Homemade Trash-Can Nachos Recipe

Trash-can nachos.

One of my favorite hearty, no-fork, quick & easy meals.

The church that I used to go to in South Florida, would often go out some where to lunch following service.  We’d frequent pretty much the same circle of eateries.  Sometimes it was Lucille’s Bad-to-the-Bone-BBQ.  Other times it was Wings Plus or Las Fajitas, or Little Havana, Pollo Tropical or maybe even Taco Bell.

At Lucille’s, one of my favorite things that they would order was an appetizer to share called, “Trash-can” Nachos.  You could get it topped with pulled pork meat or pulled chicken.  Beyond that, they’d throw everything in it: olives, onions, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, bell peppers….you name it.  It was good!

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Many years since then, I have never forgotten that dish.

In fact, I have made it several times for my own family and have even made it in small portions on a Girl Scout camping trip.

I love trash-can nachos because of it’s versatility AND for the simple fact that you can make it with whatever meat you want OR you can make it meatless.  You can add beans, veggies, onions and then top with cheese.  You can grilled your vegetables, keep your vegetables raw, add guacamole & sour cream as a finishing touch.. the options are endless & your own creativity is king.

For this particular batch of nachos, I wanted to whip up something quick & I mean, really quick.

My husband was headed home and I wanted to have something hot & hearty, but still light, ready when he walked in the door, and we all of the basic ingredients (can’t make it without the tortilla chips & the cheese – so if you’ve got that, then you’re good!) so this is what I went with.


1 large bag of tortilla chips

1 large bag of shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese

1 cup of chopped onion

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 cup fresh tomato, chopped

2 cups of cooked (chopped or ground) meat

1/2 corn kernels

non-stick pan spray

1 large round cookie sheet with sides*

*Every time we ordered this at the restaurant, it came on a large round pan.  Almost like a pizza pan.  I would suggest using something like a pizza pan or a round cookie sheet.  You could use a regular square or rectangular baking pan, but the round pan just has a different effect -Trust me. 😉


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Spray your baking sheet with the non-stick spray OR line with foil (for easy clean up) and then spray the foil with non-stick spray.

Layer on your tortilla chips.

Then add your cooked meat.

Now for the toppings: and your corn next, then your onions, your tomatoes, and cover with cheese.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted but not until your chips are super crispy.  (They won’t taste as good, if the chips are too dry & overly-crisp).  Remove from the oven and top with cilantro and sour cream if you have it.

I often throw a chopped avocado on top when it comes out of the oven too & then add a little mix of sour cream, salt, pepper and chipotle powder to it.  You could spoon a big glob on top or you can drizzle it.

Like I said, creativity is KING with this dish.   So, what toppings are you adding to your “Trash-Can” Nacho dish?





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