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Healhier quesadillas

Quesadillas get a healthy makeover.

Quesadillas get a healthy makeover.

Quesadilla is a Spanish word for “little cheese thing.” The recipe typically calls for mounds of cheese and pork chorizo between two corn tortillas. Although there’s just a small amount of cheese in this recipe, it’s the lean ground chicken, the spices and the delicious salsa that are the stars of this healthy dish.

The substitution of lean ground chicken breast for pork chorizo cuts down on the calories without sacrificing any of the flavor. Chorizo sausage is usually made with ground pork and combined with fat, wine, paprika and salt, and stuffed into a casing made of tripe. Paprika and red chilies are the primary spices in Mexican chorizo and infuse it with a deep reddish color.

This recipe uses the same spices that are used in the pungent Mexican sausage to marinate the ground chicken. This allows you to mimic the flavor of chorizo while cutting out the fat. Small, diced potatoes add a distinctive texture and also absorb the spices. The avocado salsa completes the dish and adds a burst of fresh citrus with the addition of the lime juice.

Try one of these healthy quesadillas, accompanied by a dab of fat-free sour cream, if desired, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You’ll never miss the original recipe!

1/2 pound ground all-natural chicken
2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 small bay leaf, ground
in a spice grinder
1/2 teaspoon ground
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1/8 teaspoon ground
1 tablespoon cider vinegar 1 cup diced and peeled
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup diced, purple
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese
8 corn or whole-wheat

The Salsa:
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup diced purple
1 large garlic clove,
1/4 cup chopped fresh
cilantro leaves
1/2 Serrano chili, minced
2 teaspoon fresh lime
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

To prepare the Quesadillas: 1. Combine the chicken,
chili powder, salt, pepper,
bay leaf, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, cloves and
vinegar in a bowl, mix well.

Set aside.
2. Boil the potato in lightly salted water in a saucepan until tender, drain.
Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil
in a nonstick skillet over
medium-high heat. Saute
the chicken mixture, stirring to break up the pieces,
until the chicken is almost
cooked through.
3. Add the potato, onion
and remaining canola oil,
cook until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove from
heat and mash mixture. Top
each of 4 tortillas with an
equal amount of chicken
mixture. Top with shredded
Cheddar cheese, then another tortilla. Spray a griddle
or nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Cook the quesadillas
over medium heat until
both sides are crisp, turning once.

To prepare the Salsa:
In a small bowl, mix together the avocado, tomato,
onion, garlic, cilantro, chili,
lime juice, salt and pepper
until well-combined. Cut
quesadillas into wedges and
serve with the salsa. Makes
4 servings.
Angela Shelf Medearis
is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of
seven cookbooks. Her new
cookbook is “The Kitchen
Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.”

©2017 King Features Synd.

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