This is a very fun and easy dish to prepare. Kids love these and it might be a chance to get them involved!
Step 1: Assembling the Ingredients
You can make these with just about anything that you want or like. Quesadillas are great in that you can use a variety of leftover ingredients. In this case I used: leftover steak, orange bell pepper, green onion, jalapeño pepper, homemade salsa, shredded cheese, and of course tortillas. Refried beans are shown here, but I ended up not using them. I recommend a blend of cheeses. If you only use one type, I recommend some marbled (yellow and white) Monterey Jack. You can buy it shredded or do it yourself. Use your imagination! You could even make breakfast Quesadillas with the simple addition of scrambled eggs.
Step 2: Washing Vegetables
Wash all of the vegetables that you have not used before. Even prepackaged vegetables like these green onions should be washed before you start your prep work.
Step 3: Prep Ingredients - Aka Here Comes the Chopping
Chop all vegetables. Depending upon your preference, you can chop and then combine these. Because a Quesadilla is fairly thin, chopping (or dicing) down to a small size works well and keeps the ingredients in during eating. Use whatever amount of vegetables you’d like. One ingredient that I forgot here about was cilantro which would have been wonderful. If I had some in this recipe I would have chopped it very fine to release the flavor, then add it raw when putting all of the ingredients together later on.
For the steak, I first cut it into 1” strips, then cross cut thinly. Just like chopping the veggies down to a small size, this makes eating the Quesadilla easier. I used leftover grilled steak for this. You can also cut the meat, then marinade, then cook. This intensifies the flavor in each piece of meat. Again, it’s your preference on how you like to prepare. Chicken, pork, or shrimp will also work very well for this recipe. Go meatless if you'd like!
Step 4: A Little Pre-cooking If You'd Like
I lightly sautéed the mix of bell pepper, green onion, and jalapeño pepper in a little olive oil. You can also choose to not cook the veggies. If you do this, your Quesadillas will have more crunch and the jalapeños will be a little hotter because cooking them a little mellows them out.
I also cooked the steak a little to heat it up some before assembling all of the ingredients inside tortilla shells. Just be careful to not overcook any ingredients. Here is what both the veggies and the beef looked like before combining ingredients.
Step 5: Heat the Pan
At this point, you can start to slowly heat up your pan. You can cook the stuffed tortillas on a grill, griddle, frying pan, a George Foreman, or even in a hot oven. In this case I used a pan made for grilling. I also show what I used as cooking oil: butter flavored cooking spray. With spray, you’ll use less oil overall—much less than if you use butter that can be pretty messy.
Step 6: Prep the Tortilla
If you look at the tortilla here, you’ll notice that it's on a plate. I first lightly coated the plate with cooking spray, then apply the tortilla. This is a great way to get an even amount of cooking oil on the tortilla. It evenly coats it, but not so much that you end up with a greasy product at the end.
Step 7: Assembly - Part 1
Okay, it’s time to assemble the ingredients. What you see here is a layer of shredded cheese and salsa spread out over half the inner surface of a tortilla.
Step 8: Assembly - Part 2
And now, the beef and veggies area added. If you pack these lightly you'll end up with very thin Quesadillas. That's okay if that's what you're after. These will end up being pretty thick as I am deliberately using quite a bit of each ingredient.
Step 9: Assembly - Part 3
Now add another layer of shredded cheese. As you might guess, cheese sort of glues all of the ingredients together as well as glues together each side of the tortilla.
Step 10: Folding
A simple fold finishes assembly of your about to be cooked Quesadilla. The top side of the tortilla that you see here already has cooking oil on it from previously sitting on the pre-oiled plate. This first one is ready to cook. Sometimes there is still enough oil on the plate for a second tortilla. If not, simply apply a little more cooking spray. You could also prep Quesadillas to this step and chill for cooking later.
Step 11: Grilling (or Broiling, Pan Frying, or Whatever You're Doing)
Here are two placed on my grilling pan side-by-side. This pan and the large tortillas I am using work very well together. I use low to medium heat to cook these on each side. You can use higher heat, but you’ll have to work faster and the ingredients may not heat through. Once these start to brown, rotate them about 90 degrees before turning them over. With a pan like this it will make attractive looking grill marks. If you cook yours on a griddle or on a flat pan there is obviously no reason to rotate them.
Step 12: The Flip
These two have been flipped over and show the results of rotating in the last step. I also like to use a little garlic salt after they are turned. Tortillas can be a little bland and a little garlic salt adds a little ‘zip’ to the flavor. Another note about using a lower heat setting is that you’ll be able to assemble more as these cook. I rotate these on each side so the grill marks you see here will be on both sides when cooking is completed. You can also top these with shredded cheese. Once side two is done cooking you'll take them out.
Step 13: A Little Rest
After cooking each side, take out of the pan and let them rest on a cutting board. Much like cutting a pizza immediately after it comes out of the oven, it is very similar with Quesadillas. Letting them rest for 4-5 minutes allows the cheese to congeal enough to make cutting them much easier and neater. They’ll still be plenty warm to serve. If you're making Quesadillas from smaller tortillas, they won't need to be cut into wedges and can be served as soon as they come out of the pan.
Step 14: Cutting and Plating
After the short rest period, you can cut them into wedges, plate, and serve. You can also have certain condiments on the side if you'd like. Things like salsa, sour cream, or guacamole. Enjoy yours!