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Flavor on a budget

Posted: April 13, 2010 10:26 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2010 4:55 a.m.

South of the border frittata Serves: 5 8 large eggs 1/3 cup low fat milk 3 small Mission flour tortillas, chopped into 1-inch squares 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper 2 teaspoons olive oil 5 brown and serve low fat fully cooked sausage links (50% less fat), diced 2 cups potato (1 medium), peeled and diced 1 cup swee...

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Stretching food dollars to put healthy, delicious food on the table can be tricky.

Registered dieti­cian, nutrition­ist and author Elizabeth Somer has created these tips and budget-friendly recipes to help you add a healthy spin and big flavor to your meals without taking a big toll on your budget.

* Compare unit price. Often buying in bulk or larger sizes is more economical, but not always.

* Plan your meals in advance and keep a copy on the fridge and with you when you head to the grocery store so you're not trying to figure out what's for dinner while you shop.

* Make one evening a week the "no-cook night" where the entire family can join in to make wraps, pinwheels or another cold favorite.

* Take an inventory of what you have on hand. Keeping track of staples will keep you from buying food you don't need. 

* Check the circulars. Seeing what's on sale will help you see what to stock up on and help with meal planning.

These value-focused recipes, created to serve five for around $10 or less, are easy to make and use simple ingre­dients for quick and satisfying family meals.

Visit to get additional recipes and tips

Chicken and black bean quesadillas
Serves: 5

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat (rotisserie chicken works great)
1 15-ounce can black beans, washed and drained
1 cup Mission salsa
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 teaspoons honey
8 medium size Mission soft taco tortillas
1 cup reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 diced tomato
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Reduced-fat sour cream
Mission salsa

1. Mix chicken, black beans, salsa, cilantro, chipotle pepper and honey in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat.
2. Heat large skillet over medium heat, and spray with vegetable cooking spray. Place one tortilla flat on skillet. After a minute, flip tortilla over.
3. Carefully spread about 1/2 cup chicken mixture on top of tortilla to the edges. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Place another tortilla on top, press down with a spatula. Cover quesadilla with a lid. After 1 minute, if brown, flip quesadilla.
4. Once cheese has melted, remove quesadilla, transfer to cutting board and cut into 8 wedges. Repeat for remaining quesadillas.
5. Place quesadillas on a serving tray, sprinkle shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Serve with sour cream and salsa.
Total: $10.08 / Cost per serving: $2.02



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