Monday, March 17, 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tostadas with Corn Salsa and my go-to marinade #WRALSmartShopper

If I had to pick just one type of food to eat for the rest of my life, what would it be?  

Mexican food.  

Maybe because it ranges from the not-so-healthy fried, cheesy and greasy… to the very healthy, using the freshest fruits, vegetables, chile peppers and herbs.  But it’s not just the flavors of Mexico that have stuck with me all these years, but also the memories.

It was 1980-something, and my best friend and I signed up for our first Missions trip, partly, because we wanted to make a difference.  And partly because we had crushes on two of the boys that had also signed up… and there’d be a shopping trip to Tijuana on the way back.

So, what does this have to do with today’s recipe? Well, in my mind, the very best food also evokes a feeling. And now, whenever I eat Mexican food, I remember teaching classes in the orphanage, and how I wished I could have taken sweet Ophelia home with me. Work, that didn’t really feel like work, building the house, where cardboard boxes once acted as walls. And drinking cokes, out of glass bottles, while we bargained in the Tijuana shops. The McDonalds back on our side of the border never knew what hit them… all 80 of us getting out of vans, dressed in sterling silver jewelry and multi-colored ponchos, ordering big macs with Spanish accents.
And while this recipe isn’t completely authentic, it is delicious, and simple, and utilizes many of the sale ingredients this week. Plus, it has two of my favorite things. My corn salsa, which compliments many recipes, and can be spiced up with the addition of jalapeno or Fresno chile peppers. And my go-to marinade, which I also use often on pork chops and even roasted shrimp.

Chicken Tostadas with Corn Salsa and my Go-To Marinade
For the Chicken and marinade:
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 green onions, chopped
¼ c. cilantro, rough chopped
1 lime, juiced
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
3 tblsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt, pepper to taste
4 flour tortillas
Cooking oil to fill pan a few inches

Place the chicken and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Then pour all into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes (stirring half way through to break up pieces), or until just cooked through, making sure not to overcook. Set aside.

For the Corn SalsaIn a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients together and let flavors meld in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed once cold.
For the tortillasPlace a few inches of oil in a skillet. Once the oil is hot, add in the flour tortillas, one at a time, and cook on each side until crisp and lightly browned. Set aside on cooling rack to drain.
To Assemble: On each tortilla, layer the cooked chicken and corn salsa. Then add any other ingredients you might like. I cut up a bit of romaine lettuce. And I mixed a bit of queso cheese (which is similar to goat cheese) with some lime juice and spices. You could also add cut up tomatoes, black beans or even roasted vegetables like zucchini or yellow squash.

*Note: all costs are approximate due to regional sale prices, amounts needed just for this specific recipe, and ingredients on hand. This recipe was created to utilize sale ingredients listed for the current week in Raleigh, NC stores.
Serves 4

For more recipes, plus couponing tips and matchups, head on over to WRAL's SmartShopper Blog, where I'll be contributing weekly recipes that are fun, flavorful, and frugal.  


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