Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quesadillas Made Healthy

Good afternoon everyone!  I was introduced to the world of quesadillas in my freshman year of college, and I have not looked back.  I love any sort of meat and/or cheese combination that inhabits two tortillas and serves itself as melty goodness.  It's quite simply, the best, and a dish that has memories laced in.  While those quesadillas in college might have been chock full of calories, I strive for something that's a little bit more healthy these days.  Today's recipe is a nice alternative for anyone wanting a quesadilla without having the guilt.

The Recipe:  Crispy Vegetables Quesadillas
A variation of a recipe found in Cooking Light, May 2014 Issue

What You'll Need:
1 Teaspoon Canola Oil
1/2 Cup frozen whole-kernel Corn
1 Cup cooked Couscous
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup precooked Spinach
1/2 Cup precooked white Onion, chopped
3 Ounces shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (about 3/4 Cup)
1 (15 Ounce) can unsalted Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 Teaspoons Mexican Hot Sauce
8 (6 inch) Flour Tortillas

To start, place a baking sheet on the middle rack of an oven and preheat a broiler to high.  Keep the pan in the oven as it preheats.  Next, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Once heated, swirl the oil to coat and add the corn, cooking for five minutes, or just until the kernels have touches of light brown to them.  Next, add the couscous, salt, spinach, and onions and cook until all ingredients have heated through, about three to five minutes.  Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the cheese until is has melted.

Next, pour the beans in to a medium mixing bowl and mash with a fork until smooth.  Add the hot sauce and stir until the sauce has mixed in.  Place one tortilla on a clean plate and spread 2 1/2 tablespoons of the bean mixture until the entire tortilla is covered, except 1 inch from the edge.  Next, top 1/2 cup of the spinach/corn mixture and spread like before.  Finish the quesadilla with another tortilla.  Repeat this process until the bean mixture, spinach/corn mixture, and tortillas have been used up.

Bring the preheated cooking sheet out of the oven onto hot pads.  Lightly coat each quesadilla with cooking spray and gently place on the cooking sheet.  Place the baking sheet back in the oven and broil the quesadillas for a total of three minutes or until lightly browned, turning once for even cooking.  Cut each quesadilla into six wedges, serve with a tablespoon of sour cream, and enjoy!

The End Result:

While there isn't any meat to be had in these quesadillas, they have enough substance to hold their own.  The layer of black beans, as proved before, are the multitool and provide a good amount of protein, and, when mixed with hot sauce, adds a whole new depth to this Mexican dish staple.  The couscous is an interesting player in this dish.  While by itself doesn't add a lot of flavor, cooked with the spinach, onion, corn, and cheese, it acts almost as a binder and is good to use in the this situation. While I was worried about the lack of cheese, I'm satisfied with how little can be used and it works in this recipe.  If you are looking for a quesadilla that is hearty, vegetarian, and low calorie (try 300 calories for four wedges!) this dish is definitely worth a try.

Thanks for joining us today.  Check back tomorrow as Tyler showcases another Sunday Special.  Until then,


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