I’m going to keep this simple:
It’s hot. Everyone is hungry after a day frolicking at the pool, beach, backyard waterpark (AKA the sprinkler), work, day camp.
You want a true one dish meal: no pots, no pans.
And you want to please the entire fam: from the picky 3 year old to the famished grandma.
There’s only one answer, my friends: nachos.
Not only are they delicious but if you’re clever (and I know you are) you can layer all of the cheesy, crunchy, crowd-pleasing layers with more healthful fare, making it an actual well-balanced meal.
So this is my formula for dinner nachos, you can change and tweak at will, and add or subtract layers, but this seems to do the trick for me:
Recipe for 8 Layer Dinner Nachos
-Preheat your broiler.
-Layer one large baking dish with your favorite tortilla chips (if you want to make it a bit more healthful: my husband found these whole grain variety from Plocky’s which were excellent, and there are numerous kinds of multigrain tortilla chips out there, including Trader Joe’s).
-Grate sharp cheddar cheese (I like Cabot) on top of the chips, making sure each chip has some on top. (layer 1)
-Chop a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes (in season right now) and layer pieces on top of cheese layer. (layer 2)
-Sprinkle tomatoes with crumbled feta cheese. (layer 3)
-Empty and rinse one can of pinto or black beans. Spread a layer of beans on top of feta. (layer 4)
-Spoon dollops of your favorite salsa verde or regular salsa on top of feta. (layer 5)
-Mash 2 avocados with a handful of minced cilantro, the juice of one lime, half of a chopped sweet yellow onion (optional). Season with salt and pepper.
-Place nachos under broiler (rack should not be directly under heat but closer to the middle of the oven). Watch carefully and rotate once. When cheese is melted and top is bubbling, make sure chips do not burn!.
-Remove nachos and let sit for a minute so they’re not raging hot.
-Top with spoonfuls of your avocado mash. (layer 6)
-Top also with spoonfuls of Greek yogurt (non-fat actually will give you the sour cream cool and creaminess that you’re looking for, but feel free to use full-fat if you’re feeling kind of wild). (layer 7)
-Sprinkle with chopped canned green chiles or pickled jalapenos (layer 8).
**NOW this is an optional layer but it actually makes this dish even better/more nutritious, and if your kids don’t mind salad, I highly recommend):
-Chop one head of washed iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce or a combination of the two.
-Toss lettuce in a bowl with the juice of half a lime, a splash of sherry vinegar, three splashes of olive oil (I was given this delicious mandarin flavored olive oil and now I’ve been looking for other good, flavored olive oils to mix in salads, the added flavor is a nice surprise).
-Layer salad on top of nachos right before serving. If you’d like, you can also toss in crumbled feta (eliminating it from the nachos to add here) and sunflower seeds (decidedly un-Mexican but I like the crunch and healthfulness.