The secret is out; I like cheese. I’ve probably said that before, and it won’t be the last time. Because it’s true. And really, who doesn’t like cheese? Best part of it all is how mainstream lactose free is now. If you have a sensitive tummy like my son and wife do, you can still cheese it up to a degree, especially with homemade nacho cheese.
With the Super Bowl right around the corner, I was thinking, ‘What would be some fun things to eat that are quick and easy?’ Nachos were one of the first things that popped into my head. But, they get soggy after a while, and what if someone doesn’t like black olives? While other consumers might be one of those weird people who doesn’t like avocado. The solution? A taco bar. Super easy, fast to set up and everyone gets the nachos they want, the way they want them.
The only real challenge is making sure the things that should stay hot, stay hot. This is where slow cookers come in handy. Almost everyone I know has at least one slow cooker, but Crock-Pot makes nifty little versions that keep smaller portions warm as well. They make ones that are ideal for a nacho bar — called Crock-Pot Trio — and it is basically three smaller slow cookers in one convenient package. All in all, it’s like $30 and definitely something you will use more than once if you like to host.
Make no illusions here, this recipe is mostly ‘buy the basic ingredients from the store and run with it.’ The only real thing we are making is the nacho cheese sauce because store-bought is just depressing. While a very good alternative to this recipe is just a block of Velveeta and a can of Rotel in a slow cooker on high, try this if you are feeling creative.
Next week I will come up with something a bit more complex. But not too complex, don’t worry. Don’t want the refs throwing a flag or just flat out not calling a foul on a party dish no one will make.
Note: These portions can probably handle 6 people max, 4 comfortably. Scale up the ingredients according to your guest list.
1 lb ground beef
1 bag tortilla chips
1-½ cups Mexican style shredded cheese
1 cup whole milk (can use lactose free, works just as well)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 can diced green chilies
1 package McCormick taco seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dried onion
Any other toppings you might want to include like guacamole, avocado, sour cream, black olives, tomato, lettuce etc.
Salt to taste
1. In a medium frying pan, brown the ground beef. I like to cook the living heck out of the ground beef when putting it on nachos. Gives it a nice texture to go along with the cheese and chips.
2. While the ground beef is cooking, in a separate medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue cooking and whisking the flour butter mix for another minute to eliminate the flour taste later on. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. It will thicken quickly, so make sure to pull it off the heat once it starts sticking to a spoon. While off the heat, add the cheese, chili powder, onions, salt and green chilies — stir well. Transfer to a slow cooker and set to warm.
3. Dice and chop any toppings you prefer and set out accordingly.
4. Enjoy! And here’s to hoping the refs don’t ruin the Super Bowl!