A Fire and A Recipe – Fireman’s Nachos

by kitchenarian on February 23, 2011

This blog about all things pertaining to the kitchen occasionally takes a detour and touches on a story outside of the kitchen, because there are just some stories that need to be told.  I have three children and it has been amazing to watch their journey into adulthood. How much of this did my husband and I really contribute to and how much is just the person they were destined to become? I am not sure, but you can bet I am going to try to take credit for the good stuff!

You are most familiar with Sous Chef – contributing writer, baking companion, my oldest child and only daughter. But I also have two boys and this story is about my oldest son, my sweet middle child who was born with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous grin. I will not start talking about him as a baby for I would still be writing three days from now and you would still be wondering when I am going to get to the recipe. I will only say one thing – watch out for those little boys who are fascinated with fire from a young age. He was always the one lighting candles, tampering with the fireplace and wanting to start a campfire. So last summer when my son became a volunteer firefighter, I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised.

Outside of school and playing lacrosse, he spends all of his spare time at the fire station washing fire trucks, training and being ready…waiting for a fire. He had his opportunity this past weekend. The strong winds blew through our drought stricken county and knocked down an electrical pole that started a brush fire which spread quickly. Every fire crew throughout the county and support from surrounding counties battled the brush fire that consumed hundreds of acres. They worked all day and into the night getting the blaze under control….and they did. Over 300 acres burned, but every home was saved because of the heroic efforts of a group of dedicated volunteers. I stand amazed at the people who put safety of others before their own without expecting anything in return; people who will show up in the middle of the night to answer someone’s cry for help when they aren’t paid to do so. These people are heroes, indeed.

So that’s the story and, as promised, here is the recipe. It is a family favorite named in honor of my fire fighting boy. This is not what I really consider cooking; it is more just the assembly of fresh ingredients, but my teenage boys love it. Feel free to adapt and customize for your family.


Tortilla chips
1 pound organic ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
4 – 6 chicken breast tenderloins
Chili powder
Cherry tomatoes, diced
Jalapeno peppers, fresh
Black beans, canned
Queso dip

There are not many measurements listed here; I couldn’t begin to tell you how much I use. I just cut and chop until it looks right. Cook the ground beef and season with the packet of taco seasonings as directed. Set aside. Cook the chicken in olive oil and sprinkle heavily with chili powder and cumin. Let cool slightly. Pull the chicken into bite size pieces. Pulled chicken is so much better then diced chicken. Cut the tomatoes, chop the cilantro and slice the jalapeno peppers. In a dish, layer the bottom with tortilla chips. Layer the beans, beef, and chicken. Add the tomatoes, jalapenos, and pour the melted queso dip on top. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Kitchenarian Notes: I think the chicken makes this dish. I often prepare it with just chicken. You can remove the seeds from the jalapeno peppers before slicing for a milder flavor.


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

veggietestkitchen February 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Wow, thanks for sharing this story. Your son is a hero. Do you ever cook for the fire house? These nachos look great, and I’m sure they would love them!


Jenny @ Savour the Senses February 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Your son sounds like a great guy! And these look delicious! Nachos are so fun to dress up =)


yummychunklet February 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Kudos to your son! And, these nachos look so good!


Tes February 24, 2011 at 2:13 am

You must be so proud of your son… he’s such a hero!
Your nachos looks so good! I will try this soon… my whole family will really enjoy this 🙂


Tiffany February 24, 2011 at 7:14 am

This story was so inspiring. I can only hope to have such great children one day! P.S. I TOTALLY think you should take credit for all of the good stuff 😀


Liz February 24, 2011 at 7:22 am

What a wonderful son…thanks for sharing him with us. Your nachos look amazing…one of my favorites, and I love your version with both beef and chicken…mmmmmm.


RavieNomNoms February 24, 2011 at 9:36 am

Ooo wow that looks amazing! I love nachos and those look just so delicious!


Erin @ epiCURIOUS ERIN February 24, 2011 at 10:48 am

What a wonderful story! My father was a firefighter in NYC and that story just filled me with happiness and fond memories.
I’ll be sure to try out these nachos soon!


Sandra@Sandra's Easy Cooking February 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Okay proud mama this recipe is amazing, would not change a thing! Love the colors and awesome photos..hey that rimes:))
Will try this soon!


Susan February 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Excellent story of your family and community … it’s so good to be proud of one’s child, isn’t it?! Your nachos look delish, too! Nice and spicy hot!


Sister February 24, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Great Nachos. Great story about one of my 3 most favorite nephews! 🙂 Were you aware that the firemans hat belonged to his Great, Great Uncle (born 1905) from his days with the East Providence Fire Department. Your photos keep getting better.


Happy When Not Hungry February 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm

What a wonderful son you have! These nachos look amazing too. My mouth is watering!


snippets of thyme February 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

That’s such a cool story about your son. My son is breathlessly waiting for each weekend to see what I am going to produce in the kitchen. I definitely see him developing a sense of adventure with trying out various foods he wouldn’t have considered a year ago. Just like your son, I wonder if it is my influence as a parent of something that was destined to come from him sooner or later. BTW, he would love this dish too. I’m so happy to find foodie blogs!


Kate @ Diethood.com February 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

Goosebumps… true heroes! Thank you for sharing this amazing story with us.

I would attack these nachos all on my own while watching a marathon of the Beverly Hills Housewives. 🙂


kimberly (unrivaledkitch) February 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

this is so sweet. My brother is a fireman. I’ve cooked at one of his stations about a year ago and get plenty of little brother phone calls about what he should make for dinner or how he should make something for the guys. I couldn’t be more proud of him and all his efforts to keep people safe. It does scare me a little but i know hes smart hes brave and he’ll be fine.

sounds like the perfect teenage meal
thanks for sharing


Kim - Liv Life February 27, 2011 at 11:44 am

How proud you must be of your son!! I too am in awe of these generous people who would risk their lives for us. A special thanks to him and to his station, and all firemen for that matter.
As for the nachos… a true treat to be sure!! I have an airline pilot husband and a surfing teenager who would be happy to clear this plate!!!


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