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Nachos!

March 5, 2012

When I first started this blog, I did a post on Quick Fix Nachos that were a quick, and simple, snack or could be fancied up for a quick meal.  Here’s a new take on the nachos.  Again, simple and quick with few ingredients that can be a full and satisfying meal, or could be used as finger foods for a gameday snack.

What I love about these nachos is that they can be whipped up in about 15 minutes, they are simple and easy to throw together, so much so that you could even have kids help you out, and they are customizable to your own personal tastes.  They’re also very full of flavor and textures.

The list of ingredients I used are: scoops tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, ground beef, onions, green onions, diced tomatoes and taco seasoning mix.  I served the nachos with salsa and sour cream on the side.  If you have some guacamole on hand, or feel like whipping up a batch, you can also serve this along side guacamole.

Start by chopping up all of your ingredients.  As this meal comes together quickly, you’ll want to make sure that everything is chopped in advance and ready to go.  Take one small tomato and dice it up.  If you really like fresh diced tomatoes in your nachos, by all means, chop up more than one.

When I make cook up ground beef for tacos or nachos, I like to add diced onions to the meat mixture.  This adds some flavor to the beef as well as helps to cook the onions.  For these nachos, I diced up some white onions in order to add to the ground beef, as well as sprinkle some onions on the nachos themselves.  If you don’t like the taste of raw onions, or you don’t want to bother adding onions to your ground beef, you can skip the onions all together.

For both color and flavor, I also used green onions.  I used both the white and green part of the green onions.  I like the color they add to the nachos as well as the very mild onion flavor they give to the dish.  I am sure many people will think that adding both white onions and green onions is overkill.  Pick your poison and go with what works for you.

The final ingredient that needs to be prepared is my husband’s favorite part, shredding up some cheddar cheese.  You can certainly use shredded cheddar in a bag, however, we chose to use a block of cheddar cheese and freshly shred it our food processor ourselves.  To us, it makes a huge difference in the quality and flavor of the cheese.

Alright, time for the simple cooking part of this meal.  To make nachos with ground beef, you’re going to need to cook up your ground beef.  In a non-stick skillet, brown some ground beef.  It’s not necessary to add oil to the skillet as the fat from the ground beef will melt off and add flavor to your beef.  I used 80/20 ground beef.  You don’t want to use anything leaner than that because the fat really does help to cook and flavor the ground beef.  When the beef has browned, drain all the excess fat out of the skillet.  If you’re not a fan of ground beef, you can also use ground turkey as a substitute.  If you don’t want to use ground beef or ground turkey, you can also use shredded chicken too.

Once the fat has been drained off, it’s time to add some taco seasoning mix to the ground beef.  I think the taco seasoning mix really adds a lot of flavor and color to the meat, so I tend to add a lot.  You can also create your own taco seasoning mix from your spices at home if you don’t have a store made mix using a combination of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and paprika if you want.

When the ground beef and taco seasoning mix have been combined, I add in about 3/4 of the diced white onions and stir it around a bit in order to soften and cook the onions.  Depending on how cooked you would like the onions to be, you can continue cooking it, or you can turn the heat off the skillet.  If you have cilantro around the house, you can also add cilantro into the beef mixture at this point as well.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cilantro and didn’t want to buy a whole bunch just for this purpose, or else I would have added cilantro as well.

It’s now assembly time.  First step is to lay out the tortilla chips onto a platter.  We chose to use Tostito’s scoops because the scoops themselves become a great vehicle for holding the nacho contents.  The scoops help make this dish more of a finger food and eliminate the use of utensils.  It’s a self-contained serving utensil.  However, you can use any kind of tortilla chips you like.  Just lay the chips out on a platter so that the chips cover the surface of the platter you’re using.

Next, spoon your cooked beef and onions right over platter.  Make sure that all the chips are covered with the beef.  This way, every bite of the nachos will contain a little bit of the taco seasoned ground beef.

Cheese is the next ingredient.  Depending on how much shredded cheese you have, cover the ground beef with the shredded cheese.  The heat from the cooked ground beef will slowly start to melt your shredded cheddar cheese.  When you try to pull the nachos apart, the cheese will become stringy; exactly what you are looking for.

It’s finally time for all the other ingredients you have left.  These are the toppings for your nachos.  Spread the diced tomatoes, remainder of the diced white onions, and the chopped up green onions over the cheese.  If there are other taco/nacho toppings that you like, you can certainly add them as wells.  I know some people like black olives or diced jalepenos.  You can also add black beans or refried pinto beans to this recipe as well by topping your ground beef with the beans.  Or you can make this a vegetarian nacho dish by taking out the ground beef all together and using beans as a substitute.  This dish is completely customizable.

As condiments for our nachos, we had salsa (for me) and sour cream (for my husband).  Making nachos using scoops is so handy because all I had to do was serve the nachos on the platter along with some napkins and that was dinner – no utensils, no plates, nothing.  Just grab a scoop and it should be filled with all the nacho toppings, beef, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, add whatever condiments you desire, and pop it into your mouth.  Finger food with very little clean up.  That’s why this dish is also the perfect gameday appetizer if you’re hosting a party.  A quick-to-make, easy-t0-serve, flavorful plate of nachos done in 15 minutes!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Malou permalink
    March 7, 2012 11:24 am

    Wow, this is a lovely recipe which will surely get my Mr.’s seal of approval, Alisa. 😉

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