Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Olympic Nachos

I'm baaaaack!! I took a bit of a blogging/cooking break during the Olympics. For those of you that don't know, I am moderately obsessed with the Olympics (both winter and summer) and obscure sporting events in general. I was pretty much glued to the television for the past two weeks.

One of my favorite foods to eat while being a sports spectator at home is a big plate of nachos. I rarely eat them while I'm out because I look like a ravenous crazy lady who hasn't seen food in a week. Lucky for me, the Happy Husband is a big fan of nachos as well so I get to make them about once a month or so.

This time of year is my favorite time for nacho excellence because of the availability of fresh produce for yummy salsa. As I have said before, there's nothing like going out to the garden, picking some cilantro, tomatoes and jalapenos and throwing them together for a fantastic and healthy fresh salsa.

For the salsa, dice up your tomatoes, jalapeno and onions. I used two peppers (you can alter this based on your taste), about a cup and a half of tomatoes and three quarters of a cup of red onion. I also minced up about a teaspoon of fresh cilantro. Next, mix all of the veggies together in a glass bowl. Use a garlic press and add one clove of pressed garlic. If you don't have a press you can mince the garlic. Stir everything together add lemon or lime juice to coat the veggies. I used red wine vinegar because I didn't have any fresh citrus laying around. Add just a bit of olive oil and then season with salt and pepper to taste. I find that it is best to make the salsa before any nacho assembly to allow the flavors to come together.

Now for the pre-bake nacho assembly, use about two thirds of a regular size bag of chips. The best way to do this is in two layers so that you get cheese on every single chip. Put your first layer of chips down on a foil lined pan (easy cleaning!!). Next, add half of your ground beef taco mixture (click here for taco meat recipe). Sprinkle one cup of your shredded cheese of choice over layer 1. The fancy shredded Mexican blend that you find in the dairy aisle in the grocery store will be just fine. The last piece of layer 1 is pre-made queso sauce. The Tostitos brand is a favorite here at the Happy Husband Diner. Next repeat the process for the second layer and throw it in a pre-heated oven with the broiler on the low setting. Keep an eye on the nachos while they are in the oven, I have burned many a second layer during the cheese melting process.

Now that the cheese is yummy melted and the chips are warm and crispy its time to apply the toppings. For the salsa application make sure you STRAIN the juices before you put it on the chips that you have worked so hard to make crispy. If you don't strain you can end up with soggy nachos and those are just plain nasty. The next step is totally optional but I am a guacamole lover and suggest you at least try the green gooey stuff. Throw a couple of dollops of guacamole on the nachos for some added zest. The guac in the picture is Wholly Guacamole brand and was left over from a party but is a good one if you don't want to or don't have time to mash it up yourself.

Last step, plop the tray on the coffee table, dish up some sour cream if you like to dip your nachos, and enjoy your favorite sporting event (or just eat nachos for dinner).