Chicken Cannellini Quesadillas

Chicken Cannellini Quesadillas

This week I had a follow-up visit with my medical doctor to review blood work. Sadly, it indicated high cholesterol. We all know the repercussions of elevated cholesterol levels and the OCD person I am, I immediately Googled foods that might help keep this “ugly beast” under wraps. My search led to me cannellini beans. 

Not only are these creamy white beans high in iron (twice the amount of red meat), they are also a great source of fiber. Fiber-rich diets help promote healthy cholesterol levels and lower cholesterol. And better yet, these beans are a plant-based alternative for protein.

I noted several recipes were using cannellini beans in place of pinto beans. So why not use them to make quesadillas?

This recipe makes approximately 5 cups of filling. Depending on how much filling is used in each tortilla, it’s possible to get up to 10 servings.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped and sprinkled with Montreal Steak Seasoning. You could also sprinkle with 1 tablespoon powdered quesadillas seasoning.
  • 1/2 cup banana pepper rings, chopped
  • 1 medium size red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (if using the powdered quesadillas seasoning, you won’t need the flour)
  • 4-5 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed (around 16 ounces)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4- 5 wedges of Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb cheese
  • Flour Tortillas, (low or reduced fat)
  • Non-stick olive oil cooking spray
  • Low fat sour cream (optional)
  • Avocado slices (optional)
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
  • Enchilada Sauce (optional). Drizzle on top of the quesadillas slices.

 

How To

In a large skillet, spray a generous amount of non-stick cooking spray. Add red pepper, banana peppers, garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until softened. Add seasonings to taste.

Sprinkle the flour or quesadillas seasoning over the sauteed veggies and mix well. Cook for an additional minute and then gradually add the chicken broth. Let this simmer until the mixture is smooth. Add spinach and cook until it begins to wilt. Stir in cooked chicken and cannellini beans. Gently mix ingredients and remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Spray a medium size skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly spread the garlic/herb Laughing Cow cheese onto each flour tortilla. Place a tortilla (open faced) in the skillet and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Add a portion of the chicken/bean filling to one-half of the tortilla. Cook the tortilla until slightly brown and flip in half. Remove from pan and allow to set for a minute. Cut the folded tortilla into thirds.

 

Serve sour cream and avocado slices as optional condiments. Quite honestly, one of these quesadillas triangles with a side salad was filling, but I generously filled the tortilla.

Calories…. ??? Um, in the neighborhood of 182 calories for each third if using 1 cup fo filling in each tortilla. Cut calories in half (per 1/3 slice) by using 1/2 cup filling per tortilla.  That’s just 273 calories for one full quesadillas. The avocado and sour cream is not included in the count.

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