crispy cheesy garlic bread crumbs provide a nice contrast to the cheese.

Would we make it again? Yes.

Overall impressions

All in all, we are pretty impressed with what we made. The ingredient lists are pretty basic, nothing you could not get in a your average grocery store. Instructions were also written for the cook who can easily be intimidated. The ingredient costs are kept to a minimum. And the book offers a pretty wide selection in terms of styles (American comfort, Thai-inspired) and types (soups, salads, sandwiches.)

All in all, well done Ms. Teigen, well done.