Mark Bittman’s bubbling “nachos in reverse” are a cheesy dinner dream

When it comes to meal planning, I’m firmly on the side of Oliver Putnam from “Only Murders in the Building.” Give me dips for dinner.

Give me hummus. Give me frijoles puercos. Give me elote. If I can drag a chip through it, it’s all I want to eat.

Why regulate the best food in the world to party snack status? Shouldn’t any night of the week be a dipping good time?

While there’s an abundance of terrific recipes and ideas in Mark Bittman’s newly revised “How to Cook Everything Fast,” I lost my heart first to his chile chicken and bubbling cheese. Because you know what’s even better than cheese? Bubbling cheese. And when a dish is described as “a little like nachos only in reverse,” the only thing to do is make it tonight.

In Bittman’s rendition, ground chicken gets sautéed with onions, chiles, garlic and chopped tomatoes, then bronzed under a thick layer of Oaxaca cheese for a dish you can scoop into chips or spoon into tortillas.

I’ve streamlined it a little with pre-shredded cheese and canned chiles, as well as substituted ground turkey because I think it’s more flavorful. And because good tomatoes are in short supply this time of year, I’ve used cherry tomatoes for a more winter-appropriate experience.

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You can, of course, add or swap out your own preferred ingredients here. All that matters is you’re going to wind up with a fast, flavorful dish that goes hard on the melted cheese factor.

I made this on a recent evening after a rough day of blood work at the doctor, and I felt comforted and fortified after only one bite. I can’t guarantee it will fortify you in the same way, but I do know there aren’t too many days that can’t be made better with cheese and chips for dinner.

* * *

Inspired by “How to Cook Everything Fast: Great Food in 30 Minutes or Less” by Mark Bittman

Cheesy Turkey “Reverse Nachos”


 4 servings

Prep Time

 10 minutes 

Cook Time

 15 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (or more!) canned hot green chilies
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large, oven-safe skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the turkey to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.
  4. While the turkey cooks, slice the onion and add to the skillet. Give everything a stir now and then.
  5. Peel and thinly slice the garlic, then add to the skillet and stir.
  6. Add the tomatoes and chilies. Stir in the cumin. Stir a few more minutes, until the meat looks just browned and the tomatoes are wrinkled and softened.
  7. Take the skillet off the heat and cover generously with the cheese.
  8. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbling.
  9. Remove from the oven and top with a squirt of fresh lime. Serve straight from the pan, on a thick kitchen towel, with tortilla chips or warmed tortillas.

Cook’s Notes

I would make this meatless by substituting black beans for the ground turkey.

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easy, breezy weeknight dinners

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