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Not-cho Average Nachos: 10 Toppings to Upgrade Your Chips-and-Cheese

Not-cho Average Nachos: 10 Toppings to Upgrade Your Chips-and-Cheese

A few easy ways to take nachos to the next level

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You can never go wrong with nachos, and here are a few ways to make them even better.

Nachos are the ultimate snack: chips, cheese, meat, and vegetables all layered together turns into a delicious food you can eat with your hands. But you probably have the makings for some next-level nachos in your kitchen right now.

Click here to see Not-cho Average Nachos: 10 Toppings to Upgrade Your Chips-and-Cheese (Slideshow)

Nachos can be anything you want — even a healthy snack if you use fresh vegetables instead of chips. As long as you have a base layer of chips (or a reasonable facsimile) and some melted cheese, all of the other components of a great plate of nachos are flexible.

Though the true history of nachos is debated, it is thought that they were created in the 1940s in a Mexican border town by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya for a group of American women from a nearby U.S. military base. The original dish probably consisted of fried tortillas, cheese, and jalapeño peppers. Order a plate of nachos at a bar today and you're more likely to get a plate of tortilla chips loaded with cheese, refried beans, sour cream, onions, jalapeños, salsa, and guacamole — significantly different than the original.

Contrary to popular belief, there is a science to making delicious nachos. The key is to have only one layer of chips, to get maximum cheese coverage. To do this, simply arrange tortilla chips in one layer on a baking sheet instead of a plate. Cover with whatever toppings you want and a healthy amount of shredded cheese before placing in a hot oven (between 450 and 475 degree F) until the cheese melts. Microwaved nachos will still taste good, but you may end up with some soggy chips (plus, you can fit a lot more chips in a conventional oven).

Step up your nacho game with these tasty toppings.

Bacon

Bacon makes everything better, especially nachos. Crumble freshly cooked bacon (or almost any other cured meat) into the mix and you’ll be a happy, nacho-eating camper.

Beans

Refried, baked, or otherwise, beans step up the fiber and protein factors of nachos. Try tossing drained and rinsed canned black beans with chopped cilantro and lime juice before adding to nachos.


Quick and Easy Nacho Cheese Recipe

Hey, friend, you ever marvel at that super creamy nacho cheese sauce you get at restaurants and movie theaters and wish you could make it at home? I have just the recipe for you.

This nacho cheese sauce is sharp and creamy, just as spicy (or not) as you want it to be, and everything you ever dreamed of smothering over nachos, veggies, or a giant pretzel (<–my fav).

To make it, you just need 5 minutes, AND my secret creamy cheese sauce weapon: evaporated milk.

And I know this might not be something you keep in your pantry. If that’s the case, and you need cheese sauce NOW, no worries, go make my classic Homemade Cheese Sauce. It’s made with butter, milk, and flour, so you probably have the ingredients, and it’s GREAT.

But if you have evaporated milk in your pantry or are going shopping before making this, grab a can and give this recipe a try. You will not be disappointed.

What’s the Deal With Evaporated Milk?

Evaporated milk is just milk that’s been simmered over low heat until more than half of the water content has evaporated, so it’s extra creamy. It’s perfect for giving you extremely creamy cheese sauces without the heaviness of using half and half or heavy cream.

When heated together with cheese and a dash or two of hot sauce, you get something pretty magical.


These Sweet and Salty Nachos Are Not ‘Cho Average Recipes

We all know and love the classic nacho recipe: cheese, beef, beans, jalapeños and maybe some olives. I've had the traditional kind all my life, until the fateful day I tried something different: chocolate nachos.

When I was in middle school one of my favorite places to go was Cheeseburger in Paradise. For birthdays, we would always order their chocolate nachos—chocolate and flour tortillas fried covered in chocolate, strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. A match made in heaven. Sadly, they went out of business near my house and I have been longing for nachos like those ever since.

If you want to impress your friends on game day, or have an experience like mine, check out these recipes. Or just stick to plain old nachos (I won't judge).


Miller’s Ale House (Boston): Mediocrity®

This week’s nacho review comes to you from Bugaboo Creek Miller’s Ale House, conveniently located next to the Arsenal Mall in scenic Watertown. In an area that truly lacks tacky sports bars, Miller’s is a welcome change from the moose restaurant . The menu may be reminiscent of Friday’s, but the waitstaff is friendly, the drinks are fell-off-the-back-of-the-truck cheap, and the dining room is still shiny and new. We look forward to returning soon for our 1st Annual Classy –> Divey Western Ave Pub Crawl, starting at Miller’s Ale House, moving to the Boyne, and ending at the Bus Stop.

