Monday, August 17, 2009

Nachos: the ultimate quick dinner

As I mentioned in a previous post, I really like avocados. One of my favorite ways to eat this glorious fruit is as guacamole. New York has been unbearably hot the last few days making the act of cooking dinner almost torture. Thus, last night I had one of my go to quick dinners that requires little use of the oven: Nachos. It seems pretty simple, more like a happy hour special than a real meal but a few simple additions like guacamole can really spice up this dish.

One bag tortilla chips - blue or white corn
3/4 block of pepper jack or habanera cheese (if you really want to cheese buy pre-shredded bag cheese
1-15oz canned black beans
1-4oz canned corn niblets
1/2 onion diced
1 clove minced garlic
Cumin, chili power, crushed red peppers
1/2 lb ground turkey or beef (optional)

1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Shred cheese block and set aside.
3. Sauté onion on medium heat until just softened. Add garlic, and spices. I use about 1 tsp of each by feel free to use more or less to taste. Continue cooking for one more minute.
Add rinsed black beans and corn. If using meat precook before beginning onions and add in at this point as well.
4. On a lined cookie sheet (tin foil makes for easy clean up) lay out a single layer of chips. Cover with 3/4 of bean mixture. Sprinkle with 3/4 shredded cheese.
5. Add another layer of chips and repeat step above with remaining bean and cheese.
6. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes on lower rack - vary the time based on how well-done you like the cheese.

The whole process takes no more than 15 minutes to put together and 10 minutes in the oven is barely enough time to heat up the kitchen for those trying to avoid the heat.

Now what makes this more of a meal then appetizer are the toppings. I always have on hand spinach or mixed greens chopped in small pieces as well as diced tomatoes to add veggies into the mix. Some good quality salsa as well as sour cream and guacamole finish off the dish.

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