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These nachos are quick and dirty and the subject of a long-running nacho-eating contest at Worship Surf Bar, located in Atlantic City, N.J. If the contestant finishes the entire platter, they win free tickets to the House of Blues show of their choice and the nachos are free. If the contestant fails to complete the nachos within the stated time period, they must pay the $30 for the nachos.
Click here to see The Ultimate Guide to Nachos.
- 32 Ounces tortilla chips
- 6 Ounces pico de gallo
- 4 Ounces sliced jalapeños
- 6 Ounces nacho cheese sauce
- 4 Ounces shredded Cheddar
- 2 Ounces cilantro, chopped
How to make the best nachos for game day
When it’s a sports game night, an awards show night, a fun movie night or any other occasion that guarantees your attention will be trained on a television screen rather than on what’s on the plate in front of you, it’s nachos for dinner in our house. Easy to throw together quickly, it’s basically a salad of chips and toppings, the ideal food to snack on when your attention span is limited.
When my partner and I lived in New York, we’d spend at least three Sunday nights a month at one sports bar in our Upper Manhattan neighborhood. I always got the burger and he the nachos. These nachos were made of freshly fried chips topped with a free-flowing cheese sauce that definitely had Velveeta in it and a generous ladleful of chili, accompanied by the usual suspects of sour cream, salsa and guacamole. In between sips of beer and transfixed gazes on the bright screens overhead, these nachos were the perfect bar food.
Nachos are by their very nature unfancy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a little discerning in how you make them. Although those bar nachos were wonderful, when it came time to make them at home, I took inspiration elsewhere. I wanted to keep the process at home as easy as it would be if you had a restaurant kitchen at your disposal.
As with hamburgers, each person’s version of nachos is the perfect one. Here’s mine: Inspired by a technique from Jen Agg, the chef and owner of several restaurants in Toronto, including her most recent Bar Vendetta, these nachos are like Ortega tacos on steroids, incorporating a chili-like seasoned beef sauce and shredded cheese, with shredded iceberg lettuce showered over the top. As Agg sums up the recipe in “Chef’s Night Out” — the Munchies cookbook where it first ran — these are white people nachos. And like her, I make no claims to them being anything else.
Start with the chips. Since I’m not frying fresh tortilla chips — who would?? — I buy the best ones I can find. Sometimes they’re the ones in the clear plastic bags at the deli counter at Vallarta or Albertsons, but most likely it’s the yellow bag of Calidad chips, my favorite grocery store brand. Whatever you use, make sure they’re well-salted. Pile them on a baking sheet, then dust them with a grating of lime zest, which helps undercut the layers of heaviness to come.
Next, the seasoned beef. Chili powder, dried oregano and cumin flavor the beef, simmered in broth thickened with flour. You could use a taco seasoning packet, but this is the part of the recipe where you bring in the discernment. It’s the only part you make yourself, so make it from scratch, please. Don’t eat beef? Use ground turkey, lamb or even a vegan meat substitute. (Agg’s original recipe used ground tongue left over from restaurant prep.)
Then, the dollops of pico de gallo. If you’re the type of person who makes his or her own pico de gallo, you might also be the type of person who fries his or her own tortilla chips, in which case, you’re probably not using them to make nachos. So buy the pico, drain it and spoon it over the beef. You could also just chop up a tomato if you have it, but pico already has all the flavors you need built in.
Now add shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses — buy the block and shred by hand it makes a big difference in the melting. Don’t like those cheeses? Use something else, just make sure it melts well. After that, sprinkle on raw white onion and peppers. Agg’s original recipe calls for green bell peppers, but I prefer poblanos, only because I keep them around (use what you have). Place the nachos in the oven the heat will cook the onions and poblanos just enough for them to lose their raw bite but not enough to free them of their crisp texture.
The nachos should bake long enough to melt the cheese and crisp the chips, which leaves you plenty of time to make the garnishes. Stir some more lime zest and juice into sour cream to make a limey analogue of the drizzle-able Mexican crema, which again helps brighten what otherwise would be an overload of meaty, dairy richness. Open a container of store-bought guacamole or slice up a ripe avocado, and if you want, shred iceberg lettuce as thinly as possible. Like the cheese, it’s better to buy a head of iceberg and shred it yourself so it still has some vitality.
