Like it or not, we’re diving headfirst into back-to-school season and with a child who is *I pray* going into a real physical school for the first time in her life, I am hellbent on gathering all of the easiest dinner ideas for when we’re both exhausted after a day of school / homework / drop-offs / pick-ups / work and just need to veg on the couch for a while.
Moms out there – you with me?
NYC schools actually don’t go back until the second full week of September so I have some time to prepare (mentally, physically, and emotionally) but in other places around the country, schools have already started this week!
Not sure how to feel about that since SUMMER ACTUALLY JUST STARTED. Rude.
But wherever you are in the world / life / school year, the good news is that I have a quick (under 30 minute!) dinner for you, to make things a little bit easier.
The tostada is a Mexican dish in which a crispy, toasted tortilla serves as a base for any number of fun, delicious toppings. The tortilla can be flat or bowl-shaped, crisped up in the oven or the deep fryer. It’s really pretty versatile and incredibly easy to make.
Personally, I like to bake my tostada shells and that is because I hate messing with vats of hot oil. It’s messier than just throwing a bunch of tortillas on a sheet pan and popping them in the oven, and it makes your house smell like fried food for days. Plus if you go the oven route, then you can prep the filling while the tortillas are baking – multi-tasking at its finest.
The filling is also quite simple and easy to prepare. It is made with a classic mix of black beans, peppers, and onions.
To make it, you’ll start by getting a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed pan nice and hot. Then you’ll add the vegetables, letting them get nice and charred.
Finally, you’ll mix in the black beans along with some dried herbs and smoky chipotle chili powder. The chili powder definitely packs some heat, so feel free to adjust it to taste based on your family’s preference.
Finally, you’ll spoon the filling over the crispy tostada shells and top it all off with some queso fresco!
Another great thing about these is that they are totally flexible and you can definitely adapt the filling to use up some fridge or pantry items or adjust to your family’s taste preferences. Add eggs to make them more of a breakfast/brunch situation, throw in some veggies from the garden or left over from the grill, use cheddar in place of the queso fresco.
I give you permission to make these your own and, above all, enjoy them.
- ½ cup olive oil, divided
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 bell peppers, mixed colors, seeded and thinly sliced
- salt, to taste
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
- 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- queso fresco, for topping
- Heat oven to 400F.
- Lightly brush the tortillas on both sides with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Flip the tortillas and bake for another 5 minutes, or until crispy.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes or until starting to brown. Add the bell peppers and cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they are browned in spots. Season with salt to taste, then stir in the thyme, oregano, chili powder, and black beans. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Spoon the black bean and vegetable mixture over the crispy tortilla shells and top with queso fresco. Serve immediately,