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Kristin Cavallari shares her healthy sheet-pan nacho recipe that she says you don't need to eat on 'cheat day'

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Kristin Cavallari

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Some of Kristin Cavallari's favorite memories are of times spent with family and friends on football Sundays, and the food that comes with it.

"There's something about a really yummy finger food for me during the fall months," Cavallari told Insider.

But if there's one dish the reality TV star and best-selling cookbook author will reach for on game day, it's nachos.

"There's this stigma that nachos are a cheat-day meal and if you eat nachos you've got to work out extra hard," she said. "But not if you choose the right ingredients."

The former star of MTV's "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills" told Insider she uses gluten-free chips and goat-milk cheddar cheese so that her nachos are easy on the digestive system. (Goat's milk has less lactose than cow's milk which makes the dairy easier to digest for people with lactose sensitivities, according to Healthline.)

The mother of three and Uncommon James founder also makes her own guacamole, salsa, pulled chicken, and a version of refried beans for her nacho platter.

You can find recipes like these in Cavallari's upcoming cookbook, "True Comfort: More Than 100 Cozy Recipes Free of Gluten and Refined Sugar," which explores the star's love of comfort food while adapting to her health-conscious lifestyle.

Ahead of her book's September 29 release, Cavallari shared five recipes with Insider including her favorite nachos and homemade toppings in her game-day spread.

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First up are the Game Day Sheet Pan Nachos.

Serving size: 6 people

Ingredients

2 (5-ounce) bags tortilla chips (Cavallari recommends salted Siete brand)

2 cups Black "Refried" Beans (recipe below)

2 pounds shredded Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco meat (recipe below)

8 ounces goat-milk cheddar cheese (grated)

1 cup full-fat sour cream

1 cup Simple Guacamole (recipe below)

½ cup Roasted Salsa (recipe below)

¾ cup chopped jalapeños (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

On a large baking sheet, spread the chips out evenly. Next, spoon the black-bean spread over the chips gently, avoiding breaking the chips as much as possible. Scatter the shredded chicken on top, followed by the grated cheese.

Bake the nachos until the cheese starts to melt (15 minutes). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon the sour cream, guacamole, and salsa over the top. Sprinkle the jalapeños on last. Serve immediately.



You'll need to make Cavallari's Black "Refried" Beans to top the chips with.

Serving size: about 1½ cups

Ingredients

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon chili powder

Pink Himalayan salt

Instructions

In a high-powered blender, combine the beans, chili powder, a big pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend on high speed until smooth, using a tamp if needed.

Use right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.



Her Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Meat also joins the nacho party.

Serving size: 6 people

Ingredients

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons chili powder

1½ teaspoons pink Himalayan salt

4 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

Grated zest of 1 lime

Juice of ½ lime

Instructions

Set your slow cooker on low to cook for eight hours, or on high to cook for four hours.

Place the chicken, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic, coconut oil, and lime zest and juice in the cooker and cover it. Cook, stirring the chicken every hour or so if possible (this is not necessary).

Once the chicken is tender (after about eight hours on low or four hours on high), shred it, using two forks. Continue to cook, stirring it every hour or so.



The home cook adds her Simple Guacamole after the nachos come out of the oven.

Serving size: about 1½ cups

Ingredients

3 avocados

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Juice of ½ large lime

1 teaspoon minced jalapeño (optional)

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the avocados, sea salt, lime juice, and jalapeño (if using). Mash with a fork until a few small chunks remain, or to your desired consistency.



She also adds Roasted Salsa to top it all off.

Serving size: about 2½ cups

Ingredients

1 pound Roma tomatoes

½ jalapeño (seeds removed)

½ red bell pepper (diced)

1 clove garlic

¼ medium red onion (sliced)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pink Himalayan salt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon chili powder

Juice of ½ lime

½ bunch fresh cilantro (about ½ cup loosely packed leaves)

Instructions

Heat a grill or a grill pan over high heat.

On a large baking sheet, spread out the tomatoes, jalapeño, bell pepper, garlic, and onion. Sprinkle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt.

Place the veggies on the grill pan or directly on the grill. Grill the vegetables on each side until they are black and charred, pulling them off and returning them to the baking sheet as they are roasted: one to two minutes for the garlic, five to eight minutes for the jalapeño, eight to nine minutes for the onion, and 10 to 12 minutes for the tomatoes and bell pepper.

Place the charred vegetables in a blender or food processor, and add the cumin, chili powder, lime juice, and cilantro. Blend or process until the mixture has a smooth consistency.

Serve the salsa warm right away, or let it cool in the fridge for at least one hour. It will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up five days.





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