Once the nachos are out of the oven, bring them to the TV room and place on a towel draped over the coffee table to protect it from the heat. Top the nachos with lettuce, drizzle on crema and add several healthy thwaps of guacamole. Press “play” and turn your attention to the main event, rest assured that your dinner has already won for the night.
If there's one event that always features delicious finger food, it's the Super Bowl. Even though COVID-19 has changed this year's football season, if you're watching with a few select people or celebrating outdoors with a small group, one thing that everyone can agree on is that the right Super Bowl finger food is an easy way to guarantee victory as a spectator. From pigs in a blanket and chicken wings to sliders and skewers, everyone will be rooting for second and third helpings of these finger food recipes for the Super Bowl. A COVID-friendly tip: Place all communal foods&mdashlike chips and dip&mdashin single-serve ramekins so no one can double dip. Also, be sure everyone washes their hands before enjoying these delectable finger food ideas.
Super Bowl finger food should be casual, able to sit out at room temperature for a long time, and suitable for a socially distanced group of close family and friends. Our Pull-Apart Pigs in a Blanket are the perfect example of that they're arranged in a springform pan and baked until golden brown and puffed. Guests can grab as many as they like from the showstopping arrangement&mdashor you can pull them apart and separate them on small plates&mdashdon't forget to serve them with a good-quality mustard sauce on the side!
Another Super Bowl finger food staple is Mozzarella Sticks, and our version, pictured here, wins every single time. Sure, you can buy them frozen from a box in the grocery store but what's even more impressive is making them from scratch. All you need to do is bread sliced fresh mozzarella in the usual flour, egg, and breadcrumbs coating, then deep-fry in neutral oil until they're crispy on the outside and perfectly melted on the inside. Complete the dish with marinara sauce (in those aforementioned individual ramekins) for dipping and score cheers all around.
We also have a few sweet Super Bowl finger food recipes. Try our Chewy Brownies or Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Can't decide between the two? How about a decadent dessert? Chocolate-Chip Streusel Brownies layers chocolate chip cookie dough over brownie batter for an indulgent bite. No matter how you're celebrating this year, enjoy the big game with a delicious menu of all-star finger food recipes.
You will definitely need a couple of crock pots to make your nacho more.
If you are in the market for something new, I really love my Ninja cooker. The nice thing about this is you can brown the meat in the same slow cooker.
It is so handy to just have the one pan to clean. It has become of my favorite kitchen appliances.
Another favorite is this programmable crock pot for when I am am not at home all day. I love coming home to a nice meal ready and waiting!
I also like to use crock pot liners to make clean up a breeze. These are worth every penny and save a ton of time.
Sheet Pan Nachos
Yield: 8 servings
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
total time: 25 minutes
Loaded nachos that are guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser! Simply layer your toppings, bake onto a sheet pan and serve. Done. Easy peasy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning
- 12 ounces tortilla chips
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and garlic, and cook until beef has browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks stir in taco seasoning. Drain excess fat.
- Place tortilla chips in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Top with ground beef mixture, black beans, corn and cheeses.
- Place into oven and bake until heated through and the cheeses have melted, about 5-6 minutes.
- Serve immediately, topped with tomato, onion, jalapeno, sour cream and cilantro.
*Ground chicken or pork can be substituted.
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Nachos Recipe like Restaurant Nachos Supreme
Try this great Nachos Supreme Recipe. It’s a super grande-sized platter of nacho heaven.
We use ground beef for this nachos recipe, but if you skip the meat and just use beans–it’ll still be pretty damn tasty. The key to great nachos recipe is a great nacho filling, so spice up your bean and beef mixture just right and build your nacho castle on a tasty foundation.
For another meaty meal, check out these Crispy Oven-baked Chicken Wings.
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The best of Ina Garten on TODAY: Grilled cheese, chicken and more
The ingredients in her Fresh Crab Nachos are pretty par for the course: yellow corn tortilla chips, freshly grated white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, chopped tomatoes, onion, avocado, lime juice, jalapeños, scallions and green chiles. What takes it over the top? Close to a pound of fresh jumbo lump crab.
My own grocery naivete got in the way when I went to my local Metropolitan Market and discovered that a pound of lump crab is … $50! Even though I had already bought all the other ingredients, I could only commit to half the amount of crab, and spending $25 still made me wince. (A friend on Facebook recently told me to check out Costco for reasonably-priced lump crab that’s $25 per pound.)
