Nacho Table!

Our family would be glad to have Mexican food/Tex-Mex multiple times a week. Sometimes we have a taco bar, other times these verde enchiladas, or Tostadas, or DIY Tortilla Soup, but thanks to Lucy’s TikTok feed, she requested that we make a Nacho Table. It was on her “Pandemic Bucket List”. It is a fun and memorable food experience, for sure!

The Nacho Table is a meal you eat straight from the table! No plates! (This part was very important to Lucy) You cover the table with aluminum foil, taping the corners underneath as needed. Then, pile tortilla chips along the perimeter- accessible to all the eaters. Next. top with whatever you want, but the essential is queso dip, as the warm cheese is what binds everything together and is what makes it… nachos.

We experienced it as a family, and after telling friends about it, we decided to do it again. It was even better the second time, as more people added to the fun, and shared the labor! We divided the topping prep, gathered together, and piled it all on.

On our Nacho Table we included:

Tortilla Chips

Seasoned Taco Meat (see recipe below)

Chicken

Green Rice (see recipe below)

Queso Dip (Bri McCoy’s recipe linked) or buy the yummy container from Costco, or pick up from a restaurant

Shredded Lettuce

Cilantro

Jalapeno Peppers

Sour Cream

Guacamole (click the link for recipe)

Salsa (click the link for recipe)

Favorite Green Rice

I learned of this rice recipe when I was listening to Splendid Table one day and heard Pati Jinichi being interviewed. I looked her up and found this recipe on her blog. I made it and we all loved it! The flavor and texture is superb! My only complaint is that the amazing cilantro-garlic-poblano remnants (after pushing the liquid out through a sieve) is wasted! You don’t use it in the recipe. I can’t bear to toss it, so I saved it in a jar and we ate it on a taco and a breakfast burrito in the days after. It is delicious and too delicious to trash!

Favorite Green Rice

(Adapted from Pati Jinichi’s recipe)

2 cups Mahatma Rice, white or jasmine rice

2 poblano chili peppers, seeded and cut into chunks

½ cup water

2/3 cup cilantro leaves

2 whole garlic cloves

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

2 1/3 – 3 cups chicken broth

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/3 cups coarsely chopped white onion

1 Tbsp. lime juice, or more to taste

(½ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta if you are making it as a side dish)

Soak the rice in a bowl of hot water to cover for about 5 minutes. Drain in a sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear; drain well.

In a blender or food processor, puree the chilies with the ½ cup water, cilantro, garlic, and salt until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine sieve into a large liquid measuring cup; note the amount and set aside. Pour enough of the chicken broth into another liquid measuring cup to make 4 cups liquid total- keeping the 2 liquids separate, since they are added one at a time.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the color changes to a milky white, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until slightly softened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in the poblano puree and cook until it darkens, thickens, and has mostly been absorbed by the rice, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the broth and lime juice, bring to a rolling boil, cover, and reduce the heat to the low.  Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed but there is still some moisture in the pan, about 15 minutes.  The rice should be cooked and tender; if it is not but all the liquid has been absorbed. Add 2 Tbsp. water, cover again, and cook for a couple more minutes.  Let the rice rest, covered for at least 5 minutes. Fluff rice.

Seasoned Taco Meat

This Taco Meat is Dave’s favorite to make, as it is super easy and most always have the ingredients on hand to add to the beef. It is cheaper, and without all the added sodium/other junk, as a packet of taco seasoning.

3 pounds ground beef

2 large onions, chopped

2 cups water

5 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Add water and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until the water is evaporated, about 15 minutes.

If you are looking for a fun meal to put together with friends and want a new twist on a Mexican meal, you should try it! Or if you are just needing a new delicious rice dish I highly encourage you to give this Green Rice a try!

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