Saturday, September 28, 2013

Football, Baseball and Mucho Nacho’s

Take me out to the ball game
I’m generally not what you consider a sports junkie, unlike some other members of my family who are perfectly content watching baseball, basketball, hockey or football throughout their individual seasons. If no sports are on TV, like that ever happens, you can always watch Dancing with the Stars. Throw in the occasional game of golf or tennis and you have the fantasy zombie league. My children are sports nuts. They wear team jerseys and cheer for their team whenever and wherever they can. Don’t get me wrong I actually like watching sports once and awhile, but not all of the time, week after week, season after season. It’s a lot like watching corn grow.
If you can't go to the game bring the TV outside
I grew up in a time when TV was really in its early development. The only sport on TV was baseball. Instead of watching it on TV we went out and played baseball or football. Taking on the kids from the next street over with a good old-fashioned water balloon fight was how we settled territorial disputes. Later in the evening we would play tag, or hide and seek. Being “it” was something you wanted and hearing the words “Ollie Ollie oxen free” meant you survived to play another game. When we got thirsty we didn’t run to the gas station for a bottle of pop. We got a drink of unfiltered water from the garden hose. A couple of kids on the block, future entrepreneurs, set up a Kool-Aid stand and sold Kool-Aid in paper cups for 5₵. At the end of the day we were tired from playing all day. Dinner was at 6:00 pm sharp. After dinner and after doing the dishes, we went out to play again: more hide and seek, or catching fireflies.
Please drink responsibly
Can you smell the brats and burgers?
Crock pot chili
If I must watch a football game then I must have plenty of football-type snacks and ice cold beer on hand. You just can’t drink wine and watch sports. In the Midwest it often gets cold during football season. When it comes to the ultimate football season snack foods we’re talking hot snacks. Wrapping my hand around a grilled bratwurst (brats) smothered in grilled onions dressed with grainy mustard, or the belly warming comfort of a steaming bowl of chili with chopped onions and shredded cheddar cheese on a cold winter's day is enough to begin an endorphin rush to my brain telling me all’s right in the universe, at least for this moment in time.
One of the best ways to take the frost off a cold winter’s day is to whip up a plate or a platter of warm
tortilla chips. Generally, you have to go to a sports bar or restaurant to get a good platter of tortilla and spend a considerable amount of cash for it. The more toppings it comes with, the more that you will spend.  The good news is that you can make a Nacho platter better and cheaper at home.
The easy way out
You can take the easy way out and just get a bag of tortillas, some salsa con queso and some chunky salsa. But if you're having a party and want it to be over the top, why not go all out and put out a Nacho platter worthy of you culinary prowess.
Brown ground sirloin or chuck
To make a layered nacho platter you’re going to need a few things: 

Corn tortilla chips
1 pound ground chuck
Refried beans, mixed into the browned chuck (optional)
Drain off fat
Add your favorite taco seasoning

Add water as per package instructions
Real cheese freshly grated blend, or layers of Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Jack, Queso Chihuahua, and topped off with Queso Fresco, crumbled.
Your choice of cheese

Shred lots of Jack cheese
Tomatoes, fresh, diced
Pico de Gallo, homemade
Green chiles, chopped
Green onions, sliced thin
Jalapeno peppers, slices, pickled, or fresh, seeded and sliced,
Chopped tomatoes
Peppers and green onions
Black olives, sliced
Sour cream
Guacamole, fresh
Fresh homemade guacamole
Beer, ice coldPlenty of napkins
Cook the meat until well browned. Drain off the rendered fat, add the seasoning packet, and water. Cook according tho the package directions. You may also add refried beans to the meat if you like.  Set meat to the side until needed.
Build your nacho platter in layers on an ovenable plate or platter. Heat the first layer of chips for about five minutes in a 350°F oven. Sprinkle the hot chips with grated cheese. Place the plate in a very hot oven to quickly melt the cheese on the first layer. Then take it out of the oven and sprinkle with chopped tomatoes, green onions and jalapenos, followed by a layer of the meat mixture.
If you are using pico de gallo, either homemade or store bought, work that into your layering process.
Add another layer of chips, more cheese and repeat the layering process. Throw in some sliced black olives to the mix. No need to use the best ingredients here, but do use good quality ingredients. You will want to supply ample sides of sour cream, salsa and guacamole.
Put the plate or platter back into the
350°F oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the chips are hot, and crunchy and the cheese is melted. The chips should be sizzling hot. Serve immediately. Nobody wants soggy cold chips.

© TMelle 2013

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