Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eating Healthy Mexican

My family loves "Mexican" food. I put that in quotes because I suspect, like "Chinese" food, the Mexican food we eat here bears very little resemblance to the real thing. I learned to cook Mexican from a friends mother, an air force wife, who had just been transferred to Florida after 5 years in California. She taught me 3 basic recipes for taco filling, cheese enchiladas and chile rellenos. We could not get queso fresco at that time in Florida, at least not in our mainstream, suburban grocery store, so she substituted, of all things, velveeta cheese. I imagine because of the texture. It was while living in Florida -- I am an army brat -- that I also learned to love Cuban food. The lunch ladies who ran the cafeteria at my junior high school were all Cuban, and man oh man, cuban chili with rice, black beans and rice, cooked pork and cuban bread were the food of the day many days in that little school cafeteria! Sorry, I digress, as my point was to talk about eating healthy, mexican food. Here are some recipes that I found in a Cooking Light cookbook. I've made them both several times, and they were a big hit with my family. I've made a few modifications to suit our taste, and you can too! Have fun and be creative! Spicy Black Bean Soup 6 oz turkey sausage, spicy if you like it, if not get keilbasa, sliced 1 cup diced green, yellow or red peppers, or a combo of all 3 1/2 small onion, small dice cooking spray 14.5 oz. can of fat free, low sodium chicken broth or stock 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, rinsed and drained juice of 1/2 lime a few drops of tabasco sauce 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa 4 T. low fat sour cream chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley Coat a non stick sauce pan with cooking spray and put it on medium heat. Add sausage, onion and green peppers. When sausage begins to brown, add the veggies get a little tender, add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add beans and salsa, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. When done, squeeze in the juice of the lime. Divide amoung 4 bowl, top each with one T. light sour cream and cilantro or parsley, if desired. This makes 4 one cup servings. Approx. 172 (without sour cream) 4.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. Check your sour cream for it's calorie and fat content or leave it off. Serve it with Speedy Quesadillas 4 - 8" fat free tortillas (look for the kind with 2 or more grams of fiber in them) 1 cup Cracker Barrel reduced fat cheddar cheese 1/4 cup green onions cooking spray Coat one side of a tortilla with cooking spray and lay it in your skillet. Top with 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and half of your green onions. Top w/another tortilla and spray that with cooking spray. Cook about 2 minutes over med - high heat and turn it over. It should be lightly brown. Remove the first one and do it again. Cut each one into 6 wedges, for a total of 12. Serves 4 people, 3 wedges each, approx. 198 calories, 5.6 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber.

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