They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but the reverse holds equally true. Every gal loves the thought of her man impressing her with a home-cooked meal! A Mexican theme is always festive and fun, with a dash of spice and a splash of tequila. Plus, these cooling Skinny Melon Margaritas are a third of the calories of a traditional margarita and triple the flavor, thanks to melon liqueur.
These recipes are specially-designed to be impressive, yet easy enough for anyone to prepare, including guys (or gals) who rarely step into the kitchen. Easy enchiladas are quick to assemble, using low-fat cream cheese to keep calories low and flavor soaring. If rushed for time, use canned enchilada sauce, or get bonus points from your loved ones when you mention you’ve made your own sauce from scratch using this foolproof recipe. So, raise that skinny margarita in a toast to home cooking for all: olé!
Easy Cheesy Enchiladas
2 cups red enchilada sauce (15-ounce can, or see recipe below)
10 soft corn tortillas
2 cups shredded reduced-calorie sharp cheddar cheese or Mexican Blend (reserve ½ cup for garnish)
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese (reserve ¼ cup for garnish)
¼ cup white onion, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño pepper (or more for spicier)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon minced dry garlic
½ teaspoon minced dry onion
2 tablespoons sliced green onion, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place ½ cup enchilada sauce on bottom of pan. In a large bowl, combine cheddar, parmesan and Neufchâtel cheese. Add jalapeño, salt, garlic and onion. Stir well. Mixture will be very stiff. (In order to make tortillas easier to roll, microwave on a moist paper towel until just warm and slightly pliable, about 10 seconds). Take one tortilla, and place a small amount of cheese mixture down center (approximately 2 tablespoons). Fold both sides of tortilla up over each other to cover filling and secure with toothpick. Place enchilada in baking dish and gently pour a small amount of enchilada sauce over top (about 3 tablespoons).
Repeat above steps with remaining tortillas, placing each in the baking dish after rolling. Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top of enchiladas. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until sauce is very hot and bubbly. Remove pan from oven and top with remaining cheddar and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with sliced green onions (optional). Bake an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Yield: 5 servings. Per serving (2 enchiladas per serving): Calories: 325; Fat 11g; Carbs 29g; Protein 25g. Cost Per Serving: $1.46.
Simple Spicy Enchilada Sauce
6 ounces dried California red chiles
2 cups chicken stock
1½ teaspoons cumin
1½ teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons minced dry garlic
1 teaspoon minced dry onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
Place chiles in a large pot of boiling water. Remove pot from heat and allow chiles to sit for about 30-45 minutes, until soft. Remove stems from chiles. For a milder sauce, remove seeds. Place chiles in food processor and add remaining ingredients. Process until smooth. Strain sauce to remove chile skins. Add additional garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately, or refrigerate covered. Yield: 2 cups.
Skinny Melon Margaritas
1.5 ounces silver tequila
1.5 ounces melon liqueur (such as Midori®)
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
Lime slices, for garnish
Pour tequila, melon liqueur and lime juice into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled margarita glass. Garnish with lime slice. Enjoy! Yield: 1 serving. Per serving: Calories: 166; Sugar: 0g; Carbs: 10g. Cost Per Serving: $1.33.
Suzette Zara is a certified nutritionist, chef, cookbook author, creator of Satan’s Salsa (SatansSalsa.com) and a frequent speaker on low-fat healthy cooking. suzette@SuzetteZara.com