“People who love to eat are always the best people.” –Julia Child
We love to cook and eat outside when we travel with our RV. For us, it’s a requirement when we’re camping.
This is especially so in the warm summer months since cooking in our RV makes the rig a bit warm, just like cooking in my home kitchen heats up the house. For us, cooking outside is part of the fun. As someone that likes to cook and eat good food, it’s a “challenge accepted” as we started to plan for our most recent adventure into the woods.
One of the most simple recipes that we love and I think is tons of fun over the fire is Nachos. They are easy to make and customize to your taste. Below, I’ve used ground beef for my protein but you can use chicken too if so desired.
My Nacho recipe
One pound lean ground beef; browned until no longer pink and drained
Any Shredded Cheese you wish. We used sharp white cheddar. TIP: grate your own cheese. Pre-grated cheese has an ingredient called cellulose–or WOOD PULP–to prevent clumping. EWWW! Having a sensitive tummy, I choose to skip that unwanted ingredient and grate all of my own cheese. (No judgment here if you don’t have time to grate your own.)
Toppings of any kind: onions, black beans, green onions (scallions), jalapenos, sour cream, avocado, salsa, etc…
I haven’t purchased the store packets of taco seasonings for years. To take control of the salt and nix all the preservatives, making my own feels like a tiny bit more of the healthy way to go for tacos, nachos, or anything else I’d like to give a spicy kick to. It only takes a little time and when I make a batch, I double or triple the measurements below and store it in an airtight container so I have some ready to go for next time.
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of each; garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (to your taste)
1 teaspoon of black pepper
I mix mine directly in the container I will store my seasoning in. With all the ingredients in and top on, just give it a shake to combine.
To the ground beef that you’ve browned and drained and depending on how spicy you want your meat to be, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the seasoning mix to the beef (I usually stick to 2 tablespoons so I don’t set our mouths on fire). Also add 1/2 to 3/4 cups of water and a 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa (again, if you choose a spicy salsa, stick to the two tablespoons of seasonings–or not!). Simmer the meat until nearly all of the liquid is cooked off. At this point, you can make tacos with your meat but this time, we used it for nachos!
Assembling the Nachos
We cooked our meat over the fire in a cast-iron skillet. When the meat was ready, we scooped it out into a bowl, wiped the pan clean, and started to assemble our nachos. I’ve seen other recipes that are assembled in disposable aluminum casserole containers, which could work as well.
We started with a single layer of chips, covering the bottom of the skillet. We added an even layer of our meat and other ingredients we like in our nachos. This is the creative part so add any ingredients that you love. Since it’s just the two of us, we stopped here. This was a hearty meal for the two of us since my cast iron skillet is BIG! However, for heartier appetites or big families, you can continue to add layers of chips, meat, and toppings to the top of your skillet or if using one, your disposable aluminum pan. Be sure that cheese is your last, or top layer.
Once assembled, cover with aluminum foil and head back to your fire. We used a bit of direct/indirect heat just to warm the chips and melt the cheese. TIP: as you assemble, try to leave a little room between your last layer of cheese and your aluminum cover so the cheese doesn’t stick to the aluminum.
We topped ours with sour cream but you can use tomatoes, salsa, avocado or guacamole, lettuce, etc… Think of it as a deconstructed taco and go wild!
YUM! A dash of fresh air just makes it all taste even more wonderful.
I’d love to hear what variations you might use for our next trip into the woods!