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Weeknight Cooking: Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso

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Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso on www.virginiawillis.com

Nachos are a go-to weeknight dinner in our home when the day has been a bit more crazy than usual. What’s not to like? Nachos are quick and easy – a few vegetables and perhaps a bit of protein tossed in a hot skillet, all topped with a bit of cheese, and you’re good to go. They’re positively craveable. The trouble is that nachos can tip into unhealthy territory pretty quick. And, if you’re on a low-sodium diet, that can be even more challenging. What’s the trick into keeping them out of the junk food category? Flavor!

Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso on www.virginiawillis.com

Key to Flavor

I have a family member who requires a low-sodium diet. As a result, we learned early on that the key to satisfaction without salt is to amp up the flavor in other ways – zesty warm spices, tangy citrus notes, and a nice balance of sweet and heat. One of my favorite ways to give food a little zip is to use Creole seasoning. I use it on chicken thighs, pork chops, turkey tenderloin, and seafood. See, I was born in Georgia, but I spent my entire elementary school-age experience in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Growing up in Louisiana had a huge impact on my palate. Mama didn’t know many people when she moved there, so she set out to explore her new home via local cookbooks. This set me on a path to understanding and learning about different foods. I grew up with our family attending and hosting crawfish and fresh-from-the-Gulf shrimp boils. Mama also cooked different kinds of gumbo, jambalaya, etouffée, and red beans and rice. More often than not this had her reaching for a container of Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning.

Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso on www.virginiawillis.com

 Spice it Up!

In honor of February and Heart Health Month, I’ve partnered with Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Cuisine to celebrate its brand new No Salt Seasoning Blend and created a recipe for Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso. Often when I make nachos, I simply sprinkle the cheese on top of the chips and pop them in the oven. What takes nachos over the top? Queso! In this recipe for Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso, I double down on the bold Creole flavor by sautéing the sweet onion, earthy poblano pepper, and tender shrimp with the Tony Chachere’s No Salt Seasoning Blend and using a heaping tablespoon in the creamy queso sauce.

Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso on www.virginiawillis.com

How-to Make Nachos

The key to nacho toppings is that all the bits of goodness are the right size for the chips. Consequently, the onion and poblano are diced and I use small shrimp instead of larger shrimp so they’ll fit on top. You could use larger shrimp and dice them, but why pay more for larger shrimp that you then have to chop? (I generally keep a bag of frozen sustainable wild American shrimp in the freezer. They defrost quickly and are great for a quick weeknight supper such as these nachos.) I sprinkle the Creole-spiced shrimp and vegetables on top of the chips, then pour over the Creole-spiked queso.

Creole Nachos with Creamy Queso

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You could stop there, and simply eat them straight off the baking sheet, but let’s give these nachos a little Creole-inspired lagniappe of sliced sweet peppers, jalapeno, and scallions. Pop them in the oven just long enough to heat things up all the way through. Then, just before serving scatter over a handful of freshly picked cilantro leaves. Oh-so-good!

And, by using Tony Chachere’s No Salt Seasoning Blend, reduced sodium chips (you could use reduced sodium baked chips, too), low fat milk,  Monterey Jack, a low-sodium cheese, lots of vegetables, and a judicious amount of shrimp – you’ve got a heart-healthy weeknight supper in about 20 minutes.

To try Tony Chachere’s No Salt Seasoning Blend – and all their other great spices, marinades, and seasoning blends – visit TonyChacheres.com.  Readers, friends, and fans can use the code VIRGINIAFREE15 for Free Shipping on purchases over $15! 

Bon Appétit, Y’all!

Virginia Willis

 

Creole Shrimp Nachos with Creamy Queso on www.virginiawillis.com

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Disclaimer: When there’s an appropriate mutually beneficial opportunity I partner for sponsored blog posts. In full disclosure, I was provided product to work with by Tony Chachere’s for recipe development and compensated for this blog post and its social media promotion. 

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Copyright © 2018 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.

 

 

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.)

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Julie Chrisley with her cooking -- but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Virginia is a chef instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen and author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at www.virginiawillis.com.

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