Janet's Notebook
Easy, Delicious Dishes Save Time and Money

"As You Like It" Peppery Quesadilla

Simple recipes don't have to mean boring meals. Not once in my life have I passed up a recipe because it looked "too easy". Can you imagine? I practically jump up and down for joy any time I find a dish that is easy to prepare. Why? Because simple food can be delicious too.

At the heart of good quality, easy recipes is the notion of what I call foundation cooking. These are the dishes that get you through a hectic week... ones that are so delicious at their very core that they can handle last minute ingredient substitutions and come out all the better for it.

Soups are all-star foundation dishes. I can't begin to recall all the many times that I've tossed in cauliflower instead of broccoli or beans in place of pasta. With a good quality base and solid seasoning, a soup recipe can help you clean out the pantry AND have them coming back for seconds.

Judy Richardson of Anderson, SC took a cold day and some chicken noodle know-how and turned it into an inspired new recipe.

"Since it was cold... I decided to make some turkey soup from leftover turkey and some broth I made from the bones," explains Judy. "I didn't have noodles so I tried the Ramen noodles and it was very tasty."

Now that's what I'm talking about! With lots of veggies and a deceptively creamy consistency (for a recipe that calls for no cream), Judy's Quick and Easy Turkey Noodle Soup is the perfect example of adapting a solid, simple recipe to mesh with the ingredients you have on hand.

Quesadillas are another great way to serve up a hot, fast meal without making a grocery run. More festive than a plain ol' sandwich, quesadillas are meant to be filled with just a few simple ingredients. Grilled onions, refried beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and leftover steak are all terrific fillers. And when you "glue" it all together with gooey melted cheese, well, I defy the gourmands of the world to come up with anything more delicious!

The Kitchen Crew and I recently tried a new quesadilla recipe that has really got us talking. Michigan gal Lois Miller's As You Like It Peppery Quesadilla starts off just like any other, but has the interesting added ingredient of mayonnaise. That's right, mayonnaise! She carefully blends it with a healthy amount of cilantro and then spreads it onto the inside of the tortillas for an added layer of creaminess. The finished product is simply out of this world. Try it with chicken, avocado and pepperjack cheese like Lois suggests, or get creative and invent your own signature recipe. That's what foundation cooking is all about.

So often I go to the grocery store, come home, and end up making a recipe that doesn't include a single one of the items I just bought. Whether by necessity or by choice, it's not only possible to make spectacular food from everyday ingredients, but I actually prefer it! Saving time and money in the kitchen means more to spend with family. And for me, that's the most delicious thing of all.

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Deb B - Jan 24, 2011
I can't wait to try the quesadilla w/ mayo. I put mustard on my bean burritos, why not mayo on a quesadilla? I will definitely try this recipe.
Jane Whittaker - Jan 19, 2011
Loved the quesadilla, the mayo was inspired. Looks like a must have recipie!
Susan Feliciano - Jan 18, 2011
Great recipe above, by the way - deserved a blue ribbon! Can't wait to try it.