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How to Turn Junk Food Into Gourmet Creations

Serve up a meal full of irony and deliciousness by combining junk food with high-end faves.


Whether you're trying to wean yourself off of the potato chip-and-soda diet, or want to go a little more casual with your gourmet fare, combining high- and low-brow ingredients can yield surprisingly awesome results.

Potato chips: No longer just a snack



The beauty of the potato chip is in its simplicity: a crispy, delicate disc of fried potato with just a touch of salt. Because of its unique texture and relatively mild, neutral flavor, the chip makes a great addition to many dishes.

For example, you can easily turn the snack into a breading for a nice piece of fresh salmon. Just crush them in a bag, coat the fillets with a little bit of olive oil, mustard or marinade, and dip your salmon into the chip crumbs before popping it in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your fillets. Salmon not your bag? Try this recipe for Quick 'n Crunchy Potato Chip Chicken.

If you want an awesome, flavor-packed twist on those recipes, use seasoned tortilla chips instead of the spud variety.

You could also use chips in place of croutons in your favorite salad. A handful of crumbled tortilla chips on top of this Santa Fe Nectarine Salad may be just what the doctor ordered.

I want candy


Ah, the candy bar. A childhood treat that gets even the surliest adults excited. Sure, we know that a simple square of dark chocolate is a more mature choice than a milk chocolate-caramel-cookie-peanut butter amalgam, but it's bo-ring.

If you want to keep up appearances as a grownup, you can chop up pieces of your go-to candy bar and add them to the ingredient list to this Caffe Mocha Semifreddo. (semifreddo = just a fancy word for a loaf of ice cream). Plus, this particular recipe is insanely easy.

You can also sneak your favorite vending machine treat into a fancy schmancy Creme Brulee by simply placing a bite-sized piece or two at the bottom of the ramekin before filling it with custard.

Nacho average souffle


Right here is a dish you can serve to Beavis and Butthead fans and Downton Abbey enthusiasts alike. A nacho cheese souffle may be the antidote to stuffy French cuisine and satisfy your cravings for faux cheddar.

The best part is you only need a few ingredients: 8-ounces of nacho cheese, 6 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Begin by heating your cheese in a saucepan, then whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar – which acts as a stabilizer – into a stiff meringue. Next, fold the nacho cheese into your beaten egg whites, being careful not to overwork the meringue. Pour the mixture into a buttered souffle dish or ramekins, leaving some room at the top, and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. You'll know they're done when they get nice and high, and you'll know you've failed if they fall, in which case, try, try again!

Getting excited about nacho cheese but don't want to put all that work into it? These Nacho Pinwheels make a great snack, and this Food Processor Nacho Batter Bread is an easy, cheesy way to make a homemade loaf.

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