When a craving for steak hits the same time as exhaustion, this is what’s for dinner. It’s been awhile since I had beef in the weeknight rotation, so I’m not surprised my second-trimester body was asking for it. We decided to do pan-seared steak tips one evening and use the leftover steak the next night for these quesadillas.
My go-to filling is to make a batch of sautéed onions with bell peppers, black beans, and cumin. This gives you a bit of fiber and vegetables but keeps the dinner prep simple and minimal. Using steak instead of chicken was such a welcome departure from our usual routine. Like with past quesadilla recipes I’ve made, the trick is to not go overboard with the cheese. An overly cheesy mix just inundates you and is less enjoyable than a well balanced mixture of ingredients.
A few tips for quesadilla prep:
- Toast the inside side of both tortillas first, before you start to put the quesadillas together. Turn the heat on over medium-low and get a little crispness and color, then pull them from the heat and keep them on a plate nearby. Use your fingers or a fork to break any air pockets that form.
- Layer the ingredients starting with a bit of cheese, spread out to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Don’t pile everything in the center because it’ll just be a mess when you cut the quesadilla into slices. Sprinkle the meat and bean-pepper mixture in even layers over the cheese.
- Complete the filling with a second layer of cheese (this can be why going overboard with cheese feels easy). The goal is to have the melted cheese serve as the glue that holds the quesadilla together, rather than having cheese –> steak –> peppers –> tortilla with nothing holding the last tortilla on.
- Use the plate set to the side to help you flip the quesadillas. Let the first side get lightly browned, the first layer of cheese melt, and then remove the whole quesadilla to the plate with a spatula. If the first layer isn’t crisp, it could droop and let out some of the filling accidentally. Flip the quesadilla while it is on the plate to give it enough structure to hold together. It’s the worst when the filling spills out, so the plate and the crispness really help here.
These also came together fast enough that Charlotte joined us for dinner. Sometimes dinner prep drags on and we just have to feed her whatever leftovers from previous nights we have on hand (mom goals in progress). So sitting around the table with a quesadilla wedge in hand, she dives right in to the sour cream instead. Licking it off her quesadilla tip, then ultimately going right for an open-palmed grab of the spoonful on her plate. She siphons it all into her mouth directly, smiles happily, and asks for more, please.