Since we are on the go a lot now that school is back in session and the kids have activities 4 nights a week, fast dinners are the way I survive without fast food. Not only is fast food mostly unhealthy, but eating gluten-free at a fast food restaurant can be challenging. One of my staple menu items is Mexican Pizzas. I try to come up with new, creative recipes for them so that I am not serving the same thing week after week. My kids probably wouldn’t care, as they love them, but I like some variety.
Sometimes I call these “Mexican Pizzas”, sometimes I call them “Tostadas”. I decided that now was a good time for me to find out what the difference is in the name, if any. Turns out that “Tostada” is a Spanish word that means “toasted”. In Mexico it refers to a flat or bowl-shaped tortilla! Aha! The tostada originated when tortillas became stale and were no longer fresh enough to roll into tacos, but still okay to eat. LOL! I can assure you that is not why I “toast” my tortillas. When I was growing up my mom used to call Mexican Pizzas “Chalupas”. I looked up “Chalupa” and found that it is a tostada platter in Mexican cuisine! My mom must have know what she was doing, huh? I believe that I started calling them “Mexican Pizzas” when my kids turned up their noses at the food in front of them that was called a “Chalupa”.
1 lb chicken breast, cut into chunks
Old El Paso Taco Seasoning – Original is gluten-free*
Refried beans (Taco Bell, Ortega, Old El Paso are all gluten-free)
Red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
Sliced black olives
Shredded cheddar cheese
Other toppings to consider: sour cream or Greek yogurt, shredded lettuce, salsa, jalapenos
1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Cook chicken breast chunks in a frying pan until cooked through. Once cooked, add seasoning packet & water, as directed on the package. You could also use your own blend of Mexican spices, such as cumin and cayenne, some garlic and a little salt & pepper.
3. Lay corn tortillas out on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Spray corn tortillas with spray. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, keeping a careful eye not to over cook.
4. While tortillas are baking, heat refried beans on the stove or in the microwave.
5. Spread warm beans, chicken, peppers and olives on the baked tortilla. Top with shredded cheddar & bake until melted.
6. Top with tomatoes, shredded lettuce & hot sauce, if desired.
*I use only 1/2 of the packet of taco seasoning to cut down on sodium and it is plenty for good flavor
The kids often make their own tostadas or Mexican pizzas so they can choose toppings. This gives them a sense of ownership and makes it much more likely that they will eat the meal.