This meal totally felt like cheating. It was way too easy and quick, but I’m glad it was. I can’t eat too late into the night and go to bed right after dinner due to my acid reflux issues. Without time to go to the store or cook anything more complicated, I’m glad we had all of the ingredients to make these. It was a relief to not have to really think about making dinner after a long day of helping my mom at work.

We used my parents’ non-stick tortilla bowl makers, which I had never seen or heard of before. They are amazing! I remember making tostadas when I was younger with flat tortillas that were crisped in an oiled frying pan. (Now mind you, those are really good and provide a sense of nostalgia.) It’s neat to make your own restaurant-style bow

ls without frying; it’s much healthier, too.  Here is a recipe at eHow.com that uses a large metal bowl in the oven as a mould. Another method to make the bowls is in the microwave if you don’t have baking moulds; the tortillas need a little bit of oiling though.

Easy Chicken Tostada Salads
Serves 8 to 10

Salad Ingredients
8 – 10 8″ Guerrero King-Size Gluten-Free White Corn Tortillas
Store-Bought Whole Rotisserie Lemon and Herb Free-Range Chicken, boned, shredded
1  14.5 oz Can Spiced Black Beans, rinsed, cooked to tender in 1/3 C water, strained
3 Small Hass Avocados, skinned, pitted, sliced
1  Lemon or Lime, juice of (1 T)
2/3 C Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds, optional
2/3 C Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds, optional
2/3 C Queso Fresco Cheese, shredded, optional
6 C Mixed Lettuce Greens, torn into bite-size pieces
1 Handful Red Fingerling or Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 Handful Golden Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 Cucumber, horizontally halved, sliced
3 Scallions, trimmed, sliced
Favorite Jarred Salsa and/or Hot Sauce of Choice
1  2 1/4 oz Can Pitted Sliced Black Olives, optional
Italian or Mexican Spice and Herb Vinaigrette, optional

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the tortillas into 2 or 4 non-stick tortilla bowl-shaped shell makers, depending on how many came in your set, on a large jelly roll baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake the tortillas for 15 minutes. Once they are crispy, let the tortillas cool for 5 minutes before  transferring them to a cooling rack or trivet. Repeat baking the tortilla shells in batch until you have enough shells.

In a small bowl, toss the avocados and lemon or lime juice together. Set the avocados aside. Mix the cheeses together in a medium bowl with a fork. (I had to fluff ours, since my brother shredded the cheese the day before and chilled it in the refrigerator in a covered bowl.) Set the cheese aside. Toss the salad ingredients together, from lettuce to scallions,  in a large salad bowl. (I accidentally added the avocado to the to the salad, so I tossed the whole salad in lime juice. After mixing the salad together, we found it hard to find the avocado, since it shifted to the bottom of the bowl with other heavier ingredients.)

Line up your layer bowls to assemble your tostada salad bar. This way everyone can layer the chicken, beans, cheese, salsa, hot sauce, salad, avocado, olives and dressing on their shell as they prefer. (I spooned my salsa on top of my salad layer, where as my parents like theirs between the cheese and salad layers.) Have each person start with a tortilla bowl shell on their plate and then proceed through the line. This is much easier than placing all of the bowls at the dining table and serving every bit family style.

I know I listed a bunch of different options; you can include as many or as few in your tostada salad bar and in your own tostada as you like. Although I like many of the ingredients listed above, I have to limit my consumption of them, so no cheese or salsa fresca for me. (Just in case, I also took a special digestive pill before eating, too.) You can also make yours as spicy or mild as you prefer, too, depending on which spices, salsas or sauces you use.

Although it’s bad for portion control and my metabolism, I had not eaten for several hours while helping my mom at school, so even though I ate my tostada salad slowly, I was still hungry afterward. I think I made the smart choice. In lieu of having a whole other tostada or a sugary dessert, I ate more of the green salad with some of the salsa verde and Italian dressing mixed in. This salad was tasty, satisfying and exactly what I needed. It’s always better to fill up on vegetables that are full of nutrients than carbohydrates late in the day unless you plan on exercising soon after you eat them anyway, or so the fitness and nutrition specialists tell me. 😉

I hope you enjoy this recipe, like my family did. How do you make your tostadas? What garnishes do you sprinkle on top of yours? Which quick and easy meals do you make that only take a few minutes to make? What do you make for yourself and your family when you are tired and pressed for time?

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