Another Superbowl is in the bag, party cleanup is done, and thanks to the generosity of our guests, we have about 10 bags of leftover tortilla chips. Now I am a true Texan and chips and salsa practically runs through my veins, but even I am hard pressed to eat 10 bags of chips in the standard chip-and-dip fashion before they go stale. So, I’m pulling out some easy, tasty and family-pleasing recipes using tortilla chips to finish them off.
1. Dinner Nachos! This easily takes care of one bag. I just divide the bag among plates (large pasta-style bowls work, too), top with taco-seasoned ground meat or fajita meat, add cheese and melt it under the broiler or in the microwave for a few minutes. Then finish off with a sprinkling of the usual suspects, diced tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, diced avocado or guacamole, and jalapenos for the adventurous.
2. Taco Salad! The same ingredients as above, but in different proportions. Fill plates or bowls with shredded lettuce, tomato and avocado, top with taco or fajita seasoned meat, add shredded cheese, dot with sour cream (and/or guacamole), and line the edge with a generous helping of tortilla chips. Serve with your favorite salsa for dressing or try my flavor twist, ranch dressing.
3. Tortilla-Chip Soup! I discovered this secret out of desperation years ago when when making tortilla soup. I reached for a some white corn tortillas — these are a staple in my fridge and the thickener for my soup base — and found that I was out. I grabbed a half-full bag of tortilla chips, crumbled them into my soup, crossed my fingers and waited to see if they would melt in and thicken the broth like my trusty tortillas. Voila… the soup was perfect, and the chips added a toasty flavor that I didn’t get from tortillas. To make this savory soup, just whip up a basic chicken and vegetable soup (I use leftover roast chicken, chicken broth or bullion, onions, carrots, corn, and celery) then I add a dose of garlic powder and cumin, a can each of diced tomatoes and diced green chiles, then crumble in several handfuls of corn chips (soft corn tortillas work too!). Simmer until the veggies are soft and the corn chips have melted to make a hearty broth.
4. Mexican Lasagna… *ahem* Casserole! Any layered Tex-Mex concoction appearing in my house is now officially known as “Mexican Lasagna,” thanks to a very clever nephew who dined with us years ago when I whipped up a yummy King Ranch Chicken. But Mexican Lasagna… Casserole… whatever… is another way to use up leftover tortilla chips. There are many variations, so I’ll just point you to a few of my favorite recipes online:
Tortilla Chip Casserole
Chicken Dorito Casserole
5. Oven-Baked Crispy Tortilla Chicken Strips! Another meal with several variations on a theme. Here are two recipes I’ve used and both are good, but I think the Spicy or Nacho Doritos version is my preference (especially when dipped in Ranch dressing – yumm!), and using mayonnaise in the coating adds a richer flavor than just milk and egg. But try both if you need to use up those leftover chips and see what you think!
Recipe for plain chips: Crunchy Tortilla Chip Chicken Fingers
Recipe for Doritos (with the mayonnaise in the coating): Dorito Chicken Taco Fingers
If you have a great idea for using up those leftover chips, please share it in the comments! Happy Cooking!