Clear-the-Fridge Quesadillas

quesadillasWe’ve just come back from a family trip out to Colorado–if my math is right, it was the fifth time we’ve gone.We stay in Manitou, a small, artsy, and self-admittedly weird community just north of Colorado Springs.

Every time we go, we rent a suite at one of the roadside motels–since it’s off season, we end up getting two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room for less than the price of most national chain hotels. Not only do we save a little money, but it gives us the option of a home-cooked meal whenever we want to take a break from eating out.

At some point toward the end of the week, things start to get a little creative as we try to work out what can we make with what we have in the fridge and cupboards without heading back out to the grocery store. Of course, it helps if when you go shopping you are purchasing food items that are versatile to begin with. We always have corn and flour tortillas around the house for just that reason, and that is certainly the case when we are traveling as well.

What we whipped up below was our last lunch and took care of most of the leftovers in the fridge. The measurements are estimates at best–the most truthful measure would be: whatever you have left.

5 strips of bacon, diced
2 thick slices of deli ham, diced
3/4 cup cooked broccoli florets, chopped
salt, to taste
1-1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
10 flour tortillas (taco-sized)

Place the diced bacon in a hot pan and fry until almost crisp. Remove just about all the rendered fat, and then add the ham. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the ham starts to brown in places. Now add the broccoli and cook for another minute or two. Add a few pinches of salt, as needed (depending on how salty the ham and bacon are to begin with). Transfer the saute mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.

quesadilla sauteNow, you could use a new frying pan for this next step, but I usually just give the pan a quick wipe with a paper towel….

Place a flour tortilla in the hot pan. Add a handful of cheese and two tablespoons of the saute mixture. Place a second tortilla on top and press lightly–enough to flatten the  mixture without obliterating the broccoli. Cook until the bottom tortilla starts to brown, making sure not to burn it. Turn and cook until it begins to brown on the other side.

Set aside the cooked quesadillas for a couple of minutes, then slice into quarter. Serve with, well, whatever else you have in the fridge that you are trying to use up!

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