Sunday, October 31, 2010

Squash Quesadilla's

One of the more fun foods we have on occasion at our house is quesadilla's. You can put all sorts of things between two flour tortilla's and make a meal... or dessert (thin sliced apples, crushed nuts, honey). But on this particular day, my daughter was having her best friend spend the night and they had all sorts of fall activities planned. When I saw the idea of a squash quesadilla, I thought it was pretty cool. However, pureed squash and cheese just didn't give me the festive dinner I was looking for. So I improvised and what followed was a really delicious, fun meal that my family and our little guest requested I make again, very soon.

What you'll need: butternut squash, onion, olive oil, cilantro, chili powder, a 1/4 cup liquid (butter, heavy cream, chicken stock, veggie stock, etc.), cheese, flour tortilla's

Wash the outside of you squash, cut the top off, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Rub a little olive oil on the orange flesh and then place them flat side down on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil that has been rubbed with olive oil. Roast them in the oven for about 40 minutes at 375-400 degrees. You should be able to insert a knife through the rind easily when the squash is done cooking.

While your squash is roasting in the oven, dice an onion and put it in a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Saute the onions on medium until they are translucent and slightly caramelized.

While the onions are caramelizing, chop up about 1 ounce or 1 bunch of cilantro. When the squash is done roasting, scoop it out and put it in the pan with the onions. Add 1 tsp of chili powder and 1/4 cup of liquid. If there isn't any liquid, it gets really thick.  Choose whichever liquid you like according to taste and diet. Also remember that all of these items so far have no seasoning, so salt and pepper would be appropriate at this time.

Stir it all up so it's nice and hot. Even with the 1/4 cup liquid, it's still going to be a little thick. That's a good thing because you don't want the mixture oozing out from between the tortilla's.

Take a large spoonful and spread it around on the tortilla leaving a 1 inch margin. This will allow for melting items to not escape as easily when they are pressed and heated.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Just a word to the wise, shred your own cheese. The cheese that you buy pre-shredded in a bag is packed with sawdust. Yep... I said sawdust. It probably reads on the bag as cellulose or something like that. They use the sawdust to keep the cheese from sticking in a big glob in the bag. So, unless you are seriously lacking in fiber, say no to the bag.

We were lucky enough to find a sweet little quesadilla press at a local store for a great price. If you don't have one of these beauties, a skillet on your stove top will work just fine. Put the tortilla with the squash mixture and the cheese on the bottom plate.

Top with another flour tortilla and close the press.

After 3 minutes, lift the lid and using a spatula transfer the quesadilla to a dinner plate.

Using a pizza wheel, cut the quesadilla on the pressed lines. You can serve them with sour cream, salsa or whatever you like best. When we make these again, we'll probably add some cayenne pepper for heat and a little garlic. Hope you enjoy them!

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