Raisin Your Nutrition

– A blog about the energy benefits of raisins –

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Can You Take the Heat? Sweeten it with Raisins!

July 12, 2017 by

Do recipe ingredients sometimes give you a double-take? This one did for me: raisins, lots of serrano chiles, soy sauce and Monterey Jack cheese in a quesadilla. Really? 10 serrano chiles in 4 quesadillas?

The flavors that sound so hot and unusual together turn into ‘want-another-bite’ delicious! This quesadilla is one of my very favorite Sun-Maid recipes. Salty soy sauce and mild jack cheese, along with sweet raisins are a perfect antidote for very hot chiles. Raisins add sweetness that is the addictive tincture to salt and heat. Dairy also cools spicy foods, so the cheese and a dollop of sour cream do the trick.

If you’re shy of heat, use jalapeños instead of serranos. Both types of chiles naturally vary in heat level, so be prepared for slightly hotter or milder taste from batch to batch.

Spicy foods can feel cooling on a warm summer day. So I dare you to fire up these quesadillas and I bet you can take the heat!

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Let’s get started!

Raisin Serrano & Cheese Quesadillas

Makes 4 quesadillas
Prep time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients
10 (3 to 4 ounces) serrano peppers, or substitute 3-4 ounces jalapeño peppers
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons regular or reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
4 – 8 or 10-inch flour tortillas
8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese, divided
Sour cream and cilantro for garnish, optional

 

Directions

SLICE peppers lengthwise in half. Remove stems and seeds. Thinly slice into lengthwise strips. (Wear gloves to protect hands.)
HEAT olive oil in a small frying pan. Add pepper strips and cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly until peppers begin to blister and soften slightly. Add soy sauce and raisins. Cook 30 seconds or until liquid is nearly evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside. (Be sure to work in a well-vented area.)
HEAT a wide frying pan over medium heat. Brown one side of one tortilla; flip tortilla over and place one fourth of the cheese and peppers mixture on half the tortilla. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling. Continue to cook over medium heat, turning once to brown the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
CUT in wedges and serve with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

 

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Serranos are the thin peppers on the left. Jalapeños are on the right. I find that usually the larger and fatter chiles are less hot; sometimes jalapeños taste more like a green bell pepper.

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Seed and devein the chiles, and slice with a sharp knife. ALWAYS wear disposable gloves when handling chilies. It will save you from inadvertent eye or skin burns if the capsicum from the chilies gets in contact.

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To make the quesadilla filling, stir the peppers over medium-high heat until they start to blister and slightly brown; let them be a little crunchy. Add the soy sauce and raisins; stir for 15-30 seconds just to combine.

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Place one fourth of the peppers mixture and one fourth of the shredded cheese on one side of a tortilla. Fold in half and heat until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned.

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Enjoy!

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Per Serving: 420 calories, 21 g fat (11g fat, sat), 50 mg cholesterol, 18 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 1040 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

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About The Author
SUZANNE NELSON, ScD, RDN
Suzanne Nelson

Dr. Nelson recently joined the staff of Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania as a nutrition and wellness advisor and sports nutritionist. Previously, she was the Director of Sports Performance Nutrition in the athletic department at the University of California, Berkeley. While in California, she was the team nutritionist for the San Francisco 49ers and provided nutrition consultation to the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. In addition, Dr. Nelson has advised elite amateur athletes at the national, world, and Olympic level. She is a nationally known speaker in sports nutrition and is the author/editor of several books and numerous scientific journal articles. Dr. Nelson is the Nutrition and Health Advisor for Sun-Maid.

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