Must-Try Mexican Meals

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (or any fiesta, really) in a healthy manner with these delicious twists on traditional Mexican fare.

Grilled corn on the cob with pesto sauce. Grilled corn on the cob with pesto sauce. 1. Grilled corn on the cob with pesto:
372 calories , 3.1 grams sugar, 31 grams fat, 20.1 grams carbohydrates, 8.6 grams protein

Liven up grilled corn on the cob by slathering each piece with delicious, homemade Mexican-flavored pesto. Made with antioxidant-rich cilantro and pumpkin seeds, the piquant sauce boasts a slightly spicy bite and serves as a perfect addition paired with fish or chicken too!

"Comparing this to a classic Italian pesto, I replace the basil with cilantro, pine nuts with spicy roasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil with canola oil, and Parmesan with cotija cheese," says chef Jeffrey Saad.

Ingredients:
8 ears corn, husk peeled and discarded
2 c. cilantro, washed, large stems removed
3/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. roasted green pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. cotija cheese, grated
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1/2 c. green-shelled pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. chile powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To a small bowl add the pumpkin seeds, canola oil, chile powder, and salt. Mix together well. Spread pumpkin seeds out evenly on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Place in oven. Stir the seeds every few minutes until golden brown, about ten minutes. Set aside until cool. To make the cilantro pesto, in a food processor, add the cilantro, canola oil, roasted green pumpkin seeds, cotija cheese, and garlic. Pulse chop until evenly combined but still slightly chunky. Taste. Usually you do not need salt because of the salt in the roasted pumpkin seeds and cheese. Set aside. In a food processor add the cilantro, canola oil, roasted green pumpkin seeds, cotija cheese, and garlic. Pulse chop until evenly combined but still slightly chunky. Taste. Usually you do not need salt because of the salt in the roasted pumpkin seeds and cheese. Set aside. Peel the corn and place on a hot grill. Turn the corn every two minutes to evenly roast the corn all the way around. It will take about ten minutes. You will see random char marks, which is perfect. Take the corn off the grill and onto a platter. Using a pastry brush or butter knife slather the pesto onto each ear liberally. Roll the corn around to make sure the corn is completely covered. Sprinkle with a little more cotija if you like.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe provided by Jeffrey Saad, Cooking Channel host of United Tastes of America, restaurateur, chef, and author of Jeffrey Saad's Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders

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Skinny citrus shrimp tacosSkinny citrus shrimp tacos2. Skinny citrus shrimp tacos:

140 calories, 3 grams sugar, 3 grams fat, 17 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein

For a truly light Cinco de Mayo treat, cook up these easy citrus-infused shrimp tacos. Instead of a heavy cream garnish, this recipe calls for Greek yogurt crema that helps pare down calories and fat! Feel free to indulge in several of these tacos without worrying about your waistline.

Ingredients:
For shrimp and marinade:
1/2 c. orange juice
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. chopped jalapeno chiles
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined

For cucumber salsa fresca:
2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped jalapeno chiles
1/4 c. chopped red onion
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 1 c.)
1/4 tsp. salt

For yogurt crema:
1 6 oz. container Yoplait Greek Fat Free plain yogurt
2 tbsp. orange juice

For tortillas:
8 Old El Paso flour tortillas for soft tacos and fajitas (6 in.), heated as directed on package

Directions:
In 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag, mix shrimp and marinade ingredients. Seal bag. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix cucumber salsa fresca ingredients. In small bowl, mix yogurt crema ingredients. Drain shrimp; discard marinade. Heat 12-in. nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pink. Drain, if needed. Spoon shrimp on tortillas; top with cucumber salsa fresca, and drizzle with yogurt crema.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe provided by Betty Crocker


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Spinach enchiladasSpinach enchiladas3. Spinach enchiladas:

222 calories, 1.2 grams sugar, 13.8 grams fat, 15.9 grams carbohydrates, 10.7 grams protein

Stuff these delectable enchiladas with one of our favorite fiber-packed greens-spinach! The all-star veggie is low in calories but rich in vitamins and nutrients, so it offers an ideal diet-friendly filling for corn tortillas. Plus, thanks to a tasty tomatillo sauce, this wholesome dish doesn't sacrifice festive flavor.

Ingredients:
1 package corn tortillas
12 oz. fresh spinach
1/2 sliced white onion
1 tbsp. chopped onion
8 large green tomatillos
2 c. water
1 bushel cilantro
1 tbsp. cilantro
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 avocado
1 oz. sour cream
6 oz. shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Asadero)

Directions:
In a deep pan add the water, tomatillos, onion, cilantro, salt, and garlic. Cook until it boils for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for additional 5 minutes. Pour everything from the pan into a blender and blend well. Next, add the avocado, sour cream, and tbsp. cilantro. Blend until creamy. In a separate flat pan, add oil, tbsp. chopped onion, shredded cheese, and 2 oz. tomatillo sauce from blender. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, continuously stir until it is dark green. Set aside. First warm the tortillas with a little canola oil. Lay the warmed tortilla flat and add 3 oz. spinach mixture down the middle. Roll the tortilla and cover with the sauce you just made. Add a little cheese down the center on top of the tortilla and bake in preheated oven (350 degrees) for several minutes until cheese is melted.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe provided by Casa Vega, one of Los Angeles' oldest authentic Mexican restaurants


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