Game Day Greats

There are certain food items that come to mind when you think of football parties and tailgating. Among them are hot wings, pizzas, hoagies, chips and dip… and a few of our favorites, which are Super Nachos and Quesadillas. So that’s exactly what I made today to watch the big game (and what a disappointment it’s been so far!)

Last Sunday in the Parade supplement of the newspaper was a recipe from Iron Chef Mario Batali for Spicy Chicken and Cheddar Quesadillas, so I decided that we would put his recipe to the test. It differs in the way I usually assemble them in that it calls for ground chicken meat to which you add the spices. WOW were they good, I have to say, Mario’s quesadillas are a keeper!

Mario Batali's Spicy Chicken and Cheddar Quesadillas.
Mario Batali’s Spicy Chicken and Cheddar Quesadillas.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 (4-oz.) can diced green chilies, drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 chipotle pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 8 flour tortillas, quesadilla size
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Warm oil in cast iron skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook, breaking up meat, until no longer pink
  2. Add green chilies, garlic, chipotle, cumin and salt and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  3. Add salsa and cook until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. To assemble, top each tortilla with 1/8 of the chicken mixture and 1/8 of the cheese. Fold tortilla in half. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  5. Toast in cast iron pan over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes per side. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges and serve.

Always fabulous to serve with a topping of the Great Guacamole and a side of salsa!

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Lynn’s Super Nachos

2014-02-02 07.26.23

I have been creating Super Nachos for decades and I don’t think I ever use exactly the same ingredients from one time to the next. The trick is to make sure they don’t come out soggy, which has certainly happened in the past! To help address the soggy issue, don’t microwave the nachos! Preheat your oven to 400-450 degrees while you assemble the platter. If you choose to use ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, pork or lamb — which is what we used today), cook and crumble until done, drain off the fat and add taco or other seasoning to flavor. I also stir in some salsa for more depth.

It’s best not to spoon the salsa (or chili) directly on the nacho chips. First lay a foundation of about half the veggies you plan to use. I typically include a variety of chopped colored peppers, sliced black olives, and scallions. At this point, top with your warmed ground meat or chili. Then add plenty of shredded cheese and top with more of your veggies for color. And of course, always add a generous amount of chopped pickled jalapeños. Repeat all steps for another layer.

Pop into the preheated oven for a few minutes. Make sure to keep an eyeball on them so that they don’t burn, but the cheese is melted. Once out of the oven you can top with shredded lettuce, and add the guacamole and sour cream or serve along side of the platter.

You can also omit the meat for vegetarian nachos, or use mini shrimp or good tuna for seafood nachos.

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