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
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