The MOM 100 Blog

Quesadillas 101

by Katie Workman  •  January 19, 2013 Serves 1 (easily multipliable)
Quesadilla with cheddar, sauteed leeks, roasted broccoli and sour cream

Quesadilla with cheddar, sauteed leeks, roasted broccoli and sour cream

Even really finicky kids seem to love quesadillas. It’s just hard not to like melted cheese between two carbs. There are a few ways to go about this, and they are all good.  The language here refers to one quesadilla but I am quite sure you will be making more than one.  Serve them with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and/or cilantro, if desired.  Or if you’re getting frisky with the fillings, maybe you’ll investigate some other condiments, like horseradish sauce or hoisin sauce.  If ou have vegetarians at the table, this is a great option, and you can make some veggie, some meaty, everyone’s happy.

For each quesadilla

2 medium-size (8-inch) flour tortillas

1/3 cup or more (1 ounce) shredded or crumbled cheese (see Cheese Choices)

For filling ideas, see the Fork in the Road box

If you’re using the broiler

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Place a tortilla under the broiler, right on the rack, and keep checking it until it turns golden brown on top, 2 to 3 minutes. A dark brown bubble here or there is fine. Remove the tortilla and place it uncooked side up on a work surface. Evenly sprinkle the cheese over the tortilla.
  3. You can either continue with Step 4 or top the cheese, if desired, with whatever filling you like, either alone or in combination.
  4. Place an uncooked tortilla on top of the filling. Carefully transfer the tortilla to a baking sheet and place it under the broiler. Broil the quesadilla until the cheese is melted and the top tortilla is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let the quesadilla sit for a minute before you slice it into 6 wedges.

If you’re using a grill

  1. Preheat the grill to medium.
  2. Place a tortilla on the grill, right on the grill grate, and watch it carefully until it turns golden brown on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes. A dark brown bubble here or there is fine. Remove the tortilla and set it aside. Place an uncooked tortilla on a flat surface. Evenly sprinkle the cheese over the tortilla.
  3. You can either continue with Step 4 or top the cheese with whatever filling or fillings you like.
  4. Place the cooked tortilla on top of the filling, uncooked side down. Carefully transfer the tortilla back to the grill and grill the quesadilla until the cheese is melted and the bottom tortilla is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the quesadilla sit for a minute before you slice each into 6 wedges.

If you’re using a pan

I have fallen in love with all over again with my cast iron pan  — which I loved anyway — for tit’s brilliance in making quesadillas.  It’s intrinsically non-stick, which means very little oil is needed (maybe none if you’re that disciplined).   You get a beautiful crust on the outside, especially if you use the sheerest glaze of oil in the pan.  For this version you can just use one tortilla and fold it in half in the pan, or use two full tortillas and make a whole one.  Grilling and broiling are also great methods, especially if you are making a whole batch of quesadillas.

  1. Heat the a pan with a teaspoon of oil if desire over medium high heat.
  2. Place a quesadilla in the pan and and watch it carefully until it turns golden brown on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes. A dark brown bubble here or there is fine. Remove the tortilla and set it aside. Place an uncooked tortilla in the pan.  Evenly sprinkle the cheese over the tortilla.
  3. You can either continue with Step 4 or top the cheese with whatever filling or fillings you like.
  4. Place the cooked tortilla on top of the filling, uncooked side down. Cook the quesadilla until the cheese is melted and the bottom tortilla is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the quesadilla sit for a minute before you slice each into 6 wedges.

 

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Fork In the Road

This a perfect fork in the road dish because your kids can opt for the simplest of quesadillas while you go to town and create your own black bean/scallion/chopped fresh cilantro/ asparagus/hearts of palm/feta cheese work of art.

The list of options is but a start.You’ll want between 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 cup total of the filling ingredients per quesadilla; use one or any combination of the following:
Chopped olives
Chopped cooked broccoli or asparagus
Thinly sliced zucchini or yellow squash
Rinsed and drained canned beans, such as black beans or kidney beans, lightly mashed if desired
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped artichoke hearts
Cooked chopped or sliced onions
Sliced roasted or sautéed bell peppers
Thinly sliced scallions
Shredded cooked chicken or beef
Crumbled bacon
Thinly slivered ham
Coarsely chopped cooked shrimp

What the Kids Can Do

If you give each kid the first tortilla on a plate, with the fillings laid out for them to choose from, they can create their own quesadilla masterpiece, then you can finish it off under the broiler or on the grill. Remember, if you are grilling the quesadillas, you’ll give your kid an uncooked tortilla to top, since it will go directly on the grill. If you are using the broiler, give your kid an already broiled tortilla, cooked side down to top, since it will go under the boiler with an uncooked tortilla on top.

Cheese Choices

Cheddar (mild or sharp), mozzarella, feta, blue cheese, provolone, Gouda, Fontina, Monterey Jack (regular or spicy), muenster, brie, anything you have laying around. Try some combos as well, and if you are using a strong flavored cheese you may want to blend in a little cream cheese or mozzarella or a milder cheese to temper the flavor.

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