So, Monday night was the BCS National Championship game, or the Superbowl of College Football, basically. I used to not care about that stuff, seriously, I went to High School football games to hang out with the band. Later I saw a college game and amused my section greatly by screaming out, "THAT'S NOT NICE!!" at two scholar-athletes who had tackled a third in a particularly ungentlemanly fashion. However I did enter into a mixed marriage, since I am Roman Catholic and my husband is a Football Fan, so I learned at least the fundamentals of the game and picked a team to root for and now I watch college ball, SEC in particular and the very rare pro-game. I'm not into fantasy football nor do I even particularly think about football when it isn't in season; sort of like strawberries. Anyhow since "my team" wasn't in the game last night, I basically still didn't care, but it was a big SEC rivalry game so I thought up a menu that was game-worthy.
Nacho Mama's Nachos -- I had two open bags of semi stale chips. These make a terrific bottom layer for nachos since they sort of re-crisp in the oven, but never get shatteringly crispy which can make nachos hard to eat. Cover a 9 x 13 cookie sheet (baking sheet) with the chips. Add a protein to the top, seasoned beans, refried beans, cooked shredded chicken, seasoned ground beef or turkey or TVP. Cover all with cheese and bake at 350, till cheese is melted and chips starting to brown.
Now let your imagination run wild, as we top it with shredded lettuce, homemade guacamole, salsa, and our old stand-by plain yogurt (in place of sour cream). My husband requested (and received) a small bowl of that velveeta and chili dip to off-set all of the wholesomeness. Your favorite toppings might include anything from salsa verde to chipotle BBQ sauce to ranch dressing here.
Tonight's dinner was actually meatless in lieu of having a meatless Monday.
Cheese Potato Soup
Saute in a stock pot with butter and olive oil (olive oil only for vegans) some onion and celery, let it sweat and hit it with a heavy pinch of kosher salt. To this add a quart of your favorite veggie broth and let that all simmer together. Meanwhile, skin and chop about 4cups of potatoes. Add those potatoes to the broth, bring up the heat and let them boil/simmer (your choice) until they are cooked. Take the pot off the heat and finely grate some cheese of your choice into the pot (I used some colby jack because I had it on hand), 1/4 cup at a time, hit it with an immersion blender after each addition of cheese and blend until smooth. Mix about 1 cup of milk with 2 teaspoons to 1 TB of cornstarch, add in several spoonfuls of the soup to the mixture before adding it to the pot. This dissolves and activates the corn starch as a thickener and binder as well as tempers the milk, mix in well with the immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) and then serve with or without soy bacon bits, salad and bread.