ground beef and red pepper quesadillas

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Fall is almost here and schools are back open.  Although neither Shirley nor I are in school or work in the school system, the fall seems to have that effect on us.  The traffic is worse, the days feel shorter, and the hours seem busier.  So please excuse our random absences from the blog as we wrap our heads around this new season!

With K and I’s busy last couple of weeks, we’ve enjoyed adding these quesadillas to the dinner mix.  This is one of those dishes that’s the perfect trifecta – quick, delicious, and filling.  A great addition to those crazy nights when you feel like your only option is to eat out.

I made this dish with our amazing quesadilla maker, although I’ve also had great success using a Panini maker.  The ridges on the quesadilla maker do all the work for you.  They make the creases in the tortilla, which shapes it into 4 equal pieces, and gives it those super crispy sides that I crave.  All that’s left for you to do is prepare the filling (which could not get any easier), and a quick salsa or guacamole.

Ground Beef and Red Pepper Quesadillas
(Serves 2-3)

3 8-inch tortillas
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 pound 85% ground beef
1 pepper, cleaned and diced into ½-inch cubes
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
cooking spray
hot sauce (optional)
salsa, sour cream, or guacamole, for dipping

In a large frying pan, melt the butter at medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and garlic, and stir occasionally to prevent anything from burning.  After about 3 minutes, the onion should be translucent and caramelized.  Next, add the red pepper slices, and let cook for about 3-4 minutes.

Add the ground beef, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.  Let it sit for a couple minutes, then stir it with the onion, garlic, and pepper mixture.  Add the chili powder and salt, and any other seasonings you may enjoy.  Continue stirring occasionally for about 7-10 minutes more, or until the beef is fully cooked.

Meanwhile, turn on the quesadilla or Panini maker and prepare it by either rubbing the inside with butter, or spraying it down with cooking spray.  Lay a tortilla on the maker and sprinkle with a single layer of the beef mixture on the lower half (the half that is laying on the maker).  Add a layer of cheese over the beef, as well as a few drops of hot sauce, if you’d like.

While holding the top half and lowering it down onto the bottom half, slowly close the maker.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the edges of the quesadilla triangles are crispy.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and beef.  Serve immediately with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream!

– food on,
Sharon

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