Cinco de Mayo has always been a great day to celebrate traditional Mexican foods, but Cinco de Mayo has also become a celebration of Mexican – American culture. This year I decided to celebrate by making my own version of a really popular street food Tot-chos (Tater Tot Nachos). While neither Mexican, or American, Tot-chos seem to be what America is all about. Take the best tasting traditions from each culture and mix it together to make something even more delicious.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a few medium bowls, a rubber spatula, a large sauté pan, a small sauté pan, a knife and cutting board, a baking sheet, the stove and the oven.
If you are not allowed to use a knife, stove or the oven by yourself, you can ask an adult for help.
ChefElla’s Tot-chos (about 4-6 Servings)
2 lbs. Frozen Tater Tots, Waffle Fries, or French Fries
1 lb. Ground Beef, Lamb, Pork, Turkey, Chicken or Meatless Meat Crumbles
1 pkg. Taco Seasoning (your favorite kind 1.25 oz.) I use low sodium seasoning.
Pico de Gallo (If you don’t feel like cooking you can buy your favorite 16 oz. salsa at the store)
2 Cups Roma Tomatoes, Small Diced (about 4 medium tomatoes)
½ Cup Onion, Small Diced
½ Cup Green Pepper, Small Diced
2 tsp Garlic, Minced (about 2 large clove)
1 Tbl. Cilantro, Minced (about 1/8 cup of leaves)
1 Tbl. Lime Juice, Fresh (about ½ lime)(if you do not have fresh you can use 1 tsp bottled)
½ tsp Salt, Kosher or Sea
¼ tsp Black Pepper
Nacho Cheese Sauce (If you don’t feel like cooking you can buy nacho cheese sauce at the store)
2 Tbl. Butter, Unsalted
2 Tbl. A.P. Flour (If you are gluten free you can use GF flour or other flour)
1 ¼ Cup Milk, Whole or Skim
6 oz. American Cheese
1 Tbl. Green Chili, Roasted, Minced
-If you do not want to buy a can of roasted green chili you can substitute, green tabasco, hot sauce, or cayenne pepper. Add to your taste.
¼ tsp. Salt, Kosher or Sea
Optional Tot-cho Toppings: Black Olives, Scallions, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Bacon, Pickled Jalapenos, Shredded Cheese, Shredded Lettuce, Chopped Onions, Black Beans
3. Preheat oven to the recommended temperature to bake your tater tots. Place the tots on your baking sheet and bake for the recommended time. When the tater tots are nice and brown they are ready to serve.
4. To make your fresh Pico de Gallo, prepare and mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
5. While your tots are baking, heat your large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add your ground meat and break it apart while it cooks. Continue to mix and break the meat into smaller pieces as it cooks. When the meat has only a little bit of pink color left, add the taco seasoning, and the recommended amount of water and finish cooking the meat according to the seasoning packet directions. Remove from the heat, cover the pan to keep the meat warm for later.
6. To make your cheese sauce. Heat your small sauté pan on medium heat. Add the butter to the pan. When the butter is melted add the flour to the pan and mix well so the flour is incorporated into your butter. Cook the butter flour mixture called a Roux (pronounced roo) until the roux turns a nice blonde color. Add the milk to the roux and mix well so there are no lumps. When the sauce begins to bubble add the salt, green chili, and cheese and mix well. Continue to mix until all of the cheese has melted. Set your cheese sauce aside for later. If the sauce begins to thicken you can reheat on the stove on low heat or reheat in the microwave.
7. Heat your large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add your ground meat and break it apart while it cooks. Continue to mix and break the meat into smaller pieces as it cooks. When the meat has only a little bit of pink color left, remove the meat from the pan, and set aside for later.
8. To make your Tot-chos, start by putting your tots on the bottom of a plate or bowl and then top them with your taco meat, nacho cheese sauce, Pico de Gallo or your favorite toppings.
This is a great way to spice up your regular taco night and is also good for movie night, game night, or watching the big game.
ChefElla’s helpers can help by:
Measuring the ingredients
Washing the vegetables
Mixing the cheese sauce
Building their own Tot-chos
Older helpers can help by:
Preparing the vegetables
Cooking the ingredients