Ina Garten's Fresh Crab Nachos
I planned to halve the recipe but ended up just using half the crab and sticking to the other measurements. You add the crab to a mixture of cream cheese, mayo, sour cream and chiles. I worried it wouldn’t be meaty enough. But the balance, though more creamy, was actually fine.
I loved Garten’s layering suggestion: Put chips down, layer with the crab mixture, add cheese and then repeat the layer. One other special touch: pickled jalapeños on the first layer. I used Texas Pepper Works Candy Krisp Jalapeños and they added a sweet, tangy and subtly spicy touch.
Once you bake the two layers in a 375 F oven for about 25 minutes, you top with the tomato, onion, avocado and fresh jalapeño mixture, and serve hot.
Since I am by no means an expert, I asked my husband for a review. He is a wherever-whatever nacho guy, but when I told him about this pricy recipe, he didn’t want to like them. He couldn’t help going in for seconds, thirds and so on, finally declaring they were worth every single penny.
Kavita Varma-White is a Senior Editor for TODAY Parents, Digital. With two kids in college, she lives in a newly empty nest. Thankfully, her dog (and husband) still reside with her in Bellevue, WA. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
The nachos didn't stay perfectly in the pot form, but it was still impressive
Next time I will definitely start with a layer of cheese, though I ended up pouring more over the top of my nachos. I also added more garnishes, like cilantro and red onion.
To finish the plate, I added some lime wedges for color and eventually ate the dish with radishes, avocado, and extra jalapenos.
It didn't look like the prettiest dish in the world, but the toppings seemed evenly distributed throughout the chips.
Super Nacho Higante - Recipes
The Super Bowl is upon us, and while there’s debate over whether Philadelphians should cheer for Andy Reid, the truth is that many in this area won’t be invested in the game.
All, however, will care about the snacks. Whether your gathering is at home or away, it’s time to push past chips and party dogs and elevate your appetizers-and-cocktails game.
For innovative, cross-cultural spins on familiar snack favorites, look to L.A. chef Josef Centano and Betty Hancock’s brilliant Amá: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen (Chronicle Books). You’ll find a superb pimento cheese amped with cascabel chili and piquillo peppers turmeric- and ginger-spiked chicken fajitas with grilled onion and poblanos and pork roast marinated in Madras curry powder, rosemary, chipotle, and garlic, cooked low and slow until fork-tender and tiny puffed tacos popular in San Antonio. Deviled eggs are stuffed with yolks mashed with mayo, cilantro, oil-packed Calabrian chiles, and capers, then sprinkled with crisp bacon and Amá’s homemade spice mix, a blend of toasted dry chilies and sea salt.
Many recipes are grounded in Centano family tradition. Tía Alice Jo made the curry-chili pork roast — a hybrid between porchetta and carnitas — almost every weekend, and the deviled eggs with bacon were a frequent after-school snack at Nana’s house.
Replacing the pedestrian happy hour is Super Nacho Hour, a chapter devoted to bar snacks and drinks. Use the cascabel pimento cheese in chiles rellenos, make short rib chalupas, and whip up queso in the traditional form or a vegan cashew variety. Be sure to shake up one or two of the fabulous cocktails. The tequila- and Campari-based Nacho uses a sweet-tart chili-lime shrub that should be made a few days in advance, while the El Más Chingon comes over crushed ice, with muddled Fresno chili slices, agave, gin, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, and citrus.
Sybille Van Kempen’s Bridgehampton Inn & Restaurant (Loaves & Fishes Press) is an homage to hospitality and casual entertaining. Sybille’s mother, Anna Pump, was the legendary proprietor of the Loaves & Fishes Foodstore in the Hamptons and a cookbook author herself. Both Pump and Van Kempen worked at Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa store. The mother-daughter duo started the Bridgehampton Inn in 1994 and the restaurant in 2014.
Wonderful recipes for every meal abound, as do ideas for interesting cocktails, all beautifully photographed by Conor Harrigan. I found perfect grazing fare, much of it vegetarian, in the small plates chapter: beet falafel with basil hummus and lemony sumac yogurt, spicy kung pao cauliflower, and cremini mushroom fritters with horseradish aioli.
