Tostadas with Refried Black Beans, Chicken and Cheddar

Think of a tostada as a Mexican open-faced sandwich. The Spanish word "tostada" means toasted, and it refers to the base of the "sandwich", a deep fried tortilla. Once crispy, the tortilla is topped with ingredients similar to those found in tacos - beef, chicken, shrimp, beans, salsa, avocado, tomato, onion, sour cream, and so on. This is a staple meal in Mexico and Central America, and it's a great way to use up tortillas that aren't quite soft enough to work for tacos anymore!

Healthy tostadas: In my version, I toast the corn tortillas in the oven - not the deep fryer. I first coat them with a little cooking spray and taco seasoning and then crisp them in a hot oven. The cooked chicken is simmered in a simple mixture of chicken broth and more taco seasoning (we're building layers of flavor here). My refried beans are also healthy, and you need just 1 tablespoon of butter for the whole batch (I eliminated the bacon because the flavor is amazing without it) and seasoned the mashed legumes with onion, garlic, oregano, and chili powder.

For the cooked chicken: For this dish, I roasted 2 large, bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves. I simply put the halves on a baking sheet, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and roasted them at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, until they were cooked through. Once they were cool enough to handle, I pulled the meat from the bone and shredded it with my fingers. I got about 4 cups, just what you need. You can also purchase cooked chicken from your favorite grocery store, shred a rotisserie chicken, or use leftovers from a previous meal.

Tostadas with Refried Black Beans, Chicken and Cheddar

8 corn tortillas
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons taco seasoning, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling over top if desired
2 cups shredded lettuce
Optional toppings: 
Diced tomato
Diced avocado
Hot sauce
Sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Arrange the tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the surface with taco seasoning. Bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside.
To make the refried beans, melt the butter in a large skillet until bubbly. Add the chili powder, oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder. Cook and stir for about 1 minute, until the seasonings are fragrant. Add the black beans and 1/2 cup of the broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes - and while the mixture simmers, mash the beans with a fork (once the beans are mashed, the flesh will absorb the broth). Simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Note: You can mash the beans completely, or leave some larger pieces.
To prepare the chicken, in a medium skillet, combine the remaining 1/2 cup broth and remaining teaspoon of taco seasoning. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally (it only takes a few minutes).
To assemble the tostadas, spoon the refried beans on the tostadas. Top with the cheese, chicken, and lettuce. Top with desired toppings and more cheese.

Serves 4