Friday, September 12, 2014

Fast Friday: Smashed white bean & kale quesadillas

Happy Friday to you, yours, and everyone else's!  How was the week?

Ours was nice and chill.  After a busy weekend, largely spent away from the apartment, we laid low in the evenings and entertained ourselves at home.  We even hosted friends dinner twice.  Not surprisingly, those two dinners were the only two that went off exactly as I'd planned; the rest were delicious but waaaaaaaay off the beaten path original meal plan.

Recently, a friend was teasing me for planning all of our meals for the coming week.  I gave my spiel about how much easier it makes grocery shopping and ensures that I don't have to make return trips to the store later in the week.  (You know, except for those emergency baking errands.)

I was thinking about that conversation later and realized that, while I may have both a plan in my brain and on paper, I tend to go rogue more often than I realized.  Yes, you read that correctly: Katy doesn't always stick with the plan.

Sometimes, it's something small, like using a different kind of cheese.  Other times, the change is a bit more significant, like opting to roast or saute something as opposed to putting it in the slow cooker for the day.  Truth be told, it's usually because I forgot to put it in the slow cooker.

Such is the story with these quesadillas.  The grand plan was to fill them with grilled chicken, corn, sauteed onions and peppers, black beans and cheese.  However, the quesadillas on our dinner plates looked nothing like them.

Who has two thumbs and can take all the credit/blame for that?  This woman.

I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw.  I used the last can of black beans for huevos rancheros on Sunday morning.  I diced, rather than sliced, the pepper and onion.  And the small opaque bag in the freezer that I thought contained corn actually contained green beans.  D'oh.

A little scrambling, pantry-raiding, and brainstorming yielded quesadillas that were delicious and totally hit the spot, possibly become our new favorite twist on the Mexican classic.

Smashed white bean and kale quesadillas for the win!

I remember stumbling across a recipe using white beans and kale.  A few seconds and clicks later, I found it and got to work on an easy and quick dinner.

Though I'm all about hype, there's something to be said for things that sneak up on you and end up being totally awesome.  These quesadillas were incredible!

Matt took the first bite (typical since I usually photograph his plate and let him start eating before the food gets cold), then a second and third.  Silence.  He was too quiet, which worried me.  "Is it okay?  How does it taste?"  A long pause, then, "Amaaaaaaaaaazing."

As soon as I dug in, I couldn't agree more.  From the perspectives of both the cook and the eater, I love love loved the concept of using smashed beans.  I can't sing enough praises about 'em.   It drives me crazy when beans roll out of quesadilla during cooking, leaivng you to either a) eat them or b) try to tuck them back into the tortillas.  Smashed beans for life!

But there's more to life than smashed beans.  Like crunchy kale.  And cheese!  Always cheese.  Salty sharp white cheddar that melts like a dream.  If quesadillas are metaphors for life, then cheese is the glue that holds everything together and makes it worthwhile.  Like love.  Cheese is love, y'all.

So make these quesadillas for those you love: guys, gals, neighbors, family, coworkers, even the guy who gives you a hard time for being an obsessive planner.  One bite and he'll be a believer, too.

One year ago: Banana bread
Two years ago: Grilled chicken & citrus quinoa salad
Three years ago: Easy honey & apple peanut butter tart
Four years ago: Mini pumpkin whoopie pies (gobs) with cream cheese filling

Smashed White Bean & Kale Quesadillas
(adapted slightly from this recipe)
-serves 2

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 (14.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
Ground black pepper
4-5 leaves curly kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 (10-inch) whole wheat tortillas
Salsa, for serving
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, for serving

Add oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, beans, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, until onions have softened, stirring occasionally.  Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mash beans.  Add 2 tablespoons of water, stirring to combine and remove pan from heat.  (You may need to add more water if bean mixture is particularly dry.)

Preheat panini/sandwich press to high heat.  (Feel free to use a skillet and heavy bowl to make quesadillas if you do not have a panini/sandwich press.) Place one tortilla on griddle, sprinkle 1/4 cheese on one half, followed by half of the bean mixture and half of the kale.  Finish with another 1/4 cup of cheese.  Fold tortilla in half and close sandwich press.

Cook for 4-5 minutes until cheese has melted and tortilla is golden brown.  Transfer tortilla to a cutting board to rest for a few minutes.  Repeat with remaining ingredients for second quesadilla.  Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges and serve warm with salsa and sour cream, if desired.  Enjoy!


  1. Wow! I love it! I'm so hungry right now...

    1. Just wait 'til you get a taste of these!