The ever-so-popular quesadilla doesn't have to be a calorie buster these days nor does it have to be savored solely at a Mexican cantina loaded with cheese, all the trimmings then washed down with a cervasa. It seems as if this tasty south-of-the-border delight is now featured on virtually every menu across the states and is now being considered a healthy choice.
Many cultures are trying there best at recreating this Mexican treat and labeling this dish "low fat". What use to be considered as an appetizer treat is now often referred to as a meal and can often be shared by two! Nevertheless, beware of this assumed low-fat delectable for it is not necessarily good for the waistline if it is not prepared properly. Don't assume that just because they claim it is a healthy choice that it truly is one! Check the ingredients and know what you are eating before plunging in to enjoying a guilt free dish. If they are using the real, deal sour cream, real cheese, and/or guacamole then lookout! If they sauté the veggies in butter and sodium then you will definitely feel it later on in the day and worst yet, see it days to follow!
Avoid the temptation of believing all that you read on a menu and find out the facts when it comes to dining out as to what you are really eating. It will not only help your hard hours in the gym pay off it will also teach you what really goes into the dishes that you enjoy. Once you've mastered that then you won't be so shy as to experiment making many of your favorite dishes at home, the healthy way. Cooking at home will not only save you money on dining out but it will also get you on the right track of eating healthier.
Mediterranean Veggie Quesadillas!
The following recipe is not only a smart choice but just as scrumptious as the original minus the calories.
- 1/2 cup zucchini, cut thin into quarter slices
- 1/2 cup squash, cut thin into quarter slices
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
- Four to six, 8-10 inch, tortillas (sun-dried tomato, jalepeno or honey wheat are excellent choices!)
- 1/4 cup fat-free cream cheese, garlic roasted
- 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Alfalfa sprouts
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream
- 2-3 Tablespoons chives, chopped fresh if possible (*My favorite tortilla brand is Tumaro's Homestyle Kitchens 99% fat free organic tortillas
Preheat nonstick grill to a medium heat or oven to 450 degrees. (If using oven, spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or pre-treat grill before igniting.)
Wash veggies well, (zucchini, squash, and mushrooms) and slice thin.
Then precook veggies by briefly boiling over a medium heat and drain well or even better yet quickly grill them by placing them on aluminum foil, sprayed with nonstick spray, and grill for a few minutes until tender. This will only take a few moments, do not overcook them, they should still be crisp when you remove them. If you're really pressed for time then you can always microwave them, however, keep in mind that a microwave depletes the nutritious value from veggies and "that's not a good thing!"
Place 4-6 tortillas on baking sheet and spread with cream cheese. Then arrange veggies, tomatoes, feta cheese, and parsley on only the top half of each tortilla. (This way you can fold up the bottom half creating a half circle sandwich making it much easier to grill.) Sprinkle veggies with garlic powder. Fold bottom half over and they're ready to bake or grill.
To bake it takes 4-5 minutes or until crisp and cheese is melted. To grill it takes 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortillas start to turn brown.
Halfway through grilling carefully turn once using a large spatula to prevent spillage. To use the electric grill, a.k.a. "George Foreman", simply place tortillas on the preheated, presprayed grill, close lid for 2-4 minutes and check periodically for desirred browness
To serve; cut quesadillas into wedges. Top each with some alfalfa sprouts, a dollop of nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream and then sprinkle with chives. This makes a great lunch, dinner, or even tasty party appetizers.
For those of us on the go:
Low fat tortilla wraps are excellent for many food combinations especially for us people on the go. You can pretty much toss just about anything in one, wrap it up and run out the door. I like to keep a healthy stir-fry or egg white veggie omelet already made up in the refrigerator. Then when I'm in a crunch all I have to do is take a few minutes to wrap my nutritious snack up, grab a shake, water, a piece of fruit and out the door I go!
Do not spray grill with nonstick spray while the grill is turned on, be sure to only spray prior igniting or look out, you may end up in your neighbors yard!
The George Foreman Grill is also excellent for making quesadillas among many other healthy meals on the go. So, if you don't already own one, it is a great investment and will save you both time and calories not to mention your taste buds will thank you!
Mediterranean Veggie Quesadillas PDF (148 KB)