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Summer Seafood: Not Your Typical Quesadilla!

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 ;)

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