Black Bean & Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Chipotle Aioli

On our last night of vacation on the Crystal Coast the boys and I had an awesome tapas dinner at a local restaurant. While everything was to. die. for. (I truly need to figure out how to make their entire menu) one thing that we tried that I had to replicate ASAP was the black bean quesadilla and chipotle sauce.

Now their version had Monterey Jack and havarti cheese but I didn’t have either of those. Plus I like stronger cheeses that don’t lose their flavor when melted. Since I had several cheeses to choose from we decided to mix and match, so while the goat cheese was my favorite and matched beautifully with the black beans and the aioli, there were three kinds in all: goat cheese, cheddar and feta, & cheddar and smoke gouda (this one was Hubby’s favorite.)

So you can see how simple it would be to swap out flavors and see what you like best. Just don’t forget the aioli!

blk bn quesadilla

Black Bean Quesadillas

1 can black beans (I use organic)

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 T butter

1/4 tsp cumin

salt & pepper

2 or 3 T fresh chopped cilantro

flour tortillas, large or small

cheeses of your choice, diced or shredded

In small saucepan, heat over medium-high and melt butter. Add in chopped onion and let cook for several minutes.

Stir in the cumin and cook a few minutes more. It’ll smell awesome.

Pour in the can of black beans, juice and all. Salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain extra juices if there are any. Stir in the fresh cilantro.

Place some cheese on a tortilla and spoon some bean mixture over it. Add more or another cheese on the beans and top with tortilla. *I use a countertop Foreman grill to make my quesadillas. You can use a skillet on the stove(careful turning those tortillas) or the oven.

If you are using large tortillas you will have better luck filling them with more mixture because you will fold one half over the other, making a half cirlce-shaped quesadilla.

Chipotle Aioli

1/4 cup mayo

1 tsp sriracha

1/4 tsp chipotle seasoning

Combine and whisk all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to use (at least an hour if possible). Taste and adjust seasonings.

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Italian Quesadillas!

Yes, it’s true 🙂 A complete mishap but nevertheless just as tasty as they look. Read on to see how this came about….

The other day I made a crock pot version of the swiss steak and it was an epic failure. Truly. I find this to be rather amusing, which is easy to say once I figured out how to save it, but at the time I was unhappy to say the least.

I really don’t like it when I prepare something that doesn’t turn out. Now, this isn’t the same thing as not being 100% satisfied with the look when the taste is still great. True, I am a much harder critic on myself than anyone else, and hubby and kids are usually very generous when this rarity occurs, but if I won’t eat my own cooking I certainly can’t expect anyone else to.

But this particular recipe I brought to the church potluck. Oh, the horrors of bringing something yucky to dinner! *Sigh. It was not the best representation of my culinary skills, I must say.

Well, it all started out fine. I followed the recipe and placed the necessary items into the crock pot. I let it cook for hours and hours. The kitchen smelled yummy. Plans changed, as they sometimes do, and I had to put the crock pot into the refrigerator for 2 days. I don’t know if this is where it went wrong.

Sunday morning arrived and we are having lunch at a covered dish at the church. Of course, I must bring something and here is a crock pot of swiss steak that is nearly ready to go. A few hours to polish off the cooking time and additional ingredients, cook up some pasta nice al dente and add it in, mix it all up and tote it to the church.

It looked ok. It smelled ok. But it didn’t taste ok. Not only was it lacking in flavor, but it almost had a twang in the meat. I couldn’t describe it and I didn’t want anyone to eat it- not that I could see anyone had spooned any onto their plates anyway. I whispered to Brandon to take it home ASAP.

Being a savvy dollar-stretching and pantry challenged mom, I’m looking at this crock pot full of meat, and can’t see how to throw it away. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when a recipe is such an epic fail that there’s nothing more you can do except toss it out and forgive yourself. But this was not the case and I knew it.

I washed my hands and dug in, pulling out every chunk of meat. All the big pasta shells, the onions, the tomato bits, all of that went outside for the chickens, but the meat went back into the crock pot along with a package of onion soup mix, some water, basil, oregano, and garlic.

Guess what? AMAZING! And not only that but it came out tasting just like my Italian Beef  (possibly better *gasp!) AND it spent an extra night in the refrigerator and it didn’t mess it up. So what did I make with this awesome meat? Well, to be honest I didn’t get all creative. I shredded the meat and made quesadillas. But they were SO GOOD!

I decided to use a large skillet this time instead of my Foreman Grill, and I was very happy with the results. It was faster and not nearly as messy (have I ever mentioned what a messy cook I am?).

I got all my ingredients ready: flour tortillas, shredded meat, tomatoes, avocado, black beans, fresh frozen corn, and cheese, with salsa and extra avocado on the table.

Brushed a tiny bit of olive oil in the pan and placed a tortilla in, start layering the ingredients, fold the top over, brown one side, flip, and brown the other.

Everyone likes it different around here, so the boys got meat, cheese, beans, and corn. Cory gets all that plus some tomatoes (not too much, honey!), and I get everything in mine 😉 HOW can I be the only tomato and avocado-loving person in this house??

So there you have it. Shredded Italian Beef makes for a fabulous quesadilla! I even had a tiny bit left over and made one with giardiniera. How crazy awesome does that sound? It was awesome! All the flavor of an Italian Beef sandwich without all that extra bread 🙂

Make sure you drain your giardiniera real good. It’ll still be a slightly wet quesadilla, but Italian Beef sandwich’s are messy anyway.

In the pan it goes. I used up all the shredded Mexican blend cheese for the quesadillas, so I used cheddar cheese for the first time on this Italian Beef-like sandwich. Ever. Usually I go for provolone, but this was really good!

My camera has been taking slightly blurred pictures lately. Can you see it there on the left? Sorry. But if you like quesadillas you are sure to love these, either regular style or Italian style!

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