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Five Quick and Healthful Mexican Dinners

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by Erin Rogers,

Many of us love the fresh and bold flavors of Mexican cooking, but
these meals can also be very high in fat and calories. But, with a
little planning, you can enjoy many delicious Mexican specialties with
no guilt and with very little prep or cooking time!

There are some simple ways to reduce the fat and calories in any
recipe, while still maintaining excellent flavor. Follow these easy
guidelines to easily incorporate Mexican meals into any diet plan:

* Replace full-fat cheeses with reduced-fat or fat-free
* Replace regular sour cream with light or fat-free
* Reduce or eliminate black olives
* Use fat-free refried beans, or low-sodium black beans
* Use your choice of whole wheat, lowfat or low carb tortillas, or
corn tortillas or taco shells
* Load up on fresh tomatoes, lettuce and salsa
* Go easy on avocados and guacamole, but if you're a fan - a little bit
of either can add a great deal of enjoyment to a meal

All of the following meal ideas can be made with one of many lean
proteins as a main ingredient. Try using ground turkey or chicken
breast, lean ground beef, grilled chicken breast, lean grilled beef
(such as tenderloin or flank steak), meatless soy crumbles, or even
all veggie ingredients (bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc.)

Meal #1: Tacos

Season any of the above proteins with taco seasoning. Serve on your choice
of tortilla or taco shell, and add cheese, lettuce, tomato, light sour
cream and salsa. Serve with fat-free refried beans or black beans.

Meal #2: Taco Salad

The only cooking you need to do for this meal is to brown some lean ground
beef or poultry (or use other protein above) - so it's very fast! Load
up on lettuce, tomato, kidney beans and salsa and go light on cheese, sour
cream, and guacamole. Crumble some baked tortilla chips on top and drizzle
with a lowfat Catalina salad dressing.

Meal #3: Fajitas

While you have several options for healthful ingredients with fajitas, the
fastest way to whip up a fajita dinner is to buy precooked chicken breast
strips and defrost a bag of frozen, sliced fajita vegetables (usually peppers
and onions). Saute vegetables until tender-crisp and serve on small
tortillas with a dab of light sour cream and salsa.

Meal #4: Mexican pizza/tostada

Start with your favorite size of tortilla(s) on a cooking sheet. Spread
with fat-free refried beans, sprinkle on some frozen or canned corn
kernels and a modest amount of reduced-fat cheddar or jack cheese. Place
under broiler until cheese melts. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped
tomatoes, a few chopped black olives, diced avocado, salsa, chopped
cilantro and a dollop of light sour cream.

Meal #5: Southwestern Chicken Salad

Start with a large bowl of torn lettuce, add strips of grilled chicken
breast, chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, corn, black beans, chopped
cilantro, diced avocado, and salsa. For a quick side dish, spray flour
tortillas with cooking/butter-flavor spray, onion powder, and garlic powder
(chili powder, too - if you like a little kick!) and broil until crispy.
Cut into wedges and serve with salad.

For a change of pace, try new combinations that you maybe haven't
assembled before, such as steak fajitas, or tacos with seasoned meatless
crumbles. By varying the main ingredient in these meals, as well as the
optional toppings, you'll be able to make nearly endless tasty new
combinations according to your own or your family's tastes. And, you'll be
eating quick meals that taste great and won't disrupt your healthy diet!

If you would like to purchase Erin's Cookbook called Healthy Express Cookbook:
101 Fresh, Light & Quick Dinners click on this link.

To download a recipe sampler from Erin, go to this link:

Healthy Express Cookbook: 20 Fresh, Light & Quick Dinners, 2004

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