Saturday, December 18, 2010

7 Melt-in-Your-Mouth Mexican Recipes

Cheesy quesadillas. Savory enchiladas. Muy bueno – but not so healthy. If you’re crazy about Mexican food, check out these 7 healthier recipes…

Lime-Jalapeno Chicken
Tangy, mildly spicy and tender, this chicken is delicious with black beans and salsa.

Serves: 8
Preparation: 1 hour 20 minutes (including 1 hour marinating time)

1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño, sliced
1 to 1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat, tenders removed

1. Whisk lime juice, oil, vinegar, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Stir in jalapeño. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish and pour the marinade over it, turning to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning once, or overnight.

2. Preheat grill to high heat. Oil the grill rack. Grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 3-4 minutes per side. Let cool slightly; thinly slice crosswise. Serve warm or chilled.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
71 calories
2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono)
31 mg cholesterol
1 g carbohydrate
11 g protein
0 g fiber
46 mg sodium
98 mg potassium

Fresh Tomato Salsa
You might want to double this recipe so you have extra for snacking. If using less-than-perfect tomatoes, consider adding a pinch of sugar to make up for the lack of natural sweetness.

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 10 minutes

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve within 1 hour.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
12 calories
0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono)
0 mg cholesterol
2 g carbohydrate
1 g protein
1 g fiber
100 mg sodium
185 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C (35% Daily Value)
Crab Quesadillas
These quesadillas have an irresistibly creamy filling. They also make great appetizers. Serve with your favorite salsa on top and a cup of black bean soup topped with chopped avocado.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
8 ounces pasteurized crabmeat, drained if necessary
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided

1. Combine Cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapenos (if using), orange zest and juice in a medium bowl. Gently stir in crab. Lay tortillas out on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3-4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
303 calories
11 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono)
83 mg cholesterol
26 g carbohydrate
24 g protein
3 g fiber
625 mg sodium
117 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: vitamin C (60% Daily Value), vitamin A (30% DV), iron (25% DV), calcium (20% DV)

Quick Shrimp Enchilada Bake

Shrimp enchiladas offer a taste of coastal Mexican cuisine but some versions contain so much cheese, butter and sour cream that they can pack a whopping 50 grams of fat per serving. Our version has vibrant flavor and only half the calories and 6 grams of fat per serving. The addition of refried beans helps makes these enchiladas an excellent source of fiber as well.

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 45 minutes

1 pound peeled cooked shrimp, tails removed, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles (not drained)
2 cups canned green enchilada sauce, or green salsa, divided
12 corn tortillas
1 15-ounce can nonfat refried beans
1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheese, such as Mexican-style cheese blend, Monterey Jack or Cheddar
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine shrimp, corn, chiles and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce (or salsa) in a microwave-safe medium bowl. Cover and microwave on High until heated through, about 2-1/2 minutes.

3. Spread 1/4 cup enchilada sauce (or salsa) in the prepared baking dish. Top with a layer of 6 overlapping tortillas. Spread refried beans evenly over the tortillas. Top the beans with the shrimp mixture, followed by the remaining 6 tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce (or salsa) over the tortillas. Cover with foil.

4. Bake the casserole until it begins to bubble on the sides, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil; sprinkle cheese on top. Continue baking until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes more. Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
281 calories
6 g fat (2 g sat, 0 g mono)
121 mg cholesterol
37 g carbohydrate
23 g protein
6 g fiber
709 mg sodium
241 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: fiber (24% Daily Value), calcium, iron & vitamin C (20% DV)

Turkey Albondigas Soup
Albondigas, Spanish for "meatballs," star in the traditional broth-based Mexican soup. Our version uses turkey rather than beef or pork for the meatballs, and we've pumped up the volume of fresh vegetables in the mix.

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 1 hour

1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 large egg
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 poblano peppers, diced
3 plum tomatoes, diced
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup instant brown rice, or cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Place turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Mix gently until combined. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and transfer to the baking sheet. (You should have about 20 meatballs.) Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes or until ready to use.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add peppers, tomatoes, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Carefully submerge the meatballs in the simmering soup; return to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice. Garnish with jalapeño and cilantro.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
289 calories
10 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono)
84 mg cholesterol
27 g carbohydrate
24 g protein
5 g fiber
438 mg sodium
419 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: vitamin A (110% Daily Value), iron & vitamin C (15% DV)
Mexican Coleslaw
Enjoy this crunchy, refreshing alternative to mayonnaise-based coleslaw on a taco or on the side. Cover and refrigerate for up to one day. Toss again to refresh just before serving.

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 20 minutes

6 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage, (about 1/2 head)
1-1/2 cups peeled and grated carrots, (2-3 medium)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Place cabbage and carrots in a colander; rinse thoroughly with cold water to crisp. Let drain for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk cilantro, vinegar, oil and salt in a large bowl. Add cabbage and carrots; toss well to coat.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
53 calories
4 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono)
0 mg cholesterol
5 g carbohydrate
1 g protein
2 g fiber
97 mg sodium
199 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: vitamin A (50% Daily Value), vitamin C (30% DV), phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles

Frozen Horchata
Here’s a delicious take on a popular Spanish and Mexican rice-based drink.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes

1 cup vanilla rice milk
1 cup vanilla rice-based ice cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish

1. Blend rice milk, ice cream and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a blender for 30 seconds, or until creamy. Sprinkle with more cinnamon.


Nutrition Facts
Per serving:
216 calories
7 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono)
0 mg cholesterol
37 g carbohydrate
1 g protein
1 g fiber
145 mg sodium
1 mg potassium

Find more great recipes like these on

No comments: