Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chicken Tostadas

The first time I ever had tostadas was at a small Mexican restaurant in the Ironbound District of Newark. I haven't been there since moving to Bergen County, but I learned that they are not hard to make. The hardest part is eating them without making a mess! I learned this tip on eating tostadas from Simply Recipes... hold them with both hands and eat it like a slice of pizza. some of the toppings still might get away, but no one is perfect, right?

Chicken Tostadas
Adapted from Simply Recipes

This is a "recipe in a recipe" - meaning I am including recipes for the building blocks of the tostadas, but go ahead and used storebought stuff. I'm watching my sodium intake, so I'm avoiding as much prepared foods whenever I can.


Vegetable oil or other high-smoke point oil
Corn tortillas
Refried beans (either canned or homemade - a quick version follows below.)
1 chicken breast
Shredded cheese (recommended: cheddar, monterrey jack, or pepper jack)
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Prepared guacamole (I made my own, it's easy, and doesn't take much time.)
Sour cream
Chopped tomatoes
Freshly squeezed lime juice

1) If you are making your refried beans and guac, prep them first:

Quick Refried Beans

For this you will need:
1 2/3 cup cooked red beans (about one can),
half an onion, chopped and
one clove of minced garlic)
Some water or chicken broth
about 1 tsp cumin
About 1 Tbs chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
a few dashes of hot sauce

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. When hot, cook the onion and garlic until the onion is soft. Add beans. When the beans have warmed up a bit, you should be able to mash them with a potato masher or fork. Add spices and hot sauce. Add water or chicken broth when the mixture becomes dry. Simmer for about 10 minutes or so, adding a tablespoon of water at a time if it becomes dry. Adjust the seasonings as needed.

Quick Guacamole:

garlic powder
chili powder
salt and pepper
lime juice

Peel and remove pit from guacamole and place into a bowl. Add about a teaspoon of lime juice, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mash with fork until reaches desired consistency.

2) Prepare the chicken
(I did this step while the beans were simmering)

Sprinkle the chicken with chili powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt. Cook in a George Forman grill for five minutes, or in a skillet over the stove for about 5-6 minutes per side (or until cooked through). Allow to cool. Then cut into bite-sized pieces and squeeze a bit of lime juice over it.

3) Cook the tortillas
I cook the tortillas last so that they are still warm when I add the toppings.

Pour enough oil so that there is about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan. Heat the oil on medium high heat until hot. Cook tortillas one at a time until golden brown on both sides. (About 30 seconds per side). Lay on paper towels to drain excess oil.

4) Assemble the tostadas
I find this method works best for me: Add the cheese on the hot tortillas so that it melts from the residual heat. Spread a dollop of refried beans so that it works as a "glue" for everything else. Add the chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, guac, and sour cream. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice.

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