To punish ourselves for not eating nachos recently, we decided to indulge in two nachos: The Fiesta Nachos and the Zinger® Potato Chip Nachos (because nachos with a registered trademark are not weird at all). Just so you know, they also have something called the Chicken Enormous Nachos, but adding that to our tab would likely have killed us.

Fiesta Nachos: Crispy Tortilla chips Layered with Fresh Ground Beef Simmered in Ancho Chili Seasoning, Pico de Gallo and Jalapeños. Smothered in Jack & Cheddar Cheeses, then Melted until Bubbling. Topped with Sour Cream and a dash of taco seasoning.


The sky is the limit when it comes to the ingredients you can make dairy-free cheese with. Cashews, almonds, seeds, and even potatoes — yes, potatoes. This creamy Potato and Carrot Cheese by Yana Chistyakova is made from a base of potatoes and carrots with nutritional yeast, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder for flavor. It’s completely nut-free and easy to make, so if you’re allergic to nuts, this is the cheese of your dreams! Use it as a spread for sandwiches and wraps or serve it with crackers.


Vancouver Food: It’s Nacho Average Food Truck

With the final day of Nacho Average Food Truck serving up delicious eats in Vancouver happening tomorrow, you’ve got to hurry if you want to try Chef Wolfe’s creations. Or, you can prepare some of his recipes at home. Today, we’re featuring two.

Brie Bites Three Ways


Ingredients:
Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chips
Brie cheese (cut into small cubes)
Apricot jam
Crushed walnuts
Cranberry jelly
Ripe cantaloupe or honeydew melon
Prosciutto (cut in half and rolled)

Preparation:
Apricot Walnut Brie Bites
1. Even place slices of brie into each Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chip.
2. Dollop apricot jam to partially cover brie.
3. Sprinkle lightly crushed walnuts to finish.

Cranberry Brie Bites
1. Even place slices of brie into each Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chip.
2. Dollop cranberry jelly over brie to partially cover.

Prosciutto Melon Brie Bites
1. Even place slices of brie into each Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chip.
2. Slice prosciutto piece in half, roll and place on top of brie.
3. Dollop finely diced melon on top of prosciutto.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Bark


Ingredients:
20 Tostitos Cantina® Extra Thin tortilla chips
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate 70%
2 tbsp white chocolate

Vancouver Hot Chocolate Fest, a perfect pandemic pick me up

Preparation:
1. In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar together over medium heat. Set aside and allow to cool for 15 minuts.
2. Melt dark chocolate in a small saucepan or microwave until it is a creamy texture.
3. Melt white chocolate in a small saucepan or microwave until it is a creamy texture.
4. Drizzle caramel, dark chocolate and white chocolate evenly over chips.
5. Sprinkle salt and cool for 10 minutes.

  • This treat is great to put in the fridge or freezer and save for a later date.
  • You can use fewer toppings and more chips depending on how savoury you want this dish.

This article was sponsored by Tostitos. For location updates and easy Tostitos recipe ideas, follow Nacho Average Food Truck on Twitter at @TostitosCanada. Discover more fun, quick and tasty recipes at Tostitos.ca.

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You&rsquove already encountered refried beans in previous recipes (baleadas and bean tostadas). Now, it&rsquos time to learn how to make this versatile dish.

This recipe calls for red beans, bean broth, and a couple of spices.

You&rsquoll have to start by cooking the beans, then combining them with broth and the rest of the ingredients in a blender.

Fry the blended beans until smooth and thick. In a few minutes, you&rsquoll have a rich, creamy spread full of Latin flavors.


Pasta Swaps

Nothing beats the taste of traditional pasta, but with so many heathier and tasty alternatives, why not give them a try? Choosing one at the grocery store, however, can seem overwhelming. Well, The Kitchen hosts are here to help make these hard choices easier for you with a saucy taste test. Sunny tasted all of our pasta swaps with Katie Lee's easy Amatriciana Sauce.

The Kitchen hosts share Red Lentil, Black Bean, and Chick Pea pasta with Katie Lee's Amatriciana Sauce, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen , Season 16.

Let's start with the Pasta Swap Basics.

Pasta swaps are available in various shapes and sizes. Pay close attention to the box instructions for your alternative pasta. While some pasta swaps may taste and feel just like regular pasta, it doesn't necessarily mean they cook the same. Some pastas can easily be under or overcooked and compromise the pasta's texture. Some varieties may also need more water during the boiling process than traditional pasta.

When reading the ingredients on the box, you many notice a few unexpected additions. Rice flour and quinoa flour are often used to help bind the pasta and give it more structure to withstand cooking. If this is important to you, you may want to stick to brands that minimize these other flours if this isn't important to you then, you might opt for the better texture.

Red lentil pasta is made with red lentil flour. The mild nutty flavor is great with many different sauces. While red lentil pasta is hearty, it has a softer texture compared to traditional pasta.

