Thursday, May 22, 2008

Carnitas Nachos

TV Night Carnita Nachos (fairly low fat!)

One of the perils of living alone or with one person, is that you have a lot of leftovers. If I make something, it's going to appear several times in a week. This week it was a pan of roasted carnitas.

My friend Liz and I were talking today about our memories of Taco Bell, particularly mine, and leaving the high school campus with my boyfriend on the noon hour in his Camaro, going to Taco Bell for lunch. That was a thrilling thing for me on so many levels. This was 1976. I was a teenage spaz. Having a boyfriend (even though he came out of the closet years later) was a really important thing. He had a great car, I'd never been to a Taco Bell, going out to lunch and not eating in the cafeteria felt so REBEL-like and grown-up at the same time, plus, other students saw me coming and going in his Camaro. That meant a lot.

What's sad, actually, is that when I was in high school in the mid 1970s, this was a "treat" event -- going to Taco Bell. Otherwise, it was the school cafeteria and the ladies, or you went home for grilled cheese and tomato soup. You didn't buy fast food on campus from vending machines. There was no Pepsi machine, no candy bar machine. There was a snack bar of course, open for twice a day for 15 minutes, and one hour over lunch. You could buy a snack or two, a candy bar, but it wasn't something you could get any minute of the day.

Twenty years later, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell battled to be sponsors of school lunches, soda machines became normal, treats were all day every day if the kids bring it or buy it, and obesity among teens went off the charts. There seemed to be no special occasion anymore. It seems to turn into this free for all. What you want, when you want, as much as you want. I'm not a parent, but, I'm still very encouraged by the schools who practice mindful eating (so long as they don't take it overboard and ban all peanut butter, for instance) and really focus on healthy cuisine.

Boy, I'm really digressing. So, talking about high school lunches with Liz today made me think of Taco Bell Lunches and I had some carnitas, so ...


1. Handful of tortilla chips in a small pan
2. A handful of my own leftover roasted carnitas crisped in a saucepan, and then added on top of the chips
3. A big spoonful (maybe 1/4 cup) of non-fat veggie refried beans, heated quickly with additional spices, because they were not only fat-free, they were flavor free
4. One slice of sharp white cheddar cheese, broken up into bits
5. Heated the whole she-bang until she bubbles
6. Topped with the dregs of a container of Trader Joe's cilantro dip (added a bit of FF milk to make it thinner and go further)
7. Topped with some creamy tomato salsa

Voila! Carnita Nachos.

I think my favorite part was the creamy salsa. I actually don't care for hot sauce or hot salsas. I had a bit of TJ's fire roasted salsa and it was okay, but a little sharp. I had a spoonful of FF Greek yogurt. Rather than dollop the yogurt on top (to stand in for sour cream), I mixed it right into the salsa, with a small chopped tomato. This took away the heat and made it creamy salsa and I liked it SO much better. It's pink!

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