National Quesadilla Day Wrap up Your Celebrations With These 5 Recipes
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Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy snack or a hearty meal, quesadillas are the perfect option. Here are five exceptional recipes you can try outon National Quesadilla Day or any other day.
What is a Quesadilla?
Take a corn tortilla. Stuff it with chicken, pork, beef, or vegetables. Put in some cheese. Grill the tortilla for a touch of crispiness. Season with salsa, tomatoes, sour cream, herbs, chilies, or guacamole. What you have is comfort food at its best. This quintessentially Mexican dish -- the quesadilla -- can be served as an appetizer, snack, dessert, and entree, and equally enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The delightful little quesadilla has several regional varieties. In southern and central Mexico, flat circular cooked corn masa (a dough made from nixtamalized and ground corn) known as the tortilla is softened through heating so that it can be folded in half and stuffed with filling.
The filling typically consists of Oaxaca cheese, which is a stringy cheese of the Mexican variety made using the pasta filata or stretched-curd technique. The pasta filata method involves heating the curd and stretching it before turning it into cheese. The cheese in the tortilla is fully melted by cooking it on a comal (a flat and smooth griddle used in Mexico, Central and South America). The quesadilla is cooked without adding oil and often served with red or green salsa and guacamole.
Quesadillas can alternatively be oil-fried to turn them into fritas. These quesadilla fritas are made in the form of a pastry, with the uncooked masa prepared in small circles, and then topped with the filling. The quesadilla is then folded to form the pastry. The pastries are then cooked in hot oil till they turn crisp and golden.
In southwestern US, quesadillas resemble grilled cheese sandwiches and consist of local ingredients.
What is National Quesadilla Day?
The quesadilla is so popular in the US, it has a national day dedicated to it, on September 25. Quesadilla is the third most sought-after Mexican dish in the country after nachos and salsa, according to research by the data and public opinion agency YouGov. In the overall list of popular dishes in the US prepared by YouGov, Quesadilla occupies eighth place.
Any day is a good day to stop by your favourite Mexican or Tex-Mex diner, but National Quesadilla Day is the best. A number of restaurants offer substantial discounts and hold exciting contests to attract customers. But if you want to celebrate this little parcel of goodness with friends and family, simply put together a Mexican-themed party. Throw in the right drinks (Modelo, Dos Equis beer, Sol Cerveza, Corona, Margaritas, Horchata or Palomas), bring out the Maracas and you're all set.
Origins of National Quesadilla Day
National Quesadilla Day was started by V&V Supremo, an American company that supplies Mexican products. The first National Quesadilla Day was held on 10th September 2020.
The origins of the quesadilla itself may be traced to the Aztecs of southern Mexico who were known to prepare corn tortillas. These native Americans stuffed the tortillas with pumpkin and squash and baked them as a sweet dessert in clay ovens.
The Spanish colonialists conquered the Aztec empire in 1521 and moved into New Spain (an area comprising Mexico, southwestern US, the northern areas of South America, Central America, and a number of Pacific Ocean islands). The settlers brought with them livestock like cows and sheep. Consequently, cheese and other dairy products became common in this newly-conquered land. Legend has it that not long after, indigenous Americans started using cheese as a filling in their tortillas along with the pumpkin and squash they traditionally used, producing the quesadillas we know today.
However, while one school of thought believes that the quesadilla was introduced by the Spanish settlers, another school says that it originated in Mexico itself.
Quesadillas are Best Served With…
Today, the humble quesadilla is served in Fast Food restaurants across the world as a highly popular Tex Mex 'sandwich'. This folded meal works wonderfully with a variety of Side Dishes, including cilantro lime rice, black bean salad, cheesy potatoes, sweet potato salad, and pickled jalapenos.
Let's now look at five handpicked recipes that are sure to make your National Quesadilla Day celebrations memorable.
1. Chicken Quesadilla
- 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts sliced into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 small finely diced red onion
- 1 finely diced green bell pepper
- 8 medium-sized flour tortillas
- 3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Sour cream and salsa for serving
- Heat a large skillet over medium flame and apply non-stick spray.
- Place the chicken in it and sprinkle with garlic powder, chili powder, salt, onion powder, and oregano. Stir well to coat and cook for six to eight minutes. Remove the chicken mixture from the skillet. Keep it warm.
- Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for five to eight minutes until the ingredients soften and start to brown. Remove from the skillet.
- Wipe the skillet with a moist paper towel. Apply some non-stick spray or a drizzle of oil.
- Place the tortillas in the skillet. Fill half of every tortilla with two to three tablespoons of the chicken mixture, bell pepper mixture, and cheese. Be liberal with the cheese.
- Fold the tortillas in the form of semi-circles. Cook each side for around three minutes until they turn golden brown and the cheese melts. Flip the tortillas halfway while cooking.
- Repeat this process until all the quesadillas are cooked. Serve with salsa or sour cream.
2. Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of ground Chipotle chili pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper (freshly ground)
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 12 ounces of shredded and divided cheese blend (ideally a combination of Monterey Jack, cheddar, and pizza mozzarella cheese)
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted beef broth/stock
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for greasing the pan (use around 2 teaspoons of oil for every batch)
- 6 flour tortillas (each measuring around 7 to 8 inches in diameter)
- Salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole for serving
- Preheat the oven to 200 F.
