A Giant Low-Cal Tostada for Lunch Equals Sheer Happiness

Tostada de tingaImage via Wikipedia

Mexican food is absolutely my favorite type of food–hands down. I remember when I was young, a friend of the family used to bring over authentic, crispy beef tacos for breakfast! The golden-fried treasures came from one of the original Roberto’s tacorillas in San Diego, Calif. that stayed open 24 hours and offered the best Mexican food north of the boarder. They were (and still are) made with corn tortillas and shredded braised beef with peppers and tomatoes folded inside and then fried in lard. The tacos are topped with tons of shredded lettuce and queso fresco (a soft, mild milk-based cheese). Heaven. Pure heaven. And the smell! There’s just nothing like it. They’re especially yummy with the thin-textured hot sauce that only Roberto’s makes. Ok, enough of my trip down memory Mexican food lane.

My only problem is that if I let myself, I would eat beef tacos, tostadas, rolled tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and chips with cheese and guacamole every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner….and my husband and kids would be seeing two of me!

So, like I do with many recipes I come up with, I created a low-calorie version of my second-favorite Mexican food item. The crispy tostada. Yum. And this is especially satisfying and fast to make for lunch. Luckily, I live two miles from my job so it is so easy to make, eat and be back to work during my lunch hour.

In this case, spray oil (my good friend Pam) is the hero. Here are the ingredients I use. But the next most important thing is the technique you use in order to make it as yummy and enjoyable as the more “fattening” version.

-1 flour tortilla (or enough for as many tostadas as you want to make)
-1 can of fat-free chile and lime beans (refried-style) or you could use drained black beans, cut up chicken, crumbled and seasoned hamburger or any other type of protein you like
-1/2 cup of shredded lettuce
-1/4 cup of shredded 2% cheddar cheese
-Any brand of hot sauce or salsa that you like
-Lite sour cream

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place foil on a baking sheet pan and spray both sides of a flour tortilla with spray oil. Place on the baking sheet and back on the middle rack. Check the tortilla at about the two minute mark to make sure bubbles haven’t formed on the tortilla. If there are bubbles, take a knife and pop it and push it down so that the tortilla lays flat. Once it has browned up you might want to flip it to make sure the other side is brown and crisp.

While the tortilla is cooking, heat up the amount of beans you would like to put on it (or other protein) and prepare the other ingredients. Top the crispy tortilla with all of your toppings and enjoy a yummy, fast, filling, low-cal lunch that is pretty nutritious too!

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