Saturday, March 21, 2009

Homemade is Better: Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa

The "Homemade is Better" sections of my blog will be dedicated towards those things we regularly pay other people to do for us which we are perfectly capable of doing ourselves. If you want your money to work for you, the last thing you want to do is spend it on someone else's labor. By honing up on your do it yourself skills, you can substantially cut costs as well as control the measure of quality you want to achieve. Moreover, the do it yourself tasks themselves become a form of inexpensive entertainment in and of themselves. For example, instead of taking your date out to an expensive dinner, try having a quiet night in with a little jazz music and inexpensive bottle of wine (such as Charles Shaw Merlot $2.00 at Trader Joes) while you prepare your own dinner.

Speaking of homemade dinners, since one of my biggest passions in life is cooking and trying new foods, you will see me post lots of new recipes here. I do have quite the lovely collection of cookbooks but these days you don't even need to invest in cookbooks to get cooking. Their are a wealth of websites full of FREE recipes on the internet waiting to be attempted. A couple of my favorites include and A friend also recently introduced me to a particularly thrifty version called If recipe browsing on the world wide web isn't your thing, your local library should offer a host of cookbooks available for FREE checkout and a good collection of cooking magazines to thumb through.

Below is a new recipe I tried this week. At first I was a little weary of the cranberry pear salsa and when I taste tested by itself I wasn't that impressed. However, it is the combination of ingredients between the quesadilla and salsa together that is really outstanding. This is an excellent fall recipe for when pears are at their peak and thus least expensive. A restaurant such as Red Robin charges $9.99 for their equivelant menu item Chicken Quesadillas. With Tax and Tip you are looking at a total of $13.00 the same amount for the entire recipe below which could feed up to 6 to 8 people. That's at least a 600% return on investment. Additionally, the ingredients are fresher, healthier, and available in the convenience of your own home.

Cranberry Sauce $2.00
Cilantro $1.00
Green Onions $0.75
Lime $0.50
Anjou Pear $0.75
Jalapeno $0.50
Jack Cheese $3.00
Tortillas $2.00
Chicken/Turkey $2.00
Pantry Items - Cumin, Cooking Spray, Sour Cream

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa

This salsa is also great on turkey sandwiches. To make meatless quesadillas, use sautéed vegetables in place of the turkey.

1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Anjou pear, cored and finely diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

Cooking spray
1/4 cup (2-inch-thick) slices green onions
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

To prepare salsa, combine first 7 ingredients. Cover and chill.

To prepare quesadillas, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup sliced onions to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Remove onions from pan; reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over each of 4 tortillas. Top each cheese-covered tortilla with one-fourth of onions, 1/2 cup turkey, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 tortilla.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 quesadilla to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Serve with cranberry salsa and sour cream.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 wedges, about 1/4 cup salsa, and 1 tablespoon sour cream)

CALORIES 356 (25% from fat); FAT 9.7g (sat 4.2g,mono 3.5g,poly 1.2g); IRON 2.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 42mg; CALCIUM 218mg; CARBOHYDRATE 47.8g; SODIUM 372mg; PROTEIN 19.4g; FIBER 3g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2004

No comments: