Taco night is popular in our family, but sometimes the clean up is daunting once you set out all the fixings. On busy weeknights, quesadillas are more my speed. The kids love it just as much, maybe even more, because they really feel like their helping mommy cook. My older daughter helps shred the cheese using a box-style grater—a very grown-up feeling task for a 7 year old. Her little sister sprinkles the cheese on top of the tortillas. I set out the remaining ingredients and let the kids assemble their own quesadillas.
Another time saver is our counter top griddle and panini-press. It’s wipes clean, meaning less dishes. I also have a strategy, and cook the kids’ quesadillas first so they have time to cool while my husband’s and mine cook. This way the kids’ dinner has a chance to cool slightly so they can dig in and not burn themselves on hot melted cheese. An easy-to-make dinner everyone enjoys and minimal clean up—now that’s a truly stress-free weekday meal.
4 burrito-size tortillas
8 ounces shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Refried beans (see recipe below)
Shredded rotisserie chicken
- Preheat your Cuisinart Griddler or a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
- Lay each tortilla out flat and let kids help evenly sprinkle with cheese over half of each one. Each family member can add fillings of your liking on top of the cheese—be careful not to overstuff them. Fold each tortilla into a half-moon shape. Place the quesadillas onto the heated press or skillet (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your grill or pan). Cook quesadillas until the underside is golden and cheese is starting to melt. Flip, cook on other side until golden. Remove from pan, cut kids’ quesadillas into triangles, and serve immediately.
I normally rinse canned beans to reduce the sodium, but the liquid they sit in is key to making them refried in this recipe. The bacon adds a delicious smoky hint but you can leave it out to make a vegetarian version if you like.
1-15 ounce can pinto beans
4 slices thick-cut, good quality bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil, as needed
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Pour the beans with their liquid into the workbowl of the food processor. Process until almost smooth, leaving a few chunky pieces; set aside.
- Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium flame. Add bacon and sauté until it starts to brown. Add onion and garlic and sauté until bacon becomes crisp and onions and garlic turn golden (you can add a little olive oil if there is not enough fat from the bacon).
- Add the pureed beans to the skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover, or transfer to a covered casserole dish until ready to serve.
Paired these quesadillas with re-fried beans and Spanish rice topped off with sour cream, salsa and fresh guacamole for a wonderful Sunday evening Supper. - Shepherd's Pie