Back of the Cupboard Nachos

Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all had a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season, as did my family and I. Every year, the month of December (and for that matter, the whole year) seems to go by more quickly than we remember previously. I look around and see things that I have put off until tomorrow, and lo and behold, tomorrow is here!

I don’t know about you, but during the chaos of the holiday season, I tend to create piles. Piles of unopened mail, piles of things that need to be put away, and lists…lists of projects to be started or those to be finished. In my busy days, there never seems to be a time to catch up and finish what I have begun. My New Year’s Resolution this year is to do just that…catch up! I have spent the last week cleaning, organizing, sorting and throwing away many of the odd things that I, in my overworked (and somewhat pack rat) state of mind, thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t part with.

I actually started this current project while I was making a shopping list. Usually, I will just glance at the shelves and see what spaces are empty, and thinking that I need this or that, go out and buy it. I do so without taking into account the fact that I may already have an extra this or that in the storage closet up or downstairs. I just haven’t taken the time to look beyond the obvious! Haven’t you ever thought you needed bread, only to discover an extra loaf or two in the back of the freezer in your basement (or the like)? Once I was sure I needed baking soda, so I picked up a box… only to find three in my pantry cupboard! While having an extra on hand is not a bad idea, having several not only takes up more space, but frequently I can’t use it all before the expiration date draws near. I hereby resolve to “shop my cupboards” before I shop at the store. I’d rather keep extra money in my wallet than extra stuff on my shelves!

Speaking of looking through my cupboards, I find that the New Year is always a great time to purge them of not only outdated, but otherwise “icky” or “why did I think I needed this” items. I will occasionally buy something that sounded great on an impulse, or because it was on sale or I had a coupon, only to find it still sitting around months later. Just because something may have a long shelf life doesn’t mean it will last forever! These items should be used, given away or tossed. Here’s an off-the-wall idea…how about hosting a kitchen cupboard party? Have guests bring a bottle of wine and a grocery bag of goofy stuff from their pantries, cupboards, fridges or freezers that they no longer want or need. Lay out everyone’s goodies on a table and see what kind of snacks – or even meals – everyone can come up with. If you have even one creative person in the room, I’ll bet you will come up with some really great ideas and perhaps sample a few different wines! At the end of the night, let everyone refill their bag with the things that may still remain. What is useless to one may be precious to another!

So dear readers, my hope is that this year will be one of peace, creativity and organization!

Back of the Cupboard Nachos

(Chances are pretty good that you have most of these things in the back of your cupboard or fridge already!)

  • 1 bag of tortilla or corn chips
  • 1 can condensed cheese soup or cheese sauce mix
  • Or 1 small block of Velveeta type cheese, melted
  • 1 box rice-a-roni type side dish (any brand and flavor)
  • 1 can beans (black, pinto, kidney, etc.)
  • 1 packet of taco or chili seasoning

Also add if you have…

  • ½ onion, diced
  • Sliced olives
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream

Cook rice following box directions, substituting taco or chili seasoning for seasoning packet in the box. Once cooked, add beans if desired.

On a large platter, layer chips, rice and beans, cheese product (soup/sauce/melted Velveeta) and additional ingredients as desired and repeat layers.

Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes to heat chips and melt cheese.

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.