Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Stuffed Quesadilla




One of the current fads is #cook90...  basically it's a program to cook 90 meals in a month (breakfast, lunch, dinner), combined with a relentless stream of pictures posted on social media tagged #cook90.  Most people choose to do it in a month with 31 days, so there are a few passes.  I kind of snicker at this, because I guess that I typically "cook" over 80 meals a month.  The idea is mostly centered on not eating out, and the rules are pretty loose on what constitutes cooking (assembling a group of things counts, like yogurt, fruit and granola).

So while I snicker, there is a real challenge in finding a good combination of interesting, tasty, good-for-you food on the table day after day, and minimizing how  much time you spend in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Because even if you enjoy cooking, there are days you just don't have the time or enthusiasm to do it.  For those days, you need to have a few go-to's that are quick and tasty. Leftovers can fit that bill, but that gets old.  And a lot of times, I have bits of things, not enough to make a full meal. And sometimes you need to be able to put something together from pantry staples. Quesadillas fit either of these scenarios.

And when you stuff quesos with more than just cheese it makes a hearty healthy-ish meal.

I typically start with some kind of extra protein -- most often, black beans (from a can - drained and rinsed) but sometimes leftover meat, then add some vegetable (pretty much any leftover cooked vegetable, roasted anything is especially good), or maybe raw green onions or red bell peppers (thinly sliced). Sun dried tomatoes add a nice pop.  I usually use sharp cheddar cheese, but sometimes use a mix of small bits of cheese that need to be used up, or will add some goat cheese.  And I like a little spice -- usually just some red pepper flakes, but roasted chilis are traditional (for good reason), or diced raw jalapenos.  I tend to avoid canned green chilis as they just seem too wet.

These go together quick, so it's best to get everything assembled before you start cooking. You can use any size tortilla, just accommodate the volume of toppings to tortilla size. I have never tried the "alternative" tortillas (like the colored wraps, or low fat, or whole wheat..), so I don't know how they work. For a large tortilla, I use a "big handful" of cheese (about 2 ounces), a small handful of meat or beans, and a handful of veggies.




I put a little oil (any kind) in a skillet large enough to accommodate the flat tortilla and turn the heat on medium high.  You want just a very thin layer of oil.









When the skillet is warm (don't need to wait until its hot), put in the tortilla and quickly turn with your hand to evenly spread the oil.  Then start building:  spread the cheese over the entire tortilla.  Add the meat or beans on one size.  Add the veggies to the other side.  Add any other add-ins, like sun-dried tomatoes or chili's to which ever side is less full.  Add goat cheese (or even something like a bit of blue cheese) if that is what you want.  Wait for the cheddar cheese to melt.   Here are a couple of examples of what the assembled queso's look like:

Black bean, goat cheese, sun dried tom, green onion 

        Lamb, roasted veggies, sun dried tomatoes


When the cheese is melted, check underneath to see if the tortilla is browning.  When it looks like this, fold in half.

It's usually best to fold the veggie side onto the bean or meat side.  Press the folded queso with your spatula, and brown a bit more on each side.   When nicely golden brown, remove to a cutting board and slice into wedges.  Serve with garnish of choice -- avocado, salsa, a sprinkle of herbs, or maybe a salad.    If you go on to make a second queso, note that it will cook much faster -- be ready to turn down the heat.   I usually add a tiny bit more oil, and don't twirl the tortilla in the pan (or be really quick, as it's really hot fast).  

 Enjoy! 

No comments:

Post a Comment