Monday, April 19, 2010

Thursday: Delicioso Black-Bean Quesadillas

Here's another super easy but delicious Cooking Light recipe. We had some friends over for dinner, and the husband told me afterward that he wasn't a big fan of mushrooms, but he loved this dish! So to all of you who don't like mushrooms or have a family member who doesn't like them...give this one a try! You might surprise yourself. :)


  4 whole-wheat tortillas (about 8")
2 portobello mushroom caps (about 4 1/2"), rinsed, stems removed and chopped

  2-3 TB light balsamic vinaigrette (I use Newman's Own)

1 cup low-sodium or no sodium black beans, rinsed and drained (1 15 oz can or see my note about making homemade below)
  1 2 oz jar diced pimiento, drained (or 1/2 red bell pepper chopped) 
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (optional)
chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Stack tortillas, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Leave in microwave while making filling. 
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and add portobello mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes, until tender. Add vinaigrette, beans, and pimiento and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Mash bean mixture slightly with potato masher. 
3. Place 1/3 cup bean mixture on to each tortilla. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, onions, and cilantro. Fold tortillas in half. 
4. Wipe skillet with paper towel. Place quesadillas on skillet coated with cooking spray. Over medium heat cook 2-3 minutes on each side until cheese has melted. Cut each quesadilla into 3 wedges and serve with your favorite salsa and salad.


Plan and Prep Ahead

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner.

~Chop portabellos, red bell pepper, green onions and cilantro in air-tight containers.
~Shred the cheese and keep in air-tight container for up to 48 hours. 

That's it! 


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP?

~Use your favorite mushrooms  instead of portabello.
~Add fresh corn to the quesadillas.

~Instead of cilantro, try parsley.

~Replace black beans with pinto or white beans.
~Add chopped chicken or beef strips to the quesadillas for those meat lovers.


Try homemade beans instead of canned

 When I first made stove-top beans, I was surprised how easy it was! You will save a ton of $ making your own instead of buying them canned and you won't have all those nasty preservatives and extra sodium that you will find in canned foods. 
I use whatever I need for a recipe, and then freeze them in freezer bags, putting 2 cups in each one (which equals 1 15 oz can). Out of a 1 LB bag (16 oz) bag of I usually can fill 4-5 freezer bags of beans, with 2 cups in each. 
Depending on what kind of beans you are making, you usually need to soak them first. Why? It slows the cooking time and removes the indigestible complex sugar from the outer coating of the beans.  There are two different soaking methods: 

Long Method

 1. Check out this Soaking Chart link to see how long you need to soak whatever beans you are going to cook, but it's anywhere from 4-8 hours:  Soaking Times
 2. Rinse beans 
3. For 1 LB of beans, add 16 cups of water (all beans have the same water to bean ratio) 
4. Simmer for 1-2 hours depending on type of bean. See times below.
5. 10 minutes before beans are done, add 1-2 tsp salt (optional).

Quick Method

 1. Boil beans in a soup pot or heavy pot with water for 3 minutes.  
2. Cover and set aside for 1-2 hours. 
3. Drain and discard water. Rinse beans. 
4. Simmer for 1-2 hours depending on type of bean. See times below. 
5. 10 minutes before beans are done, add 1-2 tsp salt (optional).

Note: If you are making Split Peas, Lentils or Butter beans, you do NOT need to soak them. 

Bean Cooking Times

Black Beans and Chickpeas-1 1/2 - 2 hours
Black-Eyed Peas, Cannellini , Great Northern-1-1/4 hours
Navy , Pinto , Red Kidney -1- 1/4 hours
Lentils- 20-30 minutes 


What are Portobellos?

Here's an excerpt that I copied directly from the Cooking Light Cookbook called "Fresh Food Fast." You can buy it on amazon below. I use this cookbook ALL THE TIME, so I would highly recommend it!

"Let a cremini grow a few days longer, and you end up with a portobello. This falying saucer-shaped mushroom, which often measures from 3-6 inches across, is firm, meaty, and intensely flavored. "

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