Monday, March 5, 2012

Black Bean Quesadillas

Oh, Budget Bytes, what would I do without you? This was another ingenious recipe idea from my favorite inspiration source. If you can spot a theme with my blog here, it's that I love to make things that I can freeze for a quicker meal in the future. I can't believe I never thought to do this with quesadillas! These tasted amazing, and I've got 6 more in my freezer waiting for hunger to strike at the same time laziness ensues. This is also a great way to use the black beans that I cooked in my slow cooker.

I made my quesadillas this time with chicken, but that's only because I had some extra to use up from a previous recipe. This could just as easily be made vegetarian by leaving that out. (In fact, I made a couple without the chicken too, and you didn't miss it at all!)

The ingredients:
  • Black Beans, either from a can, or cooked ahead of time
  • Fajita seasoning, or taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of frozen corn (no need to thaw)
  • 3 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 jalapeƱos, diced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 8 soft-shell tortillas (I used burrito size, but a smaller taco size would be better)
  • Stick butter
  • Spread butter
  • 2 cups of shredded chicken, already cooked (optional)
  • 1 avocado, for topping
The steps:
  1. Add black beans, diced red onion, shredded cheese, jalapenos, frozen corn, cilantro, and chicken to a large bowl and thoroughly combine.
  2. Add fajita or taco seasoning to your taste, about 2 tablespoons, and stir to combine.
  3. Lay tortilla flat and fill half with your mixture, then fold over.
  4. For the ones you are freezing, stop here (don't cook). Place them on top of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Put in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once they are frozen solid, transfer to large plastic bags for storage. When you're ready to each them, follow the next steps for cooking.
  5. Spread a very thin layer of butter on top of your tortilla (this will help it crisp up while cooking).
  6. Heat a skilled over medium heat and melt 1 Tbsp of butter in it.
  7. Add tortilla (buttered side up) to the skillet.
  8. After a couple minutes, flip tortilla to cook other side.
  9. Enjoy! We like to eat ours with a side of avocado and/or salsa.
The pictures:

The cast of characters:

I measured out 2 cups of beans to use, but really ended up using a lot more. Since I had 8 giant burrito-sized tortillas, I had a lot of room to fill!

Diced onion

I'm a big advocate of shredding your own cheese. Yes, it takes more time than buying it pre-shredded, but it seriously tastes SO much better. Cabot's Seriously Sharp Cheddar is our favorite all-purpose cheese.

Don't skimp on the cheese! (These are QUESadillas after all.) I actually used about a cup more than is shown here.

I always keep seeds in my jalapeƱos, because we like things spicy!

The main ingredients in the bowl, pre-mixing. The chicken is definitely optional, and I'll probably leave it out next time. The beans are so filling and delicious, the meat just isn't necessary here. But, this was a great way to use up the meat that I already had on hand!

After stirring the ingredients well.

Added about 2 Tbsp of fajita seasoning.

I have been using Fajita Magic for years, and it's delicious. I think that after I finish this container, I might try to make my own, though.

Add ingredients to 1/2 of a flour tortilla.

Fold over and spread a very thin layer of butter on top.

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a skillet.

Cook on the first side (buttered side up) for a minute or two. (Peak underneath and check when it's golden brown on the bottom. That means it's time to flip.)

I bought this giant turner a few years ago and it is PERFECT for making quesadillas and omelets. 

Golden brown - just what you want! Cook it for a couple more minutes on this side.

Then remove to a plate. 

I always cut mine with a pizza cutter. 

We like to eat ours with a side of avocado, and sometimes salsa or sour cream. So, so good!

For the quesadillas that you want to freeze for later, don't cook them at all. 
Fill the tortillas as usual, and then put them on top of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. 

I froze two layers of three.

Stick them in your freezer like this to flash-freeze. Once they are hardened (about an hour or two), you can take them out and transfer to a better container for storage.

I put mine in gallon-size plastic bags, well labeled with contents and date.

I can't wait to eat these! I've just got to find a day where I don't have a bunch of other delicious leftovers in the fridge. :)

What are your favorite ingredients to use in quesadillas?


  1. Yum. Just tried these. Molly with her mouth said," I like these.....a lot" Made a double batch to freeze some for later.

  2. These are AMAZING! Def going into heavy rotation at our house. I also made another double batch to freeze for another day. Love your blog!

    1. John and I had these for lunch today! They are definitely in heavy rotation around here too. I need to make another batch soon - I've only got 2 more frozen!

  3. The last double batch didn't even make it a month in this house - I made another double batch tonight! Can't wait to dig in again! :)

    1. I know - we have made and eaten so many batches!! They just don't get old!

  4. This would be an easy meal to make when we visit NC!

  5. These look so good... I need to make these soon!!! Freezing them sounds like a perfect solution to a lazy meal night at my house.

    PS - you need to start posting again! I miss your recipes!

    1. It's so funny you commented on this today! I had some black beans in the crockpot and was planning to make Black Bean Fritters with them for dinner, then freeze the rest of the beans. But when when I saw your comment, those plans went out the window and I made these black bean quesadillas, with 8 extras for the freezer. So, so good!

      (Hopefully I'll get back into the blogging game sometime soon. But it's just so much work!)

  6. I made these last night and they were dang delicious. I used smaller shells which I liked, but I didn't have enough of them left over to freeze so I just froze the filling for next time. Sorry I derailed your plans... those black bean fritters look delish so if you do make them let us all know how they are. I think I may also try your slow cooker black beans next week (and I may need to get a bigger freezer!:)).

    1. I'm glad my plans were changed...these quesadillas are so yummy, and it's been way too long since we had made them! I might go back to making them at least once a week again. :)