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Go-to quesadillas are quick, versatile, satisfying

Oklahoman food columnist Sherrel Jones talks about the evolution of her go-to meals.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: June 19, 2013

Go-to foods are those you rely on to answer those proverbial questions: What are we having for lunch or what's for dessert? In our house, my husband always wants to know what we're having for lunch or dinner. I can almost predict when he's going to ask it, so most days I have an answer ready for him. There are several standards we enjoy for lunch and if you are trying to be healthy, some that have changed over time.

Back when we lived inside the Enid city limits, my husband came home for lunch most of the time. But now that we live outside town, I prepare and send lunch to the office with him. With a busy schedule of my own, I've expanded my go-to list to include plenty of healthy things for office, home and company.

We have favorite family foods for the few occasions our children show up and those aren't always the healthiest ones, so it is even more important that our everyday foods do not include Miss Bonnie's Fried Chicken with Chicken Fried Biscuits (my mother's recipe) or Chicken-Fried Steak with sides of fried okra and mashed potatoes with cream gravy plus homemade biscuits. (I am salivating just thinking about such things!)

Our Saturday lunch favorite of the “Melt,” as we called it, had to change after my husband's bypass surgery. Before that it was made open-faced like my mother-in-law taught me with a slice of white bread, buttered on both sides, slathered with mayonnaise, a big slice of tomato (preferably a giant homegrown one), crisp bacon (3 or even 4 overlapping slices), sliced onion and sliced sharp cheddar cheese. This was all melted and broiled together in a 400-degree, carefully monitored oven at the last to add a little brown to the oozing cheddar as it made its way down these decadent layers.

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Sherrel's Go-To Quesadillas

2 corn tortillas

2 teaspoons vegetable, grape seed or olive oil to brush on tortilla surfaces and additional for sauteing spinach (a handful or 2 for each quesadilla)

1 or 2 tablespoons grated Mexican Blend or goat cheese for each quesadilla

Optional addition: 1/3 to ½ cup black beans drained, heated and partially mashed (You will be able to make 3 to 4 quesadillas with each 15½-ounce can of black beans.)


• Prepare tortillas by brushing all surfaces with oil. Place in heated nonstick skillet over medium heat to lightly crisp both tortillas on both sides. This should take only a minute or two. Season skillet with a teaspoon or two of oil and saute a generous handful of pre-washed fresh baby spinach. When spinach is wilted, transfer to one of the tortillas.

• Sprinkle the grated cheese or dot the goat cheese over the spinach. Top with the other tortilla and put quesadilla back into skillet to heat through. If adding the optional black beans, heat them in a separate pan then put them under the spinach layer and top with cheese and remaining tortilla before heating until cheese melts.

• Serve hot with your favorite salsa.

Cook's note: You can add a variety of other ingredients including slices of leftover steak or chicken, roasted peppers, mushrooms and even summer squash.

SOURCE: Sherrel Jones


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