Black bean quesadillas | Gather & Dine

 Now that the kids are getting a little older and have their own evening activities, there are days when we only have ten minutes to get together as a family to have dinner.  Those are quesadilla days.  It’s been fun to experiment with different ways to dress up quesadillas and make them more interesting.  The black been spread on these adds a layer of texture and flavor  and gives some added protein and fiber.  The black bean mixture can be made ahead of time and then everything can be assembled quickly before heating the quesadillas.  We usually use whole wheat tortillas, but sometimes I use brown rice tortillas just for variety.  These go along well with guacamole and salsa.  I am so thankful for simple and tasty dinners, even when dinner only lasts ten minutes.

Black Bean Quesadillas
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, lightly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • colby jack cheese, shredded
  • flour or rice tortillas
  1. To make the black bean spread, combine the black beans, onions, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon water in a food processor. Process until beans are creamy and smooth, adding another tablespoon of water only if necessary. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Spread a layer of the black bean mixture on top of the tortilla, top with cheese, and then another tortilla. Heat both sides on a buttered griddle or pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, until cheese is melted. Let cool for one minute before cutting into wedges. Serve with guacamole and salsa.
adapted from The Ski House Cookbook by Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo



Creamy guacamole and hot salsa

Our family likes avocado everything.  On toast, in soups, in salads,  in sandwiches…  to us everything avocado is delightful and delicious.  One thing that is NOT delightful for my kids is raw onion, so chunky guacamole does not go over well with them, even though they love avocado.  Once I started making guacamole in the food processor to achieve a super smooth and creamy guacamole, my kids devoured it.  Fine with me too, no chopping or dicing, throw everything into the food processor, and it’s done.  What’s not to love about that?!

The salsa recipe is one that my father-in-law came up with.  Yes, I have a father-in-law that can cook like no other.  Having dinner at my in-laws is always a big treat.  Since being married to my husband, I have developed my taste for hot and spicy foods.  And this salsa is hot.  If you prefer a more mild salsa, leave out the jalapeños, and reduce the amount of crushed red pepper and cayanne pepper.  While I often enjoy using fresh herbs, this recipe actually works better with dried parsley and cilantro.  The dried herbs soak up the crushed tomatoes and help to thicken up the salsa.   I love this salsa because it doesn’t get watery, it’s not too sweet, and it has so much flavor.  It’s possible to eat the salsa immediately after making it, but the texture and flavors really develop after sitting overnight.  This keeps well for a couple weeks when stored in the refrigerator.

Creamy Guacamole
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ¼ medium onion (about ⅓ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, lightly packed
  • 2-3 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Scoop flesh out of the avocados and put into a food processor, along with remaining ingredients.
  2. Process for one minute, or until guacamole reaches desired consistency.

Hot Salsa
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 jalapeños, seeds removed
  • 1 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  1. Use a food processor to finely chop the onions. Transfer to a large bowl, and then use the food processor to finely chop the jalapeños. Add the jalapeños to the onions.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir together thoroughly. Transfer to storage containers and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.


Lemon Chia Seed Mufffins

Today it was cloudy and rainy and the forecast for the entire week is…. cloudy and rainy.  So I made Honey Lemon Chia Seed Muffins!  Nothing like a little lemon to brighten up a cloudy day.  These whole grain muffins are made with spelt flour, sweetened with honey, and contain omega-3-rich chia seeds.  Spelt flour is officially part of the wheat family, but it has a higher protein content and is more easily digested than the more common wheat.  (Although it does contain gluten and is not gluten-free.)  These spelt muffins are tender and moist and best eaten warm out of the oven.

Honey Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Grease or line 12 muffins cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs. Add the yogurt, honey, melted butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
inspired by Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins from Lorna Sass's Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way