black bean quesadillas

This is my first summer in New York, and it’s packed to the humid skies with locals and tourists. I miss summers in Calgary, where the sidewalks are lonely and the humidity is low. Summer is not the season for cooking in the kitchen, and I have discovered that Eating Well has a number of Quick and Easy recipes online. Black Bean Quesadillas, I love you! I adapted the recipe by increasing the cheese and the salsa. I left out the oil and just used my grill pan to toast the tortillas. It really doesn’t need oil to cook. Whole wheat tortillas have a nutty toasty flavor anyway!

Black Bean Quesadillas

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Ingredients
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1/2 – 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, preferably pepper Jack
1 cup prepared fresh salsa, divided (I bought mild salsa from Trader Joe’s)
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas (I used rectangular whole wheat roll-ups)
1 ripe avocado, diced, optional

Preparation
1. Combine beans, cheese and 1/4 – 1/2 cup salsa in a medium bowl. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 1/2 cup filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
2. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat. Serve the quesadillas with avocado, if desired, and the remaining salsa.

chicken and fennel meatballs

I liked the fact this recipe said to pinch off a bit and cook it up, taste it, and adjust seasoning. And that’s what I did.  I increased the amount of fennel, black pepper, and garlic, and I used egg whites instead of whole eggs. It wasn’t bad. I didn’t make the salsa verde because I couldn’t find the tinned tomatillos. Instead I bought a jar of Classico Cabernet Marinara and threw into it some leftover broccoli. This recipe comes from a Canadian magazine City Palate.ca. Thanks for the magazine, Ardis!

Serves six.

Meatballs
Extra virgin olive oil/cooking spray
2 lb ground chicken
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, toasted and ground
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
1/2 cup finely chopped bacon (didn’t say cooked or raw, so raw it must be!)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped (sub cilantro)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white wine
2 egg whites

Salsa Verde
1 can tomatillos
2-3 serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
salt to taste
olive oil to drizzle

Spaghetti, cooked (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Drizzle a medium casserole dish with olive oil and set it aside.
  2. Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until they are just combined, making sure not to over mix. The mixture should feel slightly tacky and wet. Pinch off a small piece, flatten it out and cook it in the oven. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the mixture accordingly.
  3. Form the mixture into 1-1/2-inch balls and place them in the prepared casserole dish. Bake the meatballs, rotating the dish halfway through cooking, for 20 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the salsa verde. In a blender, purée the tomatoes. Then add the chilies, cilantro, and salt. Continue to blend until the cilantro is finely chopped but not completely puréed. Transfer the meatballs to a sauté pan, our the salsa verde over them and warm through. Serve drizzled with olive oil. Eat with cooked spaghetti, if you wish.