Chef Wendell: Holiday quesadillas with pico de galo

(WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Celebratory food can indeed be tasty preventive medicine.

If you have embarked on a healthy eating journey (good for you) and cringe when your health is feloniously assaulted by yet another cheese ball or Chicken Liver Rumaki dripping with artery-detonating bacon grease, please listen up. Especially if you’re trying to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease, cancer, obesity, GI problems, or diabetes. No one’s holding a gun to your head forcing you to eat those traditional foods we’ve learned render you less than whole; sick, tired, and chunky. A little change is gonna’ do you a world of good. For example: The capsicum in the recipes peppers targets and kills prostate cancer cells.

Of course, on New Year’s Eve everyone craves and deserves some tasty treats. However, a little less sugar, fat, and AP flour would be wise. This year consider preparing fresh new dishes that fulfill the flavor needs but won’t trash your temple’s health. The home of the guy you celebrate at Christmas time.

Whether you’re a vegetarian or meat eater, and it’s all good, Quesadillas deliver crispy flavor, wholesome nutrition and when you back off the fatty cheese, won’t pack on the dreaded holiday pounds. In addition to predictable chips and salsa, guacamole, and bean dip, (Yawn) add crispy quesadillas to the party equation. And, I must share that this recipe is always a hit, whether your guests are vegetarians or meat-eaters.
1 lb. vegetarian “chicken”, chopped into small pieces-Protein (I use Quorn)
3 Tbsp. olive oil + for sautéing the quesadillas-Antioxidant and monounsaturated fat
1 medium onion, diced-Anti-cancer, Anti-viral. Anti-bacterial
2 medium Anaheim or Pablano peppers-Capsaicin (Prostate cancer prevention)
2 cloves garlic, minced-Anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-bacterial
1 pkg. Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper-Stimulates circulation & immune system, contains capsicum.
1 tsp. dried oregano
Ground flax and or chia seed-FIBER and Omega-e EFA’s
Himalayan salt, to taste-Trace minerals
1 pkg. 8-10 inch corn or whole grain tortillas wraps (You can also by sprouted grain, brown rice, gluten-free, or pumpernickel wraps)-FIBER
• Heat the oil in large sauce pan over medium fire; add onion, peppers and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the ‘chicken’; continue cooking for 2 minutes. You want the veggies to still have some crunch.
• Add the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and oregano into mixture.
• Simmer over medium heat about 1 minute. Season with Himalayan salt to taste.

Assembly:
• Apply 3 Tbsp. of the mixture in the bottom third of each tortilla along with a Tbs. of cheese and a tsp.of ground flax or chia seed. Fold the quesadilla in half.
• In a sauté pan, heat enough oil to cover the pan’s bottom. Slowly brown the quesadillas for 2 minutes on each side. Use a spatula to gently flip them.
• Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
• Cut into triangular wedges or eat with a knife and fork.
• Serve topped / garnished with salsa or Pico De Gallo, nondairy sour cream, and guacamole.

Here’s my favorite recipe for:

Pico de Gallo
This fresh and clean tasting salsa brims with wholesome nutrition. No need to cook this topping.

¼ cups each: chopped onion, tomato, jalapeno, and cilantro
2 tbs. fresh lime juice
Himalayan salt to taste
• Keep at room temperature till time to serve.
• Refrigerate the leftovers for future use.

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