So, most people go to Whole Foods to explore their beautiful produce, organic meat, and other...well, whole foods. But me? I'm drawn to the junk food and convenience food. I think it's because the selection is so interesting and I feel a lot less guilty eating it. Plus the flavors of their "junk food" are much more aligned with my palate than regular junk food. Anyway, last week I stopped by to stock up on grains and stuff from the bulk aisle and I grabbed a couple frozen quesadillas for a quick splurge dinner. While they were totally delicious, I knew that I could make them better and for far less money. And I did.
I love these quesadillas for three reasons: 1) they're bursting with flavor 2) they're SO EASY to make and 3) they're perfect for the freezer! Students and other busy people take note: this recipe is perfect for you!
I called them "hearty" black bean quesadillas because they are surprisingly filling. I hastily ate two and then promptly felt like my belly was going to explode. This is one of those vegetarian recipes that meat eaters won't feel deprived eating. Promise.
Total Recipe cost: $6.61
Servings Per Recipe: 10 (one quesadilla each)
Cost per serving: $0.66
Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 10 min. Total: 25 min.
|1 (15 oz.) can||black beans**||$0.56|
|1 cup||frozen corn kernels||$0.48|
|1/2 small||red onion||$0.44|
|1/4 bunch||fresh cilantro||$0.21|
|2 cups||shredded cheese||$2.50|
|1 batch||taco seasoning||$0.34|
|10 taco sized||tortillas||$2.00|
**I used black beans that I cooked from dry in my slow cooker using this method. It's easy, requires almost no effort, and is about 1/3 the cost of a can of beans.
STEP 1: Drain the can of beans and rinse lightly. Place the beans in a large bowl along with the corn (no need to thaw).
STEP 2: Rinse the cilantro, remove the leaves, and chop roughly. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the cilantro, onion, garlic, and shredded cheese to the bowl with the beans and corn. Lastly, mix up a batch of taco seasoning and add to the bowl. Stir everything until evenly mixed.
STEP 3: Place a half cup of the filling on one side of each tortilla and fold over. Cook in a skillet on both sides over medium heat until brown and crispy and the cheesy filling has melted.
STEP 4: To freeze the quesadillas, simply fill each one and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for one hour to solidify the quesadillas and then transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat either microwave (for a soft quesadilla) or cook in a skillet on low heat (make sure to use low heat so that the filling has time to thaw and melt before the outside burns).
Step By Step Photos
This was my inspiration. They really were delicious, but at $3.99 for a box of two, I knew I could do better!
Start with the beans and corn. No need to even thaw the corn. Drain the can of beans (or homemade) and rinse just slightly. It's good to have some of the starchy bean goo in there because it will help the filling stick together.
Next chop the veggies. I used half a red onion, one clove of garlic, and about a quarter bunch of cilantro. These quantities do not need to be set in stone, adjust as needed for what you have on hand or what you taste preference dictates. Make sure to rinse the cilantro, it tends to be sandy.
Add the chopped veggies to the bowl.
Add the shredded cheese to the bowl as well. The cheese kind of acts like a glue for the filling once it's melted.
Add the taco seasoning. I suggest using corn starch in the taco seasoning blend because you will have a lot of rogue juice coming out of the corn and onion as the quesadillas heat. The corn starch will help keep everything in place and prevent sogginess.
Stir until everything is evenly coated. The starchy black bean "goo" helps coat everything nicely.
Now it's time to stuff the quesadillas. Place a half cup of filling in each tortilla and fold it over. You can either cook them or freeze them at this point.
To cook them, place the quesadilla in a skillet over medium heat and cook on both sides until golden brown, crispy, and the filling has melted. If you're not using a non-stick skillet, you may need some oil to keep it from sticking.
To freeze, place them on a baking sheet covered in parchment and then freeze for one hour or until solid. Then, transfer to an air-tight freezer bag. Don't forget to transfer them into the bag or else they'll dry out! If you don't think you'll eat them up in a month or two, I'd suggest wrapping each one in an extra layer of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn and drying out. Personally, I know mine won't last that long ;)
I usually use a pizza cutter to slice my quesadillas into wedges. Nom nom nom!