My Take on TACOS

Being home for spring break and having what seems like an abundance of time and resources to concoct a culinary masterpiece, I combined three recipes I had been dying to try and held a healthy alternative to the classic taco night for my family!

When you think of the classic taco, you think soft/hard corn or flour tortilla, some kind of protein (beef, chicken, or fish), some sort of salsa or pico de gallo, maybe some rice and/or beans, and cheese. All those wonderful ingredients evoke the flavors of comfort and excitement on your tongue.  I LOVE TACOS, I love most Mexican food to be completely honest because most dishes give such a depth of flavor!

So I took those normal elements and found an alternative to make them a bit healthier by creating a lettuce wrapped taco stuffed with jalapeño-lime chicken, spicy quinoa with corn and peppers, and a zucchini, corn and tomato salad.

The quinoa I made was based off of THIS RECIPE, with some added changes to make it my own!

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The quinoa was a nice spicy addition to the tacos. It could be used as a side dish or inside the taco (I did both). Along with the jalapeños the recipe states, I also added some red bell peppers for a more mild flavor. In the taco, it acted as beans and rice as quinoa adds a starchy element and the corn and peppers add a little bursts of flavor and freshness.  Adding the cocoa to the quinoa really gave it that mole kind of flavor, really adding to the Mexican flare.

Hint: Quinoa is a pretty bland grain and so much flavor can be added and changed to make quinoa go with any type of dish you are making!

The zucchini and corn salad is based off THIS RECIPEphoto 3 copy 3This salad is great because it is so versatile! It can be served hot or cold and can be used in the taco or as a side dish! With only 62 calories a serving, this salad is a fresh and delicious way to lighten up a taco! I also added diced tomatoes to my own salad to add more a different note of flavor to the salad.

For the jalapeño-lime chicken I followed THIS RECIPE precisely.

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This chicken’s lime and jalapeño flavor went incredibly well with the similar flavors of the other ingredients incorporated into this taco. Tip: Let the chicken marinate for around 24 hours. I only let mine marinate for about 2 hours, and it definitely would have had a lot more flavor if I would have let it marinate for a longer amount of time.

So after all the elements were made, it was now time to assemble this healthy alternative to your normal taco!

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HOW TO ASSEMBLE:
(assembling the taco really gives artistiphoto 1 copy 7c freedom, but here are some tips on how I did it!)

  • First you need to have your lettuce wraps washed and ready to be stuffed   (I used iceberg lettuce, but romaine would work as well!). The light flavor of the lettuce really lets you taste all the different flavors of the various elements of the taco and it also adds another element of crunch!
  • Then add a layer of your quinoa, followed by a few pieces of chicken ( I found that 3 medium pieces worked the best for me), then add a little of the zucchini salad, followed by as much salsas and cheese you desire!
  • ENJOY! AND MAKE A COUPLE MORE WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!

 

Processed with RookieI made this meal for my parents when I was home for spring break and it was a hit! My parents are pretty health conscious and really think about everything that goes into their bodies (for the most part). They also LOVE spicy food, so I was inspired by them to create this meal! The prep time of the entire meal really didn’t take too long and because the meal has individual elements that can stand on their own, there is a lot room to change it up and make it your own or simply make one of the elements of the taco a solo meal!

ENJOY!!

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That’s a Wrap

Being a college student on a budget, I gotta work with what I got. And as the weeks approaching spring break are dwindling down, I’m trying to use all my perishable food before I leave to make sure nothing goes to waste.  Luckily on my last trip to the grocery store I bought a package of whole wheat tortillas, which are extremely versatile and can be used for wraps, quesadillas,chip and the list goes on.

So utilizing my wraps and some produce and other ingredients I had in my fridge, I made my own version of a quesadilla. The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients: 

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Measured out spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 hand full of raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 spoonfuls of diced tomatoes
  • teaspoon of olive oil
  • pinch of salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. In a frying pan on medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and spread throughout pan.
  2. Then add raw spinach to the pan and sauté until all is cooked, adding as much salt and pepper as desired
  3. photo 2 copyRemove the pan from heat and set aside cooked spinach in a bowl and mix with the diced tomatoes.
  4. Place the pan back on medium head and place whole wheat tortilla  flat into the pan.
  5. Add a layer of the cheese (about half) on to one side of the tortilla. Then add mixture of tomato and spinach on top of the cheese. Then add the remaining cheese on top. ( seem in the picture)
  6. Before folding the bares side of the tortilla over, let the top cheese melt almost completely. Then you should be able to fold it with a spatula. After you have folded the wrap so it is quesadilla like, you can remove from heat or keep in pan and flip until the wrap has reached its desired crispiness.
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I added a half of a grape fruit to finish off a delicious and nutritious meal!

This meal is definitely an alternative to your traditional quesadilla. By adding spinach and tomatoes, and using mozzarella cheese, it strays far away from the traditional Mexican flavors and instead incorporates some added Italian flair (we all know how much I LOVE  Italian food). This recipe can manipulated and changed effortlessly by incorporating different ingredients, or by adding a little more this and a little less of that it really gives you the opportunity to make it your own. Over all this meal took me about 15 minutes to make, together with prep and cooking (and probably less time to eat it).  So simple,easy, and pretty darn healthy! 

If you like this recipe, have longer time to cook and want to greatly develop the Italian flavors of the dish, check out Giada De Laurentiis’s version of an elevated Italian quesadilla.