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There have been a number of kitchens in my life, each with their own memories tied to them. There was the kitchen with the ugly linoleum floor where mom made Swedish meatballs often and squirrel once (no, it didn’t taste like chicken). The one in the house where I spent most of my childhood, filled with goulash and pot roast; that was the kitchen where I learned to make chicken cordon blue and fresh salsa. Spaghetti squash always reminds me of my dorm in college where, thanks to a Jamaican roommate, I had my first taste of curried goat. And there’s always the kitchen in DC where I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner.

Tostadas bring me back to a bright, sunny kitchen in Alexandria where a standing order with Washington’s Green Grocer meant the basket hanging in the window was always overflowing with fresh produce. I loved how easy those deliveries made it to eat healthily, but it was always a struggle to get through so much produce before it went bad. Tostadas were one of my favorite ways to use up the odds and ends that needed to get eaten. (They’re also a great way to use up tortillas that have started to go stale.)

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I’m pretty sure the first time I made tostadas I used a recipe from Everyday Food. Once you get the basic concept down though, it’s easy to improvise and make the recipe your own. This version with smokey chicken, fresh summer corn, and creamy cotija cheese is one of my favorites. Go ahead and pile the lettuce on — just don’t call it a salad or you’ll take away the fun.

Cotija cheese, with its mild flavor and creamy texture, is one of my favorites to use in Mexican dishes. It can be a little tricky to find though — if it isn’t available near you, feta and shredded Monterey jack make great substitutes for this recipe.

Also, this recipe makes more salsa than you’re likely to need. Combined with some cheese, it makes a great way to top salads for lunch. The salsa is wet enough that you won’t need any additional dressing.
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Chipotle Chicken Tostadas with Fresh Corn Salsa

Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 tostadas

  • 2 Tbs Adobo (from a can of Chipotle peppers)
  • 1/4 pound boneless, skinless Chicken (2 tenders or 1 small breast)
  • 4 Corn Tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Refried Beans
  • 2 Plum (Roma) Tomatoes
  • 1 ear fresh Corn on the Cob
  • 1/4 cup minced Red Onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Jalapeno, minced
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce, shredded
  • 2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (or Feta or Monterey Jack)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Coat the chicken liberally with adobo. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet it nice and hot, add the chicken. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until the adobo has blackened slightly and the chicken has cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool. Use two forks or your fingers to shred the chicken. Set aside.

Place the tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they begin to get slightly crispy. While the tortillas are baking, prepare the salsa: Cut the tomatoes in half and discard the seeds and liquid-y pulp. Dice the tomatoes and add to a bowl. Cut the corn off the cob and add to the bowl of tomatoes. Add the onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice. Mix it all together until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

Spread each tortilla with 1/4 of the refried beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until beans are heated through.

To assemble the tostadas: Transfer each tortilla to a place and top tortilla with 1/4 of the shredded chicken. Allow each diner to add as much lettuce, salsa, and cheese as they desire.

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