Chi-Chi's Nachos Grande copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Chi-Chi's Nachos Grande

Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
Reviews: 2
  • $0.00

Menu Description: "Seasoned beef, refried beans and cheese." 

Marno McDermott was a successful Minneapolis restaurateur, opening a chain of Mexican restaurants in the seventies called Zapata's against the advice of skeptics who said he would never be able to sell Mexican food to the large population of Scandinavians in the area. Marno proved them wrong then, and once again in 1976, when he partnered with Max McGee, a former Green Bay Packer football player, to open the first Chi-Chi's in Richfield, Minnesota. The restaurant was built inside a deserted Kroger grocery store and became instantly famous for the intensely flavored and larger-than-usual portions of food. To keep volume high, Chi-Chi's designed a custom computer-driven system that clocks every aspect of service from the time each server enters an order to when the order is placed in front of the customers. Special attention was given to the design of the menu items as well, with each dish taking no more than nine minutes to prepare, even during the rush hours. 

At the restaurant you can order the Nachos Grande with beef, chicken, seafood or a combination. This recipe will show you how to make the beef and chicken versions.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

Get This

Beef Nachos Grande
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (Spanish blend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 8 "restaurant-style" corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 1 large red jalapeno (or green)
Chicken Nachos Grande
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 large red jalapeno pepper (or green)
On the side
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
Do This

Beef Nachos Grande
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Use a spatula or fork to crumble the beef into small pieces as it cooks. When you no longer see pink in the meat, drain off the fat.

3. To the meat, add the chili powder, salt, dried onion, paprika, and water, Simmer over medium/low heat for 10 minutes.

4. If you are going to prepare your own tortilla chips, do that following the instructions in "Tidbits" while the meat is simmering.

5. Heat the refried beans in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

6. Mix the two cheeses together in a small bowl.

7. Arrange the tortilla chips on a baking sheet or an oven-safe ceramic plate. Spread about a tablespoon of refried beans on each chip.

8. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of spiced beef onto the beans on each chip. Press down on the beef to make a flat surface for the cheese.

9. Carefully pile a small handful of cheese on each chip.

10. Sprinkle a pinch of the diced onion over the cheese.

11. Place a slice of jalapeno on top of the onion.

12. Bake the chips for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve with your choice of sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side.

Chicken Nachos Grande
1. Combine the lime juice, water, oil, liquid smoke, vinegar, and garlic. Add a little salt and pepper and marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 2 hours.

2. Grill the chicken on your preheated barbecue or stovetop grill or griddle for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done. Dice the chicken. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

3. Instead of refried beans in the previous recipe, spread 1 tablespoon of salsa on each of the eight chips. Sprinkle some chicken over the top and build the rest of the nacho the same way as the beef version: cheeses, onion, then a jalapeno slice.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and additional salsa on the side.

Tidbits: If you want to make your own tasty tortilla chips, buy some 6-inch corn tortillas and cut two of them twice—like a small pizza—into 4 equal triangular pieces (making a total of 8 slices). Drop the tortilla slices 4 at a time into a frying pan filled with about 1/2 inch of oil that has preheated over medium heat. Chips should bubble rapidly and will only need to fry for 30 to 45 seconds per side. They should become a bit more golden in color, and very crispy. Drain the chips on a rack or on some paper towels. Salt to taste. <

Serves 2 to 4 as an appetizer.

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May 3, 2014, 22:00
Just like the ones I used to get here in Huntsville, AL. I said "used" to because the actually tore the building down.
Apr 25, 2013, 22:00
These were SO good, I couldn't stop eating them. Make a double batch, they're THAT good!!!
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I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original copycat recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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