Like the combination of salami and okra, this blog is dedicated to recipes that are born from sometimes unusual mishmashes of leftover ingredients we have on hand at home. We both work full-time so there is always time pressure, especially on weekdays. I do most of the daily cooking, and together my husband and I try to create meals for our family that follow three basic guidelines:

1. Delicious and nutritious.

2. Frugal use of ingredients

3. Edible to everyone in the family

We try to limit takeout food to once or twice a week because it's not good for our waistlines, the cost adds up and can put a strain on the family budget. At the end of the day, I just want to go home and stay home after work. I've found that in the time it takes me to drive to the store and pick up ready-to-eat takeout, I can usually put together something quick at home.

David and I grocery shop together for the entire week. Sometimes we impulsively buy an interesting ingredient at the store with no plan for cooking it, and later I'm not sure how to incorporate it into our meal plan. Thus, by the end of every week, I'm inevitably left with only a few ingredients, many of which do not traditionally go together.

These recipes are a result of those experiments. Some combinations work unexpectedly, some combinations may not appeal to you -- they don't all appeal to us!

When writing up these recipes, I try to be accurate, but often I put together these dishes by sight or taste or availability of ingredients. Most of the photos are David's. We'll note it when someone else contributes a pic.

The wins come when my family says, "I thought this dinner was going to be crazy, but it's actually good."

We hope you'll have the same reaction!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quesadillas and Cava

This is one of my family's favorite meals.  We have it about once a week (the cava is for the adults only).  It's a fun way to spend a Saturday night at home making dinner together and a great way to use up any leftover vegetables in the fridge.  And, to my family's delight, each person's quesadilla can be personalized.  See my suggestions in the variations section.    
Serves 4.  In a medium pan, sauté together:
            1 medium onion
            1 medium bell pepper, any color
After 4 minutes or so, add:
            ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
After 1 - 2 minutes add:
            2 big handfuls of spinach leaves
When the spinach has wilted (usually 1-2 minutes), remove the vegetables from the heat.

On large tortillas (we used up the last of our Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas and also some Stacey's organic flour tortillas), spread some refried beans.  Top each tortilla with some of the sautéed vegetables.  Add some shredded cheese, any kind and as much or as little as you want.  
Fold tortillas in half and place on a preheated griddle.  I don't use any butter or oil on my griddle to keep calories down, but you certainly can.

Other variations:  Instead of shredded cheese, we often substitute several tablespoons of delicious Fiesta Queso, which is the best off-the-shelf grocery store queso ever. It's better than most restaurant queso.  David adds sliced Pederson's buffalo sausage and pickled jalapeños into his quesadilla.   You can toss in a handful of any leftover vegetable you have around in the fridge - sliced zucchini, other types of greens.  Mushrooms work nicely  -- although our daughters don't like them.

Serve quesadillas with salsa, guacamole (or just smashed avocado as shown here) and a nice bottle of chilled cava -- or any bubbly will work.  Ole!

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