Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ultimate Game Day Nachos

Happy Sunday dabblers! Sundays in the fall around our house usually look like a walk around the lake in the morning and then settling in for a day of football watching, appetizer eating,  and occasional napping (usually me and Bales dip out for a few quarters of the 3:30pm game). Well today, we are in fine fall form. I have officially walked, footballed, appetizered, and napped. Post-nap...I am ready to bring this recipe happiness to you. 

 As the first football Sunday of the season, I wanted to kick things off with my favorite appetizer: Ultimate Game Day Nachos. 
I love love love this recipe and it is one of the more requested things that I make. Nothing quite like layers of loveliness combined with football to bring a crowd around.
Step 1. To get things started, brown up 1lb of your favorite nacho meat. Today, I sauteed ground chicken with onions, garlic, cumin, red pepper, salt, and pepper. Cumin is my go to spice for nachos (you'll see it again later), so I tend to go heavy on the cumin. 
Step 2. Whilst your chicken/ground beef/protein-of-choice is browning, preheat your oven to 350F. Grab your favorite baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil (for easy, roll-it-up cleaning later). Spread your favorite tortilla chips in a single layer over the foil. I like a combo of blue and yellow corn chips, but T prefers the yellow corn so I added a bit more of those today. Chip placement is essential here...aim for a single layer of chips, with slight overlap. You want each chip to be exposed to the delicious toppings that are coming their way. *Ps. Don't forget about your chicken; when it is cooked all the way through, remove it from heat and set it aside for use shortly. 
Step 3. Dollop your favorite kind of refried beans onto the chips. T's fave is refried pinto beans, so that's what I went with today, but I love refried black beans on these as well. 
Step 4. Cover the chips and beans with shredded cheese. We had some cheddar to use up in the fridge today, but use your favorite. I frequently use Colby or Monterey Jack. Try to get a little bit of cheese on every chip so you don't end up with that one chip that everyone is avoiding because it has no know the one I'm talking about. You've probably been that person that eats around it!
Step 5. Add the spice! Jalapeños are a must for any sort of ultimate nacho. If you aren't a huge spice person, try using one and removing the seeds and ribs from the inside (that's where the heat is...the jalapeños will also lose a bit of their punch when they bake in the oven). T and I went a little on the spicier side today: one jalapeño with the seeds and ribs left in, and one with them removed. Whatever your heat-level choice may be, chop up the jalapeño into small pieces and sprinkle it atopst (every word gets better when you add "st" to the end?) the chips. 
One of my favorite thing about theses nachos is how gorgeous they are. Layer upon layer of different colors, textures, and flavors...with a crunchy corn chip base- how can you go wrong?
Step 6. Add your favorite fresh salsa to the mix. I like Salsa Lisa, mild. Again, loving those vibrant contrasting colors. 
 Step 7. Add sliced black olives. I only added them to half the sheet of nachos because T isn't the biggest fan. Although, upon reviewing this picture, it looks like they accidentally (?) creeped onto T's who makes the nachos, gets to stake a claim to at least 3/4 of the pan. 
Step 8. Top the deliciousness with the ground chicken/onions/garlic. 
Step 9. Add a bit more grated cheese to the top to help bind everything together. 
Step 10. As the final step before placing your pan of glory into the oven, give the whole thing a sprinkling of cumin. Judging by the low levels in my jar, this spice is used often in our house....after today's bout of nachos, I need to head to the co-op to stock up. 

Bake your nachos at 350F for approximately 15 minutes; until the cheese is melted and the beans are heated through. 
Step 11. While your nachos are baking, prep the remaining toppings. I love thinly-sliced romaine lettuce on my nachos. To chiffonade lettuce (or anything...this method is commonly used with herbs), stack your lettuce leaves on top of one another. 
Roll the leaves up tight, sort of resembling a cigar. 
Thinly slice the lettuce using a sharp knife. (Ps. Behind the scenes, trying to capture a picture of yourself slicing something is surprisingly hard when you only have two hands at your disposal. I wish someone could have documented the balancing act for you all to enjoy). 
In the end, you are left with this lovely pile of romaine, just begging to be placed on top of your nachos. Around this time, your kitchen should also be smelling like nacho heaven. 
I also love tomatoes on my nachos (in addition to the fresh salsa), so I sliced one up. They add great finishing color along with the romaine lettuce. 
Step 12. Remove the nachos from the oven and breathe in the smell of happiness. 
Step 13. Top said happiness with a few dollops of sour cream. 
Step 14. Add your tomatoes. Again, I went (slightly-more-than) halfsies on the tomatoes because T isn't a big fan. 
Step 15. As the crowning jewel, festively toss your julienned lettuce on the top of the nachos and then take a few moments to just look at your creation happily. 
Step 16. Enjoy! If you are food blogger, that mine mean daintily scooping some nachos onto a plate for a stylized photo. 
But, in real life it looks like grabbing the pan and heading downstairs with some plates and napkins to enjoy this creation while watching the game with your partner-in-crime. 

Happy fall dabblers. Here's to football watching and appetizer eating, 

-The Delicious Dabbler

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