Healthy(ish) Nachos

by Karen

Every family has a meal they whip up when they don’t feel like cooking anything else or going out to eat for the night. For us, it is nachos. We always have the ingredients on hand and the preparation and cooking time are minimal. Honestly, it is the perfect one-dish meal. And we could mexican food for every meal. Yes, we love it that much.

I grew up in Phoenix, AZ, ensuring that I was exposed to <good> mexican food. We had a couple of favorite mexican eateries we would frequent and taco/tostada night was a staple in our household. Additionally, my family ventured down to Mexico a couple times each year so I have had the real deal. On the other hand, Clay grew up in northwest Ohio, ensuring that he was not exposed to mexican food, other than Taco Bell, which doesn’t remotely count in my book. However, I am happy to report that while at Clemson University, Clay discovered the goodness that embodies mexican food and it now ranks as his favorite genre(?) of food. Whew. I am not sure what I would have done if I fell in love with a man who didn’t like mexican food. I probably wouldn’t have said yes. Just kidding. Sort of.

Healthy(ish) Nachos (serves 4)

  • Tortilla chips. Enough to fill a cookie sheetWe used Mission Corn Tortilla rounds the other night but any chip would do. Sometimes we use flour tortilla chips, sometimes corn. It just depends on whatever we have in the pantry. In my opinion, every family needs tortilla chips in the pantry at all times. Anything otherwise would be a travesty.
  • Ground beef. Half pound. We use 93% lean. I have also used ground turkey before as well. If you’re feeling totally crazy, you can do a half ground beef/half ground turkey mixture. The beef is seasoned so you can really go with a low-fat version and not sacrifice taste.
  • Vegetarian refried beans. Half a can. I will only eat vegetarian refried beans. I don’t eat regular (made with lard) and I certainly don’t eat fat-free refried beans (bad taste and fake ingredients). Luckily, the Ft. Sill commissary carries the vegetarian version of Old El Paso refried beans. Basically it is regular refried beans sans lard.
  • Small jar of salsa. I am a salsa freak. I think many store-bought salsas do not deliver. This is why I usually make my own. But for this recipe, the salsa will be cooked with the ground beef store-bought works just fine. I use Newman’s Own All-Natural Bandito Salsa Medium
  • Chopped onion. Amount based on personal preference. We like a lot of veggies on our nachos.
  • Chopped green pepper. Amount based on personal preference.
  • Chopped tomato. Amount based on personal preference.
  • Shredded colby jack cheese. Couple of handfuls. Yummmmmm.
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese. Handful. I know what you’re thinking…mozzarella? I find that it helps with the gooey cheese factor, always a plus when eating nachos.
  • Red pepper flakes. To taste.
  • Salt. To taste.
Spread refried beans on each individual chip and arrange on cookie sheet. Cook ground beef. Add in salsa and simmer for 10-30 minutes (depending on how much time you have). Put beef mixture over refried bean coated chips. Add onion, green pepper, tomato. Add black olives if you’re in to that sort of thing. Top with cheese. Add salt and red pepper flakes. Put in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve with low-fat sour cream and enjoy.