Ms. Ortez’s Favorite Recipe

Learn how to cook chicken tostadas!

Emma Montalbano, Video Editor

Ms. Ortez (fourth from the left) poses with her dance group.

Jenny Ortez has been teaching at Woodside since 1998 and is currently teaching Modern European History. She loves to dance and has participated in the San Francisco Carnaval Parade for three years. The SF Carnaval parade celebrates Latin American culture, and her group dances to samba, salsa, merengue, and cumbia music. Along with dancing, her other favorite hobbies include reading, watching television shows and movies, and watching theater performances. 

Her favorite recipe is Chicken Tostadas. It takes about 45 minutes of preparations, followed by 40 minutes of cook time. This recipe yields a total of six servings. Here is a recipe for Chicken Tostadas from the Food Network.


Crispy Tortillas: 

Vegetable oil for frying

6 white corn tortillas

Kosher salt for sprinkling


3 cups cooked shredded chicken

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Refried Beans, warm, recipe follows

3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded

1 Hass avocado, thinly sliced or Guacamole, recipe follows

2 cups Salsa Cruda, recipe follows

1/2 cup sour cream

1 scallion, thinly sliced

12 fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Refried Beans:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 cloves garlic, minced

One 15.5-ounce can pinto beans (with liquid), mashed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Salsa Cruda:

2 ripe tomatoes or 4 plum tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped

1/4 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

1/4 jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Image of Chicken Tostadas, from the Food Network.


1. To make the tortillas: Pour the oil for frying into a large heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of about 2 inches. Place over medium heat and heat to 375 degrees F. Add the tortillas, one at a time, and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined pan and sprinkle with salt. Set aside. 

2. To make the chicken: In a small bowl, mix together the chicken, lime juice, oil, coriander, and salt and season with pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. 

3. To assemble the tostadas: Preheat the broiler. Spread the beans evenly over one side of each tortilla and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Transfer to a baking sheet and broil until the cheese is lightly browned and melted, about 30 seconds. Divide the tortillas among 6 plates. 

4. Evenly mound the chicken on each tortilla and top with the lettuce. Top each tostada with avocado, salsa, and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with the scallion and garnish the tostada with the coriander leaves. Serve immediately.

5. Refried Beans: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, coriander, and cumin and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, until lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Add the beans and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and amber brown in color, about 4 minutes. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste.

6. Salsa Cruda: In a small bowl, mix together the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, coriander, salt, and season with pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Cook’s Note: The tortillas must be fried until very crispy, otherwise they may become rubbery, making them difficult to cut with a knife and fork.