Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Katrina's quesadillas

These beef fajita quesadillas have quickly become a favorite around here because they are so quick and so good. They don’t even require a side dish, but if you’re feeling extra domestic, feel free to put out some chips and salsa and call it good.
By slicing the beef before cooking it, the cooking time is decreased dramatically. And, if you’ve got a family-size griddle like mine, you can griddle 2 quesadillas at once. The whole meal can easily be cooked and ready to eat in 20 minutes or less (even faster if you use some leftover beef from the night before)!
Before we get started, I’ll throw in a little note on my preferred choice of beef for this dish — flank steak. It’s an economical cut with a ton of flavor that also meets the government’s guidelines for lean. However, it’s also one that requires a little marinating for the best eating experience. But you know what? It’s worth it! When it’s all said and done you’ll get a nice, tender piece of meat out of the deal that has an exceptional flavor. I like to beat on it a little with a meat mallet (optional step but great for taking out any aggressions) and then marinate it for a few hours or overnight, whatever best fits my schedule. Let’s get started with that step. You’ll need:
1-pound flank steak, cut into strips (always cut across the grain)
3 cloves of garlic, smashed/peeled and minced
Lime juice (I use the stuff that comes in the little green bottle)
Vegetable oil
Toss the flank steak strips and garlic into a Ziploc bag. Give it a good squirt of lime juice and add about a lid full of vegetable oil. Shake the bag up and put it in the fridge until you’re ready for it.
Fast forward to dinner time…
You’ll need your marinated steak, plus:
4 flour tortillas
Mexican blend shredded cheese
Butter, margarine or spread
Nacho sliced pickled jalapeños
Fajita seasoning (Fiesta brand is my favorite)
Remove the steak strips from the bag and pat dry. I like to leave the garlic chunks with the beef and cook those up (and include them in the quesadillas), too. If you’re not a big fan of garlic, just toss them out with the marinade. I promise it won’t hurt my feelings. Sprinkle with fajita seasoning on both sides.
Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat.
Once it’s good and warm, add the steak and garlic and cook to desired doneness.
While that’s cooking, get your other ingredients ready:
Butter one side of each of the 4 flour tortillas.
Take several jalapeño slices out of the jar and cut them into 4 to 6 pieces each.
Once the steak is almost done, heat up your griddle to 350 degrees.
Once the steak is done, remove it from the heat. Take one of the tortillas and cover the non-buttered side with steak, cheese and jalapeños. Top it with another one of the tortillas (buttered side out, like you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich) and flip onto the griddle. Repeat for the second quesadilla.
Cook until brown on one side and then flip. If the cheese isn’t quite melted to your liking by the time both sides brown, turn the heat down and let it melt a little more.
Remove from the heat and cut each quesadilla into 4 pieces.
It should look something like this (the Mr. gets a larger portion that I do):

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