I have always believed that a trip was about the journey, and not just the destination. Since I was a young boy, I have always enjoyed stopping at a scenic roadside rest area, taking a break from the many road miles we have traveled, and yet to travel, and enjoying a nice picnic lunch. Many of my fond memories of are these family shared meals on the side of the busy highway. These Mini Nacho Tostadas are a great travel meal and easy to make with a little advance preparation. Nachos and Tostadas are some of my favorite fun foods and a regular item on our menu. There are many variations to the items, and I show you how I made them this time. You can vary the size to your preference. There are full size Tostadas available in package at the supermarket, of you can fry your own from corn tortillas. There are Mini Tostadas, which I use the small “Street Taco” size corn Tortillas to make the mini Tostadas as we did on this occassion, and then you can make “Nacho” size tostadas using Nacho chips, round or triangular. The basic ingredient in all of my Nachos and Tostadas will be refried beans, cheese, and jalapenos. Naturally, these ingredients can be varied according to your taste and only limited by your imagination! I will sometimes use homemade refried beans as well as canned refried beans and my other ingredients will be based on what I have in the refrigerator at the time. Cheddar cheese, mozarrella cheese, queso fresco, ground meat, avocado, guacamole, shredded chicken, left over steak, sausage, and the list goes on and on! I believe you get the picture!
This is what I used to make Mini Nacho Tostadas this time.
Street taco size corn tortillas
3 table spoons of cooking oil (add if needed to maintain oil level while cooking)
Stewed shredded chicken
Shredded mild cheddar cheese
Salsa Herdez (or your favorite salsa)
Be sure the ingredients are drained and relatively dry so as not to make the crispy tortilla soft and soggy when applied. I did not put any amounts needed on the ingredients as they are going to be to your taste. Some people may like alot of onion, and others may eliminate it. Estimate for the number of Tostadas you plan to make. I also advise you store the ingredients separately in plastic bags or containers and you build them as you eat them, so they are fresh and crispy.
Tostada/tortilla preparation. Heat cooking oil to medium heat (not hot enough that the oil smokes, only sizzles when the tortillas are placed in them. (Approximately 325 degrees) in a heavy pan ( I use cast iron) and fry corn tortillas until crispy, turning to insure both sides are toasted. Place on a draining screen or paper towel to absorb excess oil. (optional) sprinkle a little salt on the tostada.
Refried Beans: It is OK to use the beans heated straight out of the can. I prefer to add a few ingredients to mine. I will add a little pickled jalapeno juice, a little corn stock or water so they are easy to spread, and a dab of bacon grease. This gives them a flavor similar to a jalapeno bean dip. The beans can be applied to the tostadas cool or at room temperature when ready to eat.
Toppings: First I apply a nice even layer of refried beans to the fried corn tortilla (tostada), then I will start to layer the toppings on that starting with my meat (if any), then cheese, lettuce, onions, diced tomatoes, sour cream and the salsa last on top. I try not to make the toppings too heavy for the tostada to support.
I understand, these seem a little complicated for “road food”, but really no more complicated than putting a sandwich together. If you had them for dinner the previous evening, or even premade the toppings before hitting the road, they can be prepared cold and still very good and fun to eat while at a rest stop or taking a break, and it sure beats the heck out of fast food! Enjoy!