SOURCE: Mazola

February 27, 2012 05:00 ET

Host a Healthy Fiesta

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Feb 27, 2012) - (Family Features) Who doesn't love a fiesta? Americans love to eat tacos, carnitas, tortilla chips and other traditional Mexican dishes. However, many also worry about how healthy these dishes can be. What they don't realize is if recipes are prepared with fresh items and cooked with corn oil, they can actually be adding benefits to their diet.

According to USDA data, corn oil, such as Mazola® Corn Oil, contains more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than any other cooking oil -- four times as many as olive oil. It also contains 40 percent more than canola oil. This will help the healthfulness of everyone's fiestas.

Setting a Healthier Table
Whether it's for a fiesta with friends, or a weeknight dinner, it's possible to set a healthier table by using Mazola® Corn Oil, so Mazola® has partnered with WomenHeart, the nation's only patient-centered organization serving the 42 million women living with or who are at risk for heart disease, to encourage people to pledge to set a healthier table when they cook. Herb Mesa, "The Next Food Network Star" finalist, celebrity chef and personal trainer who is working with Mazola® to share the news about plant sterols, says "By taking the 'Set a Healthier Table' pledge on the Mazola®Facebook page, you can show your commitment to health for both you and your family."

To take an active role in your health, visit www.Facebook.com/MazolaBrand and pledge to increase the amount of plant sterols in your family's diet. For every pledge taken, Mazola® will donate $1 (up to a maximum of $50,000), to WomenHeart.

For healthy fiesta recipes, visit www.mazola.com.

Favorite Foods Can Help Your Heart
According to the FDA, clinical studies indicate that, when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol, which in turn can lower LDL cholesterol. And while 58 percent of Americans stated in a recent survey they believe corn oil is bad for you, corn oil is actually the cooking oil with the highest amount of plant sterols per serving.

Incorporating corn oil whenever you use cooking oil, as well as consuming other foods containing plant sterols -- such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes -- can contribute to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can have an important effect on health. Learn more at www.mazola.com.

Roasted Poblano Chicken Quesadillas
Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
2 medium poblano peppers
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon onion salt
6 8 to 10-inch flour tortillas
2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil

Roast peppers under the broiler, over a gas flame or on grill. Heat for 5 to 7 minutes per side or until surface skin on the peppers is blistered and charred. Using tongs, transfer peppers to a paper bag or a covered bowl and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Rinse peppers under running water to remove stem, seeds, pith and all charred material. Pat dry and cut into 1-inch strips.

Heat griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat, or place oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler to 400°F.

Combine roasted pepper strips, cheese, chicken, cilantro and onion salt in a small bowl.
Evenly divide the filling and spread over one half of each tortilla. Fold remaining half over to form a semi-circle.

Lightly brush both sides of quesadillas with corn oil.

Heat quesadillas for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and cheese is melted. (For broiler method, place quesadillas on a baking sheet and broil for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and cheese is melted.)

Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Tips: Filling can be refrigerated up to 2 days ahead. For convenience, use shredded rotisserie chicken.

Fiesta Black Bean, Corn and Pepper Salad
Yield: 18 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced red pepper
1 cup diced zucchini
2 cans reduced sodium black beans (15 ounces each), drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup salsa
1 tablespoon lime juice
1-1/2 tablespoons cilantro, finely minced
3/4 cup queso fresco cheese

Sauté garlic and onion in corn oil over medium heat in a large skillet until slightly softened. Add cumin, chili powder, salt, peppers and zucchini; continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add black beans and corn and continue cooking to heat through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salsa.

Transfer to serving dish; squeeze 2 lime wedges over mixture and stir. Garnish with remaining lime and cilantro. Serve warm or chilled.

Bananas Empanadas
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 empanadas
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 ripe bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) spiced rum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 packages (11.6 ounces each) empanada dough disks
2 tablespoons Mazola® Corn Oil

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bananas, rum and cinnamon. Cook and stir occasionally for 15 minutes.

Separate each empanada disk and place on an oiled baking sheet. To assemble, place some filling mixture on half of the round disk, leaving a small border around the edge. Fold other half of pastry over filling, pressing edges to seal. Lightly brush each empanada with oil.

Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes, until pastry is golden.

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