Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hunger Challenge Recipes: Quesadillas

The hunger challenge keeps rolling on. There's not a whole lot I truly feel is missing from my diet, but the requirement to stick to whatever plan I created during the week creates a small sense of panic everytime I feel my stomach growl or someone else is helping me eat my food. Snacking really can't happen right now. If I eat between meals I'm eating something meant for a meal. I don't normally do a ton of snacking, but I'm learning I do enough that it makes a difference when it can't happen.

I miss tea. And I miss butter.

Despite my culinary longings, there are a couple of non-chili dishes I've whipped up this week. The quesadillas I made were good, though turned out to be less than ideal from a cost perspective. I wish I'd had some protein in there other than the cheese. I'd imagine if a can of black beans were tossed into the mix, they'd be a bit more on target. The zucchini and corn cakes hit the spot from both a taste perspective and price point. I found a couple of vendors at the farmers' market that had oversized zucchini being sold very inexpensively, so I snagged one for the cakes. It uses shredded zucchini so the baseball bat-sized ones that don't really taste good on their own work perfectly.

Stay tuned for the zucchini cake recipe. In the meantime, here's a recipe for relatively cost-effective and healthy quesadillas.

Hunger Challenge Quesadillas
Serves 3 as a meal, 6 as a side
20 minutes
Cost per serving, $1.76 as a meal, .88 as a side

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the peppers and onion for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in zucchini and allow to cook for an additional two minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from heat and set set vegetables aside in a separate bowl.
  4. Place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat with 1 tsp. of the remaining oil.
  5. Prepare the quesadillas by adding just over 1/3 cup of the vegetable mix off center to one side of the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of cheese over top of the veggies and around the veggies. Press the opposite side of the tortilla over to fold it in half.
  6. Place the assembled quesadilla in the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for the remaining tortillas.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Utilize a non-stick skillet, especially if you're limiting the amount of oil you're using. This can help prevent the tortilla from getting stuck or ripping.
  • If the folding technique isn't working for you, you can use two tortillas laid out on top of one another and double the filling and cheese you use.
  • You can use any combination of veggies you'd like! They should measure out to be between 2 and 2 1/2 cups total.  
  • I served mine with plain yogurt and salsa on the side, adding about 30 cents to the cost of each meal serving.
  • If you want to make this a more complete meal on its own or get a more filling portion from just one quesadilla, add in 1 can of drained black beans when you put the vegetables in a bowl. This will increase the cost to around 2.09 a meal serving, but because of the added calories and fiber, you wouldn't need to eat as much to feel full.

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