30-minute Black Bean Quesadillas

Happy Friday everyone! 🙂

Tonight’s dinner was a quick fix. I had everything in my fridge and in my cupboards, and only an inkling of what I wanted to eat. The initial idea was to make this black bean burrito recipe, from Epicurean Mom.

When I realized it was five p.m. I didn’t feel like waiting for the quinoa, even though it would have only taken fifteen minutes to cook. I wasn’t feeling it.

Black Bean Quesadillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2-4

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
1 15 ounce can of corn, drained
1.2 tablespoon canola oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
2-8 medium tortillas
Seasonings:

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 cumin

1. Open and drain black beans and corn. Dump into bowl and combine. Set aside.
2. In a medium skillet place oil, and heat on medium heat.
3. Chop vegetables.
4. Place vegetables in skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Take out bell pepper mix and place in bowl. Set aside.
5. Keeping the skillet on the medium heat, pour in bean mix. Cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Take out mix and place back into bowl. Set aside.
6. Lower heat to medium-low. Spray pan with nonstick spray.
*7. Place one tortilla in bottom of skillet. Fill with peppers, black bean mix, and cheese. How much you fill it up depends on how much you want. Remember: you will have to flip it. Place second tortilla on top.
8. Once browned, remove from skillet onto cutting board. Let cool 2 minutes, then cut into slice (like a pizza). Serve hot with sour cream, tortilla chips, and salsa.

*If you don’t want to use 2 tortillas (yes, they can get messy when flipping if you have a small spatula) you can use one tortilla, fill and fold in half and cook that way.

This was a filling dinner full of color and flavor. Chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin are my favorite seasonings for black beans. They create a subtle spicy and smoky flavor without being overbearing.

Other modifications:

– You could use white beans or even kidney beans.
– You can use shredded cheddar cheese or even non-dairy cheese (if someone uses non-dairy cheese, I’d love to know how it works out, since I’ve never used the stuff.)
– You can do this in the microwave, by filling the tortillas and cooking on high for 1-2 minutes. The vegetables may not be as tender, but it should still taste delicious.

Also…

Happy National S’mores Day! 🙂 Here’s a collection of recipes I’ve noticed today:

S’mores Bars from LaurenConrad.com
S’mores-filled pretzels from Tumblr
Everything I Learned, I Learned from “The Sandlot” from HelloGiggles.com (OK, I know this isn’t a recipe, but it’s one of the first things I think about when I hear the word “s’mores”? )

Have a great weekend!

~Ashley

Mama’s Spaghetti Sauce: Vegetarian and Meat Versions

Thursday night we made homemade spaghetti sauce, inspired by my mother’s recipe.

I asked my sister how much of each ingredient we needed, since I was making the vegetarian version, and she was making the traditional meat version. She shrugged her shoulders.

“Just put in how much you feel needs to be put in.”

When I’m cooking, this is how I usually cook. Most of the recipes on this blog are written after they are made. I’m terrible at measuring (unless I’m following a recipe). For the following two sauce recipes, the measurements are estimates. When cooking, don’t be afraid to substitute or add ingredients. Don’t be afraid to taste- and modify. Be as involved as you can be.

Here we go!

Mama’s Spaghetti Sauce (Traditional Meat Version)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes to 4 hours (depending on how much time you have to cook)
Serves: 2-4

2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste (or more, for thickening)
1 cup browned ground beef
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons banana peppers
dash of red pepper
Add spices according to taste:
salt and pepper
Oregano
Basil
Italian Seasoning

1. Brown beef in a skillet on medium to high heat. When no pink is visible, it’s done. Set aside.
2. *In a medium to large pot, add all ingredients, including beef. Stir to combine. Heat over low to medium heat for at least one hour. The sauce will thicken. If too runny, add more tomato paste.
3. Serve on top of your favorite pasta. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
*If trying to cook this in an hour or less, first cook the vegetables in the pot with about one tablespoon olive oil. Cook until tender, which takes about 5-7 minutes.

The Vegetarian Version:
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes to 4 hours (depending on how much time you have to cook)
Serves: 2-4

1 green pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons banana peppers
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained

Seasonings:
Dash of red pepper
Oregano
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

1. If cooking for an hour or more, there is no need to cook the vegetables first. If you are trying to cook this recipe in an hour or less, you will need to first heat the vegetables in the pot with about one tablespoon olive oil. Cook until tender, which usually takes between 5 to 7 minutes.

2. If cooking for an hour or more, combine all ingredients into a medium to large pot and cook on low to medium heat. Sauce will thicken. If too runny, add more tomato paste.
3. Serve with your favorite pasta and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

**Also, you can make our favorite pizza dough recipe (created by Mark Bittman) and form dough into breadsticks. In a small bowl, mix together: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, and a dash of pepper and salt. Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes (or until top is golden brown).**