Mini Chicken Tostadas Recipe (vegetarian adaptable)

mini chicken tostadas | pamela salzman

You guys know I love watching football.  However, I’m not such a fan that I’ll watch just any game with teams that I don’t care much about.  So unfortunately for me, this has been a very boring season.  All the teams I root for didn’t make the playoffs.  And even the teams I root against didn’t make the playoffs, so I really had very little excitement this year.  But I still love having friends over on Sundays and I always have fun making tasty nibbles for everyone to enjoy during the games.  All is not lost.

Trader Joe's organic tortilla rounds

Since the Super Bowl is coming up, I know many of you will be hosting friends and family at your house or will be invited somewhere.  Now is the perfect time to figure out a few fun, easy and delicious game-day recipes.

slow cooker chicken taco meat

We always have a few people over for the Super Bowl – nothing big because otherwise my husband can’t “concentrate” (on the game, not in general.)  I usually keep a big pot of chili (see these recipes for vegetable chili, Southwestern turkey and black bean chili, and veggie-sweet potato chili) on the stove with a topping bar on the kitchen island and some cornbread.  I also will have either a taco bar or a baked potato bar as well.  It’s all easy, can be prepped in advance and I think most people like to customize their own meal.

top each tortilla round with a pinch of chicken

You must try these mini chicken tostadas!  My kids go crazy for them.  A tostada is a fried, whole tortilla topped with variety of goodies – shredded chicken or beef, refried beans, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, really whatever you would put on a taco.  I find tostadas a bit awkward to eat, but these mini ones are much less messy and they are still customizable.

top the chicken with a pinch of cheese

I like to bake my own tortillas to make chips, but only when I have time.  I’ll give you directions for how to make your own baked mini tortilla rounds for this recipe, but if you’re having a crowd, I would probably just go get the round, organic tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere.  Maybe less healthful than baking your own, but much easier if you have a lot of other things to do.  Make some chicken taco meat the day before either in the oven or the slow cooker and you’ve got a very easy crowd-pleaser!

bake until the chicken and cheese are warme

The way I like to make these is to put a pinch of chicken and cheese on each tortilla round and bake them for a few minutes or until the cheese melts a little and the chicken is warmed through.  But, if you make your chicken the same day and it’s still warm when you put it on the chip, it’s up to you if you still want to pop them in the oven.  Then just top them however you like.  I also make these vegetarian with refried beans instead of chicken.  Either way, they’ll be a winner!

mini chicken tostadas | pamela salzman


Mini Chicken Tostadas
Serves: makes 18, but the recipe can easily be multiplied to make more
  • 6 6-inch soft corn tortillas
  • unrefined olive oil for brushing tortillas
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken taco meat (click here for a slow cooker and oven version) or use 1 -2 cans of refried beans for a vegetarian version
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese (or Monterey Jack or cheddar)
  • Additional toppings: guacamole, salsa, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced scallions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have an aluminum or nonstick pan.)
  2. Brush both sides of each tortilla with a little olive oil.  With a 2 ½-inch cookie cutter, try to cut 3 rounds from each tortilla.  You can bake the scraps to make crispy bits to top a salad or soup.
  3. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.  They will crisp up as they cool.  These can be made the day before and kept in a covered container at room temperature. Or, instead of making baked rounds, buy round tortilla chips.
  4. When ready to serve, preheat oven once again to 375 degrees.  Put a pinch of chicken and a pinch of cheese on each.  Bake until chicken is warmed through.  Top with desired accompaniments.



Tex-Mex Matzo Brei Recipe (Migas with Matzo!)

my favorite passover breakfast

I used to look forward to Passover when I was a child even though I wasn’t Jewish and was never invited to a seder.  But Pathmark and Shop Rite would carry matzo for about 2 weeks around the time of the holiday and I loved it.  Do you know about matzo?  It’s like a giant, light and crispy cracker usually made with wheat flour and a little salt, typically only eaten for Passover.  Funny enough, my grandmother (also not Jewish) was the one who introduced me to matzo which she slathered with Breakstone’s whipped butter.  This was really the only way I ever ate it unless I was feeling adventurous in which case I might spread on a little peanut butter and jelly.

I like to soften the matzos a little by running some water over them.

I remember back then we could only find plain wheat matzo or egg matzo which was a bit softer.  But now, it’s amazing to see all the different varieties available.  Just the other day in addition to the traditional egg and wheat, I spotted gluten-free matzo, both plain and toasted onion flavor, spelt matzo (I bought two boxes), whole wheat, whole wheat with extra bran (good because matzo can be a tad constipating), and matzo crackers (Mr. Picky’s favorite.)  Matzo has come a long way!

saute bell pepper and onion; add jalapeño if you like.

break up the matzo and add it to beaten eggs

My matzo consumption has also evolved and become a little more interesting since I married a Jewish guy.  I’ll tell you the truth, I really don’t eat much matzo anymore, but when I do I’ll turn it into a matzo lasagne or my favorite, matzo brei (rhymes with “sky.”)  Matzo brei can be sweet or savory, but essentially you break up some matzo and combine it with beaten eggs and cook the whole thing in a skillet.  For savory, you can add cooked onions, smoked salmon, salt and pepper.  For sweet, we add a little cinnamon and serve it with maple syrup and fresh fruit on the side, sort of like French toast.

just needs some salsa and guac!

