Nachos for Dinner (It’s OK)

Nachos for Dinner (It’s OK)

So excited to announce that we have a new contributor to Laughing Lemon Pie! The lovely and talented Emily Klopstein will be joining us a couple of times a month with tasty recipes with a Midwest flair. 😉  Emily is a former pastry chef, librarian, and mother of an adorable tot and is known far and wide for her *excellent* scones.

Yes! You can have nachos for dinner, it’s OK. Don’t let your inner Martha tell you there is anything wrong with nachos for dinner. You’ve just cooked your brains out over the holidays – take it easy already, wouldja?

Not only is it OK, it’s kinda super tasty – Nachos are a great way to feel like you’re cheating, while serving a really-not-so-bad-for-you meal. Nachos are just horizontal tacos! Yet they feel somehow more fun, easy, unexpected, &/or nostalgic.

One of the best things I learned in college was that I could make nachos! At home! In my oven! With things that were already in my pantry/fridge! (I know…I had a sheltered upbringing. I hadn’t had a quesadilla until I was 20 – GASP! “Taco Salad” was a rare “ethnic” food when I was growing up – consisting of iceberg lettuce, bottled French dressing, shredded cheddar, browned ground beef, and crushed Doritos – indisputably tasty, but…Oh Ma, really?!?). Salsa, avocados, queso fresco, and tortillas were not the dietary-staples that they are to me today. Thank goodness for college and California!

When a friend at UCSD suggested we have nachos while watching a movie I was like ‘well duh, yeah, but…’ – But it turned out there were no buts about it! This amigo proceeded to cover a layer of tortilla chips on a tinfoil-covered cookie sheet with salsa and cheese. Threw it under the broiler…y LISTO (that’s Spanish for Ready! Presto! Voila!). You know that feeling when something so seemingly obvious gets revealed to you? Mind – blown. Tummy – happy! Life – changed!

Now these aren’t the 7-Eleven/ballpark version of nachos with the 100% Cheeze sauce. But they are a pretty simple dinner, appetizer, anytime snack – and with the easiest possible clean-up!

Grab the following from your pantry/fridge:

  • Tortilla Chips (the low-salt versions if available)
  • Salsa (jarred salsa works best in this scenario – the refrigerated fresh ones are too wet)
  • Cheese

That’s the extent of the ingredients in a bare-bones version. You can go rojo or verde – your choice! Depends what kind of salsa & cheese you’ve got.

Nachos for Dinner from LaughingLemonPie.comIf you have any or all of the following on hand go ahead and make more elaborate and layered nachos:

  • Browned ground beef, turkey, or chicken (plain or seasoned)
  • Chopped white or yellow onions
  • Finely chopped peppers: bell peppers, jalapeño, roasted poblano, et al
  • Beans: pinto, black, or refried (stir a bit of milk or water into canned refried beans to make them dollop-able)


Put tinfoil down on a rimmed baking sheet – leave a little extra on the sides so you have 2 “handles.” You know where we’re headed from here…your bottom layer is chips. After that it’s up to you – ground meat, onions, peppers, salsa, beans. Top layer is cheese, as much or as little as you quiere. Broil for 1-5 minutes – this’ll depend on how far your sheet is from your broiler, how melty you like your cheese, how much cheese you used, etc. Basically turn on your oven’s light and cop a squat in front of the oven til you start to smell toasty roasty goodness, see the melty-ness that makes your mouth water, and chip edges start to brown. Pull ‘er out – and here’s the beauty…use the tinfoil handles to gingerly transfer your nachos to a platter, cutting board, or another baking sheet for serving & consumption. Ta Dah – no burnt fingers or tabletops!

Nachos for dinner from
Foil handles to transfer from hot sheet to cool sheet.

Don’t forget toppings! Scour your fridge for the following:

  • Sour cream
  • Avocado (cubed), guacamole, or avocado crema
  • Chopped green onions
  • Whatever else tickles your taste buds (Olives? Jalapeño rings?)

If you’re through the pretending-you’re-cool phase of your relationship just thrown on your sweats, turn on Orange is the New Black, and share the same cookie sheet. If you happen to be making these for grown only children you could use 2 cookie sheets, or 2 pieces of tinfoil with 2 separate piles of chips. Dress them up as you feel and proceed to GRUB!

Clean up – HA! Ball up the tinfoil & toss. Wash your licked-“clean” salty fingers. Return to couch. Think grateful and/or satisfied thoughts.

You just never know what lessons from college will stick with you, right? 😉

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