When we invited actress and TV personality Vanessa Lachey to the Delish test kitchen, we felt a twinge of guilt: Here she was, in a pristine white Derek Lam shift dress, and here we were, brandishing tubs of yogurt, berries, chocolate and other sure-to-stain toppings.
Because no one can come to our HQ without getting fed. And the idea of “parfaits with Vanessa Lachey” was too fun to pass up (making “Dulce de Lachey” was a close second).
Then the mom of two—and wife of Nick Lachey, singer and former 98 Degrees heartthrob—skipped the apron and immediately reached for the strawberry yogurt, and we knew we found a kindred spirit. While piling on the toppings, Mrs. Lachey schooled us in the art of parfait-making and shared some of her food obsessions, from her ultimate comfort food to the Lachey family’s “weiner-bun surprises.”
Okay, hardest question first: What’s your philosophy when it comes to making parfaits?
“Just because it’s a yogurt parfait doesn’t mean it has to be all healthy, you know? Why not sprinkle some chocolate chips or cereal in there? Try one decadent thing. You want some flavor.”
Same. Is your son, Camden, a yogurt fan?
“He’s 2, so he loves everything sweet. I used to have to hide berries in his yogurt to get him to eat them, but then I taught him how to stick raspberries on his fingertips—this is a tip, for moms everywhere; this is the best way to get kids to eat them—and now he’s hooked.”
What’s your ultimate summer treat?
“Cam loves Popsicles, especially the Avengers ones. … We’re living in Cincinnati right now, so when you’re sitting in 100 percent humidity, there’s nothing better than hanging by the pool and having a Popsicle with the whole family.”
Are you living near where Nick grew up?
“We’re actually neighbors with my brother- and sister-in-law, Drew and Leah. We literally share a backyard and we built a jungle gym between our houses.”
No way—that’s every kid’s dream!
“It’s Nick’s dream! When we found out Drew was moving next to us, Nick shed a tear and was like, ‘This is perfect.’ He had this vision of growing up next to his brother—they’re that close—and it’s really sweet to watch.
“I’m going to add some blueberries and Lucky Charms to my yogurt, by the way.”
Good call. I’m going to go with crumbled donut. Are there any unexpected snacks or meals you love that make other people go, “whaaaat?!”
“Maybe not me, but Nick does these weiner-bun surprises.”
A weiner-bun surprise? What’s a weiner-bun surprise?
“His grandma makes them, and we get them as Christmas gifts every year, and they’re in our freezer.”
But, what are they?
“I say this lovingly, but that’s a whole generation where they wouldn’t let things go to waste. It’s like they looked in their fridge and were like, ‘what do we got? Let’s make this into something.’ So she mixes a whole bunch of stuff—I think it’s hot dogs and relish and some other mystery stuff, and she puts it in a hot dog bun in the shape of a hot dog.”
Oh, so that’s why it’s called a weiner-bun surprise.
Every one is a little different.
“So every now and then, I come around the corner, and Nick’s eating one—because we have a freezer full of them, because we get them every Christmas.”
How many does she make?
“We get two dozen each. So that’s probably the thing that’d make people go, ‘oh, okay…’.”
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
“Taco night. We do ground turkey tacos, and then sometimes, if I think about it early enough, I do shredded chicken in the slow cooker.”
Ooh, what’s the recipe?
“You just do 98 percent fat-free—because we try to be healthy—condensed cream of chicken soup, Ro-Tel, and the taco seasoning packet. Easy. Leave it for, like, four hours, and then shred it up.”
What would be your ideal food day, from start to finish?
“Is this someone cooking for me, or me cooking for myself?”
“I’m a big breakfast girl. If I had a choice, I would sit down to sausage links and a ham-and-cheese omelette and toast and fruit. Sometimes—and this is probably the Asian in me coming out—I’ll do scrambled eggs over rice with soy sauce. It’s a big comfort food for me. When I’m at a hotel I’ll call room service at 7 in the morning and be like, ‘um, do you guys have white rice and soy sauce?'”
What about lunch and dinner?
“I love paninis, if someone’s cooking, or a crisp side salad and some kind of potato—either fries or a baked potato. For dinner, I’m just a steak and potatoes girl, so a really great steak with a crisp vegetable, and then, yeah, a potato again. And then dessert: A nice, fluffy slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk.”
Do you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe?
“A recipe? I’m still trying to find one, but I could tell you a ton of places in Los Angeles that have great cake. The Cheesecake Factory, actually, has an amazing cake. It’s like 12 layers of chocolate.”
Cheers! [Clinks yogurt cups]
“That’s another thing I’ve taught Camden—cheers—and now we cheers everything. We cheers milk glasses, we cheers Goldfish.”
Okay. That is too adorable to handle.
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