Mexican Cooking At Home

by Jo Bartell

As a single person living in New York City in an apartment with a very small kitchen, I know how difficult it is muster up the motivation and set aside the time to cook a healthy meal from scratch. Even though I love food and cooking, I still fall into the trap of ordering delivery and going out for dinner, knowing that I am unnecessarily eating extra calories and fat.

Last weekend, a good friend of mine who also lives alone and has always stated adamantly that she hates cooking asked for some help. One of her New Year’s resolutions was to prepare more healthy meals at home, so she asked if I had any dinner ideas. Sunday night I had her come over to cook dinner together. We searched my refrigerator and pantry and decided to throw together a veggie-filled, Mexican inspired meal. The result was a nutritious and delicious plate of colorful veggies, black beans, corn, black quinoa, and a quesadilla made with a corn tortilla and reduced fat pepper jack cheese. The meal took no time to prepare and we both loved it. Even my friend who hates cooking said she couldn’t wait to make this versatile, easy dish at home!

healthy mexican foodPreparation was simple:

  • We boiled two cups of water, added one cup of black quinoa and simmered for about 20 minutes until the quinoa absorbed all of the water.
  • While the quinoa was cooking, we heated two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and sautéed onion and garlic until they started to brown.
  • Then we added an assortment of other colorful veggies including broccoli, cauliflower, and red, yellow, and green bell peppers. We sautéed the veggies and added lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder to accentuate the Mexican-type flavor.
  • Towards the end of cooking we added about a cup of canned black beans and a cup of canned corn. (Note: if you use canned vegetables or beans make sure to rinse them thoroughly to decrease the sodium content.)
  • For the quesadilla, we heated a corn tortilla over the stove’s flame, flipping it frequently until it was warm, and then added 1 oz of reduced fat pepper jack cheese to each tortilla and topped with some chopped chili pepper.
  • To add in even more veggies, we added some sliced, raw cherry tomatoes on the side.

What are your favorite easy, healthy meals for one (or two)?

This Sunday is Super Bowl XLV – don’t let the festivities get in the way of your healthy diet with these Super Bowl Healthy Eating Tips.

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4 responses to “Mexican Cooking At Home

  1. Yum! I have been wanting to try black quinoa. Makes sense to pair it with Mexican food. Our favorite pantry Mexican meal is grilled stuffed burritos. Beans, corn, tomatoes, a little cheese, green chiles cooked together then rolled up in a tortilla and grilled. Easy!

  2. Janet Zimmerman

    I’ve been wanting to try black quinoa as well! Looks so yummy 🙂 Taco salad with beans, salsa, pepper, onion, tomato, fresh corn, and shredded cheese is one of my favorite throw-together-quickly meals [which I am getting pretty good at as a college student 🙂 ]!

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