Ground Beef or Chicken Tostadas

Ground Beef or Chicken Tostadas

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Bill will finally get his tostadas tonight.  I’m having chicken, but he’s getting good old ground beef with taco seasoning.  My stomach is just not up to that tonight!

Small Xmas TreeOur 5 year old granddaughter is here for 4 nights.  She keeps us laughing, with some of the stuff that comes out of her mouth.

It’s so nice to have another person in the house.  Sometimes we rattle around in this place like a couple of ping pong balls.  Somehow she fills it up again.

We are going to make Snowman Face Parts and some Spritz cookies this week.  They are a great project for little kids.  If you don’t have a Spritz cookie maker, and you’ve got kids or grandkids, you should check this one out on Amazon.  If anyone screws up the design, since it takes a bit of practice, just put the cookie dough back into the cookie press.  Here’s your link:

Make sure you use cold dough and a cold cookie sheet each time you press the cookies.  Also, use a cookie dough recipe designed for a press, so it’s not too thick.  I found it weird to assemble at first, but I figured it out and made a few notes, and now I keep the entire thing in a big freezer bag and put my notes in there.  A year between uses is a long time to remember stuff like that.  I also read that there is a video on the Wilton website you can watch.  It’s not rocket science, seriously.  I’ve had mine for years and years.  Of course, it doesn’t get a lot of use, but this is really well made.  Oh, and don’t bake your cookies on parchment paper.

I can’t imagine you don’t know how to make tostadas, but just in case, here’s what I do.

Ground Beef or Chicken Tostadas

Corn tortillas (they now come in a large size!)  Awesome.

Canola or vegetable oil

Refried Beans or Black Beans or Pinto Beans, rinsed

7% Ground Beef or Shredded chicken

One sweet onion, chopped

Taco Seasoning and Water (if not, use salt and pepper)

Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend (or Queso Fresca or other Mexican cheese)

Shredded lettuce (I like iceberg for its crunch)

Chopped tomatoes

Sliced avocados or guacamole

Sour cream

Chopped cilantro

Sliced olives

Salsa or Taco Seasoning

Sour cream

Heat your oven to 200°.

Tostada FryingHeat a large skillet on medium.  Chop your sweet onion and cook in a little Canola oil or vegetable oil until soft.  Add 1 pound of 7% ground beef and turn up to medium high.  Cook until browned through.  If you want to use taco seasoning, add it now and cook, according to package directions.  If you make your own taco seasoning, add it and about a cup of water.  Let it bubble away until the sauce is the consistency you like.  If you don’t use any taco seasoning, just add salt and pepper.

Open your can of refried beans or pinto or black beans (drain and rinse these).  If you’re super organized, you can cook your raw beans in a slow cooker in the morning.  I never soak raw beans overnight before cooking them.  Just cook them until soft and tender to the bite.

If you like your beans smooth, you can mash with a potato masher, or just throw into your food processor.  I like my beans a thinner consistency, so I’ll add enough water to achieve that.

Shred some iceberg lettuce, and chop a tomato or two.  You can also mash an avocado with some salsa and/or sour cream, or clean and chop some cilantro.  Sliced olives work, too.

You’ll also need some shredded Mexican Cheese Blend.

Now, kick everyone else out of the kitchen, especially kids!  In a small cast iron skillet, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil on medium heat.  To test whether it’s a good temperature, take the handle of a wooden spoon and press it down into the hot oil, until it’s touching the bottom of the skillet.  If bubbles rise up around the wooden handle instantly, you’re good to go.

Using your tongs, just lay a corn tortilla flat on the oil and cook for about 30 seconds.  The tortilla will want to puff up in the middle, so use your tongs to gently press down on it, so it cooks evenly.  Carefully flip, and brown the other side.  You want a very crisp tostada.  Then carefully remove the tortilla from the oil, hold over the pan to drain, and place on a pile of paper towels.  Just repeat until you’ve got enough for your family.  If your level of oil gets too low, just add a bit more and then wait until it’s heated.  You can keep these crisp corn tortillas in a 200° oven so they’ll stay warm.

I did something really, really stupid while making these.  I had covered my taco meat with a lid and set it on low, so it wouldn’t dry out.  While my hot oil was still on the left burner, I picked up the lid on the taco meat to make sure it was doing ok.  Well, what I didn’t count on was this: the lid had gotten a lot of condensation underneath it.  As I picked it up, all this water went into the hot oil and it exploded all over the place.  The entire stove top and even the floor got instantly covered with a nice coating of oil.  I was lucky I didn’t get burned, too.

This made me remember another, major screw-up I had involving hot oil.  Ugh.  Some of the kids were visiting for Christmas and one night, I decided to make them “real” french fries.

I had already cut up the potatoes and had them soaking in cool water, to remove the starch.  I knew enough to only fill the small stock pot half-way up with oil, thank God.  What I blew was this: I did dry off my fries with paper towels, but not enough.

When I lowered my first small batch of less-than-perfectly-dried-off fries into the hot oil, all of the oil violently exploded over the edge of the pot onto the stove top and kitchen floor!  It scared the bejeezus out of me!  (Bill practically had a stroke).  So, another screw-up in the kitchen and another lesson learned!  I hope this little tidbit helps you to never do that, yourself!  Water and hot oil do NOT MIX!!!

Warm your covered beans in the microwave and stir.

Oh, and don’t forget the Mexican beer for the adults!  Add a squeeze of lime but don’t pour until the very last minute.

To assemble, just take a warm, crisp tortilla and spoon beans on the surface.  On top of the beans, add your ground beef.  It will settle into the beans and stay put.  I add the cheese next, so it will melt.  When you put the cheese on the top, a lot of it will just fall off, but your call.

Then top with your choice of shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, guacamole (or sliced avocado), sliced olives, salsa, sour cream and/or cilantro.

If you’d rather use shredded chicken, just bring your skinless chicken breast to a gentle boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes, cover, and turn off the heat.  Let it sit for 15 minutes or so, then remove from water, rinse off that crud, and shred with a fork.  Then set chicken aside in a pie plate in your 200° oven.  If you are using chicken tenders, I just bring them to a gentle boil, and immediately turn off the heat, cover, and let sit.  They take very little time to cook and if you overcook them, they’ll taste like cardboard, which isn’t terribly appealing.  Unless you’re a mouse, I suppose.  Make sure you salt these after cooking.

I’ve got a great little Tip du Jour for you, especially if you’re serving a lot of people and are using poached chicken breasts.  Place the cooked/rinsed off chicken in your kitchenaid bowl, and using the paddle, run the mixer on 1 or 2.  You’ll get shredded chicken in no time.  Don’t go as fast as “4” because it will shred too quickly and you may overshred the chicken.  And then your shredded chicken will look like a bunch of kitchen string.

My granddaughter, being a bacon-eating vegetarian, requested a bean and cheese burrito.  Fine with me.  First, I warm the covered beans in the microwave.  They’ll explode all over your microwave, so unless you really love cleaning, you’d better cover them.

On a dinner plate, place your flour tortilla and cover with shredded cheese.  This doesn’t need to be covered.  Cook for however long it takes to melt most of the cheese.  I find that if you go over 45 seconds, your flour tortilla will get really tough to chew.  Better to have some under-melted cheese than eat that.  Spoon warm beans down the middle of the tortilla and wrap up.  Apparently, my granddaughter feels I am a “very good cook,” because I can make a cheese and bean burrito!  I’m not proud. I’ll take a compliment anywhere I can get it.

She gets milk, and we get the cold Mexican beer with lime.  Life is good.

Have a nice evening!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




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