Friday, February 08, 2013

Homemade Nachos

Sometimes we all need to indulge in unhealthy treats. Oftentimes this indulgence occurs while eating out, but lately I've been trying to replicate some of my favourite restaurant meals at home to have more control over the ingredients and to feel a little better about eating something more on the unhealthy side. My roommate in teacher's college is the one who introduced me to the idea of making nachos at home, and it became one of our staple meals that year. They're fun to create together and to eat together, and if you add lots of vegetables and use extra lean ground beef (or even ground turkey or chicken) then you can feel a little less guilty about the indulgence.

Homemade Nachos

2 cups whole grain tortilla chips
1 cup extra lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped in small chunks (or 1/4 of 2 different coloured bell peppers)
3 mushrooms, chopped in small chunks
1/2 cup grated cheese
sour cream and salsa for dipping

Heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (this is a huge help for clean-up at the end). Spread the chips out on the baking sheet in an even layer with chips overlapping each other a bit. Place the baking sheet in the oven and pre-crisp the chips for 5 minutes. (This step ensures that you do not end up with soggy nachos).
While the chips are in the oven, heat a few drops of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the beef and sauté until no longer pink. If you want a spicier nacho, you could add some taco seasoning or other spices to the beef at this point. My old roommate and I are both not friends with spicy foods, so we keep our nachos pretty plain.
Remove the beef and vegetables from the heat and drain off some of the fat. (This again helps to stop soggy nachos). Take the chips out of the oven, and top with the beef and vegetables, and then sprinkle the grated cheese all over top. Use whatever cheese you like - Cheddar, Marble, Monterey Jack, etc. Put the pan of nachos back in the oven for about 5 minutes (just until the cheese melts). Serve with salsa and sour cream.

There's two views of my glorious nachos! This pan feeds two in my experience and the nachos are pretty fully loaded! It's easiest to just eat them right off the pan. Once you're done, just roll up the foil and toss in the garbage - no need to scrape melted cheese off of the pan.

Since this post has allowed me to reminisce about my teacher's college days, my beats are an homage to that year with our theme song at the time. I can't recall now all the details of how this song came to define our year, but I know we heard it all the time, and we even had a sweet dance move to go with the refrain in the chorus. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit my fondness for this song, but here you have Whatever You Like by T.I.

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