If I have tortillas in the fridge, I can always make a meal. Whether my stock of tortillas gets used for tacos, enchiladas, or quesadillas, it is invaluable. Inexpensive ingredients, even leftovers, are infinitely more appealing when wrapped in a plain old supermarket tortilla—warmed, crisped, and filled.
Cheese is the obvious answer to what goes inside a quesadilla. Freshly roasted tomatoes are a little more counterintuitive, when we're talking cheap and when the season is winter. But pints of cherry tomatoes are relatively flavorful, even in January, and roasting them brings out all their sweet fruity tones—so much so that a bite into one of these quesadillas could almost transport you to summertime. A dollop of herbed sour cream on top brings all the flavors together and makes the presentation plenty attractive to serve to a guest.
Shopping List: 3 tortillas, $1.50 (prorated); 4.5 ounces white cheddar, shredded, $2.25; 1 box cherry tomatoes, $2.50; 1 cup fresh spinach, $0.75; 1/4 cup sour cream, $0.50 (prorated); 1/2 cup cilantro, $0.50 (prorated)
Pantry Items:Olive Oil, Sugar, Salt, Cayenne Pepper
Total Cost (for 2 portions): $8.00
About the authors: Phoebe and Cara are the co-founders of Big Girls, Small Kitchen, a food and cooking website for twenty-something cooks looking for user-friendly, affordable ways to navigate their kitchens. They have a heated, decade-long rivalry about whose Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie is the best. Their book, In The Small Kitchen, will be published in the spring of 2011 by William Morrow. Visit their blog here.
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Three 10-inch flour tortillas
- 4.5 ounces white cheddar, grated
- 1 cup fresh spinach
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. In small bowl, combine sour cream, cilantro, and cayenne. Season to taste with salt.
In large cast iron skillet or baking dish, toss tomatoes together with 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and olive oil. Bake in oven until tomatoes have released a lot of liquid and their skins have begun to burst, 15 to 20 minutes.
Turn heat up to 450°F and cook until skins are blistered, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
Divide the shredded cheese between three tortillas, arranging it on one-half of each. Top each with 1/3 of the spinach and about 10 tomatoes (you may have a few leftover).
Heat 12-inch cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Fold tortillas in half and place 2 in skillet with cheese layer on the bottom. Cook until both sides are toasted and cheese is melted, flipping once halfway through cooking, 3 to 4 minutes.
Cut each quesadilla into quarters and arrange 6 on each plate. Top with cilantro cream and serve.