Veggie Quesadilla

We make tacos a lot in our house.

Usually once a week.

They’re easy. They’re versatile. And they can be made to be relatively healthy if you load ’em up with veggies.

As much as I love tacos, I kind of wanted to do something different.

Since it’s football season, I also wanted to do something that was a little more couch friendly and had a little more of a bar food vibe.

Quesadillas. Bingo.

Cheesy. Handheld. Packed with veggies. Satisfies the need for a healthy dinner that’s also Monday night Football friendly.

You can use a different combination of vegetables. You could also add, say, some shredded rotisserrie chicken or even leftover slices of steak if you wanted to add meat.

Here’s what I used for the filling:

  • Two green bell peppers, julienned
  • Two poblano peppers, julienned
  • One onion, julienned
  • One can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • One can of corn, rinsed and drained
  • White button mushrooms, sliced

You will also need tortillas, taco seasoning and Mexican cheese blend. You can also add fixin’s like sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

You’re going to want to use a fairly large skillet for this.

Start with vegetable oil or avocado oil (I love this Avocado Oil from Thrive Market)

Add your peppers and onion to the pan and saute until soft.

When the peppers and the onion have softened, add the mushrooms.

Mushrooms are super absorbent so you may need to add more oil. Be sure to stir so everythign cooks evenly.

When the mushrooms have browned, toss in the beans and corn and add your favorite taco seasoning. Or add your own blend of seasonings and spices.

Give everything a stir and let it come together for a few minutes.

In the meantime, let’s get the Quesadilla assembly started.

Line a pan with foil. This is going under the broiler, so use a pan that can stand up to the broiler.

Lay down two tortillas and add a hefty layer of cheese.

Spoon on your veggie mixture

And add more cheese

Pop this under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese melts. Do not walk away from the oven. This goes from perfectly melted to burned rather quickly.

Add another tortilla on top and get into fourths. Quesdaillas cut into fourths is a requirement. I don’t even think you can call them quesadillas unless they’re cut into triangles.

Add whatever toppings you like. Guacamole, salsa and sour cream were our toppings of choice.

This amount of mixture ended up making four quesadillas, so for us that translated into two nights of dinners from one pan!

Jalapeno Poppers

 

 

The holidays can be hectic. So many people to see, so many presents to wrap, so many places to go.

But once the holidays are over, there comes that wonderful time when it’s too cold to go out and, besides, why go out when the game’s on?

When it’s football Sunday, you need something cheesy, warm and a little spicy to munch on while your team charges to the end zone.

Jalapeno poppers are a bar food favorite. The breaded and fried crust, the spicy pepper, the cool and creamy cream cheese. It’s the layers and the different notes that make poppers so craveable. Plus, they accompany a beer nicely.

Frying is messy. And it’s not the healthiest preparation. So, we’re going to simplify and healthify these poppers by baking them.

For this dish you will need:

  • Jalapenos, halved and seeded
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temp.
  • A cup of mexican cheese

Start by preheating the oven to 350 and covering a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Half and seed your jalapenos. 

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In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and the cheese.

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Take your mixture

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And, with a tablespoon, fill each jalapeno half

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Until they are all filled and lined up on your cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 20 minutes.

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And there you have a somewhat healthier version of your favorite bar snack for your game day.

Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Today starts the one year countdown to the wedding.

I’m not that anxious to get married. I’m more one of those people that likes to mark things. Birthdays, first kiss, anniversary. These are causes for, as my friend Emily says, overcelebration.

So as we’re hitting the one year til we’re married mark, I’m thinking about where we started.

We actually met in October (part of the reason for the wedding being in October), and at the time neither of us were interested in dating.

I thought he was cute. He thought I was cute. We had some things in common. So we’d meet for drinks. Or we’d get Chipotle and hang out.

One of the first more real dates we went on involved beer and spinach artichoke dip. At that point, he shoulda known I was a keeper. No fancy dinners and wine for me. Nope. No thanks. I’ll take bar food at an Irish pub over cloth napkins and china any day.

So, thinking about that night had me thinking about a special dinner. Nothing fancy, but something that was reminiscent of that night in the bar over two years ago.

And so, spinach artichoke mac and cheese was born.

You will need:

  • Spinach
  • artichoke hearts (canned or jarred or frozen)
  • garlic
  • pasta
  • milk
  • fontina

In a large frying pan, sautee spinach. You can use olive oil. Or, if you are using artichokes packed in oil like I am, you can use the oil the artichokes are in for some extra flavor. Also, boil water and cook pasta (I’m using bow ties but you can use whatever shape you like) according to package directions.

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When the spinach is wilted down, add in the artichoke hearts and two cloves of garlic, minced.

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When the spinach is wilted and the artichokes are warmed, empty the mixture into a buttered baking dish.

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At this time, the pasta should be done. Drain the pasta.

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In the same frying pan you sauteed the spinach and artichokes in, pour in one cup of milk and some cubed fontina cheese.

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Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts.

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Dump the pasta into the cheese mixture and stir.

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Next, add the pasta cheese mix to the spinach and artichokes in the baking dish and stir.

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If you want to, add a sprinkle of parmesan over the top. You can add breadcrumbs too if you like. I just did cheese.

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Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

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Pour some beers and gaze at each other across the table, remembering the butterflies he gave you that night and the butterflies he still gives you tonight.