Nachos may be the absolute best way to get melted cheese into your mouth. (Okay, props to grilled cheese, too.) But the sad liquid “cheeze” product served on movie theater nachos is like, such a downer, man. Plus there isn’t even anything RESEMBLING a veggie on those neon orange things! (Oh boy, I’ve done it now, I’ve mentioned neon orange. I swear this post is not political!)
First of all, where did nachos even come from, and how on EARTH did they get to be so very, very sad?
The Origin of the Nacho
It’s honestly not as exciting as you’d even think, because nachos, as much as we think of them as being Mexican food, were invented to appease a bunch of American military wives. Nachos were indeed invented in Mexico, just barely across the border from Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass, Texas. In 1943, several of the soldiers wives had ventured across the border to Mexico to get some retail therapy, and as people do, they got hungry. And just like Americans, they arrived at a hotel after the restaurant had closed and probably whined to the maître d about how hungry they were. So the man, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya cut some corn tortillas into wedges and fried them before topping them with cheddar cheese and pickled jalapenos (apparently all the kitchen had available at the time), and nachos were born!
The liquid cheese sauce wasn’t a thing until 1976 when Frank Liberto poured liquid cheese on prepared tortilla chips and marketed them at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and hence, “ballpark nachos” were born.
One of the Worst Foods at the Theater
Movie theater nachos contain about 59g of fat and 18.5g of saturated fat, which is more than 90% of your recommended daily value! That’s INSANE! And they don’t even TASTE that good, people!
So what do we do to freshen up the nacho recipe and make it fit into a healthy lifestyle?
SWEET POTATO NACHOS, baby! I’ll show you how to make better tasting, healthier nachos for under 500 calories.
Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Nachos
Sweet, savory, salty and spicy all in one manageable healthy bite? Heck yeah! Sweet potatoes are delicious, nutritious, and so healthy even bodybuilders eat them regularly! I decided to start off with the biggest sweet potato I could find.
I sliced it about 1/8″ thick, skin on, and laid it out on a cooling rack sprayed with olive oil spray. Then I tossed the slices (okay, I gingerly slid the racks) into the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes.
I’d gone ahead and seared the chicken in a cast iron skillet until no longer pink and then cooled, so all I had to do was cut it into small pieces. I tossed it with some Frank’s Red Hot to give it that spicy buffalo flavor. Then to complete the dish, I sliced black olives and scallions, plus grabbed some Mexican blend cheese. The components of my dinner were ready for assembly! (Yes I ate nachos FOR DINNER!)
I gathered up the sweet potato “chips” into overlapping bundles then layered buffalo chicken and cheese on top. I popped them back into the oven for 5-10 minutes until all melty and gooey. Last, I sprinkled on the scallions and olives for a bit of cool freshness.
Guys, these were SO GOOD I doubt I’ll ever eat “normal” nachos again. It took all of my willpower to not inhale the entire thing in about 30 seconds flat. If only you could get nachos this good at a real movie theater. But you know what you CAN do? You can join Brett, Nicole and David from Geek Cinema Society as they watch films that are considered seminal pieces of geek culture and discuss them, all while enjoying your own incredible nachos, right?! Right!
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cooled
- 3 tbsp Franks Red Hot
- 1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
- 8 large black olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup scallions, sliced thin
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash and dry the potatoes, then slice them into 1/8" slices along the longest side so you get the most surface area.
- Spray the slices with cooking spray then lay out on an oven safe cooling rack so no two pieces overlap.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges are browned. You'll need to watch carefully so they don't burn. The slices should be cooked through and slightly crispy but still malleable. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Chop the cooked chicken breast into small pieces and toss with the Franks Red Hot.
- On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, gather the sweet potato "chips" into a pile so they overlap slightly and top with buffalo chicken, cheese, black olives and scallions. Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melty, then they're ready to enjoy!