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Eat Healthy & Mexican -- On A Shoestring!

Many of us have resolved to get in shape and eat healthier in the new year - and many of us are going to have to do it on tighter budgets.

Diane Henderiks, a registered dietitian and healthy cooking expert, accepted The Early Show Saturday Edition's "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge of making a multi-course meal on our new, recession-proof budget of a mere $35 - down from our old, meager $40 goal.

Henderiks can help everyone stay on track - for at least one more meal, anyhow - with a healthy, Mexican-inspired meal for four that doesn't sacrifice flavor!

This is truly a menu that won't hurt our wallets - or our waistlines:

  • Mango Guacamole with Fiery Tortilla Chips
  • Chicken Chile Rellenos with Mixed Bean & Corn Salsa
  • Pina Colada Sundae

    Chile Relleno: Literally "stuffed pepper," a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the city of Puebla, consisting of a roasted fresh poblano pepper stuffed with a melting cheese, such as queso Chihuahua or queso Oaxaca (traditionally). The pepper is then coated in an egg batter, bread crumbs, and fried. It's often served in a tomato sauce.

    The Poblano is a very mild chile pepper originating in the State of Puebla, Mexico. One of the most popular peppers grown in Mexico, it can be prepared a number of ways, commonly including dried, coated in whipped egg and fried, stuffed, or in mole sauces.


    Mango Guacamole

    2 small avocados
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    1/2 cup chopped tomato (discard juice & seeds)
    3/4 cup diced mango
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    Place 1 tablespoon chopped onion, 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno & ½ cup chopped cilantro in food processor, blender or mortar and pestle to form a paste.

    Split the avocado in half lengthwise and remove seed. Slice in half lengthwise in 1/8 inch strips, then across to form a grid. Scoop it out of the skin with a spoon. Add avocado to the paste and thoroughly mix together.

    Fold in the mango and tomato and salt (adding remaining jalapeno to taste).
    Serve with Oven Baked Fiery Tortilla Chips

    Oven-Baked, Fiery Tortilla Chips

    Two (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas/chapatti
    Olive oil spray
    2 teaspoons powdered hot spices

    Preheat oven to 350°F

    Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with olive oil. Stack tortillas on top of each other and cut into twelve chips.

    Place in even layer on baking sheets and sprinkle with spices. Bake about 10 minutes until crisp

    Chicken Chile Rellenos

    1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast
    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    1 small chipotle pepper - in Adobo sauce
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 medium onion
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    4 medium Poblano Peppers
    1/2 cup reduced fat Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro; finely chopped
    3 egg whites
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    2 cups cornmeal
    1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon salt

    Preheat oven to 350ºF

    In a small bowl, whisk together broth, vinegar, olive oil and ¼ cup cilantro.

    Place chicken breast in even layer in medium baking dish. Pour broth mixture over chicken, cover and bake for about 25 minutes until fully cooked. Remove chicken from dish and place in fridge to cool.

    Remove chipotle from Adobo sauce, cut in half and mince half of the pepper finely. (Gloves are recommended when handling any hot peppers). Save the remaining half of pepper for the next time.

    Place oil in large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onion and chipotle pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place in fridge to cool.

    Preheat grill to medium or oven to broil. Place peppers on grill or in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, turning ¼ turn every 2-3 minutes. The skin will begin to char. After the last turn, remove peppers and place in brown paper bag. Set aside to cool.

    When peppers are cool, peel gently. Make a slice down the pepper on one side lengthwise. Carefully remove the core and seeds doing your best to keep the pepper whole. Set aside.

    When the chicken has cooled, shred with fork or hands. In large bowl, combine onion mixture, cilantro, cumin and shredded cheese. Form the mixture into 4 elongated rolls and place them inside the peppers and close the peppers.

    Place the egg whites and garlic powder in a small bowl and whisk.
    Combine the cornmeal, pepper, cumin and salt in food processor and process to small crumbs.

    Preheat oven to 400ºF

    Gently roll peppers in egg, then coat with crumbs and place on greased baking sheet.

    Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes. Serve warm with 1 tablespoon Relleno sauce.

    For more recipes, go to Page 2.

    Chili Relleno Sauce

    1 tablespoon Olive oil
    1 small onion; diced
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro
    2 cups diced tomatoes
    1 cup chicken broth
    Salt to taste

    In medium saucepan, sauté onion, garlic, cumin and chili powder in olive oil until tender.

    Add tomatoes and broth, simmer for about 10 minutes. Let cool and puree in blender or food processor.

    Return to pan, season to taste with salt and reduce by about ¼. Serve warm over Chicken Chili Rellenos.

    Mixed Bean & Corn Salsa

    1/2 cup cooked black beans
    1/2 cup cooked Pinto beans
    1/2 cup cooked corn
    1/2 cup diced red onion
    1 medium tomato, cored & diced
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 minced garlic clove
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper-to taste

    Combine all ingredients together. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes to meld flavors. Add pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve.

    Piña Colada Sundae

    One 20-ounce can pineapple chunks
    1 lime cut in 4 segments
    1/4 cup shredded coconut; toasted
    1/4 cup slivered almonds; toasted
    1/4 cup whipped cream (store bought (non hydrogenated or whipped heavy cream)
    1-1/2 tablespoon Meyer's rum (optional)

    Sauté pineapple chunks in a large skillet over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes until heated all the way through. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

    Assemble sundae as follows in 4 small dessert dishes:

    1/2 cup yogurt
    Juice of 1/4 lime
    1/4 cup sautéed pineapple
    1 tablespoon almonds
    1 tablespoon whipped cream
    1 tablespoon coconut
    Drizzle with rum (optional)
    Serve immediately

    So, how did Diane do with our new, $35 budget?

    Mango Guacamole:

    Avocados $2.50
    Onion .56
    Jalapeno pepper .16
    Cilantro .69
    Tomato .75
    Mango .99
    Tortillas $1.29
    Cayenne spice .79
    Total $7.73

    Chicken Chile Rellenos:

    Chicken $1.99
    Chipotle pepper $1.69
    Onion .56
    Cumin .79
    Poblano Peppers $3.32
    Cheddar cheese $1.99
    Garlic powder .79
    Cornmeal $1.19
    Garlic .39
    Chili powder .79
    Tomatoes $1.50
    Chicken broth .99
    Black beans .67
    Pinto beans .67
    Corn .50
    Red onion .74
    lime .33
    Total $18.90

    Piña Colada Sundae:

    Pineapple chunks $2.39
    Yogurt .60
    Lime .33
    Coconut $1.19
    Almonds $2.50
    Whipped cream $1.19
    Total $8.20

    Grand Total $34.83

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