Back in high school I considered myself a pretty good cook. Or at least better than most of my friends who subsisted on string cheese and instant cup o’ noodles. I’ve never been one who was too lazy to cook when I’m hungry and if the pangs struck I would come up with some pretty satiating recipes. And anything with melted cheese was my favorite snack of all. Slices of cheese, tomato soup and of course tortilla chips.
In our house my dad was the nacho maker, and I’ll share that recipe and his tenacity with you sometime soon, but today I have another nacho recipe for you, something hearty and spicy and cheesy.
Because dad made nachos for weeknight dinners when mom was busy or just didn’t feel like cooking, he taught me that nachos are incredibly easy to prepare and are far heartier than to only be deemed as an average appetizer. These babies can become the main meal.
Welcome Chicken Nachos.
If we go out for beers with friends, most often to watch football (here’s why I’m cheering for the Niners!!), I usually crave a little spice to accompany my favorite hefeweizen, and nachos are what fit the bill. And the drill as I like to remember goes like this: Pick out the cheesiest chip—my special talent—then layer puckery pickled jalapeño, a scoop of salsa, chunks of avocado or guacamole and then washing it down with a really cold swig ‘o suds. Oh man, my mouth is watering just dreaming about it.
In reality, those nachos were usually about as far from hearty as a brew pub knew how to get, with somewhat dried out refried beans and semi-melted cheese on chips that spent just a minute too long under the broiler. Those poor were the guys that were always the last to be picked in the nacho eating game.
Learning from the brew pubs mistakes, and remembering the taste of my dad’s melty cheese nachos, gave me the inspiration to add a tasty enchilada sauce laced protein—in this recipe I’m declaring it to be chicken and kick these nachos straight to the dinner table in about the same amount of time it takes to say, “¡Buen apetito!”
Protein filled veggies keep the filling theme going with black beans and Avocados from Mexico taking center stage in their creamy union with the melty, gooey cheese that cements each little nugget of olive, beans, salsa and chicken to one another like 10th grade BFFs clinging to one another on the first day of high school. Yep, I remember that day too.
And now all these years later, I’m still happy to greet my family’s hungry stomachs with my chicken nachos and my favorite melty cheese.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bring a medium skillet to medium-high heat and add vegetable oil, then onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes
- or until onion is translucent. Add chicken and enchilada sauce and cook for 5 minutes or until warmed
- On a baking sheet lined oven save platter, layer one-third of the tortilla chips and top with one third the black beans, chicken mixture and shredded cheese. Repeat two more times.
- Place baking sheet in the oven and bake 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and chips are lightly browned along the edges. Remove from oven and top with avocado, cotija cheese, olives, black olives, green onion and pickled jalapeno. Drizzle with sour cream and serve immediately with salsa on the side.
Don’t forget to enter the Avocado from Mexico Game Day Sweepstakes on Muy Bueno Cookbook and Fritos & Foie Gras until 11:59 PM, February 3, 2013 and you just might win an iPad 2 and other great prizes.
The winner of the FoodieCrush Game Day Sweepstakes prize package will be announced on this post within 24 hours after the game on Super Bowl Sunday. Good luck, and go Niners!