What do you call cheese that’s not yours?

March 14, 2015 by Amy Needle

Nacho cheese! Speaking of Nachos... March Madness is here with plenty of hours ready to be spent in front of the TV. Hosting or attending any parties? Crowd pleasing dishes are always a great way to go. People tend to crave certain foods for sporting events. But are you feeling weighed down from all the heavy winter themed foods?

Sweet potato nachos are the perfect match for the next gathering. They are crunchy, tasty and a fun finger food. The toppings are endless! Make your own variation that meets your dietary needs. You can even leave the toppings on the side and let your company make their own.

My recipe shown below includes my favorite toppings:

  • Chicken
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Black beans
  • Hot sauce

Feel free to add yours! Other additional toppings (not shown) may include:

  • Sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • Corn
  • Olives
  • Other protein (i.e. shrimp or crab)
  • Jalapeno
  • Pico de Gallo

I start by making the Sweet Potato Nachos first. I figure one sweet potato per person. It may look like a lot of chips, but remember their healthy, lighter, and they shrink when baked. Also, if I’m going through the effort of making them, I will make a lot.

I found using a mandolin was the easiest way to get big even slices. The key is to have the slices be an even thickness so they will cook at the same consistency. I also use fat-round potatoes instead of the skinny long ones so my chips are larger. The nubby-end also makes for an easy hold.

mandolin

After they’re all sliced, I lay them out on paper towels to begin drying them out and help remove excess moisture. I also add salt here to pull out even more water, this way they will bake faster. You’ll be surprised how much water they contain. Then line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil, and spay with a non-stick oil of your choice. Lay the potatoes out in a single layer; some edges may over lap and that’s ok because they shrink down. I tried it once with parchment paper but felt they didn’t get crisp enough.

drying chips

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes a side. This part of the processes is somewhat ‘interactive’. Don’t leave the kitchen at this time—watch the potatoes. When they brown up on one side, flip them over and let the other side crisp up. I found it takes about 20 minutes. Because you need to watch them, I would prep the other food while you wait for them to cook.

baking chips

The first topping I cooked was my chicken. I added lots of taco-style seasonings to my chicken tenderloins before cooking. In a greased sauté pan, I slowly simmered them making them easier to shred and dice. Don’t skimp on the seasonings—this is the only time you can add a lot of flavor to them.

chicken topping

In between batches of potatoes, place the cooked ones on a plate and start the next ones on a greased foiled line sheet again. In the next series of ‘down time,’ add your other ingredients together; shred the lettuce, make the guacamole, and shred the chicken. I put all the toppings in individual bowls, so people can make their own: making a cute nacho bar/buffet station and enjoy the games!