Quesadillas, Revamped

Restaurant calories are notorious calorie bombs, but make them at home and control the fillings and you have a perfectly healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Not a week goes by when we don't have quesadillas in our house. Breakfast, lunch or dinner – quesadillas are perfect for kids, parents, grandparents and friends because you can slap whatever you want between two tortillas and enjoy a mouth-watering, cheesy treat in minutes.

I cook quesadillas at home all the time, but we also order them out a lot, so I decided to check the stats. I wish I didn't. Depending on where you dine, one quesadilla can have almost 1,500 calories, more than 100 grams of fat and 2 days worth of salt. And that's without the side of sour cream. What are they putting in there, pork rinds? Flour tortillas are almost fat free so it’s the filling that sends numbers soaring. I was seriously shocked. And if you eat quesadillas regularly, you know that you often eat something ELSE with them. Read it and weep:

Restaurant Quesadilla

Nutrition Info Per Serving (1 quesadilla – range in numbers reflects different restaurants)

Calories: 543-1480
Total Fat: 26-103 grams
Saturated Fat: 14-39 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 51-72 grams
Sugars: 0-1 gram
Protein: 22-73 grams
Sodium: 1177-3300 milligrams
Cholesterol: around 60 (some restaurants did not list cholesterol)
Fiber: 2-4 grams

I decided to create a quesadilla to rival any restaurant version. Gooey pepper jack cheese, sweet and smoky roasted red peppers, red onion and cilantro, nestled between two tortillas and cooked to melted perfection. And my recipe is just a start; consider adding more vegetables, grilled chicken or even scrambled egg whites for a breakfast feast.

Quesadillas With Roasted Red Peppers, Pepper Jack and Cilantro

I used white flour tortillas because they’re my family’s favorite. Feel free to use your favorite tortilla variety.

Cooking spray
8 flour tortillas (regular, whole wheat, low-carb or whole-grain)
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Coat a stove-top griddle, grill pan or large skillet with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.

Arrange four of the tortillas on a flat surface. Top tortillas with cheese, peppers, onion and cilantro. Top with second tortilla. Place quesadillas on hot pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until tortillas are golden brown and cheese melts.

Cut quesadillas into four wedges each and serve.

Serves 4

Nutrition Info Per Serving (1 quesadilla)
Calories: 386
Total Fat: 11.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 4.7 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 57 grams
Sugars: 1 gram
Protein: 12 grams
Sodium: 565 milligrams
Cholesterol: 12.5 milligrams
Fiber: 4 grams

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of "Robin Takes 5" and “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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