Monday, May 26, 2014

Easy Crowd Pleasers, Part I

Summer is fast upon us, and we will need quick and easy things to eat, especially things that don't heat up the house.

First up--Quesadillas!

Growing up in Texas, my sons learned "Quesadilla" before "grilled cheese sandwich"--to the point of asking for "a quesadilla on bread." 

We've branched out some since the toddler days--here are the three fillings I made today.

Goat Cheese and Black Bean (Ridiculously Easy)

Small (4 oz.) log chevre 
1 can (15 oz.) refried black beans (if you're hoping for a vegetarian filling, read the label carefully- many varieties contain lard.)
3-5 Tbs. salsa of choice (I use a salsa verde)

Let the chevre come to room temperature and combine with salsa to get a smooth texture.  Mix in the refried beans. (Note: Black beans aren't REALLY black, and when you mix this up, the mixture might be purple. Awesome.)

2 T. cooking oil or butter
1/2 c. onion, diced

1 lb. mushrooms of choice, thinly sliced2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle pepper, diced (or, easier--several shots of chipotle Tabasco or Cholula)
salt and pepper to taste
handful chopped cilantro

Start the oil or butter in a medium pan and get the onion sauteing.  After a minute, add the mushrooms, chipotle, garlic, salt, and pepper.  You'll want to cook these, stirring every few minutes, until the mushrooms have softened and most of the liquid has cooked out.  Stir in the cilantro.

Spinach-Artichoke w/ Chilies
2 T. cooking oil or butter
1/2 c. onion, thinly sliced (or green onion)

3-4 artichoke hearts, diced2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. diced green chilies (from a can, unless you feel like going to more trouble)
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and chopped, or 1/2 of a pack of frozen chopped spinach
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. cream cheese (light is fine)

Start the oil or butter in a medium pan and get the onion sauteing.  After a minute, add the artichoke hearts, green chilies, garlic, salt, and pepper.  When the onion is translucent, add the spinach and cook until most of the liquid is gone.  Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese.

Quesadilla Assembly--
Cheese (queso quesadilla or Monterrey jack or pepper jack) and filling (NOT TOO MUCH!) on tortillas, and toast on the grill, griddle, or in a hot frying pan, until tortillas is browned and cheese is melted. If you want to cut the quesadilla into wedges, a good serrated knife or pizza cutter comes in handy.

When using a variety of fillings, I often use different tortillas, especially when I'm taking these to a party. Today was corn tortillas with the mushroom, whole wheat with the cheese/beans, and flour tortillas with the spinach.


  1. Refried beans out of the can work great if you have a less-adventuresome eater. Quesidillas have fallen out of our rotation - thanks for the reminder! Looking forward to trying these.

  2. Yep! We also sometimes just do a can of black beans (unmashed), with a little lime and salsa.