Meat Free Monday – Quick Quesadillas

Quesadillas, or Mexican grilled cheese sandwiches, are a quick and easy choice for when you don’t have a lot of time to make dinner.

At our house, we almost always have a jar of salsa and some fat-free sour cream sitting in our fridge. And I’ve already written about our passion for guacamole.

Mango, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Mango, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

With these three garnishes ready to go, nothing could be simpler than filling a few tortillas with some shredded cheese and whatever your have lying around — leftover chicken, or a couple of shrimp, or just cheese alone.

I love to fill them with fruit, especially mangoes, which happen to be really cheap this time of year.

A mango has a disc-shaped seed running through the center of it lengthwise. To remove it, simply use a paring knife to cut along either side of it. Then take the halves and make cross-hatch cuts, then invert it. From there it’s easy to cut off the diced mango peices.

Add a bowl of tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself a fun and inexpensive Mexican appetizer or dinner!

Quesadillas have been on a lot of menus at restaurants where I’ve worked because people love them and they are very inexpensive and efficient to make.

At home, quesadillas are something we probably have about two or three times per month, so we usually have a package of whole wheat tortillas and some sort of cheese, almost any kind will do, really.

In the past, we’ve used the pre-shredded Mexican cheese from the grocery store because it’s so convenient, but I began shredding my own after I learned those pre- shredded cheeses are sometimes sprayed with chemicals to prevent them from getting dusty. Also, they are more expensive.

Instead, I’ve been picking up a nice piece of Chihuahua cheese from the Hispanic grocery store, or something called “quesadilla cheese,” which is a soft, shreddable cheese that is less expensive, but not as flavorful.

Or I will use cheddar, monterey jack, gouda, mozzarella or combination of whatever cheese I have that I can shred. Whatever will melt nicely will work just fine. Stay away from blue cheese or paremesan, though. Their flavor will overpower the dish.

I usually spray my quesadillas with pay spray and just bake them in the oven, for convenience sake, but in restaurants I will cook them on the flat top griddle because it is faster and they get a nice, brown crispy crust.

If I’m just cooking for myself, I will use my cast iron skillet.

Serve them with little bowls of salsa, sour cream, guacamole, shredded lettuce and some tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself a party!

Mango, Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

6 whole wheat tortillas

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can cut corn, drained and rinsed (or even better, cut kernels from one leftover grilled corn on the cob)

1 mango, diced

2 cups shredded Chihuahua cheese

1 TBS cumin

1/2 TBS chili powder

Pan spray

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray sheet pan with pan spray and lay out three tortillas. Distribute half the cheese evenly among the three, then the beans, mangoes, corn, then the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with the cumin and chili powder, then cover with the remaining tortillas and spray generously with pan spray. Bake about 20 minutes or until tortillas are crisp. Remove from oven and cut into four slices each. Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, shredded lettuce and tortilla chips.

If you have any cilantro, it’s also nice to use.

Do you have any fast and easy favorites? Why not share them in the comments section below? And thanks for looking at my blog!

5 thoughts on “Meat Free Monday – Quick Quesadillas

  1. I shred my own cheese and it tastes so much better to me. Kind of like full sized carrots taste better than the little ones to me.

  2. Hummus is quick if you have a well stocked pantry! I like whipping it up, and having it with pita, left over chicken, and a quick greek salad 🙂

    • I love to make hummus — plain, kalamata or roasted red pepper are our faves. To me, the tricky part is keeping just the right amount of whole wheat pita around. Too much and it goes stale, and I don’t think it freezes well.

      My wife likes it with baby carrots. I haven’t tried it with leftover chicken, but that sounds good. And Greek salad is my favorite!

  3. Pingback: Meat Free Mondays — Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas | Budget Cooking Blog

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