Holiday Nachos


What Kind of Holidays Do You Want?

Do you like your holiday filled with lots of parties or do you prefer a quiet walk in the woods with a friend? Do you love bumping elbows with thousands of shoppers at the mall or relaxing at home with family?

These are good questions because what’s good for one may not be good for another.

KindofHolidayYouWant_122014This little exercise has been around a long time. It’s one of my favorite thought provokers this time of year as I've learned over the decades that holiday hopes and expectations can be very different from one person to the next. Take time this season to determine how you would like to spend your time and share this activity with family members so that everyone understands each other’s expectations. This can create balance in your household and hopefully tone down some holiday tension.

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Holiday Nachos
Makes 8 servings
Adapted from: Addictive & Healthy Paleo Nachos by Rebecca Bohl


Since holiday menus are often heavy on the carbs, lighten your load this season with these colorful, lower carb nachos that will set off a sprinkler system in your mouth.

These nachos are perfect for holiday parties, family gatherings and, of course, Super Bowl XLIX! You can make the chips and meat topping ahead of time and reheat when needed. (See Chef’s Notes on how to "Refresh" the sweet potato chips.) The homemade sweet potato chips add a noticeable freshness so I highly recommend taking the effort to make them but if you’re in a real time crunch you can use high quality packaged sweet potato chips.

Personalize the spiciness by changing up the canned tomatoes and type of chili pepper you choose. I like mine mild so I used fire roasted canned tomatoes, a Poblano pepper and a little less cumin. YUM!!!

Ingredients for the sweet potato chips:


3 medium sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Instructions for the sweet potatoes:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Peel the sweet potatoes and slice thinly, using either a mandolin or sharp knife (use the thinness slicer blade on your mandolin).


3. In a large bowl, toss sweet potato slices with coconut oil or olive oil.

4. Place the chips in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt.


5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then flip the chips over and bake for another 10 minutes.

6. For the last ten minutes, watch the chips closely and pull off any chips that start to brown, until all of the chips are cooked.

Chef’s Notes About the Chips:

1. It can be tricky to get these chips crisp without burning them. If you find your chips burning, you can lower the oven temperature to 350 and cook them a little longer.

2. Refreshing Day-Old Chips

These chips can become limp after a few hours or overnight, so if you have leftovers, place them in a freezer-strength zip top bag and “refresh” them, if needed, the next time you eat them.

To refresh, place the chips on a baking sheet and put them into a preheated 325 degree F oven for about 5 – 8 minutes. This takes the moisture out and crisps them up beautifully. Watch them closely so they won’t burn. They will become a little darker than before but they are still delicious!

Ingredients for the meat:


1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 green chili, diced
1 lb. 90/10 lean ground beef (preferably grass fed)
1- 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp tomato paste
12 oz. canned diced tomatoes (spicy or mild) - drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions for the meat:

7. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and chili pepper to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened.


8. Add the ground beef and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly.


9. Add the garlic, diced canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and remaining spices and stir well to combine.



10. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring regularly.

Ingredients for the garnish:


3 Roma tomatoes, diced and seeded
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1-2 Tbsp lime juice
1-2 fresh avocados, chopped
2 Tbsp green onions, chopped

Instructions for the garnish:

11. Stir the chopped tomatoes, lime juice, and cilantro into the beef mixture.


12. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

13. To assemble the nachos, form a large circle with the sweet potato chips on a platter. Add the beef mixture into the middle of the circle, and then top with fresh avocado and green onions.


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About Author

Cathy Greer Mazanec, MPH, RDN, LDN

Cathy is the Senior Manager of Nutrition and Healthy Living Programs at SAS Institute Inc in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine nutritionist, blogger and food photographer. Cathy's specialties include integrative and functional nutrition, gut health, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition. She is also a Certified Biofeedback instructor. An avid lover of the outdoors, Cathy spends her free time biking, golfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sitting under the stars and spending time with her grandson. Follow @CmazanecRD on Twitter.

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