I know, Quesadilla…big deal…right? It has been a long while since I’ve been in the kitchen and had time to get creative. I’ve not been as inspired recently to fire up the stove and open the recipe books. I’ve actually been attempting to watch my calorie intake and feel like the past 4 weeks have been about learning how to cook and eat with low calories in mind and less about being creative…but things are going to change!
This dish was oddly inspired from a Quesadilla that Hannah (my younger sister) and I enjoyed at our University cafeteria. I know cafeteria food usually equals ‘yuck’ and sometimes, Biola’s cafeteria is less then awesome. But this silly little Quesadilla had us going back for seconds within one bite.
I decided to keep it simple and not add too much to it….it is a quesadilla after all! I shopped around for the lowest calorie burrito sized tortillas and found these Smart and Delicious Soft Wraps which were extremely low calorie for the size that they are. They were soft and pliable like you want a tortilla to be and they didn’t have that healthy tortilla taste that could make you cringe if someone offered a low calorie, high fiber tortilla. They worked amazingly well for this recipe and I will buy these things again!
I bought some fresh cilantro and used a block of monterey jack cheese on hand as well as some minced garlic for a little extra flavor. I used a spoon to push the garlic into the tortilla a bit so there were not the larger chunks of garlic but a nice flavor added to everything happening inside the tortilla.
I’m so happy with how these turned out and was wowed by what cilantro can do to a quesadilla. I don’t usually like cilantro so the fact that I tried it and like it at the Biola cafeteria, is amazing! Quesadillas are easy to make but I often forget about them as a meal idea. I ended up making a bunch of them up and refrigerated them so I can just pull them out as I want them. For those of you who care, the calorie break down for these cilantro quesadillas are as follows:
Tortilla = 100 calories (per tortilla)
Monterey Jack Cheese = 100 calories (four squares from an 8 oz block)
Cilantro = 1 calorie for 1/4 cup (soooo….let’s say 0 calories since each quesadilla had a few pinches of minced cilantro in it)
TOTAL CALORIES per quesadilla = 200
The other thing I made tonight for dinner was wonton chips. I have never actually thought about using wonton wrappers for chips but when I saw them in the store today and noticed that it’s only 80 calories for 4 squares I decided it would be worth a try making my own oven baked chips from the wrappers. To get the small size chip, I used a sharp knife to cut each of the squares into quarter pieces so I was getting four chips per wrapper and ultimately 16 chips for 80 calories. The package of wonton wrappers cost me $1.99 and the package has 60 wrappers which means you’re getting 240 chips per package. That is a better deal then any healthy chip brand you try to find at the store. We all know that the unhealthy chips come in the big bags and are the least expensive but the healthy chips come in tiny bags for double or triple the price. This mini “ah-ha” moment may have just saved me a bunch of money!
I made these chips in the toaster oven so I could keep an eye on them since the wonton wrappers are delicate and don’t take long to crisp up. I set the toaster oven to broil and it probably took 5-6 min each time I loaded up the tray (I just kept an eye on them and didn’t really time myself…sorry). I sprayed them with the butter flavored cooking spray to help them brown a little quicker but it also brought some flavor to them. I LOVE the flavor and delicate texture of the chips. They are not absolutely not the hardy chip you get in a corn or tortilla chips, but lighter and more flavorful then you would expect for an unseasoned baked chip. I find them more flavorful then if you make your own pita chips/tortilla chips without butter or oil. These wonton wrapper chips just seem to have a great flavor all on their own.
Hummus was on sale so I grabbed a tub of the red pepper and used those to dip my chips in….delicious. The calorie count for this little side snack comes to:
16 wonton chips = 80 calories (one wonton wrapper is 20 calories)
2 Tbls Hummas = 50 calories
TOTAL CALORIES = 130 calories
And there you have it…quesadilla and chips. I’m sure you’ve never been more amazed, right?! haha…I hope no one is annoyed by the low cal discussion in this post. I use to hate hearing people always talking about calories. I’ll try and keep that brief to please both kinds of readers, but I did want to share my efforts since it’s a big part of what I’m up to lately. I started working on counting calories about 4 weeks ago and I have steadily lost one pound a week. I’m still enjoying eating out and having a few splurge days once in awhile but it’s been encouraging to see the number on the scale go down while still enjoying food that tastes good!
Happy cooking all and let me know your ideas for other tasty quesadillas!