Tag Archives: Mexican

Guilt-Free, Healthy 7 Layer Bean Dip

Can 7 Layer Dip actually be healthy? Absolutely! It’s usually filled with fat, calories, and not much nutrition – but with a few easy swaps you’ll get a dip that’s still FULL of flavor, but healthy enough to be a one dish meal. I was inspired by this recipe from Fannetastic Food, and made a few modifications to Anne’s recipe for dinner a few nights ago. My modified ingredients list is below, and you can find the original here. Thanks Anne for a great recipe! My husband totally loved this dish – and it’s great as a quick & easy weeknight meal, or as an appetizer for parties.

The secret swaps / ingredients that make this dish healthy are:

  • 1 15 oz can of Refried black beans, made with all-natural ingredients with no oil, sugar, etc. added (instead of the processed refried beans usually used)
  • 2 Mashed avocados (instead of avocado “dip”) Season them with 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz of 0% Fage Greek Yogurt seasoned with Taco Seasoning, or you can also use fat-free sour cream (instead of full fat sour cream or mayo)
  • Fresh veggies! I used 1 bunch of green onions and 3-4 roma tomatoes, diced (per Anne’s suggestion) – but you can use diced red onions, diced red pepper, etc – the sky’s the limit.
  • 1/4 cup low fat Mexican Cheese blend
  • I served the dip with homemade, baked tortilla chips: made using corn tortillas, olive oil spray, and salt – and broiled in the oven at 350 degrees


  1. Warm up refried beans in a small pot over medium heat. Add in taco seasoning to taste. Once all combined, set aside to cool
  2. Peel, pit, mash avocados in a small bowl – add lemon juice, salt, pepper and stir to combine
  3. Combine yogurt and taco seasoning mix in another bowl
  4. Cut corn tortillas into eighths, spread on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray, season with salt, and broil at 350 degrees on low until the tortillas are crispy & golden brown.
  5. To assemble:
    • Spread refried beans on a large, shallow serving platter
    • Spread avocado mixture over bean dip
    • Spread yogurt mixture over bean dip
    • Sprinkle with green onions and tomatoes
    • Cover with grated low fat Mexican cheese
  6. Serve with the homemade corn chips!

Here’s the mashed avocado ready to go…

And the yogurt dip (Note – my husband didn’t like this as much as low fat sour cream, but I LOVED it – so try it out and see what you think)

Aren’t the veggies pretty?

The bean dip, all assembled and ready to eat

Served with my baked corn chips

Doesn’t this just make you want to dig in and devour the dip? And the best part is – you can enjoy it totally guilt-free.


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Cheesy, Beany, Veggie Quesadillas

After our lazy Saturday of not doing much of anything, I decided to get up off my butt and make something for dinner last night. It helped that the hubby went and did our grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon, and that I was STARVING after 5 hours of dance rehearsals earlier that day. So I decided to make my healthified version of cheese quesadillas.

Doesn’t my healthy version look just like the real thing?? I promise it tastes just like it too! We LOVE quesadillas, but I hate how the restaurant versions are full of fat (from the oil used to cook them + the egregious amounts of cheese added) and minimal nutritional value (barely any fiber, no veggies, etc.). My version takes care of all those problems – with a fiber & protein packed meal that’s sure to satisfy even the most die-hard quesadilla fans!

My four main swaps are: 1) Adding veggies for fiber, anti-oxidants, and great texture. I like peppers, tomatoes, and red onions.

2) Adding black refried beans for extra fiber and protein. I like the Trader Joe’s variety because it only has like 4 ingredients, no oil or extra fat added, and no ingredients you can’t pronounce! I like mixing the beans with some taco seasoning to give it a great, smoky, spicy flavor.

3) Using EVOO cooking spray instead of oil to cook the quesadillas. You get the same crispy texture on the outside without adding all that extra fat!

The Trader Joe’s one is my fav. And my last swap (#4) is using high-fiber tortillas (that still look like the “white” tortillas you get at the restaurant). You can also use sprouted wheat tortillas – which is what I made my quesadilla on. Or even regular whole wheat tortillas. I use the high-fiber white ones because the husband is quite attached to the tortillas of his childhood 🙂

With these swaps you won’t even be able to tell how much healthier these quesadillas are! Each one should have about ~300 calories max (assuming you use 1/4 cup of cheese and 1/4 cup of beans in each). And they are huge – I can usually only finish about 1.5 of them!

The Ingredients List:

  • Sprouted Wheat or High Fiber / Carb Balance Mission Tortillas (Soft Taco Size)
  • Mexican shredded cheese blend
  • Refried black beans
  • Taco Seasoning
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 red/orange/yellow pepper, diced
  • Salsa (I like pace picante)
  • Guacamole (I like the pre-made kind from Trader Joe’s – tastes super fresh like you made it yourself at home)


  1. Heat beans over the stove on medium heat. Add taco seasoning to taste and stir until combined
  2. Heat a large pan over medium to medium-low heat, spray with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. Assemble quesadillas: one layer of beans (use up to 1/4 cup per quesadilla), one layer of cheese, a layer of onions & peppers, and another layer of cheese (don’t use more than 1/4 cup of cheese total per quesadilla)
  4. Grill the quesadillas in the pan until both sides are browned and crispy and the cheese has melted. Top with diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp guac and 2 Tbsp salsa. Enjoy!

