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Flat and happy: Tortillas are made for snacking


Blustery cold winter days make huddling inside all the more appealing. For the Saturdays that you plan to spend curled up with a good book or watching your favorite old movie, here are some inexpensive, easy tortilla snacks that are ready in 10 minutes.

Containing less than 1 gram of fat each, corn tortillas are always a healthy choice. Flour tortillas are higher in fat (2 to 4 grams each).

Quesadillas con frijoles refritos

Makes 24 wedges; serves 6

1 cup fat-free refried beans

2 tablespoons hot jalapeno relish, or other spicy salsa

12 6-inch corn tortillas

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup chopped scallions

3/4 cup finely grated Monterey Jack cheese (3 ounces)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Mix refried beans and relish or salsa together and set aside.

Place a tortilla directly on a stove-top burner (gas or electric), set at medium, and toast, turning frequently with tongs, until softened, about 30 seconds. Wrap in a kitchen towel to keep warm; repeat with remaining tortillas .

Lay 6 softened tortillas on the prepared baking sheet. Divide the bean mixture among them, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with corn, cilantro and scallions, then cheese. Top with remaining softened tortillas and press to seal.

Bake until lightly crisped and browned, about 10 minutes. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve hot, with the additional jalapeno relish or salsa for dipping.

Per serving: 290 calories, 14 g protein, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 45 g carbohydrate; 228 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol.

Tostadas with smoky Cheddar and salsa

Makes 16 wedges; serves 4

4 8-inch flour tortillas

1 cup chunky prepared salsa

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup finely grated smoked Cheddar cheese (1 ounce)

1/4 cup chopped scallions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets, or coat them with nonstick cooking spray.

Arrange tortillas on the sheets. Spread salsa on tortillas and sprinkle with cilantro. Top with cheese and scallions. Bake for 10 minutes, switching baking sheets halfway through, or until the edges are golden. Cut each tostada into 4 wedges; serve hot.

Per serving: 150 calories 5 g protein, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 21 g carbohydrate; 487 mg sodium; 7 mg cholesterol.

Quesadillas al Greco

Makes 16 wedges. Serves 4

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, preferably canola oil

3 ounces lean ground beef ( 1/3 cup)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon tomato paste

black pepper to taste

4 8-inch tortillas, preferably whole-wheat

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add beef, garlic, cinnamon and oregano; cook, stirring, until the beef brown, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels; return the meat to the skillet. Stir in tomato paste and 3 tablespoons water; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Season with pepper.

Spread meat on tortillas, dot with feta; fold each tortilla in half.

Heat a large dry skillet over medium-high heat. Place 2 filled tortillas in skillet and toast until heated through, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with remaining filled tortillas. Cut each one into 4 wedges and serve hot.

Per serving: 210 calories, 11 g protein, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 19 g carbohydrate; 526 mg sodium; 30 mg cholesterol.

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