Around here, we eat quesadillas at least once a week. I keep waiting for that moment when my daughters (and I!) get tired of them, but it never seems to happen. There's just something about a crispy, buttery quesadilla filled with warm, gooey cheese and other good things that keeps us wanting more, more, MORE!
I created these Cheesy Mushroom and Herb Quesadillas with Smoky Salsa for the third Kitchen Conversation with Land O’Lakes and The Pioneer Woman. Also joining in are Julie, Maria and Sommer. We talked about food trends in our first conversation and modernizing vintage recipes in our second. This time around, it's about "back to school, back to basics." And, for our family, nothing rings truer than good ol' quesadillas. They are a weeknight staple at our table.
Quesadillas can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. While I admit tomaking many quesadillas bubbling with only Colby-Jack as filling, it's these filled with sautéed mushrooms and onions, just-picked thyme and chives from our garden and a fabulous mix of mozzarella and goat cheese that keep me deeply invested in the quesadilla game.
Such simple joy comes from stepping out in the backyard to snip a handful of fresh herbs for the next meal. No flavors can compare, and it's a wonderfully healthy way to amp up any dish. I love that our daughters have taken to racing each other to our kitchen garden whenever I need some herbs, only to race each other back inside to proudly show off their choices. They've inherited my love for fresh herbs and are having fun, too!
I think I could very well eat mushrooms every single day of the week. And I absolutely adore them sautéed in a bit of butter with onions and garlic. With a sprinkling of freshly chopped thyme and chives (I LOVE mushrooms and thyme together!) to finish them off, they are irresistible and a great base for these quesadillas.
The unsalted butter from Land O'Lakes is my go-to. It's what you'll find stacked in our extra fridge and what you'll see me using most often in my cooking and baking. But more and more, I've started to keep some of the salted butter around, too. I have a newfound love for soft, salty butter on warm bread and have also discovered the wonderful flavor it adds to the exterior of quesadillas.
I used one half stick of Land O Lakes® Salted Butter for this recipe. A small amount is used to butter one side of each tortilla, which then gets cooked on a hot griddle, making a crispy, tasty quesadilla exterior. The rest of the butter is used to sauté the mushrooms, onion and garlic... a perfect combination for yum!
I normally use regular flour tortillas for our quesadillas. But this time I opted for whole wheat tortillas and was pleasantly surprised by the extra layer of flavor from that small change. You can bet that I've picked up more of the whole wheat variety since that discovery!
When I make quesadillas, I aim to concentrate on just a few flavors and/or textures and try to hold back from stuffing in the kitchen sink. You might find my versions less lofty than others, but I prefer it that way, after losing way too many toppings when flipping overstuffed quesadillas in the past.
To hold it all together, I like to use a couple different kinds of cheese for added depth. In this case I used mild and chewy mozzarella and our kids' favorite cheese snack, goat cheese. Crumbles of its delicious, creamy saltiness add pockets of flavor throughout.
And the perfect salsa to serve with these quesadillas? That would be this super easy Smoky Salsa that I've also included for your quesadilla eating delight! I highly recommend whipping up a double batch, as it always disappears way too quickly and keeps beautifully in the fridge for a number of days. Even though this salsa uses canned tomatoes (the perfect solution when it's not sweet summer tomato season!), its bright flavor beats the heck out of a jar of salsa from the store.
So when you pick up a package of whole wheat tortillas for these quesadillas, be sure to throw a bag of your favorite chips in the grocery cart, too. I promise, you'll be thankful you did, as you become friends with this awesome salsa. This is one of my family’s favorite go-to meals for those crazy weeknights. I hope your family will love it, too!
Cheesy Mushroom and Herb Quesadillas with Smoky Salsa
Yield: 4 large quesadillas
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
For the cheesy mushroom and herb quesadillas:
1 Half Stick (1/4 cup) Land O Lakes® Salted Butter, at room temperature, divided
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas (or plain flour tortillas)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4 ounces goat cheese crumbles
For the smoky salsa:
1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from half a lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (or substitute regular paprika)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
For the cheesy mushroom and herb quesadillas:
If cooking the quesadillas individually in a skillet, rather than all four at once on a large griddle, place a wire cooking rack on top of a baking sheet, and place in the top half of the oven and preheat oven to 200°F. This will be used to keep cooked quesadillas warm until all four are finished.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Salted Butter. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic, stirring well. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and onions are soft and translucent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Then add thyme and chives. Stir to incorporate and remove pan from heat.
Preheat a large griddle (to cook all four quesadillas at the same time) or a large skillet (to cook single quesadillas) to medium/medium-high.
With the remaining 1 tablespoon of Land O Lakes® Salted Butter, spread a thin layer of butter on one side of each tortilla. Place a tortilla buttered side down on a plate and top with one fourth of the mushroom and herb filling, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle one fourth of the shredded mozzarella and one fourth of the goat cheese on top of the mushroom and herb filling. Then top with another tortilla, buttered side up. Repeat this process three more times, to complete four filled quesadillas.
Place quesadillas on preheated griddle and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until tortillas are golden brown and cheese is melted. I cook up to four quesadillas at a time on a large griddle, but a large skillet could also be used to cook the quesadillas individually. When cooking them one at a time, transfer each cooked quesadilla to the warm baking sheet in the oven to stay warm. Cut into wedges and serve with smoky salsa and sour cream.
For the Smoky Salsa:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine all salsa ingredients. Pulse a few times to combine, until salsa is of the desired consistency. This salsa can easily be made a day in advance and is actually a little better after the ingredients have time to mingle. But I can't deny eating it straight from the bowl of the food processor, either!
Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® Butter for their Kitchen Conversation blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.