Here’s what the assembly looks like

Finished quesadillas, fresh off the stove (I love how all the ingredients just melt together)

Can’t forget about the guac – I told you it looks & tastes like it was homemade!

And dinner is served. Look at all those layers of yummy goodness.


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Southwestern Tofu Scramble with Veggies and Stewed Black Beans!

Last night, I found this recipe from EatingWell.com and decided to try it out. My husband has always been skeptical of tofu “scrambles” – because there’s no way tofu will ever taste like eggs and I think the crumbles weirds him out a little 🙂 So I decided to make this recipe but modify it to make it more flavorful and less “scramble” esque. I also added a ton more veggies than the recipe called for – my modifications are in purple below. We ate it with warm corn tortillas and my husband even used it as a topping for tacos and tostadas! It turned out great – hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients – Tofu Scramble

  • 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided (I used olive oil and it worked well)
  • 1 14-ounce package firm water-packed tofu, rinsed and crumbled (I used extra firm tofu to keep more of the “tofu” consistency” and less of the “crumble” effect – I also cubed most of the tofu and only crumbled a bit)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (I think I ended up using about 3 tsp chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used about 2-2.5 tsp cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided (I ended up using about 3/4 tsp total)
  • 1/4 package taco seasoning (I added this to amp up the flavor. I’d also suggest adding a pinch of cayenne if you like things with a little more spice!)
  • 1 small zucchini, diced (I actually used 4-5 small zucchini)
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (I added this)
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion diced (I added this)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used shredded cheddar because that’s what we had on hand)
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Ingredients – Stewed Black Beans & Tortillas

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup Pace Picante salsa (my favorite!)
  • 1 package corn tortillas, warmed

Directions – Tofu Scramble

  1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, half the chili powder, half the cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the tofu begins to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Note – only use half the chili powder/cumin if you are using my recommendations for the amount of spices and if you’re increasing the amount of veggies. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add all the veggies and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, taco seasoning, and remaining chili powder/cumin. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add additional 1/4 tsp salt if needed (taste the mixture and decide). Return the tofu to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons salsa, 1-2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Directions – Stewed Black Beans

  1. Add the black beans with a pinch of water to a small sauce pan over medium heat. Let the beans cook for 5-10 min until warmed through and slightly soft. Add the salsa about 5 min into cooking, stir and let simmer until warmed through.

Nutritional Information – Tofu Scramble Only

3/4 cup = 1 serving

Calories: ~200 (12g fat)

Protein: 13g

Fiber: At least 3g, but more if you add more veggies

Note: For 1/2 cup of the black beans I’d add another 100 calories, and 1 corn tortilla would be about 70-80 calories.


Tofu Scramble

Veggies, just starting to cook

Veggies and Tofu, Cooked Through

Stewed Black Beans

Dinner is served!


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

Cumin and Lentil Quesadillas

For dinner tonight, I was looking for something quick and easy to make. I had 2.5 hours of intense dance practice earlier today, so I was hungry and tired – and in no mood to spend more than 30 min in the kitchen! I was inspired by a recipe for cumin & bean sprout quesadillas – from VegetarianTimes.com. I changed the recipe a little – and it turned out great! The cumin was super flavorful and the meal was really healthy overall. And the best part – it took only 20 min to make (30 min including bake time) 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!


  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 4 Mission 8″ Soft Taco Carb Balance Tortillas (link here)
  • 1/2 cup grated low fat Mexican 4 cheese blend
  • 1 cup cooked small lentils (I used Trader Joe’s Steamed Packaged Lentils – link for picture here)
  • 1 cup pico de gallo – Trader Joe’s has a great flavorful version that only has 5 calories per serving!
  • ~1 cup frozen corn


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toast cumin seeds in large, dry skillet over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant, shaking pan constantly. Transfer to small bowl, and set aside.
  3. Toast corn in the same skillet, shaking the pan for about 5 min or until cooked through. Transfer to small bowl, set aside.
  4. Arrange 4 tortillas on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle half the tortilla with ~2-3 Tbsp grated cheese, and 1/4 tsp toasted cumin seeds. Top with 1/4 cup lentils, 1/4 cup corn, and fold the other side over. Repeat for the next 3 tortillas.
  6. Put the tortillas in the oven and broil for 5-10 min until the tops are lightly browned and crispy. Serve with Pico de Gallo.

Nutritional Information (per quesadilla)

Calories: ~200 (6g fat)

Protein: 8g

Fiber: 5g


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

Healthy Version of Mexican Flautas!

