No Take-Out For Us!

Picture this… you’re at the office; your boss tells you he needs this project done before you go home. You look at the clock; it says 3:00 PM. The boss says, “Oh, it should only take you a couple of hours”. A couple of hours! You panic!

Your husband is working late, your son has a soccer game, your daughter has cheerleading and you have your business course tonight. Who will cook dinner?

Ah, Mexican, you say! No, no, no Taco Bell for you! Here are some fast, nutritious meals everyone loves.

Tell the kids, it’s Mexican Night!

Here two easy Mexican-Style dishes for people on the go, Cheese ‘n Vegetable Quesadillas and Mexican-Style Risotto!

Now the tricky part … how do you get them both ready at the same time? Well, I combine my ingredients. Here is an example of what I’m talking about: If both recipes call for grated Monterey Jack Cheese, I grate the 3 ounces that I need for the Risotto and the 4 ½ ounces that I needed for the Quesadillas at the same time. This saves both time and energy. I then separate them as I need them.

I also enlist the help of anyone standing around waiting for supper. When the family has a time constraint, we work together. This way we can still spend time together catching up on the day’s events and it’s just plain fun.

I love these recipes, because they are fun, easy and healthy. I hope you enjoy them too.

Cheese ‘n Vegetable Quesadillas

  • Eight 6” flour tortillas
  • 4 ½ ounces reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup small broccoli florets
  • 4 ounces drained cooked black beans
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped drained green chiles
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallions
  • ½ cup mild or medium salsa
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray eight 9” squares of foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Place 1 tortilla onto each of 4 prepared sheets of foil; sprinkle each with one-fourth of the cheese. Set aside.

In small saucepan of boiling water, cook broccoli 3 minutes, until bright green and just tender. Drain, discarding liquid, arrange broccoli on cheese-topped tortillas.

In small bowl, with fork, combine beans and juice, mashing beans to form a chunky paste; stir in chiles, cilantro and scallions. Spread one-fourth of the bean mixture on broccoli.

Top each portion of bean mixture with 1 remaining tortilla; top each with 1 remaining foil, spray-side down. Crimp edges of foil together to seal; place onto nonstick baking sheet. Bake 7 minutes, until heated through.

Unwrap the quesadillas. Place each onto plate; cut each into quarters. Top each quesadilla with 2 tablespoons salsa and 1 ½ teaspoons sour cream. 294 Calories per serving.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes (If you have family members helping you or you prepare ingredients the night before, it will cut down on the preparation time.)

Mexican-Style Risotto

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped seeded pickled jalapeno pepper
  • 6 ounces Arborio or short-grained rice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons mild or hot chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 8 ounces drained cooked red beans
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped drained canned green chiles

In medium saucepan heat oil, add onion and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 5 minutes, until onion is softened. Add rice; stir to coat. Add juice, chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt; stir to combine.

Add ½ cup water to rice mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Continuing to stir, add another 2 ½ cups water, ½ cup at a time; cook, stirring constantly after each addition, 18-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed, rice is tender and mixture is creamy.

Add ¼ cup of cilantro to rice mixture; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add beans, cheese, tomato and chiles; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is heated through and cheese is melted. Remove from heat; stir in remaining ½ cup cilantro. 330 Calories per serving size.

  • Yields: 4 servings (1 ¼ cup each)
  • Preparation Time: 40-50 minutes (If you have family members helping you or you prepare ingredients the night before, it will cut down on the preparation time.)