Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dinner to Go: Quesadillas

In the summer, its a little bit like Union Station in our house around dinner time.  Most evenings, someone is heading to practice or a game or a swim meet or music lessons or a friend's house or somewhere.  Many of our summer dinners are easy to take with us foods, or something that folks can eat whenever it is they are home without any special prep.

On swim meet nights, we need our dinner to fit both these criteria.  We are poolside for about 4 hours in the evening.  The swimmers are in and out of the pool for warm-ups and their events, and I'm trying to time when they eat based on their schedule.  The non-swimmers are lounging about, reading, listening to music, waiting for the 2 minute period that pops up every half hour or so when they have to pay attention to the swimming sibling.  And everybody's hungry.

I have a couple standards for swim nights; quesadillas is one of them.  They are probably the easiest and a great way to use up some leftovers when there's really not enough to make a meal.  Of course, I did not invent the quesadilla, but I'll share this easy method to get dinner in the picnic basket.

Quesadillas served with fried plantains and sour cream. 

Basic Ingredients
Tortillas (I prefer flour, but you can use corn, too) - 2 per quesadilla
Cheese, grated - cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack *you can make it easy and buy the pre-mixed, pre-seasoned packs in the grocery store cheese section

Fillings: this is the fun part - it can be whatever you want.  For meats, make sure they are cooked thoroughly as the few minutes of heating will not cook it properly.  These are just suggestions to get your thoughts going.

Chicken, chopped or cut into slender slices - perfect use for any leftover chicken
Ground beef - if you have tacos or make spaghetti sauce, cook a little extra and save
Ham - chopped or in thin slices
Steak - in thin slices
Fish - tilapia works well
Shrimp - tails, shells off

Veggies & Extras
Fresh spinach - raw works well; don't use frozen
Asparagus spears - cook first
Grilled corn
Tomato salsa
Black beans - cooked
Jalapeno slices

Easy to cook
Fill quesadillas with cheese and your favorite meats & veggies
  • On a flat grill pan, heat tortillas.
  • Sprinkle one tortilla with cheese.  Add any other fillings, generously spreading across tortilla.
  • Top the cheese & fillings with the second tortilla.  Allow cheese to melt a little bit, then flip over.
  • Let cheese melt and tortilla brown slightly.  Remove from pan.
  • Slice into quarters.
  • Wrap stack of quesadillas in foil.

    Quesadilla pizza - cheese & pepperoni
Quesadilla with shrimp
If you like, you can also pack sour cream, guacamole, and salsa to serve on top of the quesadillas, too.


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