Ever since I was a kid, one of my favorite family meals has been Super Nacho—a huge cookie sheet (or two smaller ones) covered in Nacho fixings, a huge bag of tortilla chips.
We didn’t watch much television as kids; every meal was shared at the table together, and I’m very grateful to my parents for this. Damon and I want to continue this tradition with our young family. But as Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation,” so every so often, my parents would do a Super Nacho night, and the whole family would gather around the coffee table in the rec room, stuff our faces, and watch a movie together. My brother Paul and I used to get so excited whenever it was Super Nacho night. I’m not sure why, but we never did Super Nacho at the table—it was strictly reserved for movie night. To a kid, delicious nachos + eating in the rec room + movie treat = awesome. When I tell Damon we’re having Super Nacho for dinner, that’s exactly what he says, too: “Awesome.”
I’ve taken Super Nacho through multiple variations. I’ve done a few vegetarian versions and a few where I halved the amount of beef and added either rice or shredded veggies to raise the nutritional content. All of these are good—this recipe lends itself to easy substitutions and adaptation—but we always seem to return to the standard. I guess when Oscar gets older I might start trying to sneak in more veggies again, but here’s the classic recipe for your family movie night.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 Tbsp Penzey’s Bold Taco Seasoning (it’s the best), or whatever taco seasoning you prefer—just prepare the meat the same as the seasoning package indicates for taco meat
- ½ cup water (for use with Penzey’s Bold Taco Seasoning—or amount indicated by your seasoning of choice)
- 1 can (16 oz) good quality refried beans
- 1 can (4 oz) green chilies (optional)
- 6 to 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese
- 1 large head romaine lettuce (or other mix of lettuce, arugula, spinach, cilantro, etc), chopped
- 2 to 3 large ripe tomatoes (or sweet red and orange peppers)
- Yogurt (or sour cream)
- Corn tortilla chips
Prepare meat according to your taco seasonings directions. With our taco seasoning, we mix ½ cup water with the taco seasoning, brown the meat, drain any grease, then stir in the water/taco seasoning mix and simmer until it thickens.
On a large cookie sheet (with a lip to prevent spilling), spread the refried beans in an even layer, completely coating the bottom of the sheet. Next, spread the chilies evenly over the beans. Once the taco meat mixture is ready, spread it evenly in the next layer. Top that with the shredded cheese.
Place your cookie sheet under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese—only a minute or two, so try not to wander off or get distracted as I tend to do. Once melted, remove the tray from oven, spread the chopped lettuce in a larger outer ring, the chopped tomato in a smaller ring inside that, and put a generous dollop or two of yogurt in the middle. Guacamole also makes a nice addition.
Serve immediately with tortilla chips and extra napkins. Enjoy!
Do you have any family dinner traditions? Special treats? Favorite films for movie night?