Sunday, January 31, 2010

Loaded Nachos are Super for the Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, you're going to need lots of yummy snacks.

Nachos are as important to Super Bowl dining as the mushroom soup - green bean casserole is to Thanksgiving.

Everyone has a favorite nacho recipe but here's one more to add to your collection.

It's extra easy and you can mix or match the ingredients however you like. Start by putting a layer of restaurant style tortilla chips in the bottom of your pan then the sky's the limit!

Think nachos are fattening?

Well, they are but you can minimumize the damage by using baked tortilla chips instead of the traditional fried kind. With all the toppings, your taste buds will never know the difference.

Other tricks:

Skip the refried beans (they're loaded with fat) and use plain, mashed beans.

Instead of prepared guacamole, mash fresh, ripe avocados and mix with lemon juice until you reach the consistency you like.

Use real sour cream - not fat free or reduced fat. OK, real sour cream has a lot of fat but a little goes a long way in adding good taste and creamy-ness that the fat free or reduced fat can't match. Also, fat free or reduced fat sour cream are higher in carbs.

Pump up the volume of your nachos by adding a low cal vegetable to the mix - like lightly steamed broccoli, zucchini, carrots, corn or yellow squash. Shredded lettuce works well, too, to lighten the caloric load.

Love cheese? 
Use an easy melting cheese like Velveeta. It melts better so it goes farther and tastes cheesy-ier than cheddar which means you'll actually need less for the same taste effect.

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Loaded Nachos

All ingredients are approximate. Add more or less according to your taste.
Don't like a particular ingredient?  Leave it out.

Make sure you have plates and forks for these nachos.

Makes 1 (9 X 13 inch) pan

Base

1/2 (13.5 oz) bag restaurant style tortilla chips

1/2 pound ground beef (or vegetarian ground beef - cooked, drained and crumbled) or sausage

1 (16 oz) jar marinated artichokes (drained, reserving juice)

2 (15 to 16 oz) can light red kidney beans (drained, rinsed and drained again)

1 cup corn (fresh and cut from the cob, frozen and thawed or canned and drained)

1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes (drained)

1/4 cup pickled jalapeno pepper rings and 2 tablespoons juice (to taste - optional)

8 oz sour cream (reduced fat or fat free not recommended)

3 to 4 oz easy melting cheese (like Velveeta - cut into 3/8 inch cubes)


Topping

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup lemon juice (bottled is OK)

2 cups shredded ice berg lettuce

1/2 cup ranch dressing (or to taste)

1 (2 .25) can sliced black olives (drained)


Position oven rack so nachos will bake in center. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat pan with cooking spray.
Place a layer of tortilla chips into the pan. Top with ground beef.

Mash beans and mix with juice from the marinated artichokes until it makes a consistency similar to refried beans. Dollop mixture over beef.

Top with artichokes (and any remaining juice), corn, drained tomatoes, and if desired, optional pickled jalapeno rings with juice.

Dollop sour cream over all. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake in a preheated oven about 20 minutes or until mixture is hot. (Chips will not feel hot.)

While nachos are heating, cut avocado. Remove pit and scoop out pulp. Mash pulp with a fork and mix with lemon juice.

When nachos are hot, remove from oven. Dollop with avocado mixture and sprinkle with lettuce. Drizzle rach dressing over all and sprinkle with olives. Serve hot.

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