Loaded Dinner Nachos (with a “neat” vegetarian option)
Feel free to use the recipe below as a framework, omitting toppings you may not care for and adding extra of the ones you do. One big platter works well for a group appetizer, but for an easy, casual family dinner, I like to prepare on individual plates. The recipe is very easy to divide into two or four plates. Black beans are another delicious option. You may add a cup or so, rinsed and drained, along with the salsa mixture.

Yields 4 dinner-size servings or 10-12 an appetizer.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef or 1 package neat (see notes)
  • Homemade taco seasoning blend (may substitute 1.25-ounce store-bought packet; see recipe link and notes that follow)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8-10 ounces tortilla chips
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese (plus extra for topping, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions or minced yellow or red onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped avocado
  • Optional toppings: Salsa, guacamole, Greek yogurt or sour cream, chopped cilantro


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir together the salsa, water, and taco seasoning mixture. (I recommend using the no salt version when using neat, as it is already seasoned.) Set aside.
  3. Over medium heat, brown the neat or ground beef. Add the salsa mixture, stirring to coat. Simmer the neat mixture for another minute or until the moisture is absorbed, If using ground beef, simmer for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mixture is thickened. (This will prevent soggy tortilla chips later.)
  4. Arrange the tortilla chips in a single layer on a large oven-proof baking sheet or platter or on individual oven-proof plates. Evenly distribute the cheese and then the neat or meat mixture. (I like to get a little on each tortilla chip.) If you like extra cheese, you may sprinkle another layer on top.
  5. Bake for approximately 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  6. Evenly distribute the remaining ingredients, serve with toppings of choice, and enjoy!


  • When using neat, first mix as directed on the package with 2 tablespoons of water and 2 eggs. Then sauté in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 7 minutes, crumbling as it cooks. You may use the original flavor or substitute the Mexican option. If using the latter, you may omit the taco seasoning or include for a more intense flavor.
  • When using a store-bought taco seasoning packet with neat, I recommend a low or no-salt option as neat is already seasoned. For my easy homemade version, see the link that follows.

More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com