Tag Archives: Original Creations

Thanksgiving Leftover Nachos: A Nacho Patrol Original

26 Nov

Thanksgiving is over and, like many Americans, you might be starting to wonder what you are going to do with all those leftovers. We, unlike most Americans, bypassed the turkey noodle soup and went directly to nachos.  And really, it couldn’t have been a better choice. With a bag of chips and a little ingenuity, the old turkey day standards transformed into some novel nachos.

First step: what kind of chips to use?  We considered both pita chips and sweet potato chips but found something even better in the grocery store’s natural food section: Food Should Taste Good‘s sweet potato tortilla chips.

These hearty, stone-ground tortilla chips had a lovely orange color and just enough of the vegetable’s delicate sweetness to support but not overwhelm the other ingredients.  And as opposed to regular sweet potato chips, they a little less deadly should you happen to eat the whole bag.

We selected a few hunks of turkey (mixing light and dark meat) and chopped them into bite-size pieces, the heated in the microwave:

Last night’s sage, sausage and wild rice stuffing had gotten a little dried out, so we reheated it slowly in a small pot with a few spoonfuls of broth (made from the turkey carcass, of course!):

Finally, the cranberry sauce.  We felt that these needed a little bit of zing (being nachos, after all) and added chopped jalapeno, red onion, and a splash of lime juice to our cranberry sauce to turn it into a salsa.  If you want more spice, let it sit for a while before serving to let the flavors combine:

Assembly: lay down a layer of chips, sprinkle with turkey and stuffing, and cover the whole plate with a drizzle of reheated gravy.  If you’re craving sour cream, a spoonful of mashed potatoes on the side will work in a pinch:

The verdict? With the spicy cranberry salsa on the side, these nachos were near perfection.  We had debated long and hard over including cheese but in the end vetoed it, since cheese has a minimal presence in a traditional Thanksgiving feast. It was the right decision– the salty gravy served as the cheese sauce on these nachos, and anything more would have overwhelmed some of the wonderful fall flavors at play. The chips were the perfect vehicle for the moist stuffing and turkey, and the cranberry salsa was good enough that we are already planning other nacho dishes around it.  If you’re getting sick of your leftovers (and even if you aren’t) these are definitely worth a try!

Pizzachos: A Nachopatrol Original

30 Jun

Up next in our thrilling series of nachofying our favorite non-nacho foods…pizza!

A wise soul (pretty sure it was Ben Franklin) once opined, “Pizza is a lot like sex . When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” How could we go wrong, right?  Unfortunately, we forgot that turning a food into nachos immediately renders all related quotes null and void.

First step, replacing the chips.  We sliced some of that cheese-covered artisan baguette that you can get at just about any grocery store, drenched it in garlic-flavored olive oil, and toasted it on baking sheets.

The olive oil ran low at the end (egads!) so the bread ranged from chewy to crouton-hard, which added a bit of variety.

The toppings came from a bastardized version of a Pizza Fondue recipe from a slow-cooker cookbook.  We sauteed up some mushrooms, onions and sausage, then dumped it into our Crock Pot (TM) with a jar of pasta sauce, pepperoni and shredded mozzarella:

Once that was heated through and then cheese melted, we dumped it on top of the bread, topped it with additional mozzarella, and baked until melty.  At this point, the whole thing weighed at least 5lbs.  Make sure to use two hands when removing from oven!

Verdict?  Long ago, while savoring some dessert nachos, we postulated that savory flavors add, while sweet flavors multiply.  Well, it tuns out the salty flavors are actually capable of exponentiating if you get enough of them together. The combination of processed sausage plus processed pepperoni plus pasta sauce plus cheese created a mutant sodium monster. We consumed less than a fifth of these before throwing in the towel for the night.  Apparently, like a fine wine and senior discounts, these only improved with age, but after leaving them out all night this reviewer was not willing to take that plunge.

This isn’t to say that pizzachos are a worthless undertaking.  Quite to the contrary, we believe that they could be much improved with some simple adjustments.  First off, something salty has got to give.  Perhaps using uncured sausage, in addition to plain canned tomatoes over pasta sauce, would be all that is needed to make these a winner.  After all, they definitely have the gooeyness down pat!

Reuben Nachos: A Nacho Patrol Original

29 May

We have much love for the Reuben sandwich and have been curious about Reuben nachos for some time; yet an extensive (2-minute) Google search revealed that only one restaurant in the US makes them, the Loco Leprechaun of Cleveland, OH.  Not having any travel plans in the area in the near future, and at the behest of our loyal readers, we decided to take matters into our own hands and create our first Nacho Patrol Original Specialty Nachos.

Fortunately for us, most of the ingredients you would use to make a traditional Reuben sandwich translate directly to nacho toppings: Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, corned beef and Russian (or thousand Island) dressing. The one point of uncertainty was the chips: no standard tortilla chips would do, as rye bread adds a distinct and crucial flavor to the sandwich as a whole.  After scouring the supermarket cracker aisle, a suitable substitution was found: caraway rye crispbread.  Much thinner than Ry-Krisp and not as dry, these looked like the optimal choice.  We also invested in some plain pita chips, as backup.

The makings of greatness

Next step, assembly.  We drained (but did not rinse) the sauerkraut, sliced the corned beef and shredded the cheese.  Breaking the crispbread into chip-sized pieces formed the bottom layer, upon which we piled a layer of everything but dressing (cheese always on top, to hold down the other toppings).  Then, repeat.  Pop the whole plate in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until bubbly.  Incidentally, this cooking time is just long enough to create, photograph and enjoy the World’s Smallest Reuben Sandwich:

Amuse Bouch

Ding!  They’re out!  The final step remains: a light, but even drizzle of Thousand Island dressing, which is much easier said than done when using a bottle.  After a few disappointing globs, we poured it onto a spoon and commenced slightly more aesthetically pleasing distribution. Et viola! The finished product:

Verdict?  While lacking in the cooler color spectrum, these were still quite appetizing to behold.  Overall, they were drier than we normally like our nachos, but that was to be expected due to the ingredient list.  The rye crackers did indeed add a nice flavor though got soggier than normal chips.  The big ingredient disappointment was the Swiss cheese.  In general, Swiss just doesn’t melt as well as your standard cheddar or jack, and therefore did not do a good job of sticking to the chips or the other toppings.  Hungry for a challenge (and more nachos), we tried to improve upon them with the second batch.  We mixed the rye crackers with pita chips for more texture and variety, doubled all of the toppings, and combined Swiss cheese with shredded cheddar for increased gooeiness. With an extra layer of dressing in the middle, these were just what the doctor ordered (us not to eat).

With a little learning curve, Reuben nachos were a delicious success!  Our first foray into making our own specialty nachos completed, we are eager to start on the next.  So many other foods to convert to nachos, so little time…