Tangy Toastadas (or Down with Tupperware)

When Julia (my fiancée) and I were getting ready to move from Michigan to DC, we made an important and intelligent decision about our culinary future together. Down with the tupperware!

Forgive me if this doesn't sound like a familiar rallying cry, but those misshapen, non-matching, funny-smelling lumps of plastic did no wonders for my eating experience. Besides being expensive, hard to wash and annoying to lug to work or school, they contribute to two kinds of waste. They permeated through our cooking behaviors, and I'm sure we were not alone.

The first kind was a sort of active waste: having lots of tupperware makes you think that leftovers are a really great thing, and you never put the effort in to actually cooking the amount of food you need. This contributes to the second form of waste: not eating the leftovers because you have so much. This is particularly bad, because you've already made the extra food and loaded the excess into a container and probably left it in your fridge for a while before finally forcing yourself to eat it so it doesn't go bad, or throwing it away because it has gone bad. You might say that I would waste more because I pitched or gave away my tupperware, but the key is that I'm not replacing the hunks of smelly plastic with disposable, less eco-friendly versions. In fact, the point is to reduce all but the best or most necessary leftovers. Cook (or order for that matter) what you're GOING to eat. It's a simple and marvelous concept. You waste less food, less money, plus have the added bonus of not being forced to eat old leftovers, unless they're really good and you've intended it this way.

Of course, if you're not cooking for a family, but for yourself or for two, making just enough food can be much more difficult. Many recipes serve four at a minimum, cooking TV shows always make a ton of food, and sometimes it just seems difficult to conceptualize cooking for just a couple people or just one. But I think it is more than possible, and that you can actually come up with better dishes this way. Plus, often when you come up with a great small recipe, it's easier to make larger when you DO have more people, rather than vice versa. All this is why I will be focusing on meals I've created or recipes that are size adjustable, or simply those that work really well for just one or two people.

Let's start with a meal that Julia made a couple nights ago. It is something we've had before, it's easy and it's flexible. I look at it as a healthier version of taco night. Tostada night. Well, really “Toastada” night -- because “toast” is the key to making these healthy. Get your own corn tortillas. They are naturally low in sodium and fat, and even have more than 1 gram of fiber each. All you have to do is crisp them (or toast) them in the oven on 400 F with a light spray of cooking spray on each side for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown and crispy. You can add salt to taste, but I find it adds little besides some excess sodium. They taste great with just the spray -- plus a couple drops of Tabasco will add all the flavor you need! From there, you can add any taco ingredients that you would normally want and pile them on top of the “toastadas”. Let's just say they beat the store-bought shells in flavor, texture and health.

A few notes about making the toppings as great as possible. Tang! My I've found how much interesting flavor a spritz of a lime wedge will add to a taco or tostada. It is literally amazing. Make it your last topping you add to each “toastada” and you'll love what it does for all the other toppings.

With that much flavor coming through, black beans, salsa, avocado slices, chopped onion, green onion, tomato, the lime wedges, Tabasco and a little reduced fat sour cream are all we need to enjoy a wonderful and easy dinner for two. No need for cheese; no need for meat either. It really is a terrific little thing to whip up in only a few minutes -- plus you get to decide how much you make. Tupperware or no tupperware, there will NOT be any leftovers because this dish is just too tasty!

1 comment:

~~BT~~ said...

This is one concept that is not limited to a full meal of tostadas. In fact, making the corn tortillas into healthy chips using this method is one of my favorite healthy snacks. Just cut them into wedges to make chips and follow the same steps. Delicious!