Nacho problem

Take a deep breath and make some nachos

It’s been a big week in the US. A week that has us flexing our patience muscles like little else. We’re waiting for every last vote to be counted and nervously anticipating the fallout of the election results, while doom-scrolling social media and refreshing news apps. Ya know, good ol’ fashioned fun! On Instagram, earlier this week, I asked what everyone would be making for dinner on election night and answers ranged from “Scotch. Just scotch” to “extra garlicky Caesar salad and a martini”. But I realize now how shortsighted that was. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

As of this writing, we’re still in it. But even when we know, we’ll need to lean on a food that is equally comforting and potentially celebratory. Few foods hit both marks, but one that inarguably does is the humble nacho. Nothing buries your problems in cheese while also begging to be paired with tequila like a tray of nachos.

Herein, my five favorite ways to craft a sheet pan of nachos fit for these times. (All of them should be topped with my favorite simple guacamole.)

First, This Bon Appetit guide takes nachos as seriously as they deserve. Tips like separating hot and cold ingredients (i.e. you don’t want fresh herbs or sour cream to bake with the nachos in the oven, those stay cold) and some key words on layering (“One layer of chips and toppings is good. A double layer is better.”) Master these basics and you’ll be ready to experiment to your heart’s content.

Second, from Delish, a nacho cheese sauce you weren’t sure you needed. (You do.) If you’re going to make nachos, go all the way. Shredded chicken or ground beef, shredded cabbage or romaine lettuce, none of those preferences matter the way your nacho cheese sauce does.

Third, you’ve learned to walk and now you’re ready to run. Enter Serious Eats and their Korean nachos. Don’t be intimidated, don’t look away. Get the good sirloin, sauté the kimchi, and ok use the wonton wrappers or store-bought tortilla chips, that’s up to you. We’re talking sour cream with lime (classic) and gochujang (not). Fantastic.

Fourth, a healthy-ish version from Food52 to sort of reel in the indulgence (or save it for dessert). Shredded chicken and black beans replace ground beef and refried beans, plus when I make these I add thinly sliced radishes on top so it’s basically a salad.

Fifth, from TheKitchn, an important guide to making chilaquiles, which is Spanish for “breakfast nachos” (no, it’s not). These are the perfect hungover breakfast, can be served for dinner (with tequila, of course), or for lunch when you need a break from yelling at or with Rachel Maddow.


Next Friday’s newsletter will answer the questions posed in this Instagram video about Thanksgiving. I’ll bring recipes for greens that aren’t salads, fresh takes on stuffing, Thanksgiving cocktail ideas, fun starters, and some focaccias to replace dinner rolls (no offense to King’s Hawaiian).

Have questions for me? Are you staring down a different kind of Thanksgiving this year and not sure what to make? There’s still time—leave me a comment!

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Laugh to keep from crying.