Black bean quesadillas
Sandwiched between 2 tortillas, black beans and vegetables are spiced up with a hot chili. Serve these skinny, warm grilled cheese Mexican sandwiches with a green salad. For an appetizer or soup accompaniment, let the quesadillas cool and cut them into smaller wedges.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bell peppers (use a mixture of red, yellow, orange, or green bell peppers), seeded, deveined, and finely chopped (about 2 cups)
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 jalapeño chili, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup coarsely chopped plum tomato
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Dash of salt, or to taste
Four 7-inch flour tortillas
1 cup (about 4 ounces) coarsely shredded Monterey jack cheese
Sour cream for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
To make the filling: Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, onion, jalapeño, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the remaining filling ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Place 2 tortillas on a baking sheet; sprinkle each with about ¼ cup of the cheese. Leaving a 1-inch border, spread half of the bell pepper mixture on each tortilla. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Top each with another tortilla, pressing down gently to make the filling adhere.
Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are softened and warm.
Use kitchen shears or a pizza wheel (cutter) to cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges.
Garnish with dollops of sour cream or add it to the plate on the side.
The quesadilla filling will keep for up to 3 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature; assemble and bake the quesadillas just before serving.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.