Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pinto Bean and Cheese Nachos -- Low Fat


Cheese Nachos don't sound like a low-fat treat do they? The way they serve this dish at most restaurants, it's not low-fat at all. But with the right ingredients at home, this can be a really yummy, and filling, and healthy dish-- I served it for dinner and it was really a treat. This recipe will likely make it back to my buffet on Superbowl Sunday. If you're watching your fat grams, you will love having these because you don't feel like you're sacrificing anything.

The first step in building your nachos is choosing low-fat chips. My grocer sells some really good ones near the produce section. I can't think of the brand (in an orange paper sack), but they really are low in fat and they come in both yellow and blue varieties. Finding a low-fat chip is not as hard as you think -- look in the organic foods department of your grocery store if you can't find a low-fat variety in the chips aisle. If all else fails -- bake your own.

The second step is making your own beans -- these are so easy don't even think about buying ready-made. The beans are the bulk of your flavor so you want good ones. And these are really low in fat, so they are better for you.

The other toppings on the nachos are really negotiable. My family likes my salsa, which is so easy to make, but if you have a favorite bottle, go ahead. And the cheese I use is low fat, but if you're not watching your fat grams carefully, go for a nice full-fat sharp cheddar, or even a Mexican Queso Blanco. The guacamole, you may say, is fattening. And you'd be right in some respects. But the fat in avocado is good fat -- monounsaturated -- the kind that can actually improve cholesterol levels. It's also high in potassium and folate, which is good for growing babies (in utero), and for lowering cholesterol. Plus, they are a good source of fiber, so go for the guac!

The recipe is written to serve to a group, but if you are feeding your family each a plate, divide up the ingredients among each plate.

Low-Fat Bean and Cheese Nachos (low fat)

low-fat corn tortilla chips
1 T. canola oil
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained
low fat cheddar cheese (4 - 6 oz.)
1 cup bottled salsa (
or my recipe below)
1 c. guacamole (my version below)
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
juice of half a lime
low-fat or fat-free sour cream

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add pinto beans, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes. Partially mash bean mixture with a potato masher until slightly thick.

Place a layer of chips on a serving plate. Sprinkle with cheese, heavy or light hand depending on your taste. Heat in the microwave until cheese is melted (or in a 450 degree oven if your plate is oven-safe). Spoon bean mixture evenly over tortilla chips. Top with salsa, sour cream and guacamole, or serve those in bowls on the side. Sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze on the lime juice.



1 can tomatoes and chilies (like Rotel)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 red or sweet yellow onions, cut in a few big chunks
1/2 lime
Cilantro to taste (optional) (I use about 2 T.)

Place garlic and onion in food processor bowl with metal blade. Pulse until onions are in small bits. Drain about half the juice of the tomatoes and place tomatoes and remaining juice in food processor bowl with garlic and onion (the level of heat in salsa depends on how much juice you add -- more juice = more heat). Squeeze 1/2 lime over tomatoes, add cilantro if desired, and then pulse until tomatoes are in small bits -- do not puree. Salt to taste, pulse a few times, then taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.



2 ripe avocados
3 heaping tablespoons salsa
3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
Cilantro to taste (optional)

Peel ripe avocados and break into chunks, removing pits; place in a medium bowl. Spoon salsa on top, add garlic, toss in cilantro to taste (if desired) and squeeze lime over the top. Mash with a potato masher, or the back of a fork, until guacamole is creamy, but not pureed (there should still be small chunks). Salt and stir, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.



Sarah said...

These look delicious, Barbara! I can't wait to make them. My family really likes nachos, but I usually steer clear of the way my DH makes them ;-) These, however, seem right up my alley. Perhaps my own special plate for the BIG game ... Too bad the Vikings won't be playing, though =(

Renee said...

Ohhhh-la-la! Any time is nacho time! And I agree hands down some forms of this plate are high fat and down right bad for enormous calories. I love your version, drooling here. I want some! :) Oh, and avacado is a great fat, included in that famous flat belly diet, so it HAS to be good for us, right? Yum! Yum! Yum!So great Barbara! My kind of delicious. <3

Barb, sfo said...

Hello, Super Bowl Sunday! I'm definitely going to be making these. They look great. I like the "baked" Utz tortilla chips.