Kristin Cavallari’s Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

The former reality TV show star has been busy. The mother of two boys (and a baby girl on the way) has a book coming out in March 2016, Balancing in Heels, that gives a peek into how she juggles it all. We spoke with her about the inspiration for her new book, her typical way of eating and a recipe for her Chicken Enchiladas Verdes.

Q: What’s a typical day of food for you?

Breakfast: if I'm going to work out, I will make a smoothie. Otherwise I love an open-faced egg sandwich with Ezekiel sprouted bread, mayo, avocado, an over-easy egg, slice of prosciutto, slice of tomato, salt, pepper and microgreens.

Snack: I have a protein shake after I work out, or I'll eat a homemade muffin or a bar, like Epic bison or a Larabar.

Lunch: Either a chicken wrap, leftovers or a salad. I roast a whole chicken every Sunday to have lunch meat for the week.

Snack: Apple with almond butter or homemade trail mix with almonds, cashews, walnuts, chocolate chips and dried cherries.

Dinner: I cook almost every night, anything from enchiladas to Parmesan-crusted chicken with cauliflower, mashed "potatoes" and sauteed zucchini.

Q: What inspired your new book?

I feel like I've come a long way in the past 10 years, and I wanted to share my journey with everyone. It's the first time I've let people in and shown them who I really am. It's a glimpse into my life, everything from sample workouts and exactly what I eat, to fashion and beauty tricks and tips I've learned over the years, to mommy and pregnancy stories.

Q: How does cooking factor into your life?

It's a huge part of my life. I cook almost every night for my family, because family dinners are important to me. I also care about eating healthy, and when I make my own food, I know exactly what I am getting.

Q: What is your "don't have to think about it, ready in minutes" dinner?

Bunless burgers made with grass-fed beef and a side of sauteed zucchini or squash. We always have those on hand, making it really easy.

Q: What principles guide your eating?

I don't count calories; I just look at ingredient labels. I don't believe every calorie is equal; I eat real food without any additives and preservatives. And I stay away from GMOs.

Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
Serves 4
For the roasted salsa verde:
Makes about 3 cups
12 tomatillos, husked, washed, and quartered
1/2 jalapeno, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
For the chicken enchiladas:
Coconut oil, for the pan
1 pound organic boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 dozen small brown-rice tortillas
2 cups (about 7 ounces) buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
For the salsa verde:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, garlic and cumin in a baking pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/2 cup. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until tomatillos are completely soft and falling apart. Stir every 10 minutes during cooking to let some moisture evaporate.

When tomatillos are done roasting, remove your pan from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Pour all the tomatillo mixture into a blender. Add the cilantro, olive oil, salt and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Taste to adjust seasoning. Remove from blender and reserve until ready to use.

For the enchiladas:

Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Thinly coat the bottom with coconut oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Let the chicken sear until lightly golden, then stir. Continue until completely cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan.

Return the pan to high heat and coat again with coconut oil. When oil is hot, add the bell pepper, onion and jalapeno. Saute over high heat until onions are lightly caramelized and the peppers are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika and salt, and cook another minute or two, until the cumin is aromatic.

Remove the pepper mixture from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Add the cooked chicken to the pepper mixture, along with half the roasted salsa verde (about 1 1/2 cups). Stir well to combine.

To assemble enchiladas:

Warm the tortillas in microwave, about 30 seconds. Keep warm inside of a dry towel.

Make an assembly line: warm tortillas, large empty plate, the chicken filling and a large baking dish. Pour about 1/4 cup of the salsa verde onto the empty plate. Pour some in the large baking dish, enough to cover the bottom of the pan, just a couple of tablespoons or so. Take one of the warm tortillas and dip it in the salsa verde, lightly coating both sides. Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken filling and roll. Place the filled enchiladas in the baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining tortillas until they are used up and the filling is gone. If you have extra filling, simply squeeze it into open spaces in your baking dish.

You can store the enchiladas, covered, in the fridge up to 5 days. Store the salsa verde separately.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour the salsa verde over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with buffalo mozzarella pieces. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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