some recipes – Super Awesome Nachos and my Chicken Schnitzel

There are certain things I don’t order in restaurants, purely because I have my own way of cooking them, and restaurants tend not to cook them the same and I get disappointed. These dishes include risotto and Nachos.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really cooking it properly, or if my recipe is so far from the traditional that it can really be called what I call it anymore. That’s what’s happened to my nachos recipe over the years. Are these really nachos anymore? Regardless of what it should be officially called, I refer to them as Nachos. Or when I add the extra bits, Super Awesome Nachos.

Essentially my Super Awesome Nachos are nachos with a salad thrown on top. I have heard these referred to as haystacks, but I like my version better because it sounds cooler.

Anyhow.

SUPER AWESOME NACHOS:

here they are, all naked before I put the extra bits on.

Beef/Bean mix:
I usually make this with only beans, however I know Gary prefers it with some meat in it. This mix was used the night before for burritos and I threw some extra beans in to top it up. if you want vegetarian, omit the beef and increase the beans. When using all beans I tend to smoosh some of them up a bit for added texture

500g Mince (usually beef, feel free to substitute turkey mince, chicken, go crazy!)
1 can red kidney beans.
1 onion, chopped (I like it chunky)
garlic (however much you like. I like heaps.)
1 reasonably sized capsicum, cored and chopped.
Fresh or dried chilis (to taste)
Cumin seeds
(a dash of) cinnamon
cayenne pepper
fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped. – I used a 500 ml preserving jar full of whole tomatoes, so maybe one can or 2 big fresh ones?
Fresh/dried oregano and basil.

Optional: grated carrot and/or zucchini. I tend to put these in the full vegetarian version for a bit more texture and flavour.
I also threw in a bit of homemade tomato sauce at the end.

Other stuff you need:
Corn chips
Avocado
Fresh tomatoes (this week I used cherry roma. Oh My Nonexistant Deiety! amazing!)
lime
sour cream
lettuce, shredded.
cheese, grated.

how to make beef mix:

1) sautee onions, garlic, and chili in a bit of olive oil until starting to soften. Heat oven to 180 degrees. Or if your oven is like mine and is lame as hell, heat to 200 degrees.
2) brown beef with the onions, garlic, and chili.
3) add beans, capsicum and tomatoes.
4) add cumin, a dash of cinnamon, and however much cauyenne pepper you like. Don’t overdo it though. it’s better to add a little then have to add more then to try and fix it when there is too much. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5) simmer till thick enough. Add the basil and oregano.

Next part is to assemble the nacho section.

put a layer of corn chips in an oven proof dish. Add half the been mix, then top with half the Cheese. Repeat. if you want, you can put a bit of paprika onto the top of the cheese, just because. Bake this in the oven till cheese is melty and it’s looking like it wants to be eaten.

Meanwhile, back on the kitchen bench:
Shred lettuce. Chop avocado and tomatoes. Slice the lime in half. Mix the avocado and the tomato together and squeeze some lime juice over it. Open the sour cream.

Fetch the nachos from the oven, top with lettuce, avocado and tomato mix, and dollops of sour cream.

Nom.

they may not be pretty but they are delicious.

My other recipe (as advertised by my post title) is for my chicken schnitzels.

simple but delicious

First, a word on chicken. I use only certified free range chicken if I can help it. I don’t even really think about it much. If free range is not available, I don’t buy chicken. I guess it comes partially from my upbringing where we raised our own chickens to eat and although that isn’t an option for me right now I’d like to support a meat industry that is the most ethical one we can access at the moment. I understand there are issues with the definition of free range, however when given a choice I guess it’s the lesser of two evils approach that I’m taking.

Also, with eggs, I don’t buy free range eggs from a company that also sells cage eggs. I choose to send my money to companies that only sell free range eggs. Again, we are working on setting up our own chook yard so we can raise our own and provide for our own food. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to support the most ethical practices I can.

So now that I’m off my high horse, here’s what I do with those delicious free range chicken breasts.

Chicken Schnitzels:
Free range chicken breasts (1 per schnitzel desired)
panko breadcrumbs (I prefer the texture on the Panko crumbs. For those unfamiliar, check the asian section of the supermarket.)
cornflour
free range eggs (one will generally do two schnitzels)
herbs – I tend to use fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley. In summer I use basil.
salt and pepper
olive oil.

1) wash, pat dry, and finely chop herbs. Mix with the panko crumbs. Also mix in some salt and pepper and spread them on a plate or another dish to dip the schnitzels in.
2) organise three plates/Dishes. the first has the cornflour, the second the beaten egg(s), the third the panko crumbs.
3) beat the breasts with a meat mallet/tenderiser until thin enough.
4) heat a frying pan with some olive oil. When hot, begin the schnitzel process.
5) take a flattened breast, lightly coat it in cornflour, then beaten egg, then then panko crumbs, ensuring even coverage.
6) place in frying pan. Cook a few minutes either side. You may have to add some olive oil or it will not look lovely and golden brown when done.

if you need to cook in batches, place cooked schnitzels in an oven at 100degrees, placed on a rack over a tray. This should keep them hot and crispy without them sitting in oil.

I like to dish these up with steamed veg and some gravy. This night I made steamed broccoli and mashed sweet potato with paprika.

Variations: try Basil, lemon thyme and lemon rind, or basil, parsley and parmesan.

and finally, here’s Gary enjoying my epic Super Awesome Nachos:

By the way, we shared that dish. I know it’s huge. It was split between us.

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