Friday, February 15, 2008

Veggie Quesadillas

I must say that I am a sucker for mexican food. Ask me what I want to eat on any given day at any given time (including breakfast) and my answer will almost always be mexican food. After spending the summer as an exchange student in Mexico back in my college days, I fell in love with the food and the culture. I am lucky to be able to say that there are several authenitc restaurants in my area where I can get my fix, but I also love the tex-mex food. One of my favorite easy lunch or weeknight meals is to make a big batch of quesadillas and a big pot of pinto or black beans. Being a vegetarian, all things must be stuffed with vegetables and what's better than veggies smotherd in cheese and served in a crispy-soft flour tortilla?! Let me tell you, not much can beat it.
Veggie Quesadillas (for one)
cooking spray
1/2 of a small zucchini, julienned
2 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot julienned (you can also buy the pre shredded carrots at the supermarket)
Salt and pepper
1 flour tortilla
1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese blend

Heat a skillet over meduim heat. When hot, spray with cooking spray and add the zucchini, mushrooms and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the carrots are crisp tender and the zucchini and mushrooms are soft. Remove the veggies to another bowl and wipe the skillet clean.
Return to heat and add more cooking spray, add the torilla. Sprinkle cheese on one half reserving a little of it to top the veggies with. Add the veggies and then the reserved cheese and fold over. Cook over meduim-low heat until lightly browned on first side. Spray top half of tortilla with cooking spray and carefull turn over. Lightly brown the second half.
Serve quesadilla with smashed black beans, sour cream and salsa.

I love making big pots of beans, but there are many days where I am out of time or just forget to soak and prepare the beans. I always have a good stock of beans in my pantry and
love that I can throw together a quick side with them that tastes delicious and is healthy.
Smashed Black Beans
(the quick and easy way)

1 tsp oil
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained of 1/3 of the liquid
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat, add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and saute for one more minute. pour in the black beans with their liquid, the cumin, chili powder and the salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Using a potatoe masher mash the beans to desired consistance. Allow to come to a simmer and thicken slightlty.

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