Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tailgate Time in the Livingroom and a Recipe for Turkey Nachos

We are a football family! We love watching our boys on the football field. We love watching college football on Saturday's. We love watching our favorite teams on Sunday's. We all have our own fantasy football teams. We especially love the Super Bowl. We are equal opportunity football fans. We love football so much we had to make rules about how much we're allowed to watch! So if you are parking your butt in front of a game, it better be a game you want to see! My husband makes a point of seeing every University of Michigan game that he can. He is a big fan. He should come with a warning label. So we thought it would be fun if we threw a maize and blue tailgate party for the first game of the season.

My daughter was dressed in her pink Michigan jersey first thing Saturday morning, The boys walked around humming "Hail to the Victors". Someone even dressed our golden retriever up for the game!

So, for some reason, we love Mexican food for football games. As a kid, we had enchiladas for Super Bowl six years in a row. Why? Because they were so good. And while we do not make Mexican food for every tailgate, nachos seem to show up a lot at our house. I do not usually spend the extra money to make nachos with blue corn chips, but since we wanted a blue and maize theme, why not?

This was not an empty bowl on our tailgate table. It is my super easy Mexican salade. Just take two cans of black beans, rinsed in a strainer, two cans of drained corn, a sprinkle of cumin, and enough of your favorite salsa to moisten the whole thing up. You can serve it chilled or room temp. It is always a big hit at our house.

We dressed up a pitcher of cold 7 Up with some frozen blueberries and frozen lemon slices as ice to fit into our blue and maize color scheme.

Dessert was a pile of Paula Deen's lemon bars and a few blueberry cheese cake bars. Anything with sugar is a hit with the kids and it went with the color theme!

So for our lovely nachos, we need a board of ingredients. You can use equal amounts of beef if you would prefer and you can use any tortilla chip you would like.

To start, you need to cook your turkey. Put it in a dry non stick pan over medium heat. Break up the turkey a bit with a wooden spoon. Then add your salt, pepper, oregano and cumin. Get those on the meat right away. The oregano and cumin only get better as they heat up and release lovely flavor. When the turkey is fully cooked, put it aside in a bowl.

Turkey does not have a lot of fat in it, so when you move the turkey to a bowl, you will be left with a tiny bit of fat in the bottom of your pan. That is perfect. Toss the onion and pepper into that same pan with a pinch of salt. You are not sweating these veggies so much as cooking them like a fajitas veggie. They are not cooked in fat and soggy when you get them in a restaurant. They are just amazing and we are kind of trying to recreate that here. When they are finished cooking add the turkey back into the pan along with the entire can of refried beans and 1/3 cup of water.

I lost my picture of the nacho mixture all mixed up so here is a close up of the mixture on the tortilla chips. It looked the exact same way in the pan, so I was hoping you might forgive me this one time for my mistake. Now after everything is mixed up and your refried have melted into the turkey and veggies, you can cover the mixture and set it aside until you are ready for it or you can keep going.

When you are ready to make nachos, put a layer of tortilla chips down on a cookie sheet.

Add a generous layer of your amazing nacho mixture.

Add a generous layer of cheese. I like to let a bit fall over the chips and onto the cookie sheet. Bake the nachos in a 350° oven for five to ten minutes depending on the temperature of your nacho mixture and how melted you like your cheese to be.

And what you get is...

Now all you have to do is add the toppings that you like. We used finely diced shallot, salsa, sour cream and guacamole, but you can do whatever you like here.

Recipe For Turkey Nachos


1 lb Ground Turkey
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Onion, Diced
1 Bell Pepper, Diced
1 16oz Can Refried Beans
1 lb Shredded Cheese
Tortilla Chips


1. Brown and crumble turkey in a non stick pan over medium heat with the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook turkey completely and remove from pan.

2. Add onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until veggies are slightly softened, about 7 minutes.

3. Add turkey back to the pan with veggies. Add can of refried beans and 1/3 cup water. Stir until beans are heated and everything is combined. You can add a bit more water if you want a thinner mixture.

4. Spread tortilla chips on a cookie sheet. Layer nacho meat and bean mixture over chips. Layer cheese on top and bake for five to seven minutes in a 350° oven. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

* Note: One batch of meat and bean mixture is the perfect amount for one bag of tortilla chips and one pound of cheese. So if you put half a bag of chips on the cookie sheet, use half your meat and half the cheese to make the nachos. Just rough estimations are fine. The eyeball measuring system is very important in my kitchen sometimes. I would say this recipe would feed four if you are making it as an entree for dinner and will feed 8 if it is being used as a appetizer or part of a tailgate party like we had. Also, this is a super easy recipe to double and triple, just make sure your pan is large enough to mix everything at the end.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe click here.

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