I had a heinous parenting day yesterday. Usually I hide it, hide out, and/or just vent to the hubby, but this time, I took it to Facebook, complete with a Facebook-appointed emotion. ” – feeling exhausted.” I’m not a Facebook drama queen (although maybe I am – do the drama queens know they’re drama queens?) – so a day has to be pur-retty bad to be all status update worthy. But after the kid used my laptop like a trampoline, I’d had enough.
I love my friends. Half a dozen other moms chimed in almost immediately, letting me know I’m not alone. And sometimes that’s all you need to know.
So! Smoky Delicata Squash & Black Bean Baked Quesadillas! They have nothing to do with my bad mom day, except that they were a definite bright spot.
After I happened across a write-up for delicata squash that suggested that their mild flavor and tender flesh are perfect for soaking up the flavors around them, I decided to go for it and season the bejesus out of one for this recipe. Sorry, crooked little buddy!
I basically gave the squash the taco meat treatment, except of course without the meat. And by that I mean that I sear the slices until they’re golden, then add some seasonings and water, give them a stir, and then let the water cook off. Just like taco meat! Except not!
Highly seasoned delicata squash are delicious, I have found. I’ve roasted them for years, but this preparation is a definite winner, too. Another thing that’s nice about delicata – and, for me, cooking them this way – is that you really don’t need to remove the tender, edible peel. I’ve never been a big fan of the peel, but the lazy side of me insisted I try cooking them this way with the peel on. And they were great! The key is that they’re pretty thinly sliced, so I don’t find myself gnawing on a hunk o’ peel. Because no one wants a hunk o’ peel.
Protein-rich black beans, seared onions, and pepper jack complete the picture. Fold ’em over and bake them for 20 minutes, and your bad parenting day is all but forgotten. Especially if you shut yourself in a room with them and blast Beth Orton music while chowing down. Who I suppose seems like a weird “bad day” choice but there is something about Beth that I just find strangely therapeutic. Beth and quesadillas.
Place leftover quesadillas in an airtight zipper bag, label, and freeze. For a near-instant dinner, lunch, or snack, just place the frozen quesadilla on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes, until heated through.
Smoky Delicata Squash & Black Bean Baked Quesadillas
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- 1 small yellow onion (halved and sliced thin)
- 1 delicata squash (halved, seeds removed, and cut into 1/4-inch thick "C" shapes)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 10- inch flour tortillas
- 1 cup cooked black beans (or about 1/2 of a 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
- 4 ounces pepper jack cheese (sliced thin)
- Assorted toppings for serving (optional, such as sour cream, Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, salsa, pico de gallo, sliced tomato, and/or sliced avocado)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Set out two rimmed baking sheets.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned here and there, about 5 minutes. Remove onions from pan and return pan to the burner. Reduce heat to medium and immediately add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the squash. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the squash pieces have been seared golden brown on at least one side and are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add water, brown sugar, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir gently to distribute water and spices and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until the water cooks off, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Place a flour tortilla on your prep surface and add 1/6 of the toppings to the bottom half of the tortilla, in a single layer. Start with the squash, then scatter about 3 tablespoons of black beans, then add some onions and finally 3-4 slices of the pepper jack cheese. Fold the tortilla over to form a half-moon shape and carefully transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Make sure the quesadillas sit in a single layer on the baking sheets - I fit three to a sheet. Note: you can brush the quesadillas with a little olive oil at this point to help them bake up a little more crisp and golden. I usually do this, but I forgot this time and I really didn't miss the extra oil, so I left it out of the recipe.
- Bake until the cheese has melted and the tortilla is golden brown and crisp in spots. Using a pizza cutter, cut each quesadilla into thirds. Transfer to plates and serve with assorted toppings, if desired.