September 19, 2011 in Features

Dinner in Minutes: Quesadillas carry less fat

Linda Gassenheimer Miami Herald

These quesadillas use flour tortillas filled with a savory bean mixture, melted Monterey Jack cheese and ham, with jicama on the side.
(Full-size photo)

You can whip up a quick Southwestern dinner without all the fat found in tacos and burritos by making quesadillas.

Though quesadillas usually are served as an appetizer, these are large and filling enough for supper.

This recipe uses flour tortillas filled with a savory bean mixture, melted Monterey Jack cheese and ham. Once prepared, they only take 2 minutes to cook under a broiler.

Accompany them with seasoned sticks of jicama, a root vegetable with a thin brown skin and white crunchy flesh. Served raw or cooked, it retains its crisp, water chestnut-like texture.

While in an open market in Mexico City, I tasted sliced jicama with a squeeze of lemon. It’s a refreshing and tasty snack.

If jicama is difficult to find, simply add a green salad to the meal.

This meal contains a total of 553 calories per serving with 24 percent of calories from fat.

Quick Quesadillas

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons diced red onion

1/2 cup drained, sliced canned pimento

1/2 cup rinsed and drained canned pinto beans

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1/2 cup diced low-fat ham

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Combine garlic, onion, pimento and beans in a food processor and puree. (Or mash beans with fork, chop pimento and mix together with garlic and onion.) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread 2 tortillas with bean mixture. Sprinkle ham and cheese on top. Cover each prepared tortilla with one of the 2 remaining tortillas.

Place the tortillas on a foil-lined baking tray. Broil 5 inches from the heat for 1 minute. Remove from the broiler and turn quesadillas over with a spatula. Return to the broiler for 1 minute, watching to make sure they don’t burn. Cut each quesadilla in half and serve.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutrition per serving: 500 calories (27 percent from fat), 14.9 grams fat (5.6 grams saturated, 5.9 grams monounsaturated), 25 milligrams cholesterol, 22.1 grams protein, 69.6 grams carbohydrates, 7.1 grams fiber, 1,170 milligrams sodium.

Jicama Sticks

1 small jicama (about 2 cups), cut into sticks

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Peel jicama. Cut into 4 1/2 -inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/2 -inch sticks. Toss with lemon juice.

Divide between two dinner plates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and chopped cilantro.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 53 calories (2 percent from fat), 0.1 gram fat (no saturated or monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 1 gram protein, 12.8 grams carbohydrates, 8.5 grams fiber, 6 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks. Visit her Web page at www.DinnerInMinutes. com or email her at Linda@DinnerInMinutes. com.

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