Quesadillas: a favorite menu option among kids and a hassle-free meal to cook for moms. Though a seemingly win-win situation for everybody, a meal consisting of a flour tortilla, a copious amount of cheese and a slathering of butter offers little to no nutritional value. Furthermore, adding veggies and proteins to your quesadillas not only provides nutrients but also helps steer them away from being a picky eater in the future. However, I understand that quesadillas are too good of a meal to completely eliminate from your family’s diet. Here is a quick, easy and healthy take on this classic Mexican dish that includes beneficial fillings and healthier substitutions for the classic ingredients!
Quick, Easy and Healthy Chicken and Mixed Vegetable Quesadillas
Total Time: 16 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 minutes
8 (6-8 inch) Whole Grain or Cornmeal Tortillas (Try to avoid white flour tortillas! Its process includes removing the bran, which means it also loses most of its fiber and nutrients.)
2 (6 ounce) cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (leftover rotisserie chicken also works great for this – just remove the skin)
½ cup of diced mushrooms
½ cup of diced red pepper
½ cup of diced zucchini
¾ cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Coat a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Set pan over medium heat to preheat.
2. In a nonstick pan, cook red pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes. Remove excess liquid from the vegetables to avoid soggy quesadillas and remove from pan.
3. Using a fork, shred the chicken.
4. Arrange the tortillas on a flat surface. Top one side of each tortilla with an equal amount of chicken and vegetables. Top the same side with shredded cheese.
5. Fold over tortillas, making a half moon.
6. Place quesadillas in the preheated skillet or griddle and cook until golden on both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.
7. Remove quesadilla from pan, and repeat with remaining ingredients.
8. Cut each quesadilla with a knife or a pizza cutter and serve hot.
Quesadillas do not have to be boring and unhealthy to be a breeze to cook in the kitchen. It is, in fact, possible to make quesadillas quick, easy and healthy! It is also important to begin adding color to your foods through vegetables so that your children can become used to it in all of their meals. Even the smallest modifications to your children’s favorite meals is a step in the right direction!