This dinner really excited me. After a day of feeling overwhelmed by my fridge and trying to come up with camping food and dinner I had a breakthrough when I realized that I could a) freeze the leftover black-eyed peas and b)use the leftover squashita filling and the bunch of chard to make these veggie quesadillas I read about. And they turned out fabulous (of course, sometimes that is the joy of not having anything to compare them to). I used several cheeses because this is really a meal all about refashioning leftovers, I had to go buy tortillas for it and meant to buy monteray jack cheese (the suggested cheese) but forgot. Once I was home I realized that our remaining queso fresco would not be enough cheese; taking stock of the cheese basket in the fridge I grabbed the smoked gouda (again not enough) and the cheddar. I could have mixed them all up, but instead I made two with queso fresco, two with smoked gouda, two with cheddar, and one with a mixture of all three. I think the mixed cheese quesadillas was probably the best, but the smoked gouda by itself was surprisingly good.
Squash, Onion and Chard Quesadillas
- 1 small bunch chard
- leftover squashita filling (OR 1 small summer squash and increase the red onion)
- several slices red onion
- canola oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- queso fresco, sliced thinly
- smoked gouda, grated
- cheddar cheese, grated
- corn tortillas
This is a dish that you want to have everything ready before you start cooking. Give the chard a nice soak and then remove the tough stems. Using towels gently blot the chard of excess water but don’t worry about getting it totally dry. I sliced my chard first vertically and then across in thin (1/4″ to 1/2″) strips. For a change I did not use the stems. If you had to prep the squash, thinly slice it into halfmoons or pie wedge shapes. Thinly slice the onions into quarter circles – slice as much onion as your taste dictates. Slice or grate your cheese.
Heat a skillet up with oil and sautee the red onion, then add the squash and cook until heated (or soft if starting with raw squash, also remember to season it), pull the squash out of the skillet and set aside. Add more oil if necessary and the garlic, as soon as it is fragrant dump all the chard leaves on top of it and stir. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cover. Add a spoonfull of water if it needs help wilting. After maybe 1-2 minutes check and as soon as it is bright green remove the lid to let the excess water evaporate. Add the squash and onion back to the pan and stir to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Heat a cast iron skillet (preferably) to medium. Place one corn tortilla in the skillet, as it begins to soften (anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute), flip it then add a thin layer of cheese, a spoonful of the veggie mixture, and another thin layer of cheese on top that to half the tortilla, fold it closed. Once the cheese has started melting and the tortilla has started getting golden and slightly toasty flip the quesadilla (try to keep the fold side down so your filling is less likely to fall out during flipping).
Repeat with the other tortillas. Two corn tortillas (standard small size) will fit once folded into the 10″ cast iron skillet. Even in my not-so-greatly seasoned cast iron skillets I’ve never needed to add oil or butter to encourage browning or inhibit sticking, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet I’d use a non-stick skillet. To speed the process up I also used an 8″ skillet to heat tortillas as the two quesadillas are currently cooking in the cast-iron. If the corn tortilla is not heated and soft it might crack when you try to fold it.