Article by Diet Bites
First, Examine Basic Ingredients
In order to create a dynamite lower calorie quesadilla we start by looking at the basic ingredients and methods for reducing fat and calories:
Flour Tortilla - where this ingredient is involved, size truly matters as energy values can range from as little as 80 kcals per tortilla to over 200 kcals. Needless to say, we're going to opt for the 80 kcal shell. Aim to keep yours at 120 or lower.
Cheese - where cheese in involved, fat and sodium content are also part of the nutritional picture. Sodium is notorious for creating bloating and water retention issues which can register false pounds on your bathroom scales until the body comes back into balance.
Fat holds significant energy values and the types of fatty acids that you input into your daily diet will be distributed in different manners.
Too much saturated or Trans fats commonly ends up being deposited on the hips, thighs and upper abdominal areas of the body. These types of fats like to dig in deep within the abdominal walls, often creating fat around vital organs.
Therefore, we'll opt to use lighter cheese in our recipe. We don't necessarily have to use reduced fat - as some cheeses are naturally lower in such, like mozzarella. We're using a 50 kcal per slice of mozzarella cheese for our quesadilla recipe.
Chicken or Beef - when the visible fat is left on, particularly after the cooking process, it will add substantial calories, so let's remove what we can see.
We can prepare our meat on the grill, on the stove top, in a toaster oven or a big oven. For each three ounces of meat we season with a teaspoon of ground chili powder, a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and finely chopped garlic or onions - or a mix of both.
Choosing chicken over beef will save a few kcals. Per 100 grams, lean beef sirloin contains 219 calories, 89 mg of cholesterol, 29.02 protein grams and 10.54 grams of total fat. Lean chicken breast contains 165 kcals per 100 grams, 3.57 total fat grams, 31.02 protein grams, and 85 mg of cholesterol.
Fruits - these include the traditional tomatoes and avocado associated with quesadillas. If avocado is used, opt for thin slices.
This fruit, which like the tomato is commonly associated with being a vegetable, contains healthier fatty acids.
Vegetables - assorted bell peppers of all colors as well as all varieties of onion are common ingredients for quesadillas.
Pan or oven grilling works to keep calories minimal. Or if you have out the grill, make use of it when cooking these vegetables.
We like to cut ours into thin long strips. We also like to add fresh chopped cilantro to our recipe.
Dipping Sauces - if you like sour cream, measure out the serving size. Picante or salsa makes a much lower calorie option.
How to Prepare
1. Cook the chicken or beef as well as the onion and bell pepper. Use as much or as little as you like, based on the number of quesadillas you plan to prepare. We like to prepare each ingredient separately and place them all in lazy-Susan style on our table - which allows everyone to prepare their meal as they choose.
Warm the flour tortillas. You can wrap them in foil and place them into a warm oven for just a few minutes and they will be perfectly heated.
Slice the avocado and chop the tomatoes. Chop the cilantro. Set out the chosen dips. All of these items will be served on the side.
As to the cheese - opt for shredded or slices. We like the slices as we are better-able to control the amount of calories we're choosing to put into our diet.
Place the cooked seasoned lean meat onto one side of the flour tortilla shell. Add the cheese. Place into a sandwich press. Remove and serve with the fruits, vegetables and dips.
Add a side of whole grain steamed white rice to your meal. Mexican style will add more flavors - and you can skip the butter or margarine. Also add a low calorie beverage.
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