Chili Nachos

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 15 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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4 to 6 ounces good-quality tortilla chips

8 ounces grated Cheddar Jack cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups chili, recipe follows, heated

Ready-to-Go Chili Packets:

4 pounds ground beef

6 cloves garlic, minced 

Two 8-ounce cans tomato sauce 

One 6-ounce can tomato paste 

1/4 cup chili powder, or more as desired

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

2 teaspoons dried oregano 

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more as desired

Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed 

Two 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed 

1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour) or regular cornmeal 


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. On an ovensafe plate, arrange some of the chips in a single layer, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle on a good layer of cheese, then add a layer of the chili, then another round of chips, cheese and chili. Keep going until you feel you've successfully built Mount St. Nacho!
  3. Put the plate in the oven and heat the nachos until the cheese is totally melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Then dive right in and devour them.

Ready-to-Go Chili Packets:

Yield: twelve 2-cup freezer packets
  1. In a large, heavy pot, brown the ground beef with the garlic over medium heat until the beef is totally cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off most of the excess fat, leaving a little behind for moisture and flavor. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally; if the liquid level seems low, add up to 1 cup water to keep it from burning.
  2. After an hour, stir in the kidney and pinto beans. In a small bowl, combine the masa harina with 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork until it's smooth. Pour the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, then taste the chili and adjust the seasonings. Simmer the chili for another 10 minutes to thicken, then turn off the heat and let it cool.
  3. Fill freezer bags with 2-cup portions and freeze them flat for easy stacking (or freeze in other freezer-safe containers).
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