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Last week, we introduced a new series called $5 Family Dinners, a series where we’ll be highlighting meals that are more than doable on a food stamps budget. The only criteria we use are it has to be inexpensive, it has to be nutritious, and it has to be tasty.

The Meal: Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Tex-Mex food is unlike any other: you can pour hours of time into it or opt for a much shorter route, and it will always taste good. There’s also a huge variety of ways in which you can prepare food that’s Tex-Mex, sometimes doing something as simple as substituting one ingredient for another. But with chicken fajita quesadillas, this one’s a family favorite because who doesn’t love finger food that tastes really good?

What You’ll Need

  • 2 chicken breasts: Fresh will always taste better, but if frozen is on special, grab that instead. And if you’re ever torn between boneless or bone-in, grab the cheaper one (usually bone-in) and save the bones for soup later on. It’ll also cook faster if you slice the chicken before cooking.
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning: You can use whatever you want, like salt, pepper, chili flakes, oregano, or any other spices you have in the cupboard. It’s impossible to use the wrong seasoning.
  • 1 small onion: You’ll want to use a regular yellow onion, although red onions will also taste good.
  • 2 bell peppers: Green ones are usually the cheapest, but red and yellow offer more flavor. Take the seeds out and slice them thinly.
  • 2 cups shredded cheese: Freshly shredded cheese is the best bet, as it’ll be the least expensive and most flavorful.
  • 12 tortillas: Try and go for whole wheat tortillas for the higher nutrition value; they usually cost the same as white ones.
  • Rice and beans: These will be for the side dishes, but nutrition is still important. Go for black or kidney beans for maximum health value, and opt for brown rice instead of white. Bonus tip: Basmati rice has the nicest eating texture.
  • Garnishments: You’ll need to add those saucy extras, like salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
  • What You’ll Need to Do

  • Sauté the onions and then add in the chicken slices and taco seasoning; the onions are done once they’re clear. When they’re almost clear, add in the peppers just to give them a quick heating so they’ll stay crunchy and flavorful instead of being limp and overcooked.
  • Sprinkle cheese evenly over six tortillas and pile the sautéed goods over top, with more cheese over top of it.
  • Place the other six tortillas over top, and bake them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350F. If you don’t want to use the oven, you can grill them, too.
  • Once the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden-brown, slice them up like little pies and serve with the garnishments and side dishes.
  • Bon appétit!