Everyone loves nachos, but I wondered how to transform this all-American barroom staple made of tacos and melted cheese into a respectable (and less fattening) dinner entrée. Here’s how: Use the nachos as a pie crust and cut back on the cheese in favor of bell peppers, corn, onions, and black beans. In fact, almost any vegetable from the salad bar would work nicely in this recipe – mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, whatever. Just decide what you are in the mood for and sauté your choices in oil until they are crisp-tender. You can crush the tortilla chips by putting them in a zippered plastic bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin or wine bottle.
Suggested accompaniment: cole slaw
Makes 6 servings
Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total preparation time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sliced green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
1 16-ounce jar chipotle salsa
1 10-ounce package frozen corn
One 15 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ¼ cups tomato-vegetable juice
One 5-ounce bag tortilla chips, coarsely crushed or homemade tortilla chips (recipe below)
8 ounces pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
lime wedges, sour cream and cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a shallow 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salsa, corn, beans, and juice. Bring the mixture to a boil.
2. Arrange half of the crushed chips in the bottom of the baking dish. Stir half of the cheese into the vegetable mixture and spoon the mixture over the chips. Top with the remaining chips and cheese. Bake until the edges begin to bubble, about 30 minutes. Serve hot with all the garnishes.
Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Seven 6-inch corn tortillas
1. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. Combine the vegetable oil, cumin, chili powder, and salt in a small bowl and whisk until the salt has dissolved. Brush one side of each tortilla with the oil mixture; cut each tortilla into 8 wedges
3. Arrange the tortilla wedges in one layer on 1 or 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crisp and golden. (If you need 2 baking sheets and both don’t fit on one shelf, switch the sheets midway through baking.) Set aside to cool slightly