Last updated: April 18. 2014 8:18AM - 1784 Views
Sandra Cain Bladen County Cooperative Extension



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In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a type of thin, unleavened flat bread, made from finely ground maize. The corn tortilla, with many variants, has been a staple food in North American and Mesoamerican cultures since pre-Columbian times. Tortillas have been gaining in popularity in the United States over the past few years.


Tortillas vary in size from about 2 ½ inches to over 12 inches, depending on the region of the country and the dish for which it is intended. They serve as the base for burritos, tacos, quesadillas, tostadas and a multitude of other dishes.


Soft-corn tortillas are a good source of fiber, B vitamins and folate. A 6 inch corn tortilla has only 56 calories and 1 gram of fat.


Buying Soft-Corn Tortillas


• Select tortillas that list whole-grain corn or whole-grain corn meal as the first ingredient.


• Look for soft-corn tortillas with the lowest amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and


sodium.


Storing Soft-Corn Tortillas


• Store soft-corn tortillas in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 7 to 10 days.


• Freeze left-over tortillas. Stack them with a sheet of waxed paper between each one. Put the stack into a zip-lock bag. Store in the freezer for up to


2 months.


Enjoying Soft-Corn Tortillas


• Warm soft-corn tortillas before eating. You can do this in the oven or microwave. You can also use a hot skillet. Look on the package for the best directions for the tortillas you have.


• Cover tortillas with a kitchen towel until ready to serve to keep them warm and soft.


Source: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Food Lover’s Companion


Quick Cheese Enchiladas


• 1 large (19-ounce) can enchilada sauce plus


. 1 small (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce


• 12 (6- to 7-inch) soft-corn tortillas


• 3 cups (12 ounces) reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded


• 1 medium onion, chopped


• 3 green onions with tops, thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.


2. Warm enchilada sauce in a medium sauce pan. Dip one tortilla at a time into enchilada sauce. Keep it in the sauce until it is soft enough to roll (about 1 minute).


3. Put about 3 tablespoons cheese and 2 teaspoons of chopped onion in the center of the tortilla. Roll up the tortilla. Put enchilada, seam side down, in a 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled.


4. Spoon remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.


5. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until hot in the center.


6. Sprinkle with green onions just before serving.


Chicken Tortilla Soup


3 corn tortillas (6 inches) cut into ¼ inch strips


4 teaspoons olive oil, divided


¼ teaspoon salt


¾ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch chunks


1 large onion, chopped


5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth


1 pound red potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes


1 cup frozen corn


1 can (4 ½ ounces) chopped green chilies


¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced


¼ teaspoon pepper


3 tablespoon lime juice


In a large resealable bag, combine tortilla strips, 1 teaspoon oil and salt. Seal bag and shake to coat. Arrange tortilla strips on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes or until crisp, stirring once. Remove to paper towels to cool.


In a large saucepan, sauté chicken in remaining oil until lightly browned. Add the onion. Cook and stir until onion in tender. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn, chilies, cilantro and pepper. Cook until heated through. Stir in lime juice. Top each serving with tortilla strips.


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