25 November 2010

Double Take: Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas (sort of)

Whilst everyone is gathered around the Thanksgiving table in the US today, I’m stuck at work. I’ve been reading facebook status updates all week: 3 days til vacation, 2 days, Today will feel like Monday and Thursday at the same time!, etc. Well, not me. I really can’t complain though, I had a wonderful week of vacation at the beginning of November, am taking a weekend trip to London soon, and will be spending Christmas with most of my immediate family (yay!). But on Thanksgiving Day, I went to work. And ya know what that means? It means I am incredibly lucky to have picked the field of environmental science when I got my bachelor’s degree. And even luckier that I decided I wasn’t ready for the real world so I went to graduate school for a master’s in biology. All of that led me to a point where, when Bender announced he got a job offer in Germany, I was able to get a job there too. I am thankful for the ability to work in a foreign country. This time last year, I knew I had a job lined up for me, but did not yet know when I would start. Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of when I started my job. Today is a day of giving thanks, and I am thankful to be at this point in my life and to be able to call it good. And incredibly thankful that you are reading my blog so I’m not talking to myself over here!

And don't worry, I will be having dinner tonight with my American friends and will be hosting a traditional Thanksgiving on Saturday with 4 Americans and 2 Germans. :)

I know you are all full of turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and potatoes made two ways and pie. Oh, pie, how I love pie. But hopefully, you might also have some leftover roasted veggies lying around. Do you? If so, read on. If not, I’ll show you what to do here. You’ll need them for this simple supper of Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas, heavily adapted from the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (p. 284). Guess what! This recipe is even listed in the right section of the index: quesadillas!

Veggies all lined up and ready for roasting

Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas (sort of)
heavily adapted from the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (p.284)

1/2 medium eggplant, diced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced vertically
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced vertically
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
2 small chicken or turkey breasts, cut into strips (cooked or uncooked) (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese (use your favorite melting cheese here: cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack, etc)
4 6- or 8-inch tortillas (I used 6 because the larger ones available here taste like pancakes when heated, but use the ones that fit well to your skillet)
1 tablespoon fajita spice rub (recipe below)
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Veggie quesadilla ready for the skillet

Preheat oven to 450F.

Arrange your vegetables (eggplant through zucchini) on a roasting pan or jelly roll sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste and place in preheated oven. Cook until done to your liking (~ 10-20 minutes).

Meanwhile, if using meat, heat an 8-inch skillet (cast iron would be ideal) over medium high heat. Sprinkle meat with fajita rub, patting (not rubbing) to make sure the spices adhere to the meat. If uncooked, cook (in batches) until done, turning once (~ 6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your meat). If the meat has been previously cooked, sprinkle with fajita rub and sear the spices into the meat (~1 minute per side). Remove meat from pan.

When the meat and vegetables are done to your liking, make sure your cheese and tortillas are in easy reach. Add two tortillas to the skillet (medium heat), propping them against each other so that one half of each tortillas is in contact with the skillet and the other half easily can be folded over to make the quesadilla shape. Add 1/8 cup of cheese to each tortilla half, add desired meat and/or vegetables, then add another 1/8 cup of cheese. Fold the top of each quesadilla over. You may need to keep them folded down with your spatula. After 3 total minutes in the pan, flip the quesadillas over (make sure the quesadillas are fully supported or you will end up with filling in your skillet). Cook an additional 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Repeat for the other two quesadillas.

Serve with sour cream and/or salsa (I made a sour cream sauce of one part salsa to one part sour cream. It was a great way to use up some salsa that I didn’t love).

Chicken quesadilla ready for the skillet!

Easy Fajita Rub
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes OR 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

Combine all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container (like an old spice jar).

Mighty meaty chicken quesadillas

These quesadillas were mighty tasty. They didn’t come together terribly quickly, but all the steps are easy. I made the sauce at the last minute and that worked out well. I think if I had added the fajita seasoning to the vegetables as well, I wouldn’t need the extra spice from the salsa, but would have instead wanted just sour cream. Though don’t get me wrong, this spice rub is not spicy. I would even go so far as to call in mild on the mild to hot scale. So, if you like things hot-spicy, definitely up the cayenne.

Bender’s quesadillas had chicken, bell pepper, and onions. I had one with all veggies (no bell peppers) and one with chicken and veggies. Of course, they all had cheese. The best part about these quesadillas is that you can add anything you want. Oh, and of my veggies, the eggplant rocked! I only added it because I had one leftover from spaghetti last weekend, but it was a lucky coincidence. The zucchini was only so-so. Feel free to get creative and pick your own veggies! The recipe in the book actually calls for asparagus, so give that a try (I won’t be able to get green asparagus until June at the earliest)!

Veggie quesadillas with a salsa/sour cream sauce

Make-again-adding-fajita-spice-to-the-veggies: 1 vote
I-prefer-your-tacos-but-if-you-insist-on-making-fajitas-please-do-it-this-way-but-leave-the-zucchini-and-eggplant-off-of-my-quesadillas: 1 vote

Looking for more ideas for vegetables to roast? See what Tabitha had to say about Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas over at Double the Garlic


  1. I'm thankful that
    1) we're still cooking together
    2) we get to talk pretty regularly
    3) you're happier now than you were a year ago!

    I now want to try the quesadillas with eggplant. Remember when you got me to eat eggplant and like it when we made the first Moussaka? Here's to trying new things that you're sure you won't like and liking them anyway! Thanks for pushing me. :)

  2. I'm thankful that you haven't gotten too annoyed with me for pushing you!

    The eggplant was great because it didn't get mushy like the zucchini did. I highly recommend it and will be roasting it more often (for me at least, not for Bender).


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