Oh tasty nachos, they are based on a type of food formula I love to make and eat: ingredient layering. This same formula can also be found in waffles, ice cream sundaes, hobo pies, lasagna, you get the idea. I usually find myself eating nachos during a pub happy hour, or perhaps when Lauren makes her chili nachos, but I rarely find myself making nachos myself. If I am craving a taco inspired meal, I usually fall back on my favorites: taco salad, stuffed quesadillas, or tortilla soup (a hidden benefit of all these is they are very inexpensive meals).
On a recent ski trip to Mammoth, we made taco salad, and after having it a couple nights, ended up taking all the leftover ingredients and making nachos for the Super Bowl. A couple nights ago we made tortilla soup, and again found we had some leftover ingredients, which were perfect for whipping up a batch of nachos. Moral of the story? Make up a dinner of your favorite mexican theme, and instead of having leftovers of the same dish for a week, save ingredients to make nachos later in the week.
Nachos are an incredibly flexible dish. They can be made with any toppings you choose, or you have on-hand. They can be made single serving or for a crowd. It takes minimal preparation, and is incredibly affordable. Plus, your nachos will taste so much better than the local pub! The recipe below is merely a guideline, feel free to experiment and add different types of fresh ingredients you have on hand. I would recommend keeping it simple though, so you don't end up with soggy nachos.
What's in it
Tortilla chips or totopos (homemade tortilla chips)
cooked chicken (perhaps leftover from enchiladas or tortilla soup)
cooked ground beef
can black, kidney or refried beans
chopped fresh vegetables - bell pepper, chile, onion, green onion, tomato, olives
grated cheese (I recommend colby jack)
sour cream or mexican table cream
avocado or guacamole
tapatio or hot sauce
get crazy - pineapple, cooked squash or potato, peaches, grilled shrimp...
How it's made
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet or oven proof plate/platter with foil (for easy clean up). Make totopos (using Alexis' recipe linked above) or use ready made tortilla chips. Layer about a third of your tortilla chips on your pan/plate. sprinkle cheese on top and a few other ingredients like meat and beans. Layer half remaining chips and sprinkle with more cheese and half remaining ingredients (but not salsa, avocado, cream, cilantro, lime). Layer rest of chips, sprinkle cheese, add remaining ingredients (except salsa, avocado...) then top with remaining cheese. Put in oven and bake until cheese is melted and veggies are at least warm, if not broiled a bit. Turn up the heat if need be. It will probably take 7-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with remaining fresh ingredients.
Pictured above: (made from leftover tortilla soup) totopos, colby jack, chopped tomato, chopped green onion, shredded cooked chicken, sour cream, avocado.
Pictured below: (made from leftover taco salad) tortilla chips, cheese, olives, salsa, sour cream, avocado, bell pepper, cilantro, green onion, black beans.