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The Amazing Tostada!

June 24, 2009


Tostadas. Well, as I’ve intimated in previous posts, the ol’ money machine (i.e. my checkbook) has been “en panne” lately, which is the fanciful French way of saying “broke down.” Technically it refers to vehicles and the like, but due to moving costs and raise issues my checkbook is temporarily out of commission, and it has very much felt like a breakdown, so I think the terminology applies.

In any case, necessity is the mother of invention, and I’m much better off than many millions of people in the world, so I thank the good Lord above for the blessings that he’s given me (enough money to buy food for every meal, a brain that’s intrigued by exciting new combinations of old ingredients, and a fantastic support system to help me keep to a budget more fitting to my salary, to name a few) and as always, would like to share the fruits of my labor with you all.

The tostada is, of course, nothing new. People have been churning the suckers out for years, with varied fillings, toppings, and styles. However – I’ve never made one completely from scratch before. I’ve always used pre-fried tostada shells and taco meat, with assorted garnishes.

I don’t really know why this is, but I love food dishes that are layered. Think: seven layer dip, nachos, tostadas, lasagna, etc. I like a variety of textures (crunchy, smooth, cool, hot) and tastes (salty, sweet, tangy, hot) and the tostada is the PERFECT implement with which to combine all these loves. It also provides the perfect opportunity for make-your-own dinners, so finicky eaters can personalize their plates with limited complaining about the presence of offensive vegetables or meats.

The “recipe”:

Technically this is just a general recommendation of steps rather than an actual recipe, but here’s what I did. (Serves 2 people – I made half this for myself and still had leftovers, so it’s flexible) The recipe for this one comes from Victoria – she makes them with turkey, and she mixes the turkey and tomato/onion mix together on the stove to let it simmer, so the meat is all juicy and delicious. But, I did not have turkey on hand, and as mentioned, I like layers, so keeping the tomatoes separate adds the “gooshy cool fruit/vegetable” layer, which I enjoy. So there you are.

Tostada base:

Corn tortillas (white or yellow)

Can of black beans

2 Chicken breasts (I typically do 1 per person)

Tostada toppings: These are totally up to you, but this is what I started with.

1 can petite diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions -OR- two small ripe tomatoes

A couple handfuls of lettuce (I used a spring mix)

A couple handfulls of shredded cheddar cheese

Sour cream

Olives (I used green, but you can use whatever)

[Preheat oven to 400F.]

1. Take a couple of chicken breasts, I like to use precooked ones, but if you’re starting from raw, keep the chicken breasts whole and put the seasoning mixture on the chicken for a few minutes in a bowl before you cook it. Put a little oil (or butter, or cooking spray) in a nonstick pan.

Cut up the chicken (if precooked) and put it in the pan with some taco seasoning from a packet (or you can add your own combo of cumin, chili powder, garlic, onions, paprica, salt, and pepper). Heat through, unless using raw chicken, in which case make sure it’s cooked all the way.

2. Take some corn tortillas, room temperature (I keep a bag in the freezer, so it’s best to bring out the amount I’m eating so they defrost), and spray the front and back with cooking spray. Place tortillas on a cookie sheet and toast them up, flipping them every 5 minutes or so. They can take different amounts of time in different ovens, so just watch that they don’t burn.

3. Open a can of black beans, dump out about half the liquid. Then, in a skillet, (this step is optional for non-onion eaters) pour a little touch of oil, then put in some chopped onions (red, vidalia, whatever). Cook til soft (not browning). Once the onions are decently soft, pour in the black beans and mix it up. Add some chili powder, garlic powder, lemon juice (if you’ve got it on hand) and anything else you think smells good at the time. Mix it up, ensuring to smash a couple beans (they give off their starches and make the whole thing thicker) and heat through.

4. Chop up some avocado, lemons, onions, tomatoes, and any other veggies you like to put on top of your tostada. For mine I put avocado, lettuce mix, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and some petite diced tomatoes from a can (with green peppers and onions).

Once the tortillas are nice and crispy, take them out of the oven, then top them with the beans, chicken, and cheese. Then add the veggies on top! Done! And delicious.

You can (alternately) add the meat, beans, and cheese and then place them back into the oven to melt the cheese (gooey deliciousness, like a giant nacho).

Bon appétit!



4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2009 1:58 pm

    Hey lisam, Thanks for the shout-out! I have to admit I got the recipe from the newspaper back in November… under the “what to do with your leftover turkey” section. I was very impressed with the results, and it sounds you were as well.

    I might ad… Once I ran out of tostadas (after a couple of days of left-overs), it was very easy to add this mixture to a salad with sour cream as your dressing.

  2. Douglas Naaden permalink
    June 24, 2009 2:23 pm

    haha, this is what you eat when your budget is low? I’d like to see your dinner one day if you’re ever bringing in a nice salary!

  3. lisam permalink
    June 24, 2009 2:27 pm

    Vic: no no, thank YOU for the recipe! It was a splendid idea!

    Douglas: Dude. Canned beans, 90 cents, tortillas from a big bag, couple dollars (so the per-tortilla cost is like 10 cents), canned tomatoes, $1, but the portion used on this was probably worth 10 cents, lettuce in a gigantor box, $4, portion used here was probably 30 cents, sour cream used probably 10 cents, and chicken was probably $1 for the chicken breast, plus assorted spices that live in my kitchen rack, plus half an onion 30 cents, plus half an avocado 50 cents = $3.30. That’s a cheap meal, homefry.

  4. June 25, 2009 12:41 am

    I see that I’m not the only one who prices a meal once in a while. I believe my breakfast burritos, formerly a staple of mine, priced out to about 75 cents.

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