Summer Tostadas with Black Beans and Cream Cheese + Filling our Parent Heart + Joyful At-Home Learning

I don’t know anyone who isn’t eating at home a lot these days but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more time to do the cooking. The dishes pile up daily and yet I’m not making the more involved dishes that excite my inner foodie. When is the last time you took the time to put on your apron, pour a glass of wine, and dig into a juicy recipe? Over here, it’s been a good long while.

Suppose you’ve got two young kids who are trying to get along, play by themselves, share, be nice, find something to do for quiet time and so on to comply – and just look, they dearly want to comply – with our grown-up needs for calm and order in the latter part of the day, and for nearly five months they’ve been daily constant companions. Well, rest assured they will need to lean on us a little by 5:00.

I think we should move dinner to 9:00am.

Now, popcorn and cereal dinners are both fair game. In lieu of those though, which I try hard to reserve for the days when meal prep doesn’t happen, my quick backup is whatever I have on hand, with a tortilla.

I subbed in pan-fried tortillas for the usual taco shells topped with beans and grilled vegetables, and finished with whatever other things I might need to use up from the fridge. I found a square of buffalo mozzarella and a half packet of cream cheese, the latter being the sleeping star of this dinner. I highly recommend it.

Summer Tostadas with Black Beans and Cream Cheese

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 15 oz can refried black beans
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 medium summer squash, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup high-heat cooking oil (for frying)
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1 cup cheese of your choice, shredded or cubed
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • salt to taste


In small saucepan, empty can of black beans and add 1/4 cup water to thin. Warm over low heat while preparing the vegetables.

In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add carrot, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in large serving bowl.

Next, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet followed by zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, corn, green onions and all spices, stirring frequently until beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes. Fold in cilantro and salt to taste. Remove from heat and add to carrots in serving bowl.

In warm skillet, add pepitas and heat until lightly brown. Add a pinch of salt. Set aside in small bowl.

Add 1/3 cup cooking oil to skillet. Increase heat to high until oil shimmers. With tongs place one tortilla at a time in oil, frying until beginning to brown, about 1 minute depending on thickness. Turn and fry other side. Place tortillas on paper towel on plate.

When ready to serve, smear each tostada with a layer of cream cheese, then warmed black beans, and topped with a heaping spoonful of grilled vegetables. Top with shredded cheese and pepitas.

Enjoy with fresh fruit salad and a margarita or sweet dinner wine.

*These would be great with any number of substitutions or additions:

grilled poblano chiles

diced avocado or guacamole

chopped pineapple

yogurt or sour cream

shredded cabbage

lime zest or juice

chipotle crema: mix 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce minced (these can be hot! start small and add more if you like heat), 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice and salt to taste. This stuff is amazing!


A few ideas for keeping our parent tanks filled. #7 ties right in to this post.

Are you an unintentional homeschooler now? Check out this podcast for enhancing the joy in at-home learning.


  • Reply Nancy July 31, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Yum! Can’t wait to try this!!

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