One of my favorite quick and easy meals is baked nachos. I make them at least twice a month, and try to keep basic nacho ingredients like organic tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, and fire roasted salsa on hand for nights when I don't want to spend much time in the kitchen.
Even better, nachos are the perfect vessel for leftover whole roasted chicken, ground beef, or pulled pork. So when I need to reinvent leftovers (yet again), nachos is an easy recipe that fills empty bellies and prevents food waste.
How to Make Nachos
Here's the key to making good homemade nachos: build them wide, not tall. Especially if you're using nacho cheese instead of shredded cheese.
If you build nachos wide using a large baking sheet, you'll have a spread of glorious crispy chips evenly covered with cheese and your favorite toppings. If you build nachos tall, you'll end up with a beautiful top layer and a bottom layer of soggy chips. No one likes soggy chips.
As someone who served at a bar and grill for over four years, I've eaten my fair share of nachos. This is what happened to every plate of tall nachos I served or ate myself when I was out at a restaurant: by the time you work your way down to the bottom 1/3 of the nachos, it's either a pile of bare chips with NO cheese or toppings on them (bad layering skills) or a mess of flat, soggy chips that are stuck together.
Soggy food (that's supposed to be served crispy) is one of my biggest foodie pet peeves. Soggy sandwich bread that almost disintegrates in your mouth or soggy tortilla chips that are soft and drooping...well, it's pretty much the worst (aside from undercooked food)!
So...lets not do that!
Chicken Nachos with Sweet & Creamy Mango Avocado Salsa
When I'm in a hurry, I'll throw together a basic nacho recipe with shredded cheese, homemade taco seasoning or chili powder, and whatever protein is in my fridge, then serve it with sour cream and salsa on the side.
Seeking out high-quality ingredients like grass-fed cheese, full fat sour cream, and fire roasted salsa ensures that the final dish has plenty of flavor, despite its simple ingredients list.
If I have an extra ten minutes or so to spare, I'll fix additional toppings like sauteed onions and red bell pepper to make the nachos more filling.
However, this past week I found mangoes on sale, which inspired me to wait a few more days to let them ripen even further and fix a batch of my mango avocado salsa to use as a topping.
I'm so glad I combined these two recipes!
Ripe sweet mango and creamy avocado are so perfect together and the crispy, cheesy, chicken-y chips make an excellent vessel to shove more of it in my face hole. ;)
Mango salsa might sound a bit fancy, but trust me...it comes together in minutes (no need to let it sit and marry), so you can make it right before the nachos. You can also prepare the salsa a day or two ahead of time so the nachos are even faster to fix.
That is...if you can avoid eating it all before dinner!
Chicken Nachos with Mango Avocado Salsa
A quick and easy recipe for chicken nachos topped with shredded cheese, leftover cooked chicken, seasonings, fresh mango avocado salsa, and your favorite toppings like salsa and sour cream.
Serves: 4 as a main course, 6-8 as an appetizer
1 teaspoon of cooking oil
1- 1 1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken
5 big handfuls of organic blue corn tortilla chips
8 ounces of shredded cheese (I like pepper jack)
1 teaspoon of homemade taco seasoning or chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of cumin seasoning
3/4 cup of mango avocado salsa
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Toppings (served on the side):
chopped pickled jalapenos
fire roasted salsa
Note: Prefer a creamy cheese sauce on your nachos instead of shredded cheese? Try my homemade queso dip recipe made with real cheese!
large rimmed baking sheet
cheese grater (if using block cheese)
Prepare the mango salsa per the directions and set aside. Shred the chicken, then grate the cheese if not already using pre-shredded, and chop any jalapenos or additional toppings of your choice. Go ahead and dish out the other toppings (served on the side) like sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. The nachos don't take long to come together so this should be done first. Add the cooking oil to a skillet on medium heat, toss in the chicken and let it cook for a few minutes until it's hot throughout.
Spread the chips out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (line it for foil for easy cleanup). Try not a make any big gaps in the chips so that the cheese doesn't fall through and just melt onto the bottom. Sprinkle the cheese evenly across the chips, then do the same with the taco seasoning (or chili powder) and cumin seasoning. Set the oven's broiler to high (if your oven just has one setting, then it might take a bit longer) and pop the chips into the oven. Pull them out after 2-3 minutes or when the cheese is just melted (not too browned).
Top the nachos with mango avocado salsa and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with your toppings on the side so that each person can add their own. This way, if you have any leftovers, they won't be soggy!
I'd like to hear from YOU!
What are your favorite toppings for homemade nachos? Do you have any favorite recipes or tips for making nachos better than restaurants?
Don't miss a post! Want my real food recipes, kitchen tutorials, DIY crafts, and healthy living articles delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for free email updates!
Keep Reading! More Recipes From The Rising Spoon:
- How to Make Homemade Corn Tortillas with Masa Harina
- Roasted Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs & Garlic
- 20 Ideas for Using Up Roasted Chicken
- Ten Tips For Meal Planning with Real Food
- Easy Tex-Mex Grass-Fed Beef Chili
- Beef Lettuce Wraps