Quick Quesadilla

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It’s very hot.  And we’re moving so very soon.  The last thing we want to do is cook up elaborate suppers for ourselves.  But the blog must go on, right?  So congratulations, today you’re getting a quesadilla.

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I didn’t eat my first quesadilla until I was in my mid-twenties, but I understand that they’re staple fare for the teenaged set.  Or at least, that was pretty much all Mags could cook for herself when I met her at fourteen.  In any case, if you’ve got the munchies, this one is for you.  It makes two hot and crispy quesadillas.

First, we sautéed a handful of mushrooms, about a dozen.

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Then thinly sliced up half a white onion.

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Then sautéed those up as well.

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I was going for caramelized onions, but then I forgot about them and so they were slightly charred instead.  Oh well.

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I also whipped up some guacamole with avocadoes, lime juice, salt, pepper, and some tomatoes.  Grate about 1 cup cheddar cheese while you’re at it.

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When you’re ready to cook, plop a dollop of olive oil or butter into a pan on medium high heat.

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Lay on top of that one large tortilla.  Allow that to heat until you can see bubbles of air forming between the tortilla and the surface of the pan.

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Lay on half of your mushrooms and onions.

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Sprinkle with half the cheese.

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Plop the other tortilla on top and let that sit for a minute so the cheese starts to melt and stick everything together.

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Then, very carefully, with the largest spatula you have (or two), flip the whole thing over.

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Allow the quesadilla to cook on this side for about two minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn, then slide it onto a plate.  Use a knife to cut the quesadilla into wedges. Make the other quesadilla up while you wait for the cheese on the one you just cooked to become less molten.

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Serve with sour cream and quacamole.

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Ooey gooey goodness!

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Life-Changing Burritos

Life-Changing Burritos

I know.  We just had a burrito post recently.  But when we were in Portland, and I was busy doing wedding related things with Doodle and the other bridesmaids, the Pie was often left to his own devices.  Luckily, Portland is a very walkable city, and there was a good Street Fighter tournament on the web for him to watch when he got bored with walking about.  One afternoon, he happened upon a place called the Burrito Bar.  The burrito he had there, according to him, changed his life forever.  So last week, he recreated what he had eaten there and I got to enjoy it as well. Plus, we had to do something about our raging onion population.

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First, he started by making up a batch of his famous Mexican rice.

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While he was doing that he gently poached 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

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Then he put me to work as his sous-chef.  I had to make the “salad” component.  First, I opened up an avocado.

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Then I cubed it.

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Then I found a tomato.

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And cubed that as well.

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Chopped up a handful of cilantro and added that in, as well as some salt and pepper and lime juice.

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Toss that and set it aside.

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Open up a can of black beans and drain and rinse them well.

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Then he had me finely chop a jalapeno pepper, to go in his cheese sauce.

Life-Changing Burritos

Life-Changing Burritos

The cheese sauce is made by melting a tablespoon butter with a tablespoon flour to form a paste, then adding a half cup of milk.  When that is well-mixed you can add your grated cheese, about 1 1/2 cups.  The Pie used a mixture of old cheddar and spicy Monterey jack.

Life-Changing Burritos

Once the cheese was melted he dropped in the jalapenos and let that sit for a bit.

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At this point the chicken was ready to be shredded. Just pull it apart with some forks. It’s pretty fun.

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We added a few tablespoons salsa to the chicken.

Life-Changing Burritos

So now we are ready to make these burritos, baby.  We have Mexican rice, salad, salsa-y chicken, black beans, cheese sauce, and some sour cream as well.

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You’re going to need the biggest flour tortillas you can find.  These ones are ten inches, though the Pie says the one he had in Portland was THIRTEEN inches.  Set your tortillas on a sheet of aluminum foil.

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Start piling on your ingredients in the centre of your tortilla.  Be generous.

Life-Changing Burritos

To properly fold a burrito, we looked to the internet.  If you’re not sure, try YouTube.

Life-Changing Burritos

Take the opposite side of your tortilla and bring it towards you, so the ingredients get all jumbled together and pushed to one side. This also leaves a bit of food sauce on the empty side of the tortilla, which provides a bit of friction to keep things stuck together.

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Unfold the tortilla and lift up the sides, to sort of hold everything in. Take the side of the tortilla closest to you, with all the ingredients, and flip it up and over on itself.

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Then, tucking in the top of the tortilla, start rolling towards the end.  Try to get it as tight as possible.

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Make sure your ends are tucked in and slide the rolled tortilla to one side of your aluminum foil.

