chicken-less nachos

Matt and I have been married almost 4 years now, but as much as I love living with him, there are many times when I still miss living with my parents.  For example, the threat of tornadoes headed our way (again) this afternoon makes me miss my parents’ finished basement with nice couches and a TV.  Guaranteed, I do have a finished basement, but right now we have antique rocking chairs piled on top of our tacky flowered sectional and have to use my laptop in order to keep in eye on the storms during tornado warnings.  I especially miss those couches when the sirens go off at night – I would much rather sleep through a tornado than freak out about them the whole time.

Tornadoes and a nice basement aside, I still miss some of the dinners my parents would prepare for my brother and I on a regular basis.  Dinner was always a big occasion in our house – the TV was off and we’d all sit down and enjoy our meal together.  I don’t ever remember having a bad family dinner in my 22 years living with them.  I still love going over their for dinner, with 2 additional spouses and soon, a baby!

I’ve already declared my love for my dad’s chicken speidini and made my own vegetarian version of the delicious meal.  However, that is just one of several of my favorites.  Of course, they are all meat-based dishes, so I don’t eat them ever.  Another one of my favorites is probably one of the easiest meals to prepare and is done in 30 minutes or less.

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CHICKEN-LESS NACHOS
Serves 4.  As my mom says in her recipe, this is a great dinner or appetizer for a crowd, and especially popular with teenagers – you can tell I loved this when I was in high school!

1 cup refried beans or pureed black beans
1/2 cup salsa
Tortilla chips (about 2-3 ounces)
1/2 package Match Ground Chicken Without The Meat
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Green onion, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

If you are using black beans, puree them in a food processor until almost smooth (you can leave a few chunks if you want).  Combine beans and salsa until thoroughly mixed.  Thaw the Match Chicken in the microwave until it can easily be “shredded” with your hands.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with tortilla chips (I always use the end of a bag so they are pieces instead of full chips, but that is up to you).  Spread bean + salsa mixture on top of the tortilla chips.  Layer the now-shredded chicken on top of the beans and top the entire dish with cheese.  You can add green onion to the top if you like, but if you are not an onion person, it tastes just fine without it.

Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

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This could easily be made vegan by substituting soy cheese for the cheddar.  You can even leave off the fake chicken if you would like too – it tastes fine without it, but the little extra protein never hurt anyone!  Of course, if veg isn’t your thing, feel free to make this as meat-friendly as you choose.

The leftovers with this recipe aren’t great the next day, as the chips get a little soggy, but that really doesn’t bother me ever!  I’ve never made this as an appetizer since I feel like it is more of a casserole, but maybe I will have to try that sometime.  I also think this would be great topped with sour cream or guacamole – never done that either, but you can’t go wrong when guac is added to anything!

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Definitely one of my all-time favorite recipes, and a go-to when I need a meal on the table fast.