Last week I was neck deep in my childhood as I offered dips and salsas for Dip Week. I know this is weird, but doing the dips made me think of Sunday afternoons watching football with my family. That made me think of Frito’s® and that made me think of Frito Pie.
Now, when it comes right down to it, Frito Pie is basically a chili with beans, topped with Frito’s® and shredded cheese. So, what’s not to love, right? And Mom always set out the bag of chips with dinner so we could have extra.
Just a side note: for years I had to have Frito’s® with any ground beef chili. I’d use them to scoop the chili like a dip and, to me, it was like scooping little gobs of heaven and dropping in my mouth. When I started doing a more traditional Chili Colorado, the chips gave way to tortillas. Also, as many of you know, I don’t do beans in my chili all that much… just for the occasional huge vat for get-togethers with LOTS of friends. Doing this recipe gives me the chance to relive my childhood and slam down some chili and Frito’s®!
One other thing before we get started: I do this recipe with ground beef, but you could also use ground chicken, turkey. For a real treat, make it with buffalo!
Now… let’s get started! Good thing I bought an extra bag of Frito’s, because I’ll probably eat about half a bag while I’m making this!
1 lb. ground beef (or chicken or turkey)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
1 can pinto beans (14.5 oz.)
1 can black beans (14.5 oz.)
1 can diced green chiles (4 oz.)
1 can Mexican corn (11 oz.)
2 cups or more Frito’s® corn chips
2 cups shredded Mexican or Taco cheese blend
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Brown beef until all pink is gone, about 7-8 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. I usually add about a pinch of each.
While beef is browning, finely dice half an onion – white or red, never yellow. Chop up the jalapenos. If you want a milder version, leave out the seeds.
Add onions, garlic and jalapenos to ground beef and continue to cook until onions have softened, about 4-5 minutes.
Add chili powder and cumin and continue to cook for another minute. This lets the spices open up and get to know everything else in the pan.
Rinse both kinds of beans, then add to the pan. Add the tomatoes and corn, too.
Check for taste and add another good pinch of salt and pepper if desired.
Let everything cook together for another ten minutes or so, which is enough time for everything to get happy.
Pour everything into a 9×13 baking dish or equivalent. I like to use a deep dish pie plate because it goes with the whole “pie” thing.
Remove from oven and top with a generous layer of Frito’s®. Sprinkle more cheese on top. Return to oven and bake another 5-10 minutes until the extra cheese has melted.
Top with chopped fresh cilantro if desired (it’s worth it!) and serve immediately with more Frito’s®. You can also serve with sour cream and perhaps more sliced jalapenos for your friends who like to live dangerously.
You’ll notice in the photos that you can easily do single serving portions. The difference is normally that you don’t bake it. Just put some Frito’s® on a plate, in a bowl or other receptacle, pour some of the meat mixture over the top, then shredded cheese and any other toppings you like.
If you’re friends are anything like mine, they’re going to love this little bit of childhood, and you can expect fights over the Frito’s® if you didn’t get enough. That’s why I recommend two bags. I also suggest you put a bowl of extra shredded cheese on the table, because most people I know will want more.
Have fun with this one, and don’t forget:
Play with your food!
Did you like this recipe? What recipes would you like to learn? Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts! (And don’t forget to LIKE this post!) Share it using the tiles below.