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Gluten-Free Nachos

Cheese sauce, beef, and corn... oh my!

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

Locally, some restaurants have been 'expanding' what they put on nachos. I've had and made nachos with cheese and added cooked bacon, sour cream, olives. I've also been playing around with the 3 cheese queso dip. Yes, queso is cheese in Spanish. There's lots of recipes for this and making them seems to depend on where you live for availability of ingredients.  Many of them quote White American cheese, from both grocery store and restaurant. White American melts wonderfully but it is processed, so not the healthiest cheese. From labels I've read, it has double the sodium of regular cheddars and my mouth was very aware of how salty sauce was. Another recipe had smoked Gouda cheese. Again many versions are processed not regular Gouda and double the sodium as well, but a lovely smoky flavor. Use the cheese sauce for nachos, scalloped potatoes, add to mashed potatoes, a stand alone dip - devoured, I even put it on top of a cheese lasagna.

What I do, vary as you like, what you have, but so easy for a meal anytime with ingredients sitting in the fridge after busy day at work, kids starving and something they can assemble without you. As you can see from list of ingredients, very similar to my Mexican salad, so you can do both for week night rotation. Arrange tortilla chips on jelly roll pan and sprinkle with cheese to melt in oven, or arrange chips on individual plates, sprinkle with cheese and microwave.  Then let everyone choose their own toppings, like a taco bar. 

Gluten-Free Mexican Nachos

Ingredients:

  • Tortilla chips – I like Tostitos original as they're flat and crispy and labeled gf.
  • Mexican cheese, either a mixed blend of cheeses or one of the blocks of Mexican cheese you can crumble.
  • Cheese dip (see below)
  • Cooked beef (see below)
  • Deliberately leftover, fresh corn roasted or bbq'd, niblets cut off
  • Salsa of your choice
  • Tomatoes, cut up
  • Avocado, peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes.

Cheese Dip

  • 2 cups, 16 oz, 480 ml, half and half, or whole milk
  • 8 oz, 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 8 oz, 2 c, 250 g sharp cheddar shredded
  • 8 oz, 2 c, 250 g  Smoked Gouda, shredded. Cut off any dark outer skin as it doesn't melt well
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed.
  • I like to add an Al Fresco sweet spicy gluten-free chicken sausage, skin removed, 1/4'd lengthwise and cut into small slices
  • some green of green onion thinly sliced
  • chopped cilantro if you want
  • add some pepper flakes or smoked paprika, or substitute pepper jack.  Add salsa, chopped tomatoes or roasted hot peppers to sauce
  • no extra salt

Cheese Dip Directions

1. Gently melt half and half, cheeses and garlic until smooth.  Add rest of ingredients. Add some more milk if very thick.

Beef Topping

  • Make and keep in fridge for nachos, salad, tacos, baked potatoes. Add to chili 
  • 1-1+1/2 lbs (750g) ground beef or ground turkey
  • one medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed.
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) smoked paprika or pepper flakes, Tabasco to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat a 4 cup (1 ltr)  pan over medium heat.

2. Add meat, onion, garlic and gently fry until meat is browning and producing fat.  I find with ground turkey you often have to add a tablespoon of oil to stop meat sticking.

3. Add spices and 1/4 c (60 ml) water, cover and cook for about 10 minutes over low heat. Watch meat doesn't burn and that it is cooked at end of time. Add salsa or substitute salsa for water.

Then assemble the nachos.

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