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Can You Even Call Tortilla Chips A Meal?

Quick And Easy 68

The Scenario:

Have you ever had that feeling when you are too hungry for a snack but not hungry enough for a meal? Where you need a little something to see you through the night but you can’t be bothered breaking out the pots and pans? There needs to be a word for those little snack-meal hybrids. A Sneal. A Mack. Neither of those are any good, lets keep moving.

In a restaurant there is a sometimes a blessed section on the menu marked “Light Bites” that can fulfil all of your slightly peckish desires and cultures around the world have definitely recognised the need for these micro-meals. The Spanish have Tapas, the French have Canapes and the Canadians have Poutine; but all of these foods, delicious as they are, fail to fulfil the second desperate need of people who want an intermediate food choice; the need to put in no effort. Tapas, Canapes and Poutine all take as much, if not more, work as a normal meal.

Thankfully one culture in the entire world has its act together, Mexico has graciously provided us with the perfect Sneal – nope that still isn’t working. Tortilla chips are the perfect snack-meal and I am going to tell you why. Because they can take whatever you throw at them; if you can’t be bothered at all then you just pour them into a big bowl and have at it. If you want to pretend that you are an adult who is just making one slightly questionable decision then you can throw some salsa on top, sprinkle over some shredded cheese and grill it to perfection. There is a whole world of optional extras that can go on the top to turn your $1 bag of chips into a feast fit for a king.

You Will Definitely Need:

A large bowl

A grill

You Might Need:

A frying pan or skillet

A stovetop

A chopping board

A sharp knife

A food processor

Ingredients to feed one hungry person or several people who are all pretending that they don't want to eat the whole thing themselves:

A packet of tortilla chips, salted

A jar of your favourite salsa

A packet of ready shredded cheddar and/or mozzarella. Yes, ready shredded, if we are going for a lazy meal then lets go all out.

How To Do It:

1. Place the chips in a large bowl.

2. Sprinkle salsa evenly over the top.

3. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top, taking care to cover all of the salsa.

4. Grill the whole thing until the tips of the chips are starting to brown.

That is it for the most basic option, but now it gets a bit more interesting when we get into…

Optional Extras:

Fresh sliced Jalapeno peppers, sprinkled over the salsa, but under the cheese, will give the whole meal a little bit of spice and bite.

For a cooler taste Soured Cream and Guacamole can be drizzled over the top once the cheese is melted.

To make soured cream just take some single cream and drip in lemon juice gradually, stirring as you go until it thickens to the consistency of heavy cream.

To Make Guacamole:

1. Half two avocados, skin them, rip out their stone in a manly fashion, don’t worry about smushing them a bit, they are about to get smushed harder.

2. Chop the avocado into chunks, toss it into a food processor with a teaspoon of crushed garlic, a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

3. Pulse the ingredients until they are looking like something you might dip your chips in.

4. Meanwhile, finely chop 1 red chilli removing the seeds, ¼ of a red onion and ½ of a salad tomato.

5. Mix all of the ingredients together and then pour over your chips.

To Make The Whole Thing Into Something Closer To A Meal:

1. Dice up a breast of chicken, an onion and a bell pepper.

2. Season them with the Mexican spice mix of your choice, a little Cayenne, Thyme and lemon juice usually does nicely.

3. Fry those ingredients in a pan on high heat with a tiny splash of vegetable oil until the chicken is golden.

4. Sprinkle them over the chips before adding the salsa.

If you want to get really fancy you can replace that with Cajun Blackened Prawns:

1. Grab a handful of fresh, raw tiger prawns and rinse them with cold water.

2. Toss them into a shallow bowl of plain flour and cajun spice mix. 1 tablespoon of flour to 1 teaspoon of spice.

3. Put an absolutely tiny drop of oil onto some kitchen roll and wipe the bottom of a frying pan or skillet.

4. Put that pan or skillet on a high heat, wait for it to warm up.

5. Fry the prawns for about a minute and a half on each side, they should turn black and try to stick to the pan. Don’t let them.

6. Add the prawns on top of the salsa, but before the cheese.

Other optional extras include:

Refried beans

Finely chopped spring onions

More hot sauce than is good for you

Ground beef chilli

Literally anything that you can eat can go onto tortilla chips. I’ve seen them served up with some weird combinations over the years but remember; if you make the chips soggy then the whole thing falls apart.

G D Penman writes books. He lives in Scotland with his partner and children, some of whom are human. In those few precious moments that he isn’t parenting or writing he likes to watch cartoons, play video games, read more books than are entirely feasible and continues on his quest to eat the flesh of every living species. He has worked in just about every job you can have in a restaurant and now he is here to yell at you for using a microwave when there is a perfectly good oven right there.

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