Sweetie Pie Quesadilla Quick Recipe

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As the less-structured days of summer come to an end, it's time to transition back to school with the least amount of stress for you and the kids. Temperatures are still warm and while my focus is on the new school routine, I find myself searching for a quick and nutritious dinner the family will enjoy.

Sweetie Pie Quesadilla Recipe for Lunchbox

Sweetie Pie Quesadilla is a quick recipe to make on the stove and offer a healthy dose of muscle-building protein and bone-building calcium. Kids love the flavors of sweet potatoes and savory black beans blended together. While my blogger-friend Katie Morford, who created this recipe, cooks the quesadillas in olive oil, I sometime choose butter. Why? Taste always plays a large role and butter offers a richer flavor while browning the tortilla to a wonderful mottled appearance. Nutrition research also suggests that the saturated fat in dairy is neutral so butter in moderation can be part of a healthy diet.

Good luck to your sweetie pies as the new school year begins. Serve this for a quick dinner with a green salad topped with mangoes or peaches and candied sliced nuts for a complete meal. As this recipe is from Katie’s “Best Lunchbox Ever” cookbook, be sure to cook up extras to make packing school lunches a snap.

Sweetie Pie Quesadilla

Serves 4

Quesadilla Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese
Four 8-inch whole-wheat flour Tortillas
1 cup grated peeled raw Sweet Potato
1/2 cup cooked Black Beans, drained
4 tablespoons mild green Taco sauce
2 teaspoons extra-virgin Olive oil

Quesadilla Preparation:

1. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over one tortilla. Scatter the sweet potato over the cheese, followed by the beans. Spoon the taco sauce over the beans and top with the remaining cheese and the remaining tortilla.
2. Repeat step 1 with another tortilla.
3. In a medium skillet, heat half the olive oil over medium heat. Put one quesadilla in the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. With a spatula, flip the quesadilla and cook until the second side is golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes.
4. Transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board and let cool for a few minutes.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the second quesadilla.
4. Cut quesadillas into quarters and serve, or pack into four containers for lunches.

Nutrient Information: Calories: 376, Total Fat: 18 g, Saturated Fat: 9 g, Sodium: 617 mg, Carbohydrates: 37 g, Protein: 17 g, Calcium: 400 mg

 Print version of recipe

Cooks Notes

Cooking the quesadilla over medium instead of high heat allows the sweet potato to get tender by the time the outside is crispy and the cheese is melted. Leftover cooked vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, or peppers can be chopped up and substituted for the sweet potato.

Lower the fat and calories without sacrificing flavor or nutrients by using reduced-fat cheese for some or all of this dish.

Many thanks to Katie Sullivan Morford of the Moms Kitchen Handbook and author of, Best Lunch Box Ever (Chronicle Books, 2013)for sharing this recipe and delicious picture with www.HealthyEating.org.

Moms and Dads, what’s your favorite way to make the back to school routine easier?

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Meals Matter Mom Trina Robertson is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in sports nutrition. As a Project Manager with the Dairy Council of California, Trina develops, evaluates and promotes nutrition education materials for students and adults. Trina Robertson, MS, RD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. As a HealthyEating.org Mom she shares her positive approach to healthy eating with the goal of inspiring others to prepare and enjoy foods from all the food groups. As a Project Manager with the Dairy Council of California, Trina develops, evaluates and promotes nutrition education materials for students and adults. At home she enjoys cooking and sharing meals with her family. Her most rewarding accomplishment is that her boys are good eaters and are learning to cook. Follow Trina on Twitter @TrinaR_RD and find more Healthy Eating ideas on Facebook and Pinterest.

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