Anyone who’s ever eaten at a Mexican restaurant is familiar with the creative concoction of melted cheese, tortilla chips and salsa, known as nachos. With a few new ideas, you can turn this savory friend of the margarita into a tasty meal for any day of the week.
If you want something different without straying too far from the traditional dish, make a platter of “green” nachos. Spread a layer of lime-flavored tortilla chips into an oven-proof dish and cover them generously with crumbled queso fresco, a soft white cheese frequently used in Latin cuisine. Pile on chopped, grilled chicken and a mild sauce made from tomatillos called salsa verde. Bake the nachos in a hot oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Top the dish with bite-sized chunks of avocado, chopped, fresh cilantro and slices of pickled jalapeno if you want a little more kick.
Pizza nachos will be a hit with kids and are economical enough to make for the gang after soccer practice or at your child’s next sleepover. Fill the bottom of a round pizza pan with tortilla chips. Spread tomato sauce, slices of pepperoni, olives or whatever your favorite pizza toppings are on top of the chips. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top and bake until the cheese melts – about 10 minutes.
Elevate the humble nacho into an upscale party food with this creative idea. Drain the excess liquid from a container of traditional salsa fresco (uncooked salsa). Combine equal amounts of cooked lentils, black beans and red quinoa and add the salsa. Cut flour tortillas into 8 wedges and brush each one lightly with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the wedges on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 8 minutes, turn them over and bake another 5 to 8 minutes. The chips should be crispy but not brown. Scoop a small spoonful of lentil mixture onto each chip and top with a taste of sour cream. Serve immediately.