- Heat olive oil over medium flame in a big non-stick frying pan. Add ground beef, Chipotle pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Cook the ground beef in small batches, stirring occasionally. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the ground beef is fully cooked and is no longer pink.
- Stir in the beef stock/broth and tomato paste and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the ground beef mixture from the frying pan and put it in a bowl. Drain/remove excess grease.
- Slather one side of the tortillas with 8 ounces (2 cups) of cheese.
- Spread the ground beef mixture on top of the cheese. Add the remaining cheese on top. Fold each tortilla over so it assumes a half-circle shape.
- For cooking the quesadillas, heat around 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a big non-stick pan over a medium-low flame. Swirl the oil gently around the frying pan to coat. If using the same frying pan for cooking the quesadillas as the one used for cooking the beef, wipe the pan before greasing. Cook the quesadillas two at a time. Add more oil between batches if needed.
- Place the quesadillas in the pan and cook on one side for around 2 minutes.
- Flip the quesadillas. Cook for 2 more minutes until they turn crispy and golden brown and the cheese melts. Transfer the quesadillas to a sheet pan. Place it in the preheated oven to keep the quesadillas warm as you cook the rest of the batch.
- Once all the quesadillas are cooked, slice each half-circle in half so that there are 12 pieces. Serve with guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream.
3. Farmers’ Market Veggie Quesadilla
For the quesadilla filling-
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 roughly chopped garlic cloves
- 1/2 diced onion
- 4 cups of corn and finely chopped vegetables, including bell pepper, summer squash, zucchini, mushrooms, sweet potato, and broccoli.
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of coriander
- 1 to 2 cups of chopped greens (beet greens, spinach, turnip greens, chard, etc)
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 cup of canned or cooked black beans
- 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
- 4 tortillas, each measuring 10-12 inches
- 1 teaspoon of lime zest
- 6 ounces of shredded cheese
For the spicy sour cream-
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of fermented hot sauce
- 1/4 cup of yogurt or sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. If using a grill, preheat it to medium.
- To prepare the filling, heat oil over a medium-high flame in an extra-large pan. Add the garlic and onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes until the ingredients turn fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the finely chopped vegetables and salt.
- Cook for around 10 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the vegetables soften and release liquid. Lower the heat if required.
- Add oregano, coriander, cumin, chili powder, and stir well. Add the black beans and chopped greens and two tablespoons of water. Stir for 1-2 minutes until the greens wilt. Turn the heat off and stir in the lime zest and cilantro.
- For making the quesadillas, scatter half a cup of cheese fully covering each tortilla. Add a cup of vegetable filling over half of each tortilla. Fold the tortillas in half to encase the filling with cheese.
- Brush the tortillas on the outside with oil. Place for 15 minutes in a hot oven. The greased quesadilla can be placed on the oven grates directly, or sheet pan lined with parchment. Flip them halfway through. Bake the tortillas until they are crispy and the cheese melts.
- Cut each tortilla into 4 pieces. Serve with spicy sour cream and/or Pico De Gallo, which is a common spicy Mexican salsa. For making the spicy sour cream, mix sour cream with hot sauce in a small bowl.
4. Cinnamon Apple Quesadillas
- 1 diced Honeycrisp apple
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- 1 pinch of brown sugar
- 1 pinch of ground cinnamon, or more to taste
- 2 flour tortillas measuring 11 inches each
- Heat a big skillet over a medium-low flame. Cook the apple, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in the hot skillet for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the apple softens slightly and is caramelized.
- Place a tortilla over a medium-low flame in the same skillet.
- Spread the apple mixture over the tortilla. Top with the remaining tortilla.
- Cook for 1 to 3 minutes until the tortilla at the bottom turns golden brown.
- Flip the quesadilla and cook for 1 to 3 more minutes until the tortilla at the top also turns golden brown.
5. Simple Egg Quesadilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 whole grain tortilla measuring 8 inches
- Hot sauce, such as Cholula
- 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil or butter
- 1/3 cup of rinsed and drained cooked black beans or pinto beans
- 1 tablespoon of chopped green onion
- 1 tablespoon of chopped pickled jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup of grated packed sharp cheddar cheese
- A pinch of salt
- Additional hot sauce or salsa for serving
- Whisk the eggs in a bowl with salt and hot sauce until they blend well. Add the black/pinto beans. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a skillet of medium size over a medium flame till the butter starts bubbling.
- Add the egg mixture to the skillet. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently till the eggs are just set. Transfer the egg mixture to a bowl. The eggs will finish cooking in the quesadilla.
- Stir in the cilantro, green onion, and jalapeno.
- In a large skillet, heat the tortilla over a medium flame, flipping from time to time. Once the skillet and the tortilla are warm, sprinkle half the cheese over half of the tortilla. Add scrambled eggs on top of the cheese; then add the remaining cheese on top of the scrambled eggs.
- Place the empty tortilla half over the toppings. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is crispy and golden at the bottom. Reduce the heat if needed so that the tortilla doesn't burn. Flip the tortilla and cook until the top is also crispy and golden.
- Remove the pan from the flame immediately. Place the quesadilla on a cutting board. Allow it to cool for a few minutes, giving it time to set. Cut the quesadilla into two pieces and serve with hot sauce and/or salsa.