Land of Leftovers

With summer here, it's not unusual to look for creative ways to make quick meals that don't take a lot of thought. That's where quesadillas come in. These simple treats consist of any number of fillings sandwiched between flour tortillas and then baked, grilled or pan fried. It's really that simple. Just serve them with your favorite condiments and a nice bowl of soup -- chilled soups are great for summer -- and you've got dinner.

And, what's more, quesadillas readily lend themselves to the use of leftovers. Whether it's some of the grilled chicken and vegetables from the weekend cookout or some crumbled bacon that didn't find its way into last night's salad, lefotvers are a great addition to a good quesadilla. So, instead of a normal recipe this month, I'm offering the basic procedure for making a quesadilla and a long list of filling combinations I love to use. The combinations take full advantage of common summer leftovers and the abundance of fresh vegetables available this time of the year.

I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . I'd also encourage you to experiment with this month's recipe and make it your own. Enjoy!

Basic Quesadillas

  • 2 flour tortillas (10-inch)
  • Fillings (see below)
  • Cooking spray

Place a pizza stone or heavy pizza pan in the cold oven. Then preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place a 10-inch flour tortilla on a clean cutting board. Sprinkle the tortilla with your choice of any of the following combinations of fillings or one of your own making:

  • Thinly sliced grilled chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and sliced green onions
  • Thinly sliced deli roast beef, shredded smoked cheese, thinly sliced tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion
  • Slices of grilled portabella mushrooms, shredded havarti cheese, finely chopped sweet onion and diced sun-dried tomatoes
  • Chopped zucchini mixed with cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded mozzarella cheese and diced roasted red peppers
  • Browned hamburger mixed with shredded sharp cheese and diced tomatoes
  • Sliced roasted eggplant, grated parmesan cheese and thinly sliced tomatoes
  • Shredded smoked cheddar cheese, sliced green onions and chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped shrimp, shredded spinach, diced tomatoes and sliced fresh mozzarella
  • Crumbled bacon, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sliced green onions
  • Finally, for a unique dessert, try fresh ricotta cheese, thinly sliced peaches and a light sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar

Place the other flour tortilla over the fillings and lightly spray the top of the tortilla with cooking spray.

Gently slide the quesadilla off of the cutting board and onto the preheated pizza stone or pan in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes or until the top of the tortilla is golden and the fillings are heated through. Cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving. If desired, serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

  • Yields: 1 quesadilla
  • Preparation Time: about 10 minutes