Individual Nachos

I love nachos, but they don’t love me. If they did, then the platter wouldn’t be so overstuffed with deliciousness! It’s really hard to practice portion control when you’re facing all those chips.

To make my life easier, I love to make individual nachos. These handheld bites have everything that makes a nacho great: crispy corn tortilla chip, meat or beans or both, tangy salsa, cheese, sour cream, olives if you wish. They’re perfect for leftover meats like pulled pork. And, of course, they’re gluten free!

These nachos are also great for parties where you don’t want to serve a big messy platter of food. Figure three chips (or one corn tortilla) per guest, and load them up with your favorite toppings!

Leftovers: Pulled Pork Version

There are, I have learned, people out there who don’t adore leftovers. This baffles me — if it’s good enough to eat the first time, it’s surely just as good the second time. In fact, some foods are even better the second day!

When I made pulled pork for the first time (and the second and third…), I naturally had way more pork than I needed. I only buy pork shoulder when it’s on sale, and it’s generally sold in 3-pound packages at my local store. After a day in the crockpot, the pork is falling apart and so tasty. It makes a fine (gluten free) pulled pork sandwich. Just add a huge spoonful of mustardy cole slaw!

But what to do with the leftovers? Below are some options, and this week’s menu idea features a recipe for one of my favorite ways to serve pulled pork:

  • The easiest solution for leftover pulled pork is to use it as a basis for carnitas. Carnitas are typically pork cooked in lard, pulled, and then fried, griddled, or baked until crispy on the edges. You can then use them in tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or burritos (here’s a recipe for gluten-free tortillas I’m dying to try!) And don’t forget the sopes from last week — leftover pulled pork is perfect with them.
  • Or, hey!, use that leftover pork in fried rice. Super-simple, super-tasty.
  • How about pulled pork — maybe tossed with a little barbecue sauce — as a pizza topping?
  • Toss it with some potatoes, bell peppers, onion, and you have a quick hash for breakfast or dinner. Top with a fried egg to make it that much more delicious!
  • Stuff a pepper — poblano, bell, your choice — with a mix of pulled pork and quinoa (or rice). Add other veggies, like corn, as you wish.
  • Make spring rolls! Once you get the hang of working with rice paper wrappers, spring rolls take just minutes. I’ve had them with both shrimp and pork as the filling, but if you don’t have shrimp, use that leftover pork. Matchstick some veggies or shred some cabbage or lettuce. Make a spicy dipping sauce out of chili paste, or try a nice peanut sauce.
  • And, of course, you can always make yourself another sandwich. Maybe with melty cheese and roasted peppers?

How do you handle leftovers? What dish do you make just so you’ll have plenty left over for future meals?

Tip of the Week

For the nachos below, make your own tortilla chips. Traditionally, you want to cut the tortillas into six triangles; for these, cut the tortillas into thirds so they’re easy to pick up. Then season them up a bit: brush them with olive oil or spritz with cooking spray, then sprinkle a mix of salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until crispy and brown!

Menu of the Week

I like an ooey, gooey platter of nachos as much as the next person, but when faced with all those chips and cheese and salsa, I tend to overindulge. By placing all the ingredients on a single chip, I get lots of flavor while making a serious (though sometimes losing!) attempt at portion control.

These are also perfect for dinner parties or backyard gatherings. The single-serving size is easier to handle. By quartering the tortillas, you get a larger chip base. Use leftover pulled pork (or chicken, beef, or veggies), mix with shredded cheese, and bake until hot and the cheese is melted. Top with a light salsa. Eat.