There’s nothing like a big plate of nachos while watching your favorite football team. I know! It’s super early to be thinking about football. I mean the draft is just barely over, so there’s still a few months to go until preseason. But, my team was just awful last year. So, I’m so stinking excited about one of my team’s draft picks for this season, I just can’t wait for the season to start.
Speaking of nachos, do you know what I like the most about nachos? You can load on all of your favorite ingredients. Anything goes. Among other things, I usually use my homemade taco seasoning with ground beef for these nachos (you can find that recipe here) but, there are no rules. You can substitute seasoned beef for seasoned chicken or pork or use barbecue sauce instead. I shared one of my favorite sauces here if you want to check it out.
Do you know what I don’t like about nachos, though? Soggy tortilla chips. They’re the worst. I always make a ton of nachos so there are enough leftovers for lunch the next day, but those pesky soggy chips ruin it for me every time.
Another thing that is almost as bad as soggy chips is when you a get a piping hot plate of nachos and you grab a tortilla and all you get is a plain tortilla with nothing on it. Such a bummer. It’s virtually impossible to get all the toppings on every chip. Until now.
I got tired of soggy and bare tortilla chips. I knew there had to be a way around these tribulations. Since I love a good casserole, I thought “why not make a nacho casserole?”. Well, I made it for family, friends and co-workers and everyone loved it. It is now a regular dinner item and it is standard football fare as well.
It’s a dish that can be easily put together. Sometimes I like to use my fresh homemade salsa instead of sautéed or steamed peppers and onions with tomatoes. But, for the purpose of sharing the easiest nachos ever made, I’ll wait to share the salsa recipe another time. (FYI, it’s an easy salsa recipe too, it just makes this dish a little more time consuming.) The point of this recipe being a quick snack or meal when you don’t want to miss a minute of the game.
My favorite tortilla chips are the kind with the scoop in it. They’re served on the side, so you can just take a chip then dig into the casserole without needing a fork. The best part is, that with every bite, you get a little bit of everything on one tortilla chip. You can’t do that very often with regular nachos.
A quick and easy meal or snack with many variation possibilities.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning*
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 16 oz cans refried beans
- 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 1 large green bell pepper diced
- 1 medium onion diced & divided
- 2-3 large tomatoes diced
- 1 bag your favorite tortilla chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Dice the green bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. Divide the onion - 1/4 cup to add to the ground beef and the remainder for the topping.
In a large skillet over medium/high heat, brown ground beef and add about 1/4 cup of diced onion (if desired). Drain the fat.
Reduce the heat to medium/low. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning or 2 tbsp of homemade taco seasoning to the ground beef. Thoroughly mix the taco seasoning until the meat is well coated. Add 1/2 cup of water, mix thoroughly and allow to simmer until the sauce has thickened a bit. You can use more or less water depending on how saucy you like the seasoned beef.
Place the green bell pepper and onion in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with water and microwave (approximately 3 minutes - depending on your microwave) until the vegetables are tender. This step is optional as you can just add the raw vegetables as the topping, but I prefer them cooked a bit.
Spread the refried beans in the bottom of a large casserole dish.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the refried beans.
Spread the seasoned ground beef mixture over the cheese.
Sprinkle another 1/3 of the cheese over the seasoned ground beef.
Drain the liquid from the peppers and onions then spread over the 2nd layer of cheese along with the tomatoes.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the vegetables.
Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
- If you're feeling adventurous, make some homemade taco seasoning. You can find my recipe here.
I recently found a pulled pork nacho dish at a little restaurant not too far away from me. I’m looking forward to trying to duplicate that in my restaurant “Challenge“. Don’t forget some other classic toppings of sour cream, salsa, olives, jalapenos and guacamole for added flavor. What are your favorite toppings for nachos? Let me know in the comments below.