Having a fussy eater can be challenging at times. Which is not to say that my little guy is one of those “will only eat chicken nuggets” types. I have seen him cheerfully tuck into a bowl of smoked salmon chirashi because he knew that he liked all of the components (smoked salmon, julienne carrots, sesame seeds, rice, soy sauce), but for some reason we have been having difficulties with lunch. He just doesn’t want to eat it unless it involves getting in the car and driving through someplace. I think it might be less about the eating and more about the going (I cannot play with him non-stop and he takes it personally).
But obviously we cannot go out every, single day so I really needed to come up with a solution. After multiple rejections of food items I decided to take a radical approach and ask him what he would eat every day for lunch. He pondered this and said “Squishy bean quesadilla.”
This kid is a bean maniac. He has not met a bean that he did not like. It started off with black beans but we then went to a Mexican place that did not have black beans but instead served him the more traditional refried pinto beans. These have been officially dubbed “squishy beans” and are now in the rotation as well as being his preferred filling for quesadillas.
The internet seems to think that it is perfectly fine to freeze quesadillas so I figured I would do a bit of batch cooking to save some time and money. The money part comes in not throwing away a partial can of refried beans. Historically we have cracked open a can and kept it in the ‘fridge to use as we went; but it has consistently gone bad before we manage to use the whole can. It gets shoved around and hides behind the mango juice and then we have this crusty mess that goes directly into the gar-bahge. By making as many quesadillas as the can can handle (heh, can can) we will be avoiding that waste.
Refried Bean Quesadillas
The Hardware: sauce pan, griddle or large frying pan, offset spatula or butter knife, cooling rack
1 can Refried Beans
8 Whole Wheat tortillas (soft taco size)
1 8 oz bag Quesadilla Cheese
Cumin and garlic powders
Oil or butter for browning
Set up both a staging area and a cooling area to make assembly line production easy.
Crack open the can of beans and scrape them into your sauce pan, they will fight you but you must be strong. Marvel at their ability to maintain a can shape and then stir them up on medium low heat. Add cumin and garlic powder to taste and stir until they are heated up and easy to spread. Remove from heat and place at the beginning of your assembly line along with your cheese and tortillas.
Now, I love my electric griddle and when it dies it will receive a proper sending off just before we get a new one. It is perfect for making pancakes, french toast, grilled peanut butter & cheese sandwiches (separately, not peanut butter & cheese in the same sandwich shudder), hamburgers … you get the picture. And I cannot imagine tackling batch cooking like this using only a single skillet. But if that is what you have then go for it.
Heat up your cooking implement of choice and grease it up with a bit of oil. I used a folded paper towel with oil to re-oil between quesadillas. Take each tortilla and spread 1/8th of the beans on 1/2 of the tortilla. We are making folded quesadillas and this will make things easier. Place as many 1/2 beaned tortillas on your cooking surface as possible and then sprinkle your cheese on the non-beaned half of the tortilla. Allow to cook until the cheese starts to melt a bit and then fold in half.
Arrange the folded quesadillas so that they are taking up less space and add another 1/2 beaned tortilla to the griddle. Put cheese on it and check the folded ones. As they become brown on one side, flip them to the other. When both sides are well browned, remove them to a cooling rack. Continue folding, rearranging and removing quesadillas until you have added cheese and cooked all of them.
Once fully cooled, place in freezer and freeze until solid. Transfer to a big ziplock bag or something like that. I bet you could wrap them individually in foil too. I haven’t reheated any yet but there are various reheating options. I plan on reheating from frozen in the oven, probably for about 20 minutes at 350F.
I will report back after I have served one from frozen. I am pretty confident that it will be quite tasty. If you want you could totally add some other ingredients. I bet sauteed onions would be awesome, or perhaps chicken or another meat. I would add them at the same time I added the cheese.
What do you like in your quesadillas?