At one time, I’d make my own take on surf and turf for New Year’s Eve dinner for my parents. Usually it was broiled sirloin steak and shrimp scampi. I chose sirloin as that is the steak recommended by doctors when Dad began having some heart problems.

I’m not a gourmet cook though so for me my steak has to be well done. Sorry if I offend any of the truly gourmet chefs out there. I however want to make sure my steak is done and not getting ready to move off my plate.

The shrimp “scampi” probably isn’t quite up to gourmet chef standards either. I simply clean several jumbo-sized shrimp and cook them in a large skillet in which I have melted butter and minced garlic simmering. Sometimes I add a little white wine but not always. The shrimp is served over regular rice. Add some fresh green beans and that is what a New Year’s Eve dinner used to be at one time.

Nowadays, there’s just Dad and I and we are more likely to eat nachos and watch a football game, check to see how long we have to wait until the ball drops in Time Square, NYC, and decide whether it’s worth staying up that late.

A toast of champagne became a toast of Asti over the years but nowadays it’s rare for us to have a New Year’s toast. We’re more likely to say Happy New Year, followed immediately by goodnight before heading off to our beds.

I must say that Nachos for us is not just chips and cheese. There is also ground sirloin with taco seasoning and refried beans, not to mention lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream.

Sometimes I mix the heated refried beans with the meat mixture and sometimes I leave them separate. More often than not though I mix a half packet of the taco seasoning in with the beans. And since I usually use more than the 1 pound of ground beef called for on the seasoning package, the extra half package of taco seasoning doesn’t go to waste. I just add it into the meat.

Whether the beans and meat mixtures are mixed together or kept separate, they are dropped by spoonfuls on top of tortilla chips that I’ve spread across a cookie sheet. Then I smother it all in Mexican-blend shredded cheese (found at local super markets).

Into the oven for 10-15 minutes (until all the cheese is melted and bubbly). While the nachos are in the oven, I put out lettuce (bought already shredded in the pack at local grocery stores), tomatoes I’ve diced into squares, sour cream and salsa so that everyone can top their nachos as they like them.

With pork and sauerkraut on the menu for many people on New Year’s Day, this simple choice offers a quick but very tasty meal that works whether you’re having a houseful of guests or just a few friends. I’ve found that it is also great for Super Bowl Sunday when you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen during all the gridiron action.

Below is a recipe of how we enjoy our Nachos. Whether you choose to dine in or out this New Year’s Eve, may your New Year’s be a very happy and safe one.

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NACHOS

1 bag tortilla chips

2 (2-cup) bag shredded Mexican blend cheese or taco cheese (taco seasoning and cheese mix)

1 can refried beans

1 1/2 lb. ground sirloin

1 package taco seasoning (I use mild)

1-2 tomatoes

1 bag shredded lettuce

1 container sour cream

1 jar salsa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the bag of chips out on a metal cookie sheet.

In a large frying pan, brown the ground sirloin. Drain fat then add taco seasoning (following directions on package for amount of water) and simmer until thickened.

In a small sauce pan, heat the refried beans with a small amount of water. Stir often. The water will give the beans a smoother consistency, making them easier to drop/spread over the chips.

It doesn’t matter if you put the meat or the refried beans on top of the chips first. Whatever you’d like to do. Once both are on top of the chips, cover everything with the shredded cheese. (If 4 cups of cheese is too much for your taste, go ahead and cut back on the amount.)

Place on rack in the middle of the oven for 10-15 minutes. Once cheese is all melted and bubbly, remove from oven.

I usually cut square portions to serve. Most of it will hold together with the cheese.

You can add the lettuce and tomatoes before serving or let everyone add their own toppings.

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