Monday, February 17, 2014

Taco Salad Nachos

A few nights ago, I made something I hadn't made in years. I was already thinking of posting it, and when my sweet sister-in-law asked about some family recipes, I figured I'd go ahead and share. It's incredibly easy, and the healthful factor depends on what kind of chips and toppings you use. If you use fat-free tortilla chips, I'd recommend baking the beans and cheese together as a dip, topping with your veggies, and scooping it up with the chips instead of baking the topping on them. 

Taco Salad Nachos

Bag tortilla chips, whatever kind you like (there's a whole grain kind that would be so good in this)
Refried beans (I use fat free since the chips have oil, I think baked chips would get soggy too quickly, but you totally could try it--or use the dip option I mentioned above.)
Shredded cheese, any kind. We use cheddar. Low fat or no cheese at all would work just fine.
Toppings. Onions, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, diced cucumbers, green onions, Greek yogurt, sour cream, guacamole, diced avocado, cilantro, whatever floats your naval vessel. 

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly mist a large cookie sheet with cooking spray (make sure the pan has an edge). Spread chips on the cookie sheet, covering the bottom. Stir up the refried beans (if yours are thick you can thin them a bit with some water, then dollop the beans onto the chips. (I like to use lots of beans to make this healthier.) Sprinkle on your cheese of choice, if desired. Either add diced onions here to soften them slightly, or leave until the end or do both. Put the pan in the oven and keep an eye on it. It will probably be in there 5-10 minutes, depending on how much beans and cheese you use.

While the pan is in the oven, thinly slice the lettuce (we used romaine hearts here), chop tomatoes and cucumbers, whatever you want on top. You need to have this ready as soon as the pan comes out of the oven.

When the beans and cheese have come together in a lovely blend of melty goodness, take out the pan. Quickly put onions and olives on top, then diced tomatoes, cucumbers, then lettuce and green onions, if you want them. Serve with salsa, Greek yogurt, guacamole, sour cream, whatever you want. The contrast of the bubbly hot beans with the cool lettuce and veggies makes for a really tasty meal. Leftovers don't work out so well because the beans make the chips soggy after a bit, but I guess you could just call it Corn Tortilla Mash Topped With Tasty Stuff if you wanted. I really recommend eating it soon after assembling, though. I like to heap mine with veggies so I only get a few chips and lots of the healthy stuff. Much better than taco shells. I didn't have the other things, so this one just had lettuce and onions, but lots of them!

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