Clean the Cupboard Nachos

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Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw
Elegant Edibles Catering

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!

Since we are facing snowy, cold days (and lake effect snow warnings…YUCK!), now seems to be a good time of year to clean, organize and purge myself of last year’s piles! Piles of unopened mail, piles of things that need to be put away, piles of holiday stuff and update your lists…not just shopping lists, but those lists of projects to be begun 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. These snowy days seem tailor made to force me to keep my New Year’s Resolution this year, which is to do just that…catch up and get organized! I have spent the last week cleaning, organizing, sorting and throwing away many of the odd things that I, in my over worked (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 thus, 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 down stairs, 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)? I was sure I needed baking soda, so I picked up a box, only to find three in the back of 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 (New Year’s resolution #1!) 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Speaking of looking through my cupboards, I find that the New Year is always a great time to purge them of not only outdated, but otherwise “icky” or “why did I think I needed this” items.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 I bought because it was on sale or I had a coupon, only to find said item still sitting in my cupboard months later. Just because something was a hard to pass up deal, or may have a long shelf life doesn’t mean thst I need it, nor will it last forever! These items should be used, given away or tossed! Why clutter your cupboards with things you don’t need (or never really needed in the first place). Here’s an off the wall idea…how about hosting a “Purge the Pantry” party! Have each guest bring a bottle of wine and a grocery bag of goofy stuff from their pantry, cupboards, fridge or freezer that they no longer want or need. Lay out everyone’s goodies on a table and see what kind of snacks –or even meal- 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 maybe sample a few different wines! At the end of the night, let everyone refill their bag with the things that may still remain. Remember…what is useless to one person may be precious to another!

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


Clean the Cupboard Nachos

(chances are pretty good you have many of these things in the back of your cupboard or fridge, but if not, don’t hesitate to get creative and add whatever you have on hand!)

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

Also add if you have…

  • ½ onion, diced
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced jalapeno or banana peppers
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa

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

On a large, oven safe platter or baking tray, layer chips, rice and beans, cheese product (soup/sauce/cubed Velveeta) and additional ingredients as desired (except lettuce) and repeat layers.

Bake at 350* for 10-15 minutes to heat chips and melt cheese. After removing from oven, top with lettuce, diced fresh tomatoes, and additional cheese, if desired.


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.