Life-Changing Burritos

Tightly roll the burrito up in the foil, and twist off the ends when you are finished, to hold everything together.  That is your burrito, all wrapped up.  We had enough ingredients to make seven of these puppies, and we tossed a few in the fridge for a later meal, and a few in the oven for about ten minutes to heat up a bit.

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To eat, just peel off some of the foil and you are all set. Take a bite.

Life-Changing Burritos

This is one of the burritos the next day, cut in half.  Look at that lovely combination of ingredients!

Life-Changing Burritos

Summer Soft Tacos

While it’s in our immediate plans to learn how to make our own tortillas, we haven’t gotten there yet.  So for now we’re using store-bought corn tortillas and that’s working out just great.

Tacos and wraps are great because you can get creative with what you use.  You can use poultry, beef, pork, soy … whatever you want.  You can even use leftovers, add new spices, and come up with whole new dishes.  Plus they’re easy for when you don’t have a lot of spare time at night.  And kids like making their own.  So it’s a win-win situation for all.

This super-easy recipe takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and by my measurements, feeds 3 people and uses 10 small corn flour tortillas.  You can of course up the recipe for more.

Start by finely chopping up 1 red onion.

Put half that onion in a good-sized bowl and the other half elsewhere.

Then finely chop up 2 tomatoes and add them to the onion.

Ditto 4 leaves lettuce (Romaine).

And an avocado.

And a bunch of cilantro.

Toss.

Liberally season with salt and pepper and lime juice.  Set that aside to get all percolated with cilantro and lime goodness.

In a tiny bowl, mix 2 tablespoons chili powder with 1 tablespoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon corn starch.

In a medium saucepan, sauté up that other half onion with a clove or two of minced garlic (about 2 teaspoons).

Add in about 1 pound (450g) lean ground beef and stir until browned.  Add in the spice mix and cook for a few minutes longer, until thick and saucy.

Grate up some cheddar cheese and have some sour cream handy as you artfully arrange all your foodie bits around you.

Now take a tortilla and smooth on some sour cream.  Then sprinkle some of your tex-mex meat.

Scoop on some salad and a dropping of cheese.

Roll from one end to the other.

Like rolling a dead person up in a rug.  Or a burrito.  And eat that sucker.  Mmmm.

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Happy Birthday in advance to Kristopf — this one is for you!

The Pie and I had Rene over at I Love Leftovers in mind when we thought this up.  I’ve been fighting off some form of the plague for the past couple of weeks and we’ve been getting pretty lazy when it comes to our meals.  We were also trying to clear out our fridge in preparation for the influx of our houseguests, so we were combining a lot of our leftovers and running out of ideas.

On this particular night, the Pie was inspired, however.  We had some leftover poached, shredded chicken and tortillas from some wraps we’d made the day before.

We also had some roasted sweet potato left from the day before that.  Add those together, plus cheese, and you have quesadillas!

So first, the Pie grated up a whole whack of cheese.  Gren decided he needed to help.  He’s a very helpful puppy.  And if a little cheese falls on the floor, he’s right there to clean it up.  Very helpful indeed.

Plop the leftover chicken (probably about a cup and a half) in a bowl.  It has already been seasoned with a Tex-Mex dried spice mix, but we thought we would add some more flavour.

My parents went to Avery Island, Louisiana, to visit the Tabasco factory (let’s not even begin to talk about how weird that is).  So for Christmas last year we all got lots of Tabasco-related gifts.  We even have Tabasco ice cream mix, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.  Anyway, the Pie and I got these wee bottles of flavoured Tabasco in our stockings, and we thought we would try the chipotle one.  Ask the Pie to say “chipotle.”  He can’t do it.

To give you an idea of the scale of the bottle, we wanted to place it next to Gren.

Actually, we had to try several times to get the shot.

He kept knocking the bottle over with his nose.  On purpose.

Finally.  Though I’m sure you’ve already figured out how small the bottle is.

So we emptied that sucker all over the chicken.

Then we added the cheese (about a cup and a half).

Then the roasted sweet potato (probably about one sweet-potato’s worth).  Mix that up.

Lightly brush the bottom of a flour tortilla with olive oil (for browning) and plop it in a hot skillet.

Plop half the chicken mixture on top. 

Add another oiled tortilla on top of that and carefully flip the whole thing once the cheese is partially melted.

When the cheese is fully melted, remove from the heat and slice it up like a pizza.  Then do the same thing all over again.  Makes two.  Serve them with sour cream and/or guacamole.  Mmm, lazy dinners …