What’s not to love about a perfectly crisp, cheese-filled quesadilla? The first time my sister Jenny made me a quesadilla, I sighed with the first bite and knew that my quesadilla making world had been changed. I’ll owe her forever for teaching me how to make this cheesy perfection.
For so many years, I’d been toasting my dry tortillas happily, allowing the cheese to form melted deliciousness between the layers.
Don’t get me wrong, quesadillas are good that way, really good. However, a tortilla rubbed with just a tiny bit of butter? It’s a whole different ball game. The edges and outside of the quesadilla are still crispy, and that hint of butter is just perfect.
I’ve been known to ask Jenny to make me a quesadilla for dinner more than a few times when visiting her. Made simply with cheese or filled with all sorts of additional deliciousness, this is my kind of meal.
I shared many of these quesadilla making tips in my first cookbook, The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook. Quesadillas are everything I love in a last-minute lunch or dinner. Heck, they make an amazing breakfast too – these Denver Omelet Breakfast Quesadillas sound fantastic.
There’s something awesome about a meal that you can pull together with just cheese, tortillas, and a handful of random leftovers or other ingredients from the refrigerator.
I adore quesadillas for their ability to transform leftovers into something that I crave. While my youngest prefers his made simply with cheese, the rest of us choose our favorite fillings and fill them however we like best.
Chop the fillings small and have fun with your favorite combinations. I’ve been known to stash leftover Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas or Best Ever Taco Meat in the back of the refrigerator, just to make a quesadilla for my lunch the following day.
HOW TO MAKE QUESADILLAS
Making the quesadillas with a single folded tortilla is much easier than with two stacked tortillas. Place the buttered tortilla butter side down in the pan, top one half of the tortilla with cheese, and fold it over on itself.
When it’s time to flip it, slide your spatula under the open side and flip the quesadilla so that the crease stays against the pan, preventing any foods from spilling out.
When making quesadillas for a crowd, I recommend using an electric griddle. Set the griddle to medium high heat and grease the griddle with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place 3-4 tortillas on the griddle (leaving half of each tortilla off the side).
Fill the side of the tortilla that is on the griddle, fold, and follow the above directions for cooking. You should be able to cook 3-4 quesadillas at a time and it will streamline the process.
NATIONAL DAIRY MONTH
June is National Dairy Month which makes it a great time to celebrate America’s dairy farmers. Last year, I was fortunate to visit two dairy farms and meet the farmers themselves.
Milk makes it from Ohio and West Virginia dairy farms to your fridge in just 48 hours, making it a fresh source of high-quality protein. Check out Drink-Milk.com and follow milk’s amazing journey from the cow to your glass! One serving of milk, cheese or yogurt provides 8 grams of high-quality protein and a powerful package of 9 essential nutrients. Most experts recommend 3 servings of dairy every day.
My boys easily drink at least a gallon of milk every day. (There’s nothing quite like the looks I get when I pick up 4-6 gallons of milk at a time when grocery shopping.) I’m a wee bit envious of my grandparents and the rural milk delivery that was an option in their time. Though truth be told, it’s unlikely I’d be willing to trade my internet and cell phone for that milk delivery convenience.
Frank Burkett is a 5th generation dairy farmer in Canal Fulton, just about an hour outside of Cleveland. He works alongside his three uncles and several cousins at Clardale Farms, which is named for their grandparents, Dale and Clara Rohr. Together the family cares for 690 dairy cows and farms 900 acres of cropland.
Brothers Bill and Tom Indoe are dairy farmers from Medina County, Ohio. The brothers milk about 75 cows and have been farming for nearly five generations. Go inside the milking parlor with Bill Indoe to see how cows are milked.
In Ohio and West Virginia, dairy farm families raise more than 260,000 dairy cows on about 2,000 dairy farms. In an average year, Ohio and West Virginia dairy cows produce approximately 5.5 billion pounds, or about 640 million gallons, of milk.
Milk travels from the farm to the grocery store in as little as 48 hours (sometimes it could be more, but generally it is within two days), making it a fresh source of high-quality protein. Most Americans live about 100 miles from a dairy farm, and, on average, milk travels less than 300 miles to get from the dairy farm to your local grocery store. So, milk really is very fresh and local.
- Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Lightly butter a single side of one tortilla with about ½ a teaspoon of butter and place it in the hot pan.
- Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cheese, ¼ cup of your favorite filling, and an additional 2-3 tablespoons of cheese on just one half of the open tortilla. Fold the tortilla over on itself and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
- When the cheese has begun to melt and the bottom tortilla is browning slightly, flip the folded quesadilla over to cook the other side. Continue to cook until all the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crisp around the edges.
- Using a spatula, transfer the quesadilla back to a cutting board and cut into wedges while it is hot and serve warm. Repeat as desired.
Crisp warm tortillas filled with cheese are an irresistible thing. When you fill them with meat or vegetables, they just get better.
- 8 flour tortillas
- 4 teaspoons butter
- 3 cups shredded cheese: cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack, fontina, swiss, or mozzarella
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups optional filling, see below
Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Lightly butter a single side of one tortilla with about ½ a teaspoon of butter and place it in the hot pan. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of cheese, ¼ cup of your favorite filling, and an additional 2-3 tablespoons of cheese on just one half of the open tortilla. Fold the tortilla over on itself and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
When the cheese has begun to melt and the bottom tortilla is browning slightly, flip the folded quesadilla over to cook the other side. Continue to cook until all the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crisp around the edges.
Using a spatula, transfer the quesadilla back to a cutting board and cut into wedges while it is hot and serve warm. Repeat as desired. Enjoy!
Suggested quesadilla combinations:
pulled pork, onions, and mozzarella cheese
chopped chicken, peppers, and pepper jack cheese
chopped baby spinach, thin mushrooms, chopped chicken, fontina
thinly sliced apple, fontina, and cheddar cheese
roasted broccoli and cheddar cheese
thin sliced mushrooms, zucchini, and monterey jack cheese
scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon or sausage, cheddar cheese
roasted green chile, cheddar, pepper jack or monterey jack
Are you lucky enough to have leftover cheese? Check out these cheese storage tips and find out how to keep it fresh to use later.
To meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, learn more about how farmers care for their cows and follow milk’s journey from farm to fridge, visit Drink-Milk.com. You can also follow the American Dairy Association Mideast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and follow the hashtags #undeniablydairy and #NationalDairyMonth for more dairy inspiration in your daily life.
Disclosure: I’ve partnered with American Dairy Association Mideast to share this recipe with you today. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Barefeet In The Kitchen possible. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.