Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nachos for Dinner! AND - It's on The PLAN

This is ONE serving in a big shallow 8" soup bowl.
When Walt and I were dating, we would often share a big platter of nachos for dinner.  THOUSANDS OF CALORIES, way too much fat.  Sadly, it had to end.  We missed our indulgent appy-for-dinner.

Then, I saw this amazing recipe at which sheared off about half of the calories. Here's a link to the original recipe: Mexican Makeover which first appeared in 2006.  I can't tell you how excited I was!    However, over the years, because I couldn't find the ingredients in my local stores (and I'm sorry, I am NOT mail-ordering tortilla chips), I've made many, many changes to the original recipe.  The end result is Yummy. Indulgent. Nachos.  Tastes-like-the-Real-Thing.  BUT - lower calorie and lower fat.

Now all that remains is the concept - and a very good concept it is!  Basically, you substitute 99% fat-free vegetarian chili for the taco meat and make a lower calorie, way-lower fat sauce and pour them over baked tortilla chips.  (Ignore the regular chips in the photo.  I sent Walt to the store.  This is his favorite brand, which doesn't come baked. You do it the right way and use baked chips.)

The sauce is super easy: 3 different kinds of reduced fat cheese melted in some light unsweetened, unflavored almond milk or soymilk.  I prefer almond milk, because soymilk develops a toasted marshmallow flavor when heated - not so good in cheese sauce. Almost unnoticable in this sauce, but I notice. It bugs me. You could substitute cow's milk, just keep it unflavored and low-fat.
This is going to melt into nacho cheese sauce.
So here's how to make 3 Huge servings:

Nacho Makeover
7 ounces (about half a bag) of baked tortilla chips
1 (15 ounce) can Hormel Vegetarian 99% Fat-Free Chili
1/2 cup unsweetened, original flavor Almond Milk
3 ounces reduced-fat shredded Cheddar Cheese
3 slices Kraft 2% Reduced Fat American Cheese
2 tablespoons neufchatel cheese (light cream cheese)
1 - 2 teaspoons Lousiana Hot Sauce, optional
3 tablespoons plain yogurt, optional
3/4 cup salsa
1 tablespoon sliced black olives, optional
few slices hot cherry peppers, optional

Place the almond milk, cheeses and hot sauce in a small saucepan.  Heat, stirring constantly, over medium low heat, until all cheeses have melted and sauce is smooth.  Keep warm.

Empty chili into a microwave safe container, cover loosely and heat 2 to 3 minutes on High, stirring once, or until hot.

Divide chips among 3 shallow soup bowls (or a large platter if preparing as appetizer).  Spoon equal amounts of the cheese sauce, chili, salsa, yogurt, olives and peppers over the chips.

Now, I don't know the nutritionals for this recipe, but I'm pretty sure I'm far better off eating this than the calorie-laden restaurant version.

Here's how it fits into The PLAN:
2.3 ounces grains, 3.2 ounces meat, 1.25 cups milk, 1/4 cup vegetable

My total allowables for the entire day:
5.5 ounces grains, 5 ounces meat, 3 cups milk, 2.5 cups vegetables

I feel indulged, I am properly fed.

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