Red lentils are naturally packed with folates that are said to help weight loss and heart health. Because red lentils are a legume, this pasta is a great source of fiber.

Black bean pasta is made with black bean flour and is the furthest in appearance and taste from traditional pasta. The black beans give this pasta a subtle sweet flavor with a strong, chewy texture that needs a flavorful and hearty sauce to complement it.

Black bean pasta is gluten-free and an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it a great choice for a family dinner. Black beans are naturally low in sugar and packed with fiber to help you to feel fuller longer. Fun fact! Beans are on the top of the list of the top 40 foods packed with antioxidants.

Chickpea pasta is made with--you guessed it--chickpea flour. This slightly nutty, earthy-flavored pasta has a similar taste to hummus. Chickpea pasta is said to be the most similar to traditional pasta in texture, with a slightly denser bite. With double the protein and 4 times the fiber of regular pasta, this is a deceivingly delicious alternative for a weeknight guilt-free meal. Chickpea pasta also comes in a wide variety of shapes to match whatever pasta mood you may be in. In addition to an Amatriciana sauce, it also works great in a mac and cheese.


Budget-Friendly Hacks to Spend Less in the Kitchen

The Kitchen has a few tips for savings swaps to help you save cash in the kitchen all year long! Join our Kitchen Cash Challenge to learn some frugal cooking hacks from our friend, Janice Lieberman. She's got a few quick, easy homemade swaps that'll save big money without skimping on flavor — or even quantity.

SWAP HOMEMADE ZOODLES FOR THE PRE-CUT STORE-BOUGHT STUFF!

Not only are the homemade zoodles lower in cost, they're fresher too! You can find a good spiralizer at your local grocery store or online for about 10 bucks. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions and give it a spin!

Since store-bought zucchini spirals may sit on the shelf for days, they can lose moisture and flavor, and they even go bad more quickly than the homemade variety. We recommend that you spiralize your own zucchini just before you cook. It’s the fresher and more flavorful way to go.

You can save up to $208 per year with this simple swap, while still making all of your favorite zoodle dishes. Plus, you can use the spiralizer for other vegetables, like sweet potato!

SWAP CHICKPEAS FOR CHICKEN BREAST!

"Meatless Mondays" is a major trend these days, for so many reasons. Cutting back on animal protein can have health benefits, and reduce your carbon footprint too.

If you're going along with this new trend, we suggest replacing your chicken breast with chickpeas! Chickpeas are an awesome base for so many flavors, and they have a ton of protein—just like chicken breast! If you trade your usual chicken breast with chickpeas for just one meal a week, you could save up to $520 in a year!

SWAP HOMEMADE GRANOLA FOR STORE-BOUGHT!

Homemade granola is a great way to save money and make a healthier change. Store-bought granola often has lots of added sugar, as well as other less-than-desirable ingredients. Many of the healthier low-sugar granola brands tend to be quite expensive.

That’s why we suggest making granola at home. It’s quick, easy, and it keeps for up to a month in an airtight container.

To save money, buy your oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in bulk. We like to use raisins because they’re a great inexpensive option for dried fruit. Walnuts are wonderfully healthy nuts and are cheaper than almonds or pecans. (Storing these in the freezer keeps them fresher longer.) Less spoilage equals less food waste and more money in your pocket! Here's a great recipe for homemade granola!


7. Mexican Sweet Potatoes

While Mexican sweet potatoes make a lovely side dish to tacos, it&rsquos so hearty it could also be deemed as a main. It&rsquos brimming with so much flavor coming from the sweet potato, corn, a black bean salsa, and a creamy cilantro dressing.

Another way you can prepare sweet potatoes is by roasting them. Roast them with avocado oil and flavor with salt and garlic powder and they&rsquore golden.

While you&rsquore at it, throw in some broccoli onto the grill as well! Serve with a hot and creamy sriracha sauce to complete the course. To make the sauce, mix mayo, sriracha, honey, and it&rsquos done.

Potato salad is always a hit at parties, but here&rsquos a fun twist: use sweet potatoes instead. I think this version tastes better than the original because it&rsquos sweeter and has an interesting texture.

To make, mix roasted sweet potatoes, corn, red peppers, black beans, lime juice, and your preferred dressing. And then, top each serving with cojita cheese. Perfect!


Keto Crackers: A Great Low-Carb Snack

When you transition to a ketogenic diet, you don’t have to give up your favorite snacks. With a few smart swaps and substitutions, you can continue eating your treats without worrying about getting kicked out of ketosis. With the abundant choices of low-carb-cracker substitutes, you’ll never be without your favorite appetizing snack.

For dips and spreads inspiration, check out these recipes:

For the best low-carb snacks and keto recipes, consider looking at these articles:


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