A Tostada Time Out

So much tiling, so much corned beef!  Phew!  Last week was exhausting!  With so much going on, Jan and I needed some delicious, quick, and easy-to-prepare food.

Enter the tostada dinner, an amazing meal that requires minimal time and effort.  When Jan brought home tostada shells (shortcut #1), we took a few more shortcuts to cook up a batch of tostadas in a matter of minutes.  It was such a surprisingly tasty dinner that we ate the same meal twice in the same week.

I started by sautéing some onions in a little bit of oil in a pan.  Once the onions started to become translucent, I added ground beef (didn’t grind our own this time, so shortcut #2) and spices to make my own blend of taco seasoning.  The blend included garlic powder, California chili powder (it’s not too spicy, but gives you that great reddish-brown color usually only achieved by pre-mixed taco seasoning), cumin, oregano, chili flakes, and salt.  I combined the meat with the spices, added a few tablespoons of water, and cooked over medium heat.

While the meat was cooking, I began heating up the beans (shortcut #3 is canned beans.  Jan prefers the refried beans while I prefer black beans, so we compromise by alternating which one we choose.)

This is also the time to start getting all the toppings ready, so we finely chopped lettuce or green cabbage (we usually stick with iceberg lettuce for beef tostadas or tacos, but use green cabbage on occasion, and definitely when making fish tacos).  We also got out sour cream and salsa from the refrigerator to add to our tostada-assembling station.  We shredded some Colby Jack cheese and made guacamole from a fresh avocado (there’s room for another shortcut here if you use the pre-made guacamole, I recommend both the Trader Joe’s and Costco varieties).  The last piece was the Tapatio.

Ingredients prepped, tostadas ready to assemble

Once the meat was done and beans were heated, it was time to assemble the tostadas.  Atop the shell, I started with the beans, then added the meat, then the lettuce and the rest of the toppings.  Inevitably, my tostadas were overloaded, and I had to break out my fork.  Then I enjoyed my tostadas and debated when I should tell Jan about his sour cream mustache (think milk mustache, but thicker).  In the meantime, we reflected on a successful corned beef and cabbage celebration.

Our first guest to arrive found a four-leaf clover in our front yard walking up to the front door (unfortunately I didn’t capture a picture of our good luck charm, but thanks to a lovely thank-you note from my friend Sarah, I have an image that looks pretty close to the original).

Jan cooked the massive amount of corned beef in a 15 gallon pot outdoors, and it was enough to fill one 2-foot by 1-foot wide chafing dish.  Our other full-size chafing dish was filled with green cabbage and potatoes.  I was amazed that everything was eaten pretty quickly—either everyone was starving, or the food was pretty good!

Despite both the orange of my carrot cake cupcakes not being the orange I desired, nor the green cream cheese frosting (I was going for the orange and green of the Irish flag but instead got the two unappetizing colors of rust orange and Easter egg green), those all got eaten too.  And lastly, for those dying to see what all the fuss over the tiled floors was about (see last week’s Prepping for St. Patrick’s Day), a picture of the newly installed tile.

For the moment, we’re taking at least a month’s break from tiling and large-scale entertaining.  We’re going to be lazy for a while.  Good thing we discovered the perfect lazy-night dinner.  I have a feeling we’re going to be eating a lot of tostadas.

4 thoughts on “A Tostada Time Out

  1. The tile looks beautifully done!
    I had my own short cut meal last week…chicken fajitas, thanks to Schwans Fajita chicken meat. I sauteed thick sliced purple onions, red and orange peppers in olive oil and some Fresh and Easy Fajita season mix. Added it to the meat (pre-seasoned), put it in a tortilla, and topped it with grated sharp cheddar and sliced avocado. Still have all the ingredients for another meal this week.

  2. I’m looking for your corned beef recipe – the result looks incredible and I’d love to try and shawarma-ify the basic buildingblock… I’m probably being stupid but just can’t find it.

    1. We just used the packet of spices that came with the corned beef, and followed the directions on the package, which basically says to boil the meat about one hour per pound, adding the cabbage and potatoes during the last half hour of cooking.

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