Don’t you love freezer friendly meals? Especially when you don’t even need to remember to take them out of the freezer before you go to work! This recipe is part of a series where I show you How to Make 5 Mexican Freezer Friendly meals (for 4 people!) in 1 hour for $50 using one batch of Pork Carnitas.
“Quesadillas are great standby meals to have in the freezer because they thaw so quickly”
There is an art to making quesadillas. Learn from my mistakes:
1. Use 1 rather than 2 tortillas. Don’t sandwich your filling between 2 tortillas. I learnt this the hard way when I flipped a tortilla and most of the filling went flying. Use the “half moon” technique by putting the filling on one side then folding the tortilla over. When you flip, flip it over the folded edge which will ensure all the filling stays in.
2. Don’t overfill. It’s so tempting to overstuff it. But resist! Not only is it harder to flip but it’s also harder to eat because the filling falls out. As a general rule, stick to about 1/3 cup of filling in total per tortilla.
3. Don’t cook on high heat. The tortilla will burn before the cheese is melted. Patience will be rewarded. Turn down the heat to medium / medium high.
4. Don’t use corn tortillas. Because they’re less pliable, they don’t hold together well when you flip them.
5. Eat them fresh off the stove! They don’t reheat well – the crispy crust goes soggy.
Quesadillas are great for freezing! Because they’re quite thin, they defrost quickly which means you don’t even need to remember to take them out of the freezer before you leave for work. You can just take them out 30 minutes to an hour before dinner and they will defrost. If you are really pressed for time, just zap them in the microwave to thaw them. I’ve done this before and they still crisp up perfectly on the stove.
I’ve jazzed up these quesadillas with caramelized onion which is a cost effective way of making a dish “gourmet”. Caramelized onions freeze well and can be stored in the fridge for up to a week so it’s a great idea to cook up a big batch while you’re at it!
These quesadillas are made using leftover Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) because it is part of a series where I show you how you can make How to Make 5 Mexican Freezer Friendly meals (for 4 people!) in 1 hour for $50 using one batch of Pork Carnitas. But you can substitute with cooked chicken or beef (lamb might be a bit odd tasting…?).
In this series, each meal serves 4, so if you’re cooking for 2, then you’ll have 10 meals! Really truly, cross my heart. And it’s a super cost effective menu because there’s a lot of common ingredients, plus a little bit of Pork Carnitas goes a long way.
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 tortillas
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen or canned)
- 1/2 cup diced red capsicum (bell pepper)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh parsley or coriander , finely chopped (optional garnish)
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 2 brown onions , halved and finely sliced
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
Caramelised Onions: Melt butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 7 minutes, stirring every now and then so they cook evenly. Add remaining Caramelized Onion ingredients and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until sticky and caramelised. Remove from heat and set aside.
Brown Pork Carnitas (optional): Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a fry pan over high heat. Add Pork Carnitas and press down lightly with a spatula to help crisp up. When the Pork Carnitas are heated through and the underside is golden brown and crisp (about 1 to 1/2 minutes), remove from pan (do not flip).
Lay out the tortillas. Divide the cheese between the tortillas, scattering evenly across half of each tortilla. Top with pork carnitas, corn, capsicum and Caramelised Onion. Season to taste with pepper and salt. (Note: Different cheeses have different levels of saltiness, so be careful not to over season.) Fold the tortillas in half.
To freeze: Wrap each tortilla tightly in cling wrap and freeze until required. Defrost before cooking.
To cook: Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add as many quesadillas as will fit in the pan. Cook until nicely browned on the underside (about 1 1/2 minutes), then flip over the folded edge. Cook the other side until browned, then remove from pan. Tip: Keep cooked quesadillas warm in a very low oven. Keep then in spread out in a single layer so they stay crisp.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley if desired.
1. The Pork Carnitas used in this recipe are flavoured. If you are using unflavoured cooked protein as a substitute (eg. poached chicken), toss the chicken with a pinch of salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and onion or garlic powder if you have it.
2. If using frozen corn, allow to defrost slightly to ensure they cook through.
3. Nutrition per serving.