Well if you live in Southern California long enough, you’re bound to be influenced by the flavors south of the border.  One of my favorite breakfast dishes is migas, which is eggs scrambled with fried corn tortillas and all the delicious accompaniments you would expect like salsa and avocado.  I can’t believe it took me this long to cook up a Tex-Mex matzo brei!  This has become my favorite matzo dish so far and there are so many ways to adapt it to suit your taste. I also included sweet bell pepper and onion and then served it with fresh pico de gallo, guacamole and cilantro.  If Mr. Picky hadn’t been eating this the morning I photographed this, I would have added a little minced jalapeno to the bell pepper and onion.  If you eat dairy, this is a natural for cheese and/or sour cream.  And if you aren’t keeping Passover, by all means add some refried beans!  This would be equally delicious for lunch or dinner.  Enjoy!

i love this with salsa, guacamole and cilantro

Tex-Mex Matzo Brei
Serves: 4
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 sheets matzo (don’t use egg matzo as it’s too soft)
  • 6 large eggs
  • suggested accompaniments: fresh pico de gallo or salsa, guacamole or fresh sliced avocado, fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese like Monterey Jack, crumbled Cotija cheese, refried beans
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté peppers and onions with a pinch of salt until tender and translucent.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Run cold water over the matzo for a few seconds to barely soften them. Crumble the matzo into bite-sized pieces and mix with the beaten eggs.
  4. Add the egg and matzo mixture to the skillet with a healthy pinch or two of salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until cooked to desired doneness. This should take 5 minutes more or less. Serve with suggested accompaniments.

Chicken and Avocado Soup

Even though I’m a big football fan and I love a good game (especially when my team wins), when it’s over, it’s over.  Whether the outcome of the game is favorable or unfavorable, life goes on and so do I.  So football is finished until next year, but eating happens multiple times a day everyday.  And today I am much more focused on what to do with Super Bowl leftovers!

Quinoa cornbread became breakfast.  Chili went into thermoses for lunch.  And topping bar items can make their way into frittatas, quesadillas or soup for dinner.  This particular soup was not my brain child, but as often happens in my life, my kids leave the house and are amazed by what they’re “missing.”  A while back my mother-in-law took them to Cafe Rio, a “fast casual dining establishment,” and they went bonkers for the Tortilla Soup.  It’s is a brothy and flavorful chicken stock-based soup with some vegetables and whatever add-ins you choose.  Whereas the younger two kids asked me if we could go there for dinner some night and have it again, my older daughter knew me better than that and suggested I try to copy the soup at home.  Great idea!

So one day my friend Cheryl and I went on a secret reconnaissance mission to the local Cafe Rio to check out the famous soup and see exactly how they do this thing.  Truthfully, their method is pretty genius and it’s the perfect soup to make at home for a family or a group.  The server adds into a cup your choice of chicken, guacamole, salsa, cheese, cilantro, and tortillas, and then ladles a flavorful chicken soup on top.  Yep, that’s it.  And except for being unbelievably salty, the soup was rather tasty.   You know how much I love a do-it-yourself situation (less work for me!)  Can you picture how easy this is if you have cooked chicken and salsa already made?  This comes together in minutes, I tell you, and everyone makes it the way they want.  You want it to be vegetarian?  No problem!  Just sub a great vegetable stock for the chicken stock and add in some pinto beans for protein.

Even though my intent was to copy Cafe Rio’s soup, I ended up making a couple of my own tweaks, such as using chopped avocado instead of guacamole (but definitely use the guac if you have it) and adding a squeeze of lime at the end.  I used poached chicken the day I took these photos and give you directions for that in the recipe, but I have used leftover grilled chicken or the meat from a whole roasted chicken, too.  And sometimes I add quinoa to mine if I’m not in the mood for chicken, and I love that, too.  But the method behind this soup is giving me all sorts of ideas for how to use up some tasty leftovers.  If you make the soup base as directed here, I have chopped up leftover enchiladas and added them for an “enchilada soup,” but I bet you could add in taco meat and some tortillas for a “taco soup.”  I’m excited by the possibilities, plus I think I just made my meal plan for the week!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken and Avocado Soup
Serves: 6
  • 1 or 2 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (depending on how much chicken you want in your soup)
  • ½ large onion, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon additive-free kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • A few peppercorns, crushed
  • A few garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (if you don’t want too much heat) and diced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (double this if you use unsalted stock)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
  • 1-2 avocados, peeled and cut into chunks or guacamole
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges (my favorite part!)
  • Other possible add-ins: tortilla chips, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese
  1. Poach the chicken: Place the chicken breast, onion half (halved again), salt, pepper and garlic into a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil over high heat and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer chicken for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow chicken to sit in the liquid until cool enough to handle.
  2. In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, scallions, carrots, celery and jalapeno. Sauté until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Pull chicken from liquid and remove skin and bones. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces. You can divide chicken amongst the 6 individual bowls or add it all to the pot.
  5. Put a heaping spoonful of pico de gallo and avocado chunks/guacamole in each individual bowl and ladle soup on top. Squeeze lime on top and sprinkle with corn tortilla chips and fresh cilantro, if desired.