Thursday, February 18, 2010

Super Easy Quesadillas

Sometimes combining a few simple ingredients can produce a very satisfying meal. I have to remind myself that not everything has to be a elaborate combination of ingredients to be something filling and nutritious that my family will want to eat.

My kids really like the Handmade Whole Wheat Tortillas available at Trader Joe's, so a while back I started making simple quesadillas using refried beans and shredded cheese. It is a nutritious, quick lunch for them!

I used to make quesadillas the inefficient way. I would open a can of refried beans, spread some on the tortillas, shred a little cheese, add it on top, and bake however many we needed for lunch. Then I would put the rest of the beans in the fridge where they would go bad after a few days.

I finally figured out one day that I should just keep making the quesadillas until I run out of ingredients, and freeze the extras. I don't know why it took me so long (years!) to figure this out. Now I just keep making quesadillas until I run out of the refried beans and instead of making them once a week or so, I can go several weeks serving them occasionally for lunch using the stash that I have in the freezer.

What you need:
  • Tortillas (we like the Handmade Whole Wheat Tortillas from Trader Joe's)
  • Refried Beans (we are addicted to Bearitos Organic Low-Fat Vegetarian Refried Beans... they are wonderful!)
  • Pinto Beans (optional to make a larger, beanier batch)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (to taste)

If you are using pinto beans, mix them together with the refried beans in a small mixing bowl. Using a butter knife, spread the bean mixture on half a tortilla in a thick layer (to taste). Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Fold the empty half of the tortilla over the toppings and press together.

At this point you can freeze the tortillas for a future meal. I recommend stacking them with slips of wax paper in between so that they don't get stuck together while frozen.

Some people heat quesadillas the official way in a pan on the stovetop. This is a very hands-on method. I prefer to bake them on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees. I think they take about 7-10 minutes if they start out frozen. (I don't keep track. I put them in and forget about then while cutting up fruit, etc. and then I start to smell them and remember to pull them out.) Just one heats beautifully in the toaster oven.

I slice them into triangles with a pizza cutter and serve them with fresh fruit and veggies for kids; we add sour cream and salsa for adults. They are a great finger food for parties and everyone enjoys them. It's a convenient way for my kids to ingest beans without really being aware of it, and it is great to have them on hand for a quick hot lunch rather than letting half a can of refried beans go bad in the fridge.

I've linked this post to Life as Mom's Ultimate Recipe Swap, where you can check out some additional simple lunch ideas.

Simple can be delicious!

1 comment:

Keli said...

great idea! i'm going to start freezing them too!