Wordless Wednesday: The last enchilada

I made enchiladas verdes for dinner earlier this week. To make them a little healthier, I changed up the recipe a bit and didn’t lightly fry the tortillas as usual; instead I just heated the tortillas on the comal to make them pliable enough to roll up with chicken inside. And I used just a little less cheese for melting on top. They were still so good! These were the last two that ended up as lunch the next day.

  • What do you do to cut calories, but not taste, from your family’s favorite dishes when you’re trying to eat healthier?


  1. says

    I’m not so good with the calorie counting, unfortunately. I try to just make healthier food choices overall. We’ve pretty much stopped eating rice and now eat mainly quinoa and barley. I try other grains but these are the big favorites. Instead of white pasta, we do Whole Foods’s spinach pasta. Little things like that make me feel better about what I’m putting on the table. Looking forward to some other tips on reducing calorie intake!

    • says

      Carla, it’s tough, I know. I try not to count calories, but instead, if I know something is adding a lot of extra fat or something else I really don’t need for no good reason (I mean, come on, it still has to taste good, right?), I try to figure out a way to reduce that element and have the dish still be yummy. We’ve been eating a lot more grains like quinoa, but I can’t get my husband to make the switch to brown rice because he thinks it tastes funny and won’t eat it. I cook sparingly with rice because of this, but there are a few key dishes that we eat on a somewhat regular basis that rice is an element that can’t be replaced. We’re not big on pasta in my house despite me being a carbaholic, but I do love the spinach pasta you mentioned! I try, overall, to make good choices in the supermarket about what I’m bringing home. If I don’t buy the bad stuff, it’s not there as a temptation.

  2. says

    I substitute yogurt for sour cream; I use apple sauce instead of butter in my carrot cake; and for enchiladas, I make them as casserole layered like a lasagna so I don’t have to fry the tortillas and I use extra sharp cheddar cheese so I can get a punch of flavor while using less cheese.

    • says

      Love this tip about yogurt and applesauce instead of sour cream and butter… I’ve been doing that with baking for awhile. I don’t typically use yellow cheeses with my Mexican recipe, but that’s a good tip for regular recipes where I would use cheese. José keeps bugging me to make pastel Azteca (very similar to what you do with the casserole dish and layering the tortillas like lasagna) so I’m working on developing a decently healthy version for that.

    • says

      Cristina, that’s a good tip about using fat-free milk. The only time I don’t skimp with the fatty milk is when I’m making something like arroz con leche where it can change the consistency too much and the recipe needs to be altered.

  3. says

    I’ve cut out cheese altogether, switched from white sugar to raw and 2% milk rather than whole… so many options out there to cut calories…. and mucha agua!

    • says

      Bren, que horror! I can’t believe you cut out cheese altogether. That could never happen in my house no matter how healthy we’re trying to be. What is life without a quesadilla??? haha. The sugar switch is such an easy one to make – I did that a few years ago and have never looked back. White sugar doesn’t even come in my house anymore. When a recipe calls for whole milk (except for my arroz con leche recipe) I usually use 1 or 2% milk instead to cut some of the fat. And actually, rather than drinking so much cow’s milk, I’ve switched to almond milk for regular everyday use like for breakfast cereal and coffee. Cow’s milk is more of a treat or a cooking ingredient and I still get enough calcium in other ways. Almond milk is actually healthier than soy milk in some cases (obviously you have to read the labels) and if you buy the unsweetened almond milk, zero sugar (compared to the unsweetened soy milks I’ve bought that still contain sugar for whatever reason).

  4. says

    Instead of frying up the tortillas for chilaquiles, I brushed a little olive oil on them and baked them in the oven. I try using queso fresco instead of other types of cheeses. I also try to go heavier on herbs and spices to add flavor rather than things like cheese, butter, oil.

    I lost a lot of weight without ever being afraid of Mexican food and never once giving up my beloved tortillas.

    • says

      Those are great tips. I know a lot of people that have told me they’ve switched to olive oil. Queso fresco is a good tip as well – not as fatty (downside: also not as melty) but can be used in so many ways. I love queso fresco in a salad or crumbled and quasi-melted on top of enchiladas. I think a major misconception people have is that all Mexican food is fried and/or unhealthy, which is so not true.

  5. says

    I’ve gotten pretty good at finding lower calorie substitutions lately as both my husband and I are looking to lose weight (and we’re succeeding – I’ve lost 14 lbs and he’s lost 10!) I’m on a strict low cal/low carb diet, but he’s just eating healthier.

    I’ll make chili-lime air-popped popcorn instead of microwaved ‘movie style’ popcorn; use Pam instead of oil when sauteing, and applesauce instead of oil in all my baking; switched to Egg Beaters for our morning eggs; use salsa or a squeeze of lemon instead of cream-based dressings on salads; cut out creamer from our coffee (I just don’t buy it anymore); dilute juice (which I always did for the kids, but now for everyone!), skip the crust when baking quiche; and I now warm up peanut butter just a little before spreading it on a sandwich; I find it goes a lot further. This would work for Nutella, too, but I don’t allow that in my house anymore. 😉

  6. says

    It’s hard for me to cut calories…. Instead I just eat healthier when I’m looking to drop a couple of pounds or do something good for my body…. I guess i replace potatoes with salad at lunch or dinner time.

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