Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Quesadillas - The most delicious way to clean out your refrigerator!

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Today I am going to share one of my all-time favorite quick meals...the quesadilla! It's nothing fancy, I admit. Basically, it's a Mexican-style grilled cheese, but you can change it up and make it into so many different meals. I eat quesadillas least once a week, I'd say. They are so simple to make and the results never disappoint. They are also super kid-friendly, and both of my children love them! Here's how to do it in case you haven't made them yourself. Once you see how easy it is I'm sure this will be a go-to meal for you as well! 

All you need to make quesadillas are tortillas and cheese. Anything you add to the filling beyond that just makes them yummier. I use soft-taco sized tortillas to make quesadillas, and I usually make myself two of them. This is because I almost always have this size on hand and they fit nicely into a 10-inch skillet of which I have two. I have been known to use the smaller fajita-sized tortillas if I am out of the larger ones. The small size is what I use to make quesadillas for my children. My toddler boy can eat an entire one, and my baby girl eats half one day and the other half the next day. I usually use colby-jack cheese because I really like it on quesadillas, but any cheese that melts nicely will work. 

On this particular day I had half of a chicken andouille sausage from Trader Joe's leftover in my refrigerator, so I knew a quesadilla would be a good way to use it if I could find some other ingredients to stretch it out a bit. I chose some baby spinach leaves and some chopped up roasted red peppers since I had these in my refrigerator. Whatever you put in your quesadilla filling needs to be already cooked since it will only be in the skillet long enough to melt the cheese and get your tortilla crispy. It is a great way to use up leftovers. I have put leftover roasted kielbasa and potatoes, leftover chicken fajitas, and many others into quesadillas with delicious results! Another of my favorite fillings is refried beans! 

I have found that quesadillas stay together a little better if the filling is chopped up into small-ish pieces. So go ahead and get that ready. And if you don't have already shredded cheese, go ahead and shred some. I think freshly shredded cheese melts much better, so I always buy blocks of cheese and shred them myself. Once you have everything all prepped and ready, you're ready to make your quesadillas! 

Start with a skillet over medium to medium high heat. Then I add about a 1/2 Tablespoon of coconut oil or butter to the pan. When it melts completely and your pan is nice and hot, place your tortilla flat in the pan. Make sure the oil or butter is coating the entire bottom of your skillet before you add in the tortilla. Then put a thin layer of cheese on the bottom half of the tortilla. The cheese works as glue to hold the sides of the tortilla together around your filling, so you need a little cheese on the bottom and some on the top as well. Put as much or as little cheese as you like, but too much will just start oozing out of the tortilla while you are cooking, so that may or may not be a problem for you. After you have a thin layer of cheese, top it with your topping or toppings. Then top it with another layer of cheese and fold your tortilla over the top to make a semicircle. (**Note if you are using something that is pureed in your quesadilla, such as refried beans or applesauce, you do not need the bottom layer of cheese. Simply spread your puree on half of the tortilla, place it in the skillet and top with cheese. The puree will act as the "glue" for the bottom half of the quesadilla.) 

Once your quesadilla is sufficiently browned on the bottom, flip it over. 

When the other side is browned it is done. Remove to a plate and repeat with a second tortilla. Let them cool for a few minutes then cut into wedges. 

Then enjoy! You can eat them plain or dunk into salsa or taco sauce. I'm not much of a sour cream fan, but my husband likes sour cream on his. These were so yummy I ate them just like this! 

They also make a nice meal for kids. My son likes his only with cheese, so I serve a veggie on the side for him. 

This is a plain cheese quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla with a side of kale chips (or "green chips" as he calls them). And yes, my toddler loves kale chips...but more on that later! Another way I like to serve this is with a side of black beans and some diced avocado. 

We recently learned that baby girl loves quesadillas as well. I made hers with colby jack cheese and applesauce, and she really enjoyed them! I think it would also work well with mashed sweet potatoes or pureed pumpkin. Yum! 

Want more kid-friendly meal ideas? Check out my Pinterest board! 

Follow Kara O'Neil's board Toddler and Kid-friendly Food on Pinterest.


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