Nachos, man. Cheese and chips are the perfect blank canvas for any craving that's passing through your brain, and their pile-it-on nature makes them doubly great for serving to a whole mess of people. Set up a toppings bar, use your grill to melt down a bunch of big nacho platters, and let your guests load them up with abandon.
I love making my grilled nachos on Lodge's rectangular cast iron serving griddles, but it's just as easy to make a grill-friendly "plate" from heavy-duty foil. Just tear off a large piece and crimp the edges to create a rim that keeps everything in place as the cheese melts.
Grilled Nacho Platters
Serves 8 (each platter serves 2)
- For the nachos:
(16-ounce) bag tortilla chips
(8-ounce) block cheddar cheese, shredded, or 1 (8-ounce) bag of pre-shredded cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce block) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, or 1 (8-ounce) bag of pre-shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- For the toppings (all optional; feel free to add your own favorites):
(15-ounce) can black beans, drained
Leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken
Pico de gallo
Sliced black olives
Sour cream or lime crema (see below)
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium direct heat (350°F to 400°F).
Divide the tortilla chips between 4 cast iron platters or skillets, or make 4 foil "plates" by tearing off large pieces of foil and crimping the edges.
Top each mound of tortilla chips with about 1/2 cup (2 ounces) cheddar and 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese. If you'll be adding black beans and/or chicken to your nachos, do this now so they heat up on the grill.
Place the cheese-covered chips on the grill and lower the grill lid. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, checking about halfway through to check the melting progress of the cheese.
Remove from the grill and either carefully transfer to a platter (watch out for sizzling-hot cast iron, if you're using it!), or serve the nachos straight from the skillet or foil. Top with spoonfuls of your favorite add-ons, like pico de gallo and guacamole, and eat immediately. Don't forget the napkins!
To turn sour cream into fancy lime crema, whisk 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 medium lime) into 1 cup sour cream.
Oven nachos: If you don't have a grill, make your party nachos in the oven, preheated to 350°F to 400°F.