Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Roasted Tomato Quesadillas with Cilantro Cream

[Photograph: Cara Eisenpress of Big Girls, Small Kitchen]

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.

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