For Hamptons-appropriate Super Bowl fare, I was torn between lobster corn dogs and crab tots with green apple tartar sauce. Lobster tail coated in corn dog batter, fried, and served with a bright lemon-and-sriracha sauce won. I shared them with my neighbors, and to say they were loved by all is an understatement. Paired with the spicy margarita made with chili-infused tequila, homemade orange cordial, lime, and Cointreau, it’s guaranteed to please.
Beer-friendly fare from a world away
Looking to add something really different to your snack spread? Delve into The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider (Houghton Mifflin Court), the latest cookbook from Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying. Best known for East Village ramen restaurant Ivan Ramen and Chef’s Table on Netflix, Orkin lived in Japan after college and embraced Japanese food and culture, eventually opening two ramen shops there. Ying is the cofounder of the now-defunct Lucky Peach.
Chapters are organized by facets of Japanese life. “Good Times,” a collection of dishes best served with an adult beverage, is perfect for a Super Bowl gathering. I tried the grilled rice balls (yaki onigiri) and the gingery chicken meatballs (tsukune). (You will also find everything for hosting an Instant Ramen Party, with recipes for broth, toppings, and garnishes.)
The rice balls are grilled in a pan and basted with a blend of soy, dashi, and mirin. The meatballs are panfried, then glazed with a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, and sake, and sprinkled with togarashi, a magical blend of spices and aromatics that packs a little heat. While it’s suggested to serve the meatballs hot, I can attest that they are absolutely delicious the next day, straight out of the refrigerator.
Pizza for the home cook
Move over thin pizza there’s a new slice in town — and it is thick. Deep-dish pizza is trending and Peter Reinhart’s Perfect Pan Pizza: Square Pies to Make at Home, from Roman, Sicilian, and Detroit, to Grandma’s Pies and Focaccia (Ten Speed Press) will take you there. The James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and bread authority includes recipes for doughs, sauces, toppings, and condiments written for the home cook, with no specialty equipment required. While you’ll have to hop between recipes to construct a complete pizza, the results are glorious — right down to the beautifully caramelized crispy edges.
Out of the three master doughs in the book, I used the white flour recipe. It came together beautifully, just as instructed. Step-by-step photographs guided me through panning and dimpling the dough. To top it, I opted for the olive and artichoke medley, a winning vegetarian combo that includes cherry tomatoes and fresh red peppers brightened with lemon juice.
Reinhart, who grew up in Philadelphia, includes two topping recipes that reflect his roots — Philly-style roast pork with broccoli rabe and, naturally, a Philly cheesesteak. Fun fact: The author’s favorite cheesesteak is from Mama’s in Bala Cynwyd and his pizza recipe uses rib eye steak, just like Mama’s. Provolone and mozzarella would be the cheese blend of choice here. The finished pie is drizzled with a puree of pickled cherry and jalapeño peppers, garlic, oil, and vinegar, one of the book’s secret sauces. I like to think the Philly pies represent our team at the table. There’s always next year!
The Intricate Man&rsquos Nacho
Cuban Nachos image Photo: Daniel Agee Food Styling: Julia Levy Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson
In contrast to the previous nacho undertaking, this one might seem like an absolute doozy at first. Stay with us, here. If you’ve got a little extra time, patience, and a whole lot of TLC, these nachos are well worth it. Homemade, quick-pickled red onions add a tangy zing to every bite while deeply-spiced, freshly made refried beans add an earthy, spicy flavor to the arrangement. Instead of processed cheese sauce, we got a lil’ fancy and went for a homemade sauce with Jarlsberg, which is a mild, yellow, and slightly nutty cheese. Sure, all of these components require a little extra work on your part, but when they all come together, there’s no denying that it was all completely worthwhile.
The recipe also calls for cooked pork shoulder, which you can either make ahead of time and resourcefully use up the leftovers, or buy some pre-shredded at the store. The foundation of these nachos is also a combination of tortilla and plantain chips because. at this point, why not, right? We even went ahead and garnished the platter with pickle chips. PILE! IT! ON!
Whichever nacho destiny speaks more to your cooking level and culinary desires, feel free to improvise and find some happy medium of the two. Perhaps, you make the easy nachos, but go the extra step to pickle red onions and toss those on, too. On the other hand, you could go for the gold and make the more complex Cuban Nachos, but hack it with store-bought refried beans, to lighten some of your load in the kitchen. Like most food categories, there’s a spectrum of dedication with nachos—you just have to find your place within it. And we wish you the best of luck in this endeavor to discover your nacho truth.