Crunchy, munchy Nachos heaped with meat, beans, and cheese!

31 Mar

Up close and personal

Last night I made one of my favorite junk food dishes: nachos! I love that I have this recipe on hand so I don’t need to swing by Taco Bell to satisfy my nacho cravings, which is exactly what I used to do in high school (and through most of college too). But who needs stale chips topped with dehydrated beans, and beef that was made in god-knows-what factory, when you can prepare your own nacho dish at home with high quality ingredients? So forget the drive-thru and stop at your supermarket to pick up the ingredients below. This recipe is low stress and low hassle. I made it recently on a Thursday night when I ran out of ideas for a more well thought out dinner and needed to whip up something tasty for the family within the hour. Needless to say, everybody was all over this dish as soon as it came out of the oven! A resounding round of thank-you’s from my culinary audience was all the appreciation I needed for a job well done. 😉

[This recipe is adapted from Happy Kids in The Kitchen, a small cookbook from Australia that my mom bought for me in the mid-90’s. The name of the book should be a giveaway as to how easy this recipe is to make!]


Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Serves 4
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
3 Jennie- O turkey burger patties (or equivalent amount of ground turkey or beef)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup canned red kidney or baked beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more if you want to make it spicier)
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
Few dashes Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 family-sized bag tortilla chips
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I love Tillamook for it’s rich flavor)
Ingredients for sides
2 avocados
Chopped cilantro
2 limes
Sour cream

When you have all the ingredients- it’s fiesta time!

Finely chop 1 large onion- I say finely because I’m not a fan of big chunks of onions in my nachos. If you are, feel free to chop coarsely.

Defrost your turkey burger patties at least 3 hours in advance. If they are still semi-frozen when you are ready to cook, don’t worry, you’ll just have to hack at them with your spatula a few times until they break apart while cooking.

Instead of chopping 1 tomato, you can also purchase a can of tomato+chili at the supermarket. The spiciness is perfect for this dish and the canned stuff adds a nice flavor. I used the leftovers we had from Burrito Bowl night (I will share that recipe in the future).

Pour oil into a large saucepan. Turn on your stove burner to HIGH heat.

When the oil is hot, add the onions. Lower the heat a tad and stir the onions until they are coated in oil. Keep stirring the onions so they don’t stick to the bottom and so they can get evenly cooked. Do this for about 5 minutes until the onions turn clear.

Lower heat to medium-high. Add the turkey burger patties one by one so the saucepan doesn’t get too full. Use your spoon to break apart the patties until they are separated into small pieces of meat. Cook the meat until it browns, this will take about 10 minutes. 

Next, add tomato sauce, kidney beans, chili powder, tomato (or 1/2 can tom+chili), Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Cook at medium-high for a few minutes to heat up the mixture.  

Once mixture is heated through, lower heat to medium-low (half-way point between medium and turning the stove off). Cook for 10 minutes. Taste the mixture to make sure you have enough spice, salt, and pepper. Add more if you need it.  [At some point during this step, preheat your oven to 350 degrees in preparation for baking the nachos]

When the time is up, taste the meat again to make sure it’s cooked to your liking. Add a little “mmmm” at this point!

Take out a large tray and spread aluminum foil on it. Pile on your tortilla chips, spreading them evenly so you have a single layer. Add the meat to the chips carefully, making sure to coat almost every chip with this delicious sauce! Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

Put the tray in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Turn off the oven and serve it to your muchachos! 😀

You can also prepare a delectable side of guacamole:


Cut up two avocados and place them in a medium-sized bowl.  Mash them up a bit- not too much because you don’t want mashed avocados! Add the juice from 2 limes and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Mix and serve!

Sour cream tastes good with nachos too- throw some in a small bowl and serve it with your meal.

Eat up, my muchahos! (I’m excited to use that word because I don’t know much else in Spanish)

Always remember that when it comes to making flexible recipes such as this one, you can control the amount of each ingredient that you want in your dish. If you want to cook it in more oil, add more. If you are not a fan of onions, use 1/2 instead of 1 onion. If you wan’t more meat, add more. But remember that the more meat you add, the more tomato sauce + tomato you will need to prevent the meat sauce from being too dry, so adjust accordingly.

What I have learned from my cooking experiences is that you do not need to rigidly follow each recipe. There is a lot of room for flexibility. Don’t be afraid to experiment- if the dish turns out less than perfect, it’s okay, because at least you will have learned something that you can remember for the next time. If you want to add a little bit more of your favorite ingredient, go right ahead. It’s your food! 

Anyway folks, I hope you enjoyed these crunchy, munchy nachos. Your comments are always appreciated!

Fresh out of the oven

Dinner is served!

Reaching in for the first bite

Yummy guac



2 Responses to “Crunchy, munchy Nachos heaped with meat, beans, and cheese!”

  1. Audrey March 31, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    It’s fiesta time! Sounds delish!! I have a low cal version on my own blog, but this sounds delish and easy!! Thanks for sharing!


  1. Quick and Easy Nachos! « Living for the next meal - June 2, 2012

    […] This is a revisited recipe, as in I have made it before, and you can find the full instructions here. Enjoy! […]

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