Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Frugal Diva

I may spend freely on jewelry and cosmetics ... gazes fondly at Lagos ring ... but I can be frugal too. Especially when it comes to the food I've cooked. Most nights I'm cooking for two and that often results in leftovers - which are like money in the bank to me. Knowing I've got a delicious and easy meal at the ready somehow makes the day seem brighter ... not unlike a new piece of Lagos.

Now I know you're looking at that chicken head and saying: "Chicken?! Again?!" Yes, chicken. Again. Don't say I didn't warn you. And because life's just one big fiesta here in Diva Land, its Mexican food again too. Ole.

If you're playing along at home you'll have some leftover Pico de Gallo hanging around your fridge. I sincerely hope you do because, if so, you're halfway to your next meal. Read on and discover the joys of frugality ... Diva Style, of course.


  • one large, or two small, ripe avocados
  • juice of 1/2 of lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 - 3 tbsp. of Pico de Gallo
  • dash or two of hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • some fresh cilantro, chopped
Cut avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop the fruit from its shell into a medium sized bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and mash with a fork until creamy. Add 2 or 3 tbsps. of the Pico de Gallo, the hot sauce, and some chopped fresh cilantro. Stir well to combine. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas

  • 3 tbsp. guacamole
  • 1/2 cup of canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Tabasco Sauce, to taste
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
  • 8 grape tomatoes, chopped
  • juice of one whole lime
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. red onion, minced
  • corn tortillas*
  • olive oil
  • shredded lettuce (I like to use red leaf)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp. crumbled mild goat cheese** (I like the herbed variety)
  • Pico de Gallo
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the corn tortillas lightly with the oil and bake them on the rack in the oven until crisp and just slightly golden. Watch them carefully to see that they do not burn. (Alternately, you can do this in the toaster over, which is what I normally do. Or even on an outdoor grill if you have one.) Remove from oven and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the black beans, the guacamole and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Stir to combine and reserve.

In another bowl, combine the chicken, tomatoes, onions, lime juice, cumin and cilantro. Stir and season with salt and pepper.

Spread a layer of the bean / guacamole mixture on each tortilla. Top with shredded lettuce, the chicken mixture and some crumbled goat cheese. Spoon some Pico de Gallo over the top, serve and enjoy!

Recipe notes:

I have adapted this recipe from Bon Appetite Magazine, but its so old I'm not even sure when it was originally published. I changed the original, and I like my version better. As written, it will make @ 3 tostadas.

* For those on the South Beach Diet, substitute the corn tortilla for a whole wheat or whole grain tortilla. I used Ezekiel brand's Sprouted Wheat Tortilla and it was delicious.

** If you don't have goat cheese, or don't like it, no worries - in the past I've substituted sharp cheddar or aged gruyere and both were equally good.

Lastly, if you don't have any Pico de Gallo on hand, just substitute some jarred salsa where indicated and the results will be just as good. These tostadas are the perfect summer dish - light yet packed full of flavor - and if you use the toaster oven or grill both you and your kitchen will stay cool.

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