Friday, July 13, 2012

Soy Cheese Quesadilla

I have some very exciting news: I have a real job! I now work for Greenpeace doing frontline canvassing. I am so happy to work for an organization that shares my same morals and ethics. I love the environment and know that if people just understood what is truly going on in the world, they would want to be more accountable. I am happy with job and my semi-adult life so far. And, hopefully soon I will have my own place so I can start cooking more again.

I thought I would post a recipe for a healthy version of a college staple: quesadillas. Of course I don't use real queso, I use Daiya Cheddar Shreds. Using soy cheese alone makes it healthier because it cuts out all the cholesterol. Daiya hands down make the best nondairy cheeses (you can read my review in my Mac and Cheese post), but I don't care what it claims, soy cheese never melt under basic heat like dairy cheese. But, there is a secret to making it melt---steam. 

For some added nutrients (I mean come on, you can't just eat a cheap pile of cheese and tortillas), I always add some greens into my quesadillas.  Any fresh greens will do---kale, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce & etc. I used some left over mixed salad that from dinner a few nights ago so I had a bit of each. I also whole wheat tortillas. They have more fiber, which is always good. 

This makes one quesadillas, but just multiply to make as any as you like.

Soy Cheese Quesadillas 
2 small whole wheat tortillas
Handful of Greens (spinach, kale, chard, lettuce...)
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2-3 tablespoons of water, just enough to barely cover the bottom of the skillet 

Spray a large skillet with some cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.

Place one tortilla down into the pan.

Pile the cheese on top of the tortilla. 

Pile the greens on top of the cheese.

Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes.

Top with the other tortilla. 

Pour in the water. I suggest pouring it rounding the tortillas, not directly on, so they do not get too soggy. Add it slowly and stop once it barely cover the whole bottom.

Next cover the skillet, I used a large plate but a lid works fine too. 

Let it steam until the water is all evaporated. You can peak under the cover if you need to, but I just listen until I hear the tortilla start to sizzle.

Remove the cover, and adjust the heat as needed. Let it brown lightly. 

Flip gently and let the other side brown.

Remove from the pan and cut into desired pieces. 

I topped mine with some salsa and hot sauce. It's easy and pack with protein, vitamins, and fiber. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Five Layer Dip

*This is repost, since for some unknown reason, the first one got deleted.

I hope you all had a fun Fourth of July!

Once again, so for not posting very often. As I mentioned in my last post, I am moving to California. I am still staying with Michael's parents and looking for a job (got some good leads so far!). Hopefully soon I will have a job and my own place so I get back to posting more. 

Yesterday Michael's parents had a little BBQ so I thought I would make something nice for everyone too: five layer dip. I made this for a party before and it was gone within minutes. What's not to love about layers of spicy beans, creamy guacamole, tangy Tofutti sour cream, fresh salsa and gooey cheese sauce? 

Some of the layers are from recipes I have posted before, so I will spare you the repeat and just post the links. 

Five Layer Dip:

First layer: Spicy Beans
16 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium onion
1 large bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jalapeño pepper, minced

Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside. 

Chop the onion and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Mince the jalapeño. 

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.

Saute the onions and peppers until slightly golden.

Add the beans, garlics, and red pepper flakes. 

Cook until the beans are heated through. Mash the beans into a paste as it cooks. 

Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and add the jalapeño. 

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Second layer: Basic Guacamole 
Third layer: Tofutti Sour Cream

Fourth layer: Fresh Salsa 
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 of a medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
Handful of cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice tomatoes and onions, then add to a large bowl.

Mince the garlic and jalapeños and, add to the bowl. 

Add the cilantro and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Fifth layer: Cheese Sauce

I suggest doing this in a large see-through (I know I did it in a pink one, it was the biggest one I could find) bowl or dish so you can see all the contrasting layers.

In the bottom of the large bowl, spread an even layer of the Spicy Beans. 

Second, spread on the Basic Guacamole.

Next, cover with as much sour cream as you like. 

Then, put the salsa on top of the sour cream.

Lastly, pour on the cheese sauce. Garnish with some red pepper flakes and cilantro. 

This was big hit! We munched on this while the grill heated up and it was devoured quickly.