It has been so hot up here lately and I haven’t had the energy for much creative action in the kitchen. This time of year I am all about delicious meals that require minimal preparation and little to no cooking. Easy to pull together, these chicken tostadas are just the ticket for a hot evening. The ingredients get simplified by using a rotisserie chicken and tostada shells from my local grocery store. The prep time was saved for the salsa fresca, which takes minutes to make and adds a bright, fresh flavor (recipe follows). Yes, you can use your favorite jarred salsa if you don’t have the time or energy. Layered with sour cream, lettuce, salsa fresca, sliced jalapeños and avocado, the chicken tostadas are a satisfying, light meal. For a heartier dinner we’ll add some black refried beans to the bottom layer.
I like using a rotisserie chicken because it’s a tasty shortcut and gives me at least two meals. The meat is always tender, has great flavor and provides me with instant chicken. To save yourself time later (and room in the fridge), take all the meat off the bird. You’re already messy so why not do it all at once – don some kitchen gloves if you like and use the bag to discard the bones, skin and such. When done, everything stays in the bag and clean up is a breeze. Be sure to get the thigh, leg and back meat too. One bird should yield about 4 cups of shredded meat. Save the extra meat for another meal – in refrigerator for three to four days, or freeze up to a month.
Here is another great timesaver that I love: pre-made tostada shells. Not just for tostadas, they are perfect for a quick nosh; I add some grated sharp cheddar cheese on top, melt in the toaster oven and season with salt and pepper. If I’m up for it I’ll add some queso fresco cheese and fresh cilantro, or maybe just some capers and cracked pepper. With a sliced apple on the side, I am good to go for a few hours. If you have fresh corn tortillas they can be baked or toasted until crispy.
There are endless options to building a tostada – use your imagination (and leftovers) to create other tasty combinations. Add a cold beer, and be sure to toast the foodie next to you (the four-legged ones count too).
Eat well and share the love!
Chicken Tostadas with Salsa Fresca
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies
1 large good tomato or 3 medium Campari tomatoes on-the-vine, chopped
1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and quartered or chopped
2 tablespoons minced onions
1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeño
1 yellow or orange mini sweet pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 to 4 pre-made tostada shells
1 to 2 tablespoons sour cream
2 cups thinly sliced bibb lettuce (about half of a small head)
4 to 5 tablespoons salsa fresca
1 ½ to 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
1 jalapeño, sliced into thin rounds
6 to 8 slices of avocado
5 to 6 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco cheese
Fresh cracked pepper
Chop up the vegetables and herbs. Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and stir well.
Rotisserie chicken: remove all the meat from the carcass and shred meat into a medium bowl.
Gather the sour cream and tostada shells, cut the lettuce into thin ribbons, slice the jalapeño rounds and crumble the cheese.
Spread a thin layer of sour cream on the tostada shell, then some lettuce, some salsa fresca, ½ cup of chicken, jalapeno slices, a little more salsa fresca then the avocado slices, crumbled cheese, and cilantro. Add a small dollop of sour cream on top, a jalapeno slice and some fresh cracked pepper. Serve with lime wedges.
- Dealing with a whole rotisserie chicken: To save yourself time later (and room in the fridge), take all the meat off the bird. You’re already messy so why not do it all at once – don some kitchen gloves if you like and use the bag to discard the bones, skin and such. When done, everything stays in the bag and clean up is a cinch. Be sure to get the thigh, leg and back meat too. One bird should yield about 4 cups shredded meat.
- Only have corn tortillas on hand? Heat oven to 375 degrees F; bake in a single layer on a sheet pan in 375 degree oven for 5 – 7 minutes until golden and crispy. Or toast in toaster oven on low (lay directly on rack) until golden and crispy.
- If you can find them, cherub tomatoes have the best flavor
- Substitute your favorite jarred salsa for salsa fresca