Monday, August 18, 2008

Southwest Turkey Nachos

We went camping this weekend. I did not feel like cooking after unpacking and cleaning everything (ourselves included). I surveyed the sparse prospects for dinner (we hadn't made it to the market in a while). We had tortilla chips, but no salsa. We had some canned beans... black, green, various kinds. We had plenty of cheese as we had stumbled on a good deal on a big block of Daniel's favorite - extra sharp. Stumbling from the fridge into the freezer I found a few bags of flash frozen veggies such as corn and broccoli for occasions such as this. We also had various usual items like milk, sour cream, canned tomatoes, garlic, onions, potatoes... what could we make?
I wanted to make something we hadn't had in a long time... We had most of the ingredients and good substitutes for the rest... Our Southwestern Turkey Nachos. Usually we use all fresh items for this. Fresh grilled corn. Fresh tomatoes. Fresh turkey. We also usually use blue corn chips, I don't know if they are a healthier when it comes to calories and fat, but they are less salty than typical brands and cheaper when we get them from Sprouts... so we began getting them instead of Doritos or Fritos. Since my step-son has been here for the summer, we've gotten lazy and don't make it to Sprouts and the other various Farmers' Markets as much as I'd like to. So today we used various substitutions, but it was still satisfying and wonderful knowing we were tricking our picky four year-old (and Daniel!) into eating fresh veggies.
I don't know how we cam e up with the idea... but it was probably a combination of Daniels love of chips/dips and my childhood experiences with Haystacks - think Fritos piled with taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, sour cream and cheese, and melted in the microwave - a 90's innovation my single-mother probably found in Good Housekeeping that was great for nights she didn't want to cook a big meal) I wanted a healthier version of nachos for Daniel... and I used this "salsa" to make the blue corn chips a little more hearty. We also found ground turkey tasted just as good as beef when seasoned with chili powder and pepper (no salt!) In our experiments, Daniel came up with a easy (or lazy, depending on how you look at it ;) way to make a cheese sauce for the nachos. Originally I was just sprinkling cheese over the nachos, another attribute that can be traced back to my mother's Haystacks. But Daniel took the sour cream and the cheese and melted them together to form a superb creamy, cheesy sauce, that was just tangy enough, which added a great background for the rest of the flavors piled on the chips.

Without further ado:

Southwestern Turkey Nachos
print recipe only

  • 1/4-1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 2 ears grilled corn, cut from cob (or about 1 cup frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed/drained
  • 1 tomato, seeded/chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded/deribbed, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • blue corn chips (yellow/white works too)

  • 1/2 lb reduced-fat cheese
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • Red chili flakes (optional)
Begin cooking turkey by heating over stove top and combining with chili powder and pepper (or however you like to season typical taco-meat). Ground beef can also be used, but be sure to drain the fat off.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine cobbed-corn, black beans, jalapeno, onion, and garlic. Mix well to combine. Fold in tomato (since it is a bit more fragile).
In another bowl, shred the cheese and combine with sour cream. Place cheese/cream mixture in microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir. Place back n microwave for another 45 seconds or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Fold in a pinch of chili flakes. Stir to ensure consistency. (This could probably be done on the stove-top, but as I've stated it's basically a lazy mornay and who wants to dirty another pan?)
Take handful of blue corn chips and spread onto a dinner plate (repeat for additional servings- should make four) Assemble plates by topping with cheese sauce, then turkey, then the corn/bean salsa. We also like to top with a dollop of sour cream and a few chili flakes.

Working on our food styling/photography... You can also do it party-style... great for serving a group of people... or, one hungry man ;)

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