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Winning nachos got start from taco recipe

Wed., April 18, 2007

The fresh, cool flavors of lime-marinated fish and cheeses made at Washington State University won over judges in this year’s Inland Northwest Healthy Nacho Recipe Contest.

Ann Yanecek’s Ceviche Nachos will be featured on the Downriver Grill menu starting Saturday through Cinco de Mayo. Chef/owner Jonathan Sweatt, one of the judges in the contest, said eating the nachos conjured images of a sunny patio and a cool drink.

Yanececk said she created the winning nachos by starting with her recipe for fish tacos, which her husband loves, after reading about the contest.

Michelle Weinbender, registered dietitian and contest judge, applauded Yanecek’s use of fish and black beans as a lean protein sources, vegetables and fruit and reduced-fat cheese.

The ceviche – also spelled seviche – is a popular appetizer in Latin America. Marinating raw fish in citrus changes the protein structure of the fish – the acid “cooks” it, firming it and turning it opaque, according to the “Food Lover’s Companion,” by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Yanecek suggests tilapia or halibut for her dish. Use the freshest seafood possible.

For people who are vulnerable to foodborne illnesses – children under 5, pregnant women, those age 60 and older or those with an impaired immune system – Yanecek’s recipe can easily be modified by cooking the fish. It can be baked, broiled, steamed or grilled until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. It will look opaque and flake easily with a fork.

The Washington State University cheeses can be purchased at several stores in Pullman, including Ferdinand’s and both WSU bookstores. It is also available at the Washington State University Bookie in Spokane, 410 E. Spokane Falls Boulevard. Or, it can be ordered online at

Heartier recipes featuring lean pork loin cooked in enchilada sauce and a chicken nacho recipe placed second and third respectively in the competition. Eric Olson was the runner up with his Lean Pork Roast Nachos. Ann Staley combined chicken with a popular Cowboy Caviar recipe for her third-place win.

The contest was sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Washington and the Downriver Grill.

Here are the recipes:

Ceviche Nachos

From Ann Yanecek, of Deer Park

For the ceviche:

2 pounds tilapia or halibut, cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)

3 jalapeños, seeded and diced

Juice of 6 limes

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

For the guacamole:

2 avocados, diced

2 tomatoes, seeded and finely diced

1 small sweet onion (or 1/2 large one) diced

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 cup low-fat sour cream

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the black bean salsa:

1 can black beans, well drained and rinsed

2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced

1 cup frozen white corn, thawed

1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, well drained

1/4 cup cilantro

1 bag tortilla strips

8 ounces Washington State University Viking cheese (or any good Monterey Jack)

8 ounces WSU Crimson Fire cheese (or any good pepper jack)

Combine the ceviche ingredients in a nonreactive dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Combine the guacamole ingredients and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

To make the black bean salsa: Combine beans, jalapeños, corn, pineapple and cilantro. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

On a large round platter, arrange tortilla strips around outside edge. Drain the fish, and spoon on top of the chips on the inner edge.

In the space left in the center of the platter, place the avocado guacamole in one half, and the black bean salsa in the other half. Sprinkle the cheeses over entire platter, serve and enjoy.

Note: Yanecek prefers tilapia over halibut, as it has not been over-fished and it does not require feeding with other fish that are being over-fished (not predatory). This makes tilapia an excellent “farm raised” choice of fish, she says.

Yield: 18 six-ounce servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 320 calories, 18 grams fat (6 grams saturated, 48 percent fat calories) 20 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrate, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 3.5 grams dietary fiber, 405 milligrams sodium.

Lean Pork Roast Nachos

From Eric Olson of Spokane

1 pound extra-lean pork loin roast

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh cracked black pepper

Salt, to taste

1 (15-ounce) can enchilada sauce

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 (16-ounce) can black beans

Juice from 1 lime, divided

2 fresh basil leaves

4 Roma tomatoes, diced into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

1/3 cup fresh minced cilantro

8 ounces white corn

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Salt, to taste

1 (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans

Corn tortilla chips

1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Avocado, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/4 cup sour cream

Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Roll an extra lean pork loin roast in fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the roast. Allow about 1/2 of sauce to remain in the bottom of the pan. Roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue cooking until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from oven. Cut into lengths no longer than 2 inches and pull the meat apart into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Fire roast red and yellow bell peppers. Clean, peel and slice into bite size strips. Set aside.

Soak black beans in the juice of 1/4 of a fresh lime. Dice 2 fresh basil leaves and add them to the beans. Set aside.

To make the pico de gallo: Dice 4 Roma tomatoes into 1/4-inch cubes. Add green onions, cilantro, white corn, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the juice from 1/4 of a fresh lime. Salt to taste. Set aside.

Plating the nachos: Using a 16- to 20-inch oven-proof platter, spread fat-free refried beans in a 2- to 3-inch ring around the edge. Drain the black beans of all juices (retain the diced basil). Sprinkle black beans on top of the refried beans. Cover the center of the platter with corn tortilla chips. Add a layer of shredded pepper jack cheese. Add a second layer of chips. Cover with a layer of cheddar cheese. Cover with a layer of pork meat and bell peppers. Add a final layer of the two cheeses mixed together. Roast the entire platter until all of the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven. Cover the entire surface with the pico de gallo. Garnish with avocado slices, sour cream and sprig of fresh cilantro.

Yield: 20 six-ounce servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 300 calories, 15 grams fat, (6 grams saturated, 45 percent fat calories), 16 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 41 milligrams cholesterol, 4.7 grams dietary fiber, 515 milligrams sodium.

Cowboy Caviar Chicken Nachos

From Ann Staley of Spokane Valley

1 cup Cowboy Caviar (recipe follows, see note)

2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 cup pepper-jack cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

1 (10-ounce bag) Tostitos “light” tortilla chips

1 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup black olives, sliced

1/2 cup tomato, chopped

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

1/4 cup jalapeño peppers, sliced

1/8 cup chopped cilantro

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine chicken, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and chili powder. Let stand. Blend cheeses together in a large bowl. Set aside. Spray medium sized frying pan with nonstick spray. Cook chicken mixture over medium to high heat 5 to 10 minutes until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat.

To assemble the nachos: Place a single layer of chips on oven-safe platter or cookie sheet. Top with 1 cup of cheese mixture. Place another layer of chips on top of cheese and top with 1 cup of cheese mixture. Place chicken on top and place remaining 1 cup of cheese mixture on top of chicken. Place in oven 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven. Top with Cowboy Caviar, sour cream and garnish with olives, tomato, green onion, jalapeño and cilantro.

Note: The Cowboy Caviar can be prepared fresh or up to two days in advance.

Yield: 14 six-ounce servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 365 calories, 24 grams fat (8.6 grams saturated, 57 percent fat calories) 15 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 42 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams dietary fiber, 570 milligrams sodium.

Cowboy Caviar

1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained

1 (12-ounce) can shoepeg corn, drained

1 avocado, diced

1 Roma tomato chopped

2/3 cup cilantro chopped

2/3 cup green onion, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.


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