Quesadillas are one of the only Mexican foods I would eat as a kid. To this day, I still don’t care for corn tortillas, Spanish rice, tamales, or chiles. And beans? Refried, black, pinto or any other variety is on my Top 10 Most-Hated Food Items list. Tears were involved whenever I was forced to eat them at family dinners as a toddler. Now I just avoid them completely. I used to cringe at avocados but I have grown to LOVE them and use them generously. My parents are convinced this 180 will happen with beans too; I am sure it won’t. Anyhow, this all limits my choices when it comes to Mexican food so a good ol’ flour tortilla stuffed with cheese (and usually dipped in ketchup) was my go-to.
I haven’t had a quesadilla in a long time. As a health-conscious person, that amount of melted cheese is no longer appealing. But I’ve seen some pretty amazing quesadillas recently using more than just cheese. Spinach. Sweet Potato. Goat Cheese. Pesto. I had to try it myself. After all, we have a Quesadilla Maker just sitting in our cupboards! (I know what you’re thinking: isn’t a frying pan a quesadilla maker? Well yes, this particular kitchen gadget is a little excessive and a regular frying pan is totally fine too.) I decided to make a Pesto Shrimp Quesadilla.
For our Saturday night dinner, we bought Tomato & Basil whole grain tortillas (100 cal. each) and a brick of Colby Jack cheese. I still had some shrimp from last weekend’s Shrimp Burgers. I had whipped up some homemade pesto and guacamole earlier in the day.
For the pesto: In a food processor, blend 1 cup of fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, a tsp of garlic, a few drops of lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper. You only need to spread a thin layer over the bottom tortilla; this pesto is potent! Top with shredded cheese, pan-fried shrimp and second tortilla and cook until it’s crispy and brown! It was so flavorful with the pesto and shrimp.
I had half of a quesadilla (with a scoop of guacamole!) and a salad, which was perfect. Half of one of these quesadillas is around 450 calories because of the cheese, so it’s best eaten in moderation with some veggies on the side. After dinner my mom and I went on a 50 minute walk around our neighborhood in the great summer night weather. Tonight I think I’ll take the night off and let my dad do the cooking ;)
Recently, Pinterest has inspired a lot of my cooking experiments including this dinner over the weekend: Shrimp Burgers with Peachy Salsa from HowSweetTreats. I hardly ever cook with raw meat so this was out of my comfort zone. I have to admit – chopping up the shrimp meat in a food processor had me a little skeptical about these things. But after adding in the mustard, spices and breadcrumbs – HOLY YUM! Totally worth the mess. Seafood Perfection.
When it comes to burgers, go big or go home. I topped the patties with Lily Light Sour Cream (15 calories per Tablespoon) mixed with lime juice and pepper. Sliced Avocado. Homemade Peach Salsa. And Whole Wheat buns. The Perfect Mid-Summer Meal.
1 pound raw, peeled, and deveined shrimp
2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbs dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp basil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
6 Tbs sour cream (light)
salt & pepper to taste
1 avocado, sliced for topping
6 Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
In a food processor, pulse the shrimp until chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with bread crumbs, egg, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder and basil. Divide into six handfuls and shape into flattened round patties. Heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 Tbs of olive oil. Cook the patties for about 4-5 minutes on each side (they will be more pink and crispy).
Mix your sour cream with the juice of one lime and a dash of salt and pepper. Use as a condiment over the patties.
2 RIPE peaches, diced
2 Tbs red onion, diced
2 Tbs cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
salt and pepper
Assemble and enjoy!