Puffy Tostada Chip Nachos with Chicken and Cheese

Puffy Nachos with Shredded Chicken and Cheese Sauce

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Puffy and slightly crispy corn chips topped with shredded chicken then drizzled with a creamy cheese sauce.

Cliff Notes:
– Make masa dough and let rest 30 minute before pressing or rolling into rounds and cutting into “chips”, deep fry at 375° until they puff up, drain and sprinkle with salt.
– Cook chicken with spices and seasonings, shred, and add some of the cooking liquid to flavor.
– Heat evaporated milk, add in grated cheese tossed with corn starch, and jalapenos.
– Assemble nachos.

Make It Your Own:
– Vary the toppings – use seasoned taco meat, fajita meat, chorizo, etc.
– Use Monterrey jack cheese with peppers instead of cheddar
– Add extra toppings such as sour cream, sliced jalapenos, black olives, tomatoes, green onions, and/or salsa
– Instead of cutting the dough into chips, leave whole and make puffy taco shells.
– Don’t plan on leftovers … neither the cheese sauce nor the chips reheat well.

Simplify It:
– Instead of making the cheese sauce, simply top with grated cheese and melt under the broiler
– Use packaged seasoning or sauce mix for cooking the chicken

In every family, there are iconic foods – meals that are guaranteed to evoke cheers and cause all family members to show up for dinner if there is any glimmer of hope the food will be on the menu. Our family’s iconic foods include chicken fried steak, pork schnitzel, homemade pizza, and these puffy nachos.

I was first introduced to this glorious food when my husband and I were dating and he took me to Caro’s on Bluebonnet Circle in Fort Worth. Instead of the requisite basket of boring tortilla chips that all Mexican restaurants serve, Caro’s brought out baskets of steaming, crispy-on-the-outside & soft-in-the-middle tostada chips. I was immediately hooked. A couple of visits later, I discovered they used these same chips to make nachos, and my life was never the same.

I tried many times to replicate the pillow-y goodness of these at home. The bad news was that I had a lot of failures; the good news was that even the failures were delicious! But luckily, on our final visit to Caro’s before we moved up to Washington state (and before they closed their doors), they graciously took us back to the kitchen and showed us their secret for making them – fresh masa and hot oil that gets spooned over the tops of the chips as they fry. A few months later, when the Caro’s craving hit, I took a deep breath and tried again. Success!!! I was able to recreate them almost perfectly, in spite of the fact that I couldn’t find fresh masa.

While I always encourage everyone to create your own deliciousness, for me, the magic formula is shredded chicken, refried beans, cheese sauce, sour cream, and a pickled jalapeno.

After making each component, build the nachos:
– Single layer of puffy tostada chips (don’t stack them on top of each other)
– Shredded chicken
– Cheese Sauce
– Additional toppings

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