Healthier Mex!

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If you poll five friends about their favorite “go to” restaurant four of them will say some type of Mexican restaurant! The food just always hits the spot! Unless you make real smart choices the calorie count goes way up too! Here are some ways to enjoy Mexican fare with a few less calories, and a little less guilt!

Cheese and Black Bean Enchiladas

2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

2 cups water

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups (8 ounces) pre-shredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican-blend cheese, divided

3 thinly sliced green onions, divided

Cooking spray

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

6 tablespoons light sour cream

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine chiles and 2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Drain chiles in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add onion; sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium; add garlic and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through cumin); cook 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Pour onion mixture into a blender; add chiles and reserved liquid. Remove centerpiece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid. Blend until smooth; stir in lime juice and red pepper.

Combine the beans, 1 cup cheese, and half the green onions in a bowl. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 3 tablespoons bean mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in prepared dish. Pour remaining sauce over filled tortillas. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining green onions; serve with sour cream.

Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 302, Fat 12.9 g, Protein 17.3 g, Carbohydrate 36.1 g,

Fiber 6.4 g, Cholesterol 32 mg, Sodium 574 mg, Calcium 426 mg.

Mexican Casserole

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 package turkey sausage crumbles

48 baked tortilla chips

Cooking spray

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped green onions

1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and jalapeño; cook 1 minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin, black pepper, and crumbles; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Arrange half of tortilla chips in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top evenly with crumbles mixture.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium heat. Add beans, mashing with the back of a wooden spoon until chunky and thick; cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring constantly. Stir in lime juice.

Combine tomato and cilantro. Layer beans and tomato mixture over crumbles mixture in dish. Top with remaining tortilla chips, pressing to slightly crush. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 375° for 13 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Cut casserole into 6 equal pieces; top each serving with 1 teaspoon sour cream, 1 teaspoon onions, and 2 teaspoons olives.

Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 313, Fat 12.9 g, Protein 20.6 g, Carbohydrate 30.2 g,

Fiber 7.4 g, Cholesterol 18 mg, Sodium 718 mg, Calcium 295 mg.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

1 cup (4 ounces) pre-shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided

1/3 cup fat-free milk

1/4 cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained

Cooking spray

1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 354, Fat 14.1 g, Protein 18.9 g, Carbohydrate 36.3 g,

Fiber 2.5 g, Cholesterol 58 mg, Sodium 620 mg, Calcium 179 mg.

 

Red Chile-Cheese Enchiladas

3/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese

2/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1/8 teaspoon salt $

2 cups red chili sauce

Cooking spray

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process 1 minute or until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, onion, and salt, stirring well.

Spread 1/4 cup Red Chile Sauce in bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortillas over sauce, overlapping slightly. Spread 1/2 cup cottage cheese mixture evenly over tortillas; top with 1/2 cup Red Chile Sauce. Repeat the layers once with 4 tortillas, remaining cottage cheese mixture, and 1/2 cup Red Chile Sauce. Arrange remaining 4 tortillas over sauce, overlapping slightly; spoon remaining 3/4 cup Red Chile Sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 squares.

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 162, Fat 5.4 g, Protein 8.8 g, Carbohydrate 20.1 g,

Fiber 2.1 g, Cholesterol 14 mg, Sodium 305 mg, Calcium 201 mg.

Chicken and Black Bean Chilaquiles

Cooking spray

1 cup thinly sliced onion

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 (7 3/4-ounce) can salsa de chile fresco

15 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips

1 cup shredded queso blanco (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 450°. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken; cook 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in beans. Add broth and salsa to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Place half of tortilla strips in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of chicken mixture over tortillas; top with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture. Pour broth mixture evenly over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Learn something new-Chilaquiles (chee-lah-KEE-lays) are a traditional Mexican breakfast favorite, and are a sauté of day-old tortilla strips, fresh tomato sauce, cream, and cheese. This hearty version is baked. Refrigerate leftover chilaquiles in individual containers with tight-fitting lids. To reheat, drizzle with a tablespoon of water, and microwave just until thoroughly heated.

Serves 6, each serving contains; Calories 293, Fat 4.9 g, Protein 22.9 g, Carbohydrate 40 g,

Fiber 5.9 g, Cholesterol 46 mg, Sodium 602 mg, Calcium 200 mg.

Mexican Chicken Casserole with Charred Tomato Salsa

Salsa

8 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 small onion, peeled and chopped

1 seeded jalapeño pepper, quartered

Cooking spray

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Casserole

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 cup diced zucchini

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (10-ounce) can green chile enchilada sauce

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Preheat broiler. To prepare salsa, combine first 4 ingredients on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 20 minutes or until charred, stirring once. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Place tomato mixture in a food processor; add cilantro, lime juice, and pepper. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. To prepare casserole, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 cup onion, corn, zucchini, and bell pepper; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Add chicken and next 5 ingredients (through green chiles); sauté 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat.

Spread 1/2 cup salsa over the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of tortillas over salsa. Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture evenly over tortillas. Top with 3/4 cup salsa. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of each cheese. Repeat layers, starting with remaining tortillas and ending with remaining cheeses. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes until bubbly.

Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 331, Fat 12.3 g, Protein 26.1 g, Carbohydrate 30.8 g,

Fiber 4.2 g, Cholesterol 74 mg, Sodium 535 mg, Calcium 242 mg.

Written By

Photo of Tammy Kelly, Ed. DTammy Kelly, Ed. DCounty Extension Director (252) 527-2191 tammy_kelly@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Posted on Feb 24, 2015
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