Healthier Holiday Table: Better For You Quesadillas

Posted December 7th, 2012 by Sandie in Food, Recipes

RecipeAnyone who knows me for more than 30 minutes knows that I am not the cook in the family. I am lucky enough to be married to a wonderful cook who thoroughly enjoys preparing meals for our family. Even when it was just the two of us, my husband was the one who made the bulk of our meals. But even I have a few dishes that I can make as well (or better than) my beloved. One of those meals is quesadillas. I’m not Mexican, but quesadillas are super simple to make. They can be as basic (just the cheese, please) or fancy schmancy (smoked salmon with roasted tomatoes and arugula?) or anything in between.

When I agreed to be part of the American Cancer Society’s Healthier Holiday Table initiative, I figured it was a good time to find a healthier option to my high-fat recipe for quesadillas, which included heaps of full-fat cheese, regular flour tortillas, sour cream, and — dare I admit — a side of white rice and beans. After doing a search for new quesadilla recipes, I stumbled upon this Good Housekeeping recipe on Delish and knew it could be the one.

The ACS’ campaign is dear to my heart, because my mother died of cancer four years ago, and I want to do everything I can to ensure that my family is as healthy as possible. Cancer prevention is possible, if we all learn to eat better and move more, and those are two goals I’m struggling to champion and putting at the top of my New Year’s resolutions. Here are some tips the ACS wants to remind us about this holiday season.

  • Stock your kitchen with a variety of foods that you can throw together for healthy meals in a hurry. Keep these foods on hand for fast meals on busy nights.
  • Did you know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help reduce your cancer risk? The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day. Here are two resources filled with ideas for upping your fruit and vegetable consumption through the day.
  • Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat. Some studies have linked eating large amounts of processed meat to increased risk of colorectal and stomach cancers.
Ingredients:

2 teaspoon(s) canola oil
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 lime
1 pound(s) skinless, boneless thin-sliced chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
4 burrito-size low-fat flour tortillas
1 cup(s) reduced-fat (2%) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup(s) salsa

Super Easy Directions:

American Cancer Society

1. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium 1 minute. Add green onion and cook about 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, from lime, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. Evenly season chicken on both sides with lime peel, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.

3. Add chicken to green onion in skillet; cook 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Transfer to bowl; stir in lime juice.

4. Evenly divide chicken mixture and cheese on half of each tortilla; fold over to make 4 quesadillas.

5. In same skillet, cook quesadillas on medium, in 2 batches, 8 minutes per batch or until browned on both sides and heated through. Cut each quesadilla into thirds. Stir avocado into salsa; serve with quesadillas.

For an even healthier version, skip the chicken altogether!

James Balgrie

I had planned to take photos of my kids eating the quesadillas, but by the time I got the camera, they had devoured their food, and I was not about to shoot a photo of their cleaned off plates. But my daughter (above) was so taken with the new recipe she actually demanded we make them for her school lunch. I’m not sure that’s happening, but I’m thrilled the recipe meets her approval!

To share your borrowed or original healthy recipes, go to the American Cancer Society’s Healthier Holiday Table page on Facebook.

Sandie cooks once in a blue moon, but she regularly writes about Young Adult literature at Teen Lit Rocks and reviews movies and books at Common Sense Media

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