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How to stuff peppers and tortillas for delicious healthier dishes this summer

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Stuffed Mexican dishes tend to be a fall or winter selection when the weather is cool and we spend more time indoors. This summer, change up some of these Mexican dishes for lighter, healthier, more colorful, but still over the top tasty, dishes. Adding colorful vegetables to all of our comfort food recipes, contributes fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients to our diet. For starters, stuff poblano peppers with a variety of healthy ingredients, and turn the boring cheese quesadilla into a nutritious and delicious masterpiece. From the spring issues of Cooking Light, try these adapted recipes of stuffed poblano peppers and quesadillas.

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Poblano peppers are typically mild in spicy flavor, but occasionally one may get a hotter than usual plant. Poblano peppers are high in dietary fiber and provide many essential nutrients. Start with 8 washed peppers and slit the top from stem to bottom of each pepper, and place them on a foil lined baking dish. Broil peppers for 5 minutes or until blackened turning often. Remove the peppers from the broiler, and peel off the skin. Next, remove all seeds from the inside of the pepper and place back on baking sheet

In a saute pan with 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and 2 cups of chopped onion, cook and brown 12 ounces of 90% lean ground sirloin. Pour meat into a bowl and combine with 10 garlic cloves (minced), salt, pepper, 4 ounces of 1/3 less-fat-softened cream cheese, 1 cup precooked Trader Joe's brown rice (microwave ahead), 6 ounces queso fresco, 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice, and two 14.5 ounce cans of unsalted diced tomatoes not drained. Stir all ingredients together and place mixture inside each pepper. Place peppers back into broiler only until the cheese looks melted and no more than a few minutes. Continue to check peppers every minute or so. Top with fresh, organic cilantro leaves and serve.

Here are other great suggestions of ingredients for stuffing peppers: quinoa instead of rice, black beans instead of meat, diced avocado, feta cheese

Turn the plain old cheese quesadilla into a hit with bbq chicken or caprese salad ingredients. For the bbq chicken recipe simply stuff two soft taco size tortillas, Ezekial has a wonderful whole grain type, with 2 ounces chopped roasted chicken breast, shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon of bbq sauce, red onion chopped, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, and top with delicious fresh cilantro. Grill or heat the quesadilla on the barbecue or stove top until all ingredients are hot, cheese is melted and tortillas have toasty, brown marks.

For a caprese quesadilla stuff the tortillas with a sliced tomato, 1 ounce of buffalo mozzarella, 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and 1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves. Grill or heat and enjoy!

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