February 8, 2015

Crockpot Carne Asada Nachos

A couple of years ago, I discovered a new (to me) food blog to which I quickly became addicted. Jessica Merchant's hilarious blog, How Sweet It Is, is not only full of hilariously snappy posts, but it's also filled with photos that are more than just enticing, they're seductive. It didn't take long for me to add dozens of recipes to Evernote, which of course I've completely ignored and forgotten. Somewhere along the line, I decided to cut back on my blog-hopping and stopped following HSII. Apparently I've missed a lot. Merchant now has a cookbook (Seriously Delish) AND a new baby. If only I had more hours in my day to read all the blogs I so enjoy.

I eventually did try one of the recipes I saved from How Sweet It Is and it's now a family favorite. I try to make it at least once a month, since we really love it for the leftovers. More about that in my notes.

Crockpot Carne Asada Nachos
(or in this case, tacos)

1.5 lb. flank steak
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. of your favorite beer 

1 ripe avocado
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, torn
1 bag of tortilla chips
8 oz. of monterey jack cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup sweet corn (cooked or fresh)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin. Whisk it together to create a rub, then evenly pat it all over both sides of the flank steak. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Add the flank steak and sear it on both sides until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the steak and place it in the crock pot. Cover it with beer, then cover the pot and cook the steak on low for 6 hours.

After 6 hours, remove the steak from the liquid and place it on a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes. Slice against the grain, cutting it into thin strips--it may be tender from the crock pot and fall apart, and that is fine.

In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the lime juice, half of the cilantro and a pinch of salt. Set it aside. 

Layer the chips on a baking sheet or dish. Cover them with half of the cheese, then add the corn and the steak. Add the res of the cheese. Turn the broiler in your oven to high, and place the nachos underneath, cooking only until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the nachos and immediately cover them with the tomatoes, guac, sour cream and remaining cilantro. Serve!

Yield: Serves 4 appropriately, 2 obnoxiously [Jessica's note, not mine.]

My Notes:

I've made the meat portion of this recipe a few times, but have only made the nachos once. We prefer ground beef and pinto beans for our nachos and this seemed a little too dry. However, this recipe makes the most flavorful meat for machaca, so I continue to use it, especially since it's super easy in my slow cooker. However, flank steak is very fickle, and even in a slow cooker, it tends to dry out. From now on, I'll use the rub and beer, but I plan to buy a chuck roast instead of a flank steak. I want this meat to be super tender!

My slow cooker has a browning feature, so I skipped the step with the skillet and did it directly in the pot. 

I used a full bottle of Shiner Bock rather than just the 8 oz. the recipe calls for. It seemed silly to throw out the extra 4 ounces and since it was a workday (and quite early in the morning), I couldn't bring myself to drink the leftovers.

Check out Jessica's complete post for this recipe. She's a hoot!

And now for the leftovers:

Cut the cooked beef into bite-size chunks. 

Saute mushrooms, bell peppers and onions (however much you like and all diced) in a large skillet with either butter (approximately 1-2 tablespoons) or olive oil. Add beef and cook until sizzling hot.

Beat 4-6 eggs in a medium-size bowl, add to skillet and scramble until just cooked through.

Enjoy with steamed tortillas, avocado slices, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes and salsa.

Even the leftovers of the leftovers are great! If we have anything left, I usually put some in a flour tortilla and make a breakfast burrito to take to work the following day.

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I'm also participating in Trish's Cook it Up! Cookbook Challenge. Click on over to see what she has going on!

Welcome to the Seventh Edition of Cook It Up! Feel free to join in the challenge at any time, any month. The idea is to pull those cookbooks off your shelves and use them. These can be cookbooks that you already own or cookbooks that you’d like to check out from the library (or borrow from a friend?). You can cook from one cookbook over the course of the month or pick and choose recipes from different cookbooks. And feel free to make a dozen recipes or just one. You make the rules!


  1. I like ground beef on nachos too but that looks perfect for tacos. I want a slow cooker with a browning feature!

    1. Kathy, I am so pleased with my new slow cooker and LOVE the browning feature!

  2. Boy this looks so easy and I love the flavors. We really love flank steak, but I know what you mean about it not always being tender. If you cut it super thin and on an angle, that helps. Either way, I'm giving this one a try.

    1. The flavors in this are wonderful. Not to spicy (my husband can't do "hot"), but with enough seasoning to keep the meat from being bland. Yep, I always cut flank steak on an angle and super thin, but this wound up in chunks, so I pretty much just shredded/diced the meat for the tacos. Works perfectly for the machaca that way, too. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. More hours would be seriously awesome. I hate having to pick and choose what I can do in a day...and sadly blog reading is one of those things that gets skipped in favor of other things. :( Both of those look AMAZING!! And Elle's new favorite thing is tacos, so yay!

    I've only cooked flank steak once and I can't remember now how I cooked it. I agree that super thinly cut and on an angle does help. I hate biting into a fajita and the entire piece of meat coming out with the bite!

    1. I'm trying to get more reading in on my breaks at work, so I can catch up on blog-hopping (and FB) in the evening before I get out my book. So far, so good.

      Good for Miss Elle! What does she like on her tacos? I think Amy just liked the meat and cheese when she was Elle's age. Not sure if you follow her on Instagram, but she's been on quite the Mexican food lunch binge these past few weeks. I really need to get to Dallas and try some of those restaurants (oh, and visit her, of course!). Have you eaten at Mi Cocina (a favorite of ours when we lived there) or Mexican Sugar? The Company Cafe on the Trail looks great, too!

      I grill flank steak quite a lot and I know to cut it on an angle and quite thin. I also keep the cooking time to 5 minutes per side with 5 minutes rest after I take it off the grill. Somehow, I don't think the slow cooker is the way to go with flank steak.

  4. I do something similar with my left-over, slow braised pork loin. Now will have to give flank steak a go with it. Nice, now I'm off to visit Jessica.

    1. We had pork carnitas (cooked in the crock pot) this weekend. I plan to use the leftovers for machaca this week. I think I loved the carnitas better than this recipe. However, any taco with guac is a winner in my book. :)

  5. What a great way to use leftover pork, thanks for sharing.

    1. This was actually leftover flank steak, but I have a pork recipe coming up in the next week or so. Love pork carnitas!

  6. Ok, I want this now.

    1. I hope you get it soon! :) Have you been to any of the restaurants I mentioned in my reply to Trish? Mexican Sugar sounds/looks awesome!


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