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Macho Nachos (Macho Nachoz)

a skillet of nachos on the grill

While I’m not a die-hard football fan, I do enjoy the football season.  Having the games on lends a playful air to our home, plus I like watching my husband have fun teaching his young girls about this macho sport.  He’s such the good dad that he even encourages his daughters to cheer on the teams they want to follow, while the cap on his head boldly displays a single large blue star, a symbol for the team that holds his entire life’s loyalty.  His buddies get a kick out of the small purple jersey that runs around our house at game time.  Actually, “get a kick out of” is quite the understatement.  But it just makes for more of that great football banter.

And somehow, everything ends up being about the food, doesn’t it?  Football has a way of bringing our family and friends together to enjoy a meal that we wouldn’t normally consider to be “a meal”.  Like these crazy fun Macho Nachoz.  Yep, this was supper for our family last Sunday evening.  Blanket on the floor, sitting criss-cross-applesauce, we formed a semi-circle facing the TV.  And we devoured these nachos.  Every.  Single.  Chip.

Macho Nachoz.  Isn’t that the greatest name?!  I fell in love with this monstrous pile of  savory yum many, many years ago at Zorbaz.  If you’ve never been to one of the nine Zorbaz out there, they are Mexican and pizza joints (best pizza EVER!) located in northern Minnesota lakes country.  Sporting a super casual atmosphere, Zorbaz is the perfect place to dock your boat and grab some nachos and a pizza in your flip-flops.

The people behind Zorbaz like to have fun.  If you don’t get that walking in the door, it will be blazingly obvious once you read the menu.   And kudos to you if you can find the letter “s” anywhere on it.  Throughout their entire menu, every single “s” has been traded in for a “z”.  This is how you will find Macho Nachoz written up:

Macho Nachoz
A Zorbaz Original. Crizp Tortilla Chipz Topped with Taco Meat or Zeazoned Chicken, Refritoz, Cheddar & Jack Cheeze, Topped with Jalapenoz, Red Onionz, Cilantro, Tomato, Black Olivez & Zour Cream. Lotza Homemade Zalza Included.

The entire menu iz written up that way.  Yez, it’z true.

I’ve been serving up my own remake of these Macho Nachoz for years, always popping a large rectangular pan of them into the oven to melt those cheesy layers together.  But this time around, I wanted to see what the grill and a large cast iron skillet would do for the dish.  Not only did the cast iron skillet provide visual fun, but it also utilized its heat retention properties by keeping the nachos warm until that last chip was eaten.  It was brilliant!  Simply brilliant!

I do declare!  We shall never make Macho Nachoz again without cast iron skillet in hand.

ground beef, onions, tomatoes, olives, jalapeños, and cheese on tortilla chips

Macho Nachos

Yield: 4
prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 12 minutes
total time: 32 minutes
This easy Macho Nachos recipe is my riff on the Macho Nachoz appetizer served at Zorbaz, a local MN lakes country hangout. With layers of crispy tortilla chips, melty cheese, seasoned beef, and loads of other good stuff, it's perfect for game day, movie night, or any casual gathering!
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  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet (1 ounce size) taco seasoning (Or use ¼ cup of my green taco seasoning or your own favorite seasoning.)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 11 ounces corn tortilla chips
  • 4 cups shredded Marble Jack cheese, or use a Mexican blend
  • ½ cup rinsed and drained black beans (Drain VERY WELL, so the chips don't get soggy – I like to spread them out on a paper towel after they're rinsed and drained.)
  • ½ cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • ¼ cup canned, sliced ripe black olives (not kalamata or Greek olives)
  • ¼ cup diced fresh red onion
  • ¼ cup pickled jalapeno slices
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup restaurant-style salsa (or your own favorite salsa)


  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, breaking it up into small bites. When beef is cooked through, drain away the excess fat and then sprinkle taco seasoning over the top. Stir in the water and let beef simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the water is mostly absorbed. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. (This step can be done the day before. Store in the fridge, then warm it up a bit before proceeding.)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and place oven rack in middle of oven. Rub 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil onto the inside of a large 12" cast-iron skillet, to coat the bottom and sides.
  • Add half the tortilla chips to the skillet, in an even layer. Sprinkle with 1½ cups of the cheese. Then add half of the seasoned beef and half of the black beans. Repeat this layering one more time, with the remaining chips, 1½ cups of cheese, and remaining seasoned beef and black beans. Finally, sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top.
  • Place skillet in oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Most of the top cheese should be melty, but you want to make sure that the cheese in the center is also melty. If the top cheese is starting to brown and the center cheese is not yet melted, place a loose foil tent over the top of the skillet (so the foil is not touching the cheese), and then bake for 5-10 minutes more – or just until all the cheese is melted to your liking.
  • Remove skillet from the oven and then quickly top with tomatoes, ripe black olives, red onion, and pickled jalapeno slices. Add 2-3 dollops of sour cream to the top, then sprinkle chopped cilantro over the top to finish. Serve hot with a side of salsa.


Inspired by many orders of Macho Nachoz that I’ve happily eaten at Zorbaz!

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 609kcal Carbohydrates: 27g Protein: 32g Fat: 42g Saturated Fat: 20g Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 117mg Sodium: 742mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!
ground beef, onions, tomatoes, olives, jalapeños, and cheese on tortilla chips

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9 comments on “Macho Nachos (Macho Nachoz)”

  1. These look so yummy! I can’t wait to try this. My husband has a growing collection of “vintage” cast iron. We’re always looking for new recipes to make in the pans. We have some small pans too, I might do a “make your own nachos” party with the fam. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Have a great weekend.

  2. YUM!! Love the Macho Nachoz at Zorbaz on Ottertail! :) Just ask Craig sometime! Funny, true little story- last time we were there, I bought a sweatshirt that I really liked (plus August nights can get chilly on the lake- and I kinda needed something warm sitting outside) – I wore the sweatshirt a few weeks ago to the races in West Fargo- we were standing in line and this guy walks up to me- tells me he likes my sweatshirt and gives me a card for 2 free drinks at Zorbaz- afterward, I went over and thanked him and chatted for a few minutes- and it turns out he was the owner of the Zorbaz on Ottertail Lake. As they say- “small world” :) I printed off the recipe and since its so nice out tonight- I think I will go home and try this out on the grill!

  3. Eaten these at your home, made them myself once or twice, AND plan to make them for some football company coming soon!!! Gonna pair it with my chicken tortilla soup and I’ve got dinner for company covered! Thank you for all your awesomeness!!!!

    1. I’m so happy you’ve been making good use of this fun dish! Sounds good paired with your chicken tortilla soup!

  4. Zorbaz is like The Mother Ship up north (we visit the Crosslake location). Thank you for sharing the nacho recipe – I will definitely be making them when I need a perk-up and am missing the lake!

  5. Brilliant! and stunning I might add, this will be our weekend fun. Thank you Brenda for your skill and for sharing it with all of us. Good tomatoes….