Happy Cinco de Mayo! Sorry for being MIA the past week (or so)…I have been preoccupied with life! Last week I drove to Grand Rapids for few days for a work conference, the next day was my sister-in-law’s rehearsal dinner, then Saturday was her WEDDING! She looked absolutely stunning and the service was beautiful!
I was a bridesmaid in the wedding so I don’t have many pictures (bummer) but I’m happy I was able to contribute to making their day special! I can’t wait to see the gallery from her photographer who was incredibly organized and talented. The wedding ceremony refreshed memories I have from my own wedding, and I couldn’t stop looking at my husband while the happy couple were reciting their vows. I may have even teared up once or twice…but don’t tell anyone, okay?
That brings me to today…my birthday!
The celebrations began yesterday with my family over dinner and cake (thanks, Heather). I left work a few hours early today because I believe that birthdays are the personal equivalent of a national holiday…other people will catch up soon I’m sure. While we didn’t do anything extravagant, all I really wanted was some extra, uninterrupted time with my husband and dog. And maybe some dinner. And some cake. Check, check, and check.
Mexican food was the obvious choice for dinner due to my love of the cuisine and the impending holiday. I’m fairly confident I was born loving Mexican food. We have been into nachos lately which may have something to do with the gigantic bag of fresh tortilla chips that were hand delivered by a local “tortilla factory” who responded to a Craigslist add for our old countertops (random, right?). The tortilla chips are perfect for nachos because they are thicker than traditional tortilla chips and surprisingly sturdy; this quality comes in handy when you pile on meat, cheese, veggies, and more cheese.
Note: Check labels to make sure taco seasoning and chips are gluten free if avoiding gluten!
- 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
- taco seasoning packet (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
- 3 c. corn tortilla chips
- 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 lime
- 1/2 c. light sour cream
- 1/4 c. prepared salsa
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a skillet brown the ground beef breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. I have been really into grass fed beef lately; it tastes infinitely better than conventional ground beef.
Once browned drain the fat, if needed, and add drained black beans. Next, sprinkle the taco seasoning mix and add 1/4 c. water if it looks dry.
In a casserole dish spread a layer of tortilla chips (about 1 1/2 c. or so) then sprinkle liberally with shredded cheese.
Use a slotted spoon to drain as much liquid as possible while you add half of the meat and bean mixture on top of the tortilla chips followed by another layer of cheese. Add the rest of the tortilla chips, the remaining meat mixture, and remaining cheese.
Top with diced tomatoes and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is gooey and melted.
While the nachos are warming through mix the “special sauce”: stir together sour cream and salsa. Expecting something more elaborate?
The sauce is incredibly simple and the perfect condiment to balance the heat from the taco seasoning!
Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and score the flesh with a knife in a criss-cross pattern.
Spoon the diced avocado into a bowl and immediately squeeze with the juice of 1 lime to prevent it from turning brown.
Remove the nachos from the oven and place directly on the table. Top with diced avocado, “special sauce”, and extra tomatoes, as desired.
There are so many flavors, textures, and temperatures going on here! YUM!
Disclaimer: Nachos are not fancy food…they are dig-in-with-your-fingers-and-get-messy-comfort-food. And that is exactly what we did…plates optional! I’m fairly certain this amount of nachos would feed 4 adults comfortably…it was way too much for the two of us but we gave it a good effort anyway.
We rounded out the birthday fiesta with one of my favorite summer beers…I am one happy senorita! Enjoy!