Paleo Nachos Part Deux

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Nachos are amazing. I grew up eating them at hockey rinks all around North Dakota and Minnesota. While there was a chill in the air, the warm, canned cheese provided a comforting heat that paired well with crispy tortilla chips.

Then, I grew up and, at one point, found myself working at Chevy’s Mexican Restaurant. There, they had Fajita Nachos on the menu, which blew everything I knew of nachos out of the water. Grilled flank steak, large tostada rounds, fresh guac, pepper jack cheese, etc… They were awesome!

Even now, I love the crunch of a crisp fried corn tortilla, I’m not going to lie. However, as often as I can, I find an alternative chip option. From fried plantains, to sweet potatoes, to crispy salmon skin, the crunch is what I’m after.

Today, I improve on the original Paleo Nachos by ditching the store-bought, fried in canola oil plantain chips for some fresh fried sweet potato chips. I hope that you’ll give this one a go and that you share with your friends when you do!

I’m working on getting back in the groove after last week’s Power Monkey Camp 2.0. It was an amazing experience that I’ll be recapping on Friday with a fresh poem…

In the meantime, we’ve got the CrossFit Avalanche/Blizzard Nutrition Seminar starting this Thursday and preparation for the Double Edge CrossFit Seminar that will take place in Reno on Monday evening.

As always, there is a lot going on at Paleo Nick HQ. I appreciate you guys following my work and I hope that you are encouraged when reading what I write. I also hope that you work hard today and remember what Thomas Edison said:

“I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.”

“Keep It Paleo!” guys.

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

Super proud of this guy, who turned four yesterday. He is officially a “big boy” now…

Paleo Nachos Part Deux

Ingredient List:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, small diced (3/4 for beef and 1/4 for guac)
  • 1 sweet potato, sliced on a slight angle into thin chips no thicker than 1/8”
  • Juice of 1-2 lime
  • 1/2 avocado, roughly chopped
  • 1 tomato, small diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, small diced
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped plus 2-3 sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle paste
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or oil
  • Massie Mayo, as garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Place ground beef on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Set aside.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet with bacon fat or oil. When fat reaches 350º-375º, begin to cook sweet potato chips. As the chips cook, flip them 2-3 times until they become crispy. When done, transfer to a paper towel, season with salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
  3. When chips are done, remove fat from skillet, leaving just enough to cook the beef. Reheat pan to 350º, then, season top side of beef with kosher salt and pepper and place, seasoned side down, in the pan. Season the top side.
  4. Once meat is 1/4 cooked, add the garlic and a little more oil if necessary. Once the garlic toasts, fold it into the beef and then add the onion.
  5. While meat mixture is cooking, prepare your guacamole by combining the avocado, red onion, lime juice, tomato, jalapeño and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  6. When meat is 90% cooked, fold in the chipotle paste, finish cooking and cut the heat.
  7. To plate: divide the sweet potato chips onto two plates, top with beef mixture, and guacamole. Garnish with Massie Mayo and sprigs of fresh cilantro.
  8. Poila! Serve it up to those you love most, smile because your a Culinary Ninja and you’re keeping Nacho Night alive!!!

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

These are nachos. Regardless of how you skin them, I wouldn’t rely on any form of nachos for regular sustenance. We are putting a Paleo twist on the preparation and that is better than the alternative, but a higher concentration of veggies (preferably green and leafy) is always my recommendation.

Proteins: (8)

We have 1 pound of grass fed beef. This is 1.5 ounces per block, cooked weight. We are going to lose a little weight to cooking, so we’ll call it a solid 12oz. cooked weight, which is 8 protein blocks. Divide that into two for two plates and we’ve got 4 blocks per plate.

Carbohydrates: (7)

We have one large sweet potato. Regular sweets are 3 blocks each, but we’re going to give this one 4 blocks because it is a bit larger than normal.

We have 1 onion, which yields 2 cups when chopped. There is one cup in a carb block, so 2 carb blocks.

I am going to assign 1 carb block to the garlic, lime juice, tomato, jalapeno, cilantro and chipotle. These are all trace carbs, but add up to approximately 1 block.

Fats: (16+)

This one is a little tricky because we have the sweet potato chips that absorb an unknown amount of fat. I am going to estimate that one sweet potato worth of chips absorbs 8 fat blocks of oil/fat. So, 8 fat blocks.

I will assign six fat blocks to the half avocado that we use. There is one fat block in 1 tablespoon of avocado and we use approximately 1/2 cup, which is 8 tablespoons.

If you choose to garnish with the Massie Mayo, then you would add blocks for that. At 1/3 tsp per block of olive oil (which is what the mayo is made of), it adds up quickly. So, use sparingly with this in mind.

Balancing Act:

As you can see, this meal is pretty balanced between protein and carbohydrates, which is the important part, right? We have 2x fat, which isn’t entirely bad, depending on how much you are working out. In order to cut back on fat, you could simply spray the chips with some olive oil or coconut spray and bake them in the oven. You could also sub the bacon fat for olive, which would give you more mono fat and less conventional saturated fat, which isn’t as good for you as mono.

As I mentioned above, this is not really a staple, but something tasty and fun to throw together once in awhile. Throw in some greens and you’d be taking a step in the right direction. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to smile because you are keeping Nacho Night alive!

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