Cooking 101: Quesadillas!
A quick weeknight meal, a tasty weekend breakfast, a loaded night-out indulgence – the quesadilla has many forms, all of them absolutely delicious!
A basic quesadilla is typically a Mexican cheese-blend sandwiched between two 8-10 inch tortillas and baked on the stove until the cheese has melted and tortillas have browned. While the basic quesadilla is still enjoyable with some salsa, the quesadilla has seen a remarkable revolution in what goes in along with that cheese.
Perhaps the best thing about quesadillas is the room for personalization – your quesadilla is whatever you make it!
Some stuffing ideas you could work with for this basic quesadilla 101 are:
- Cooked Chicken
- Cooked Beef
- Cooked Chorizo
- Refried Beans
- Black Beans
- Bell Pepper
- Chopped Spinach
The cheese is all up to you! While a Mexican 4 cheese blend is standard, you can mix and match between cheddar, pepper jack, Monterey jack and beyond! (we’ll get to the “beyond” later!)
Getting Started – What You’ll Need
- Tortillas. We find that using flour tortillas work best because they are 1.) easier to find in the larger 9-10 inch size and 2.) they get nicely crispy on the pan without breaking apart while you eat.
- Your Ingredients. Whatever you would like to put in your quesadilla + your desired cheese. (cheese should be shredded)
- A pan large enough to fit one of your tortillas whole.
- A half a teaspoon of butter or oil. You only need enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Any more and you risk a soggy or greasy tortilla!
- Dips or condiments of your choice. These could be salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or even MORE queso dip (if you dare).
Get Things Going
When it comes to loading up your quesadilla, we find that leaving a half to 1 inch space from your stuffing to the edge of the tortilla will leave enough space to prevent your stuffing melting out of it.
PRO-TIP Place single strands of your shredded cheese in the “danger zone” to melt shut and keep all your ingredients sandwiched inside.
Cheese goes on the tortilla first, then your larger stuffings, followed by smaller stuffings. Finish it off with another layer of cheese. Do try to avoid over-stuffing, as this may result in your quesadilla not cooking evenly. Stick to ¾ cup of fillings per quesadilla if you are using 2 whole tortillas to make your quesadilla.
Once your quesadilla is stuffed, lay your second tortilla on top and turn the heat to medium. This will cook your quesadilla in a few minutes. To tell whether your quesadilla is ready to flip, use an instrument to check the underside of that “danger zone” part of your bottom tortilla. If you see slight browning, give it a flip.
Flipping Your ‘Dilla
The safest, cleanest and easiest way to flip your quesadilla is by placing a large plate on top of it in the pan, grabbing your pan by the handle, and flipping it over onto the plate.
You can then place it back into your pan for another few minutes to get the other side nice and browned and that cheese melted.
Use the same method to remove your quesadilla once the other side has browned as well and voila! You’ve made your quesadilla! Enjoy it with whatever toppings your heart desires and give yourself a pat on the back.
Always remember to keep any cooking spaces clear from clutter – especially near your open flame/stove.
Don’t Stop There!
There are so many different ways to go beyond the typical southern-style quesadilla – we’ve featured some of our favorite next-level quesadillas and recipes here for some inspiration!
January 31, 2017