Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chili Frito Pie

It's been one busy week. One busy, busy, busy week. Seriously, I don't know how I'm still standing. I worked 7 days straight through, on a holiday weekend no less. I made 150 mini cupcakes for a friend's sister's wedding. All the while attempting to entertain two kids, two mini dachshunds and a husband. Whew, it's been a busy, busy week, I don't know how I'm still standing.

This crazy, easy, gross, awesome, delicious, "I can't believe I ate that!" recipe is so fitting for the kind of week I've had. It has just 3 ingredients if you want to keep it simple but the possibilities for variation are endless. It takes all of 2 minutes to throw together and the leftovers are even better. It's the world famous Chili Frito Pie. 

Chili Frito Pie exists in the same realm as Tuna Casserole, Hot Dish, Funeral Potatoes and Tater Tot Casserole. That strange niche in the culinary world of oddities that tend to show up a Pot Luck dinners.  You put a little on your plate, just to be polite. Then you sneak a taste and despite all your pre-conceived notions, it's delicious. Just DON'T ASK WHAT'S IN IT! You don't really want to know, do you? But seriously, try this if you dare.

Here are the 3 basic ingredients: Frito's or corn chips - I'm attempting, feebly, to somehow make this less unhealthy by going organic and natural. I'm not deluded into thinking it actually has any healthy merits, but secretly I do feel better., Chili - canned, homemade, whatever., Cheese - I like cheddar, use whatever you like and have on hand. There aren't really any proportions for this, you just have to "go for it" and adjust to your hearts content.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and then grab an 8x8 pyrex dish or something similar. Crush up a handful or two of corn chips and cover the bottom.

Next add a hearty layer of chili. This was a whole can.

Now shred some cheese on top of that. I like A LOT of cheese. This is about 4 oz.

Repeat with another layer of crushed chips, another can of chili and about 4 more ounces of cheese.

Pop it into the oven for about 20 minutes. Until it is heated through and all the cheese is melted. You should see the chili bubbling a bit. Then let it set for about 10 minutes before serving.

I like mine with a simple dollop of sour cream. Gross. . .oops, I mean delicious. Seriously, it is strangely good. You can up the ante with some sautéed onions or jalapeños before cooking. After it's cooked you can top with sour cream, scallions, chopped fresh tomato or shredded lettuce. Try it, I dare ya!

Chili Frito Pie
1 10oz. bag corn chips
2 15 oz. cans chili
8 oz. shredded cheese

Layer all ingredients in an 8x8 casserole dish, starting with crushed chips and ending with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Allow to set for 10 minutes. Garnish and serve.

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