I am all for using up every little piece of food in my refrigerator and freezer before it goes bad. Every time I grocery shop I notice how all the prices across the store are rising so nothing irritates me more than when I have to throw away a vegetable or leftovers that got pushed to the back of the refrigerator. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she had to throw away an entire Rotisserie Chicken because her family didn’t eat it and she left it too long sitting in her refrigerator. I try to remember what I have in the refrigerator and plan meals around what we have. If I can’t use it before it goes bad I also try to remember to throw it in the freezer if I can. I cut up peppers, onions, carrots, and even blanch spinach to put in the freezer for a later date. If you take meat out to use for a meal but later decide not to use it cook it anyway and use it in something else such as a soup or casserole that you can freeze for a meal at another time.
I had corn tortillas to use up in my refrigerator before they hardened. My kids loved the Shrimp Tostados I made the other week so I thought I would create another dish similar to that. My new Rachael Ray Everyday Magazine arrived the other day and there was a recipe for Tostachos. I loved the idea of these and knew I could make something similar to suit my family’s tastes.
This was a hit! The tortillas were crunchy and flavorful. I added a bit of juice from the pickled jalapenos to the cheese sauce so that it had a bit of a bite similar to the orange glowing cheese you get from fast food restaurant but didn’t seem so bad for us.
I served this with a green side salad and lots of toppings to choose from so that each person could make their own Tostacho.
My mostly gluten-free son used regular cheese on top of his dish rather than the cheese sauce because it contained flour.
- 8 (6″) corn tortillas
- olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 2 TBSP cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- 2 TBSP butter
- 4 TBSP flour
- 2 cups half and half (I have used fat-free successfully)
- toppings: Pickled Jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, taco sauce, olives, lettuce…
- Add a teaspoon or so of olive oil to a small skillet. Place a corn tortilla in the skillet rubbing both sides on the bottom of the pan to coat with olive oil. Let cook on each side about 3-4 minutes until brown and crispy. Remove tortilla to a warming dish in the oven set at 170 degrees. Cook remaining tortillas adding olive oil as necessary.
- Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Break up large chunks of meat with the side of the spoon. Stir often so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once meat is fully cooked, drain fat from pan.
- Add the water, garlic powder, cayenne, cumin, onion powder, chili powder, salt and pepper to the meat. Stir well and allow water to cook off about 2-3 minutes.
- To make the cheese sauce: in a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted whisk in the flour until well combined and starts to turn slightly golden. Add half and half to the mixture and continue to whisk until smooth. Allow sauce to cook down and thicken, about 5-8 minutes depending on the temperature of your milk and stove top. If you would like a little “kick” in the cheese sauce add a tablespoon or two of the pickled jalapeno juice to the cheese sauce and stir well.
- Remove sauce from heat and add cheese. Stir until well combined.
- Serve with tortilla on the bottom, topped with meat and then cheese sauce. Add toppings as desired.