I found this recipe on VegetarianTimes.com a while back, and realized that I forgot to share it with all of you. My husband loves Mexican food – Nachos, Flautas, Quesadillas, etc. So a lot of the recipes I look for are healthier versions of these foods – that still taste great. This recipe from VegetarianTimes is a great healthy version of Mexican Flautas. The black bean and corn filling is super flavorful, and the oven-baked tortillas turn out nice and crispy. The only thing is – you have to be sure to cool the filling before you put it in the tortillas, otherwise the tortillas will crack. Let me know how it turns out for you!

Oven Crisp Black Bean and Corn Flautas

Serves 6


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup) — I used a red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.) — You can use even more garlic to amp up the flavor!
  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp. chili powder — I also added a bit of taco seasoning for more flavor
  • 1 16-oz. tub prepared salsa, divided
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute, or until translucent and fragrant.
  2. Stir in beans, chili powder and 1 cup water. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 10 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Mash beans until mixture is thickened but still chunky, and some beans remain whole. Stir in 1 cup salsa and corn, and season with salt and pepper. Cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 425F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray. Spoon 1/3 cup black bean mixture down center of tortilla. Roll tortilla around filling, and secure closed with toothpick. Set on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and black bean mixture. Bake 6 to 10 minutes, or until tortillas are browned and crisp. Note: If you want to add more crispiness, you can put the flautas under the broiler for a few min and top each one with 1Tbsp of cheese to get a nice crust on top.
  4. Meanwhile, combine cilantro and remaining salsa in small bowl. Place 2 flautas on each plate, and top with remaining salsa.

Nutritional Information

For 2 flautas:

  • Calories: 286
  • Protein: 11g
  • Fat: 3g
  • Fiber: 11g


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

Healthy Veggie Enchiladas!

This recipe is super easy and fast to make, and is very healthy: high in fiber, has lots of veggies and is really good! The recipe is below – enjoy!


  • 10 small corn tortillas (70 calories each)
  • Canned enchilada sauce  (picture below – I like Rosarita)
  • Frozen bell pepper mix
  • Frozen yellow corn mix
  • 1 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • Taco seasoning


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Warm corn tortillas in the microwave according to package directions
  3. Heat up refried black beans over medium heat and add taco seasoning to taste
  4. Combine frozen bell peppers and frozen corn in a non-stick skillet and saute (with no oil) on medium high heat. Add a healthy serving of taco seasoning (as much as you like!)
  5. In a large casserole dish, begin creating the enchiladas: Take a corn tortilla, spread refried black beans down the middle (about 2 Tbsp), top with veggie mixture, top with 1 Tbsp cheese, roll.
  6. Once all the enchiladas are rolled up in the dish, top with the canned enchilada sauce and the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake, covered with foil at 350 degrees for 10 min. Remove foil, heat for another 5-7 min or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Enjoy!

Rosarita enchilada sauce

Frozen Bell Pepper mix from Trader Joe's

Enchiladas ready to eat!!


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (with creative toppings!)

Today I came across a great recipe from 101cookbooks for a vegetarian tortilla soup. I was really excited to try this recipe – especially since it had so many creative toppings / add-ins for the soup! I modified the original recipe slightly to make it a bit healthier so my modified version (and toppings I used) are below. Hope you enjoy it!


  • 6 corn tortillas (I cut 3 into matchstick thin strips, and 3 into quarters – to make real tortilla chips)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth


  • 1/4 cup of goat cheese, crumbled
  • 20 small yellow or red cherry tomatoes (I ended up using grape tomatoes and there were probably about 30 of them)
  • Mexican shredded cheese blend
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Diced red onion
  • Diced red pepper
  • Cilantro (chopped)
  • Lime juice


  1. Spray the tortilla strips/quarters with olive oil spray and salt. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, arrange them across the pan and bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside. Note – I took this a step further, and for the tortilla quarters, I topped them with shredded Mexican cheese blend and put them under the broiler for 1-2 min until the cheese was melted – tasted great dipping in the soup!
  2. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and put them in a small roasting pan, oven proof dish, or rimmed baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 40-45 minutes (less time if you use smaller tomatoes), or until the tomatoes are shrunken and golden around the edges. The tomatoes keep nicely in a jar for days (refrigerated), so you can do this part in advance if you like. Set aside.
  3. Now for the soup itself – in a big pot over medium-high heat cook the garlic and onions using 1/2 Tbsp olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for just a minute or so. Stir in the spices and then the tomatoes. Cook down for about five minutes or so, it should thicken a bit.
  4. Remove from heat, add two cups of the broth and puree with a hand blender (or puree in a traditional blender). Add the remaining 1-2 cups of broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Create the “avocado salsa” by mixing the avocado, red onion, red pepper, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl
  6. Serve the individual soup bowls topped with plenty of tortilla strips, the roasted tomatoes, and some crumbled goat cheese (1 oz max)
  7. Alternately, you can finish your second helping with the avocado salsa and the tortilla quarters/chips with the cheese melted on them

Avocado Salsa!

Baked Tortilla Strips

Finished, pureed soup

Roasted Tomatoes

Finished product - YUM!


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)