I used to make nachos like this all the time. Cook some ground beef, add some salsa and beans, arrange it over chips, add a bunch of freshly shredded cheese, bake it in the oven for a bit and voila! Nachos. Only as time has gone on, I've gotten lazy. My nachos have turned into throwing some chips on a plate, dolloping some re-fried beans on top, tossing some pre-shredded cheese from a package over it all, throwing it in the oven (oh who am I kidding, the microwave might have come into use) and there you go...nachos in a hurry.
But in looking for a recipe for Nacho Soup the other day (for National Nacho Day of course) I came across several recipes for Nachos. Now, mind you, recipes for nachos really do run the gamut. From simple nachos like my lazy microwave version, to nachos made in a crock pot, nachos with venison, nachos made with bread (the heck?), Ruben Nachos made with corned beef, and of course nachos drenched with that day glow orange cheese sauce...The variations are endless. All these recipes reminded me I was in a nacho rut and needed to get back to the old school nachos I used to make. So out went the Nacho Soup and in came the nacho recipe that takes just a little bit more work.
One of the "classic" recipes I did come across though, had a few steps that I had never tried. Layering and a twice bake. The recipe I found on the Better Homes and Garden website here had where you make one layer (chips, meat, and cheese) pop it in the oven for a bit, take it out and then put another layer on top and pop it back in the oven. This to me was genius (oh the simple things in life). Why have you people never told me of this before?? Normally when you buy nachos in a restaurant, everyone scarfs down the layer of goodness on top and you're left with naked chips underneath. Nothing worse than naked tortilla chips in my eyes. So I will now use this layer, twice bake step whenever I make nachos (even if I make the lazy kind!).
The main thing about this nacho business was honestly, just to remind myself to get out of a few cooking ruts I seem to be in, just because I don't have a lot of free time after work to cook. And to maybe think outside the box a bit (adding corned beef to nachos? That I'll have to try).
Note: The meat part of this is simple. Cook a pound of ground beef (or chicken etc), and then throw in a can of beans (pinto, black, your bean of choice) and some salsa (pico de gallo, salsa from a jar...I used some fresh hot salsa I found at the grocery store in the refrigerated section in this version, but I used to always make this with the jarred green salsa verde). I like to add the salsa to the meat so the meat isn't dry and so the salsa by itself doesn't make the chips soggy.