Maya-Ik Pulled Chicken Nachos

I must admit, I can be hard to motivate. Oh, sure, I’m great at starting things. But once the initial shininess wears off, I often have trouble following through to the end. Yes, I know this is a common malady, and as a part of the internet generation I am hardly alone in having the attention span of a particularly intelligent goldfish. So when something needs doing, something that requires a long investment without immediate payoff, each of us needs to find ways to motivate ourselves.

Personally, I am motivated by food. I can get myself to do pretty much anything if there’s a delicious meal at the end of it. So when I decided to start running, going to the gym, and just trying to get into shape for the first time of my life, food became a useful tool towards accomplishing my goals.

This takes many forms. Sometimes it’s as simple as glass of chocolate protein milk as a reward for getting my ass to the gym. Seriously, I would have started working out a long time ago if I knew it could be used as an excuse for adults to regularly drink chocolate milk. Other times it means a greasy burger from Shake Shack or Five Guys. But frequently it means cooking myself something tasty.

Usually this happens on the weekend. I go for a late afternoon run, build up a solid appetite, then cook something and ravenously devour it. But when I run after work on a weeknight, I don’t have time to cook something complicated. Last night I went for a great six mile run, while my good friend Ira Glass whispered stories in my ear. During the run, my hunger increasing, I thought about what I could quickly assemble when I got home.

Luckily, I had just received some inspiration earlier that day. A certain friend of mine who shares my love for very flavorful hot sauces had tipped me off to a US distributor of Maya-Ik, a thick green hot sauce from Guatemala that goes great on eggs and pretty much everything. Its tag line is “Make your food come alive!”, which I assume is a reference to some kind of Mayan zombie apocalypse. I immediately ordered 4 bottles of it, and that afternoon the package arrived with my spicy bounty.

So I knew my dish had to include Maya-Ik, and I didn’t want it to be complicated or time-consuming. Obviously I had to make nachos.

Keep in mind that speed and simplicity were top priorities here. Prep was 15 minutes, then another 15 in the oven, then nachos. If I really went all-out, I would make fresh salsa, and include other toppings like beans, sour cream, and green onions. But that can wait for the weekend, on this night I included only the essentials.

Since I didn’t have time for salsa, I went with the next best thing: grape tomatoes. Cut into halves or quarters, they are easily scoopable. Sliced jalapenos are a nachos staple, although you may want to remove the seeds, depending on how masochistic you are. And of course I got a shredded Mexican cheese blend, although cheddar works just as well.

I believe all nachos should include a protein, whether it’s pork, chicken, or beans. I went with chicken, which I cooked on the stove top while prepping the veggies. All it needed was a little bit of salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil.

Once done, I put it in a bowl and shredded it with two forks.

With my veggies chopped and my chicken shredded, the only thing left was to layer everything and heat it up.

I don’t know about you, but I find the worst part of eating nachos is when the top layer is gone, and you’re down to pretty much a plate of chips. You try to find that one chip with a drop of cheese that managed to escape to the second tier. To avoid this, I double-layered the nachos.

One chicken breast was only enough chicken for the top layer, but the veggies, cheese, and hot sauce were put in both layers.

I slathered these chips in Maya-Ik. No, really, I went through a third of a bottle on this one dish. Depending on what hot sauce you have and how much of a capsaisin connoisseur you are, you may want to use less.

I’m happy to say these chips (along with a cold beer) provided me with quite a bit of motivation to continue getting into shape. Of course, I may have to run a bit further to make up for all that cheese, but one step at a time…

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bag tortilla chips
  • 1/2 container grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2-3 jalapenos, thinly sliced into rounds (optionally with seeds removed)
  • 4 oz (1/2 bag) shredded Mexican cheese blend (or cheddar)
  • Maya-Ik hot sauce, or another flavorful hot sauce, to taste (I used around 2 tbsp)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil

Directions

  1. Put a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Fully cook the chicken breast (approx 10 minutes). Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides.
  2. While the chicken cooks, slice the tomatoes and jalapenos, and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. When the chicken is done, put it in a bowl and pull it to shreds with two forks.
  4. Layer the ingredients in a square glass baking dish: chips, tomatoes/jalapenos, chicken, hot sauce, cheese. Repeat the layers.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Eat delicious nachos!
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~ by kilbasar on July 20, 2012.

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