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Image: Pexels

Known as "corn chips" outside the U.S. and "tostados" in Spanish-speaking countries, everyone loves nibbling on tortilla chips with their favorite dip. They're great as an appetizer or snack.

And that's why National Tortilla Chip Day is important. Well, it was likely a marketing ploy by a tortilla chip company, but so what? It's just another reason to indulge in chips and dip! This crunch-tastic holiday always falls on February 24, so get your chips before Friday to take full advantage. 

How to Serve Tortilla Chips

Nachos are a classic, but do you know where they come from? This dish dates back to the 1940s and was created by Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, the maitre d' of the Victory Club, just over the Mexican border in Piedras Negras. When a group of military wives stopped in for a meal and Anaya couldn't find the cook, he improvised and created the ur-"What's in the Pantry" munchie. His version comprised just tortilla chips, cheese and jalapeños, but modern versions typically include meat, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, refried beans, or any combination thereof. Nachos account for about 30 percent of all restaurant tortilla chip sales.

Here in Houston, many restaurants offer free chips and salsa and you can eat as much as you want, which is good and bad news, because once you start it's hard to stop! Another local favorite is chips and queso, which is melted cheese with spices and pico de gallo or salsa blended in, maybe some guacamole, too or even meat. You need good quality chips for queso because very thin ones snap in half too easily!

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Image: Pixabay

A Little Bit of History

These crunchy bites are associated with Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines, and they were first mass-produced in Los Angeles in the 1940s. It is believed that Rebecca Webb Carranza promoted them as a way to use the misshapen tortillas at her and her husband's tortilla factory. They were sold for a dime per bag at the El Zarape Tortilla Factory. Very soon, this snack became a national favorite, and tortilla chips and salsa became the state snack of Texas in 2003. The rest is history and Houstonians, old and young alike, just can't get enough.

How to Make Loaded Texas Trash Dip

Celebrate this corny holiday in style (or lack thereof?), by making this homemade Tex-Mex-inspired dip to pair with your chips. This colorful, warm bean dip is tasty and gooey and it's impossible to stop eating. Prepare this for a party and it'll make a great table centerpiece. Just make sure you double the recipe if a lot of people are coming—it disappears fast!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained
  • 32 ounces refried beans
  • 4 ounces sliced black olives
  • 4 ounces chopped green chiles, drained
  • 15 ounces corn kernels, drained
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Optional toppings: Avocado slices tossed in lime juice, diced green onion, cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes
  • Tortilla chips, to serve

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the sour cream and cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for a minute or until soft. Now beat the mixture with a whisk until smooth. Stir in the black beans and refried beans, olives, chiles, corn, taco seasoning mix and half the cheese using a wooden spoon, until well blended.

Now you can spread the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes and then garnish the dip with any of the optional toppings. Serve hot, with tortilla chips.

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