This is a personal favorite of mine. Its delicious, fast and most importantly is a breeze to clean up. I hate recipes that put everything but the kitchen sink in my kitchen sink. This recipe is also really versatile: great nibbles for a party or tasty-yet-no-effort-dinner.
Usually, I use one of the premade spice mixes you can buy in the supermarket, however this time I made my own spice mix. I read on Pintrest that a lot of the store bought spice mixes are high in sodium and some contain silica. I can’t say for certain that its true, but I also can’t prove it isn’t. Either way, the pin included Rachel Ray’s recipe for taco seasoning, which was easy enough to make (its cheaper too!). I adjusted it slightly to suit what is in my cupboard and also because I have a love/hate relationship with cumin (I know I need to bite the bullet and make peace with cumin, but today just was not that day).
Results? Amazing! I don’t say that lightly. All the flavors were there and overall my nachos were way less salty than usual. I really enjoyed making my own spice mix; I even have some extra for next time. Also, each time I make it I can opt to add more or less of a certain seasoning to suit my mood.
Another great way to control your nacho munching experience is with your choice of tortilla chip. This time I went with an organic blue corn chip (another first for me). I liked it. I would say its main contribution was aestethic, as it didn’t make much of an impression for the better or worse taste wise. Calidad tortilla chips, however, are my personal favorite. I’ve only seen them in Target, so I’m not sure how many supermarket chains carry them. They are thicker than most of the tortilla chips I’ve tried and have a slightly stronger taste. I strongly recommend them, but any tortilla chip will do.
Jalapeno! I like jalapeno slices on my nachos. Just a few, sprinkled on the top: half garnish/ half spicy surprise.
Chopped Cilantro! Sprinkle some just atop the final cheese layer. Pretty and tasty.
A Squeeze of Lime! A hearty one, I might add. Add it to the beef when it is nearly finished and stir.
A side of Guac! No explanation needed. Avocados are delish, healthy and super trendy right now. All the cool kids are eating them.
Also, I use a pizza pan for my nacho base. If you don’t have one then any baking sheet will do. Line it with tin foil to dramatically reduce your clean up time. Who wants to scrub burnt cheese off of a metal tray? Not me. Who wants to throw away a ball of tin foil and clean up faster so you can watch TV after some good eats? Yes, this one is ME.
Dinner Party Update: I think I am going to make Lemon Chicken and Mashed Cauliflower (ever since I saw it on Pintrest, I have been dreaming about it). Not sure what to do for nibbles. Maybe Spinach and Artichoke Dip? Maybe Stuffed Mushrooms? Maybe something else entirely? Dessert is also a big question mark. I want to bake a cake because I want practice cake decorating. Apple Cinnamon Spice and Red Velvet (both with cream cheese frosting) are the current big contenders.
Happy Eating :-)
1 lb ground beef (I use 93% lean)
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 can black beans
½ cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
½ cup Mozzarella shredded cheese
½-3/4 bag tortilla chips
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
My Mexican Seasoning:
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic poweder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp adobo
1) Saute onion at med-high heat in a frying pan until onions are soft (~7 mins).
2) While onions are sweating, preheat the oven to 400F and line pizza pan with tin foil. Add a layer of tortilla chips to the pizza pan and sprinkle with each cheese. Add a second layer of chips and again sprinkle with each cheese. You want more cheese on the top nacho layer, than on the bottom. However make sure you have plenty of cheese to sprinkle over the meat (or else certain family members may become upset with you).
3) Once onions are soft and beginning to brown, add beef. Break the beef up with a spoon and mix thoroughly with the onion.
4) When the beef is beginning to brown, add the black beans and mix thoroughly.
5) Add the spice mix when beef is ¾ cooked (only a little bit pink).
6) Mix frequently until beef is cooked and beans are mushy.
7) Spoon beef mixture on top of nachos and add remaining cheese.
8) Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.