Football season may be over but there’s always room for some game-day eats, especially if they’re healthier than traditional bar food. Food blogger and chef Serena Wolf made it her mission to lighten up certain comfort foods after noticing her boyfriend (now husband) was “nutritionally clueless.”
What began as a passion project turned into The Dude Diet – a cookbook that offers tasty recipes you can feel good about eating and serving to your friends and family. “I wanted to show [my boyfriend] that he could still eat all of the things he loves, but in a healthier way,” she tells Us Weekly. “So I started revamping his favorite foods – everything from lasagna to chicken fingers to burgers – and just cutting out all the processed stuff and working in more whole grains, leaner meats and vegetables, in a non-scary way.”
When Wolf, 30, realized her now-spouse loved the dishes she was making, she knew she was on to something. “I was like look, ‘If I can convince a super picky, comfort-food loving guy like him that eating healthfully can be delicious and not feel restrictive, then I have a shot at convincing other people,’” she explains. “So that was sort of how The Dude Diet was born.”
Still, even though her debut cookbook is called The Dude Diet, Wolf insists it’s not just for bros who want to slim down. “That was just a play on words for us,” she notes. “It’s really just for anybody that doesn’t want to give up whole food groups or count calories and wants to keep eating the foods that they love. I like to say it’s like a cookbook for the rest of us – those of us who want to eat in the middle.”
Adds the cook: “I literally created The Dude Diet for people who hate rules.”
Check out the recipe for Wolf’s fully loaded BBQ chicken nachos below!
Fully Loaded BBQ Chicken Nachos
Makes 4-6 servings
• 4 brown rice tortillas
• 1 tbsp, plus 1 tsp olive oil
• Kosher salt, to taste
• 1 ear sweet corn, kernels removed
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 cups diced, cooked chicken breasts (roughly 12 oz)
• 1/2 cup barbecue sauce of your choice
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped
• 6 oz grated Monterey Jack cheese
• 1/2 cup minced red onion
• 3 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
• Hot sauce, to top
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Brush both sides of the tortillas with one tablespoon of olive oil. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter slice the tortillas into thirds, then slice each third into four to six triangles. (You can also make rectangular chips if you like. You do you.) Arrange the tortilla pieces on the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little bit of space between each one, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Bake for six minutes or until lightly browned, then remove the chips from the oven, turn them over and bake for another two to three minutes until crispy. Keep an eye on them — they burn quickly! Briefly set the chips aside.
- Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the corn kernels and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for five to six minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
- Place the chicken and barbecue sauce in a bowl and toss to combine. (If your chicken is cold, microwave it for about 30 seconds to warm it up.)
- Pre-heat the broiler on high.
- Spread the tortilla chips on a large rimmed baking sheet (or in a large oven-proof baking dish). Add the corn, barbecue chicken, cherry tomatoes and pickled jalapeños and sprinkle with Monterey Jack. Broil for two to three minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Top your nachos with red onion, scallions and cilantro and serve piping hot with your favorite hot sauce.
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