Game Day Nachos That Don't Skimp on the Toppings

January 26, 2015

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.

Today: How do you make nachos an appropriate snack for a group of mature adults? Pile on the best-quality ingredients (and don't skimp on the cheese). 

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The ways I play Pretend Adult are plentiful and transparent. I pay my rent on time, but with Venmo, using many thumbs-up and little house Emojis in a row. I carry all of my work things to my office in a modest leather bag, but when people compliment me on it I say, “Thanks, I got it from my mom!” I bring a hostess gift when my friends have parties, but it's usually gummy worms and a six-pack of Woodchuck. Or, if the party is sporting event-related, I bring a giant, greasy baking sheet of nachos.

There is probably something fancier that’s easier to carry on the subway, but there’s no way it tastes as good as nachos. For all of their simplicity, nachos are not infallible. Nachos require care in their creation. You must respect the process: No cheating. No bullshit. No Velveeta. No chili. I will Facebook un-friend you. No scrimping on the cheese because you think maybe that looks like too much. No forgetting about the avocado.

If you feel like getting fancy, add some radishes, black olives, or fresh cilantro. Knock yourself out, but know that the magic lies in nailing the simplicity. Good quality basics are better than a lot of flashy extras. That’s adult, isn’t it? Thanks, I learned that from my mom.

More: Stick to Kendra's rules and you won't even need a recipe to make nachos.

Black Bean Avocado Nachos

Super(bowl) Nachos

Serves 8

2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch salt

1 bag salted tortilla chips (mine was 13 ounces)

24 ounces shredded cheese (I used a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack)

3/4 cup pico de gallo (homemade or store bought)

1 or 2 ripe avocados, cubed

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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A fan of female driven comedies, a good beat, your hair today, and making foods for friends.


John K. February 2, 2015
I made your nacho's and they were great, I did a single layer on two baking sheets and added hot red cherry peppers. (Awesome)
bruce M. January 28, 2015
My pet peeve with nachos is that people pile on toppings and the middle becomes a soggy mess. I think it's better to lay a single layer of chips on a large sheet pan and add toppings - including jalapeños ad arguers said - sparingly and then add a lot of cheese. The cheese melts on the greased pan and becomes crispy and really good. You may have to do a couple batches but it's better than that soggy mess.
aargersi January 26, 2015
I would suggest also: 1 heapin' pile of pickled jalapenos.