Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Not Your Average Quesadilla

Good evening everyone and Happy Valentines Day!  As another nasty weather system looms into our area, it's time to hunker down and enjoy some good home cooked meal.  Sometimes, life happens and we get caught in a flurry of busyness and don't have time to savor a home cooked meal, let alone cook one.  The majority of my recipes here on the blog are quick and easy to make, besides delicious and nutritious.  Tonight is no exception:  a simple meal that is ready with little effort and packs quite a nutritional punch.  Without further ado, let's get cooking!

The Recipe:  Turkey & Balsamic Onion Quesadillas
Original Recipe Found On:  www.eatingwell.com

What You'll Need:
1 small Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 10-inch Whole-Wheat Tortillas
1 Cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
8 slices deli Turkey, preferably smoked

I wanted to start off with a little history about the quesadillas before we jumped into the recipe.  Quesadillas originated in Mexico and the word derived from the Spanish word for cheese, which is queso.  Any quesadilla I have ever seen is primarily two tortillas stacked on top of one another with delicious innards grilled in the middle.  But originally, quesadillas were half-moon shaped, using one tortilla and folding on itself.  Another differentiation between the American quesadilla and the Mexican/Central & South American quesadilla is that the latter uses a flavored corn tortilla, whilst the American uses a flour tortilla.  Now that we are all enlightened with a brief history on the quesadilla, let's get cooking!

To start, combine the onion and vinegar in a bowl and let stand for five minutes, letting the vinegar marinate the onion.  When the marinading process is complete, drain the excess vinegar.

Next, warm the tortillas in a skillet over medium-high heat for 45 seconds on each side.  Place the warmed tortillas on a plate and start to assemble the quesadilla:  using the half-moon technique, sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese on the tortilla covered by two slices of turkey, and top with a 1/4 of the onions.  Fold the tortillas in half and gently flatten with a spatula and cook until the cheese begins to melt, about two minutes.  

Assembled quesadilla

Flip the tortilla and cook until the second side is golden, about two minutes.  Continue with the remaining ingredients to finish the quesadillas.  Serve and enjoy!

Now, here's the part where I usually tell you what the end product tastes like.  But tonight, I am cooking a side dish with my quesadillas.  A couple of weeks ago, Tyler tried his hand at making sweet potato fries.  And tonight, I thought I would try a different version to accompany my quesadillas.

The Recipe:  Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Original Recipe Found In:  Adaptation of many recipes
What You'll Need:
2 Pounds Sweet Potatoes
1/4 Cup Olive or Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Salt

To start, preheat an oven to 450 degrees.  You can kick it up to 500 degrees if you want your fries to be super crispy.  Peel and trim the potatoes and cut into wedges.  You can also make these into disks with either a mandolin or a sharp knife.  

Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl and add the oil.  Mix well to combine.  From here you can add your salt, ensuring all the potatoes are well coated.

Fully coated and ready to cook

Spread the sweet potatoes in a single layer over a baking sheet.  The oil that has coated the wedges should keep them from sticking to the baking sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for a total of 25-30 minutes.  After the first 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip all the wedges over and return to the oven, baking for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Let cool for five minutes before serving and enjoy!

The End Result:

The quesadillas packed quite a punch from the balsamic onions.  They were actually kind of sweet - the vinegar cut the bite out of the onions and added a real depth to the quesadilla.  The melted cheese and smoked turkey made a wonderful combination.  Since the majority of quesadillas are either just cheese or cheese and chicken, it was really great to see something completely different for an old favorite.  Plus, the entire dish had only 328 calories, which is a low calorie meal, with flavor bursting at the seams.

The sweet potato fries were also superb.  Only having the salt as its flavor quotient made these fries completely unique.  They were crispy, yet weren't completely rock hard.  And baking these potatoes, instead of frying, cut the caloric value way down, and were still really healthy for you.  Overall, these two dishes make a great combination for any night of the week.

Join us tomorrow as Tyler dabbles into one of my favorite categories of recipes and sets a whole new spin on it.  Until then, 


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