Friday, September 3, 2010

Chicken and Summer Veggies Tostada

I'm not sure that this photo allows you to truly appreciate the delicious nature of these simple tostadas, filled with all this summer goodness...

Tostadas are, by their very nature, simple creatures -- hardly necessitating a recipe. But I came across this one in my files and simply thought what a great way to use up some summer veggies. That's one of the wonderful perks of hoarding files and files of recipes. Eventually, select ones will resurface to inspire common sense... simplicity... humble fixings that just deliver. No big fanfare. Just plain good stuff!

And these tostadas are humble little fixings. They don't scream notice me, notice me in that let-me-be-the-center-of-attention sort of way, like a beautiful rack of lamb might. These tostadas are modest. Like most humble beings, their simplicity and ease mask their greatness. They don't flaunt all they have to offer. Instead, they nestle this goodness beneath a gooey blanket of melted cheese for you to discover on your own -- beautiful summer veggies (like fresh corn, tomatoes, and zucchini), succulent chunks of perfectly seasoned chicken, and a little kick of salsa for added personality.

Beyond the fact that these tostadas more than deliver in the flavor department, they're ready for the table in mere minutes. You can serve them up like we did, as full rounds... or cut them into wedges. Either way... they are simply good.

And... being the humble little tostadas that they are, they'd graciously welcome the omission of chicken to become meatless (selfless) little pies, or warmly mix with additional fixings -- like black beans, jalapeños, bell peppers, or avocado.

Easy. Simple. Humble. And... versatile! Enough already! Thank goodness they have all that cheese to keep them modest.

Chicken and Summer Veggie Tostadas
adapted from a Cooking Light recipe, date unknown
serves 3 (full 10" round per serving)
(4 serving: 3 quarters of a whole round per serving; or 6 servings: 2 quarters of a whole round per serving)

This is a great, versatile tostada that can easily adapt to being a meatless meal by omitting the chicken. And though I've used fresh corn, zucchini, and tomatoes, there are a bevy of additions that would be great -- like bell peppers, mushrooms, black beans, or avocado. Just don't omit using the seasonings (cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper) to ensure your veggies a tasty kick.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound chicken breast tenders (I used these for ease, any chicken breast is fine, cut into bite-size pieces)
1 cup chopped red onion
fresh corn kernels from 2 large ears white corn (about 1 cup)
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup green salsa
1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 10-inch fat-free flour tortillas
cooking spray (I used an organic, cold pressed olive oil spray)
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese

1. Preheat broiler. Place chicken tenders in a shallow dish and set aside. Then, in a small bowl, combine first four ingredients (cumin through pepper) and sprinkle mix evenly over both sides of chicken tenders.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sauté for approximately 3 minutes. Turn chicken tenders and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, until just lightly golden brown. Remove chicken to plate and set aside.

3. In same skillet you cooked chicken, add red onion, zucchini, and corn. Sauté veggies for about 2 to 3 minutes, until onion is slightly translucent and zucchini is lightly cooked through. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and add to veggies. Stir in salsa and warm through. Add in chopped tomatoes and cilantro and heat through, approximately 30 seconds.

4. Place flour tortillas (2 at a time) on a large baking sheet. Lightly coat each side with cooking spray. Place tortillas under broiler for about 1 minute, until lightly browned. (They may overly inflate in spots. If so, just gently poke to release air.) Remove from oven and turn over. Return tortillas to broil for another minute or so. Watch them carefully, they will burn quickly if left unmonitored! Remove from oven and repeat with remaining tortilla(s).

5. Spoon about 3/4 to 1 cup of chicken/veggie mix in center of each tortilla, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and return to oven to broil for about 30 to 40 seconds. Watch them carefully! Remove from oven and serve warm.

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