Food Challenge Recipe 25: Oven-Baked Quesadillas and BBQ Seasoned Rice

This week I really fancied something Mexican but didn’t know what. I actually gained some inspiration from a Gousto box recipe on their website. I didn’t feel the value in buying the box for the recipe, and I could pretty much work out what to do from their description so I went for it!

Because I basically made this whole thing up, I didn’t really measure anything. I’m awful for doing that, but a lot of it is adding ingredients to personal taste anyway, so you’ll see you can wing it too! This recipe was for 2 people, but can easily be sized up for more.

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I started off by putting the oven to 180c (fan) and brushed a little olive oil over a baking sheet. I then took a 400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed them and then mashed them in a bowl, with a potato masher. I mashed it so it was 75% mashed with a few chunkier bits.

I then added in about 1/2 cup of grated mature cheddar (adjust to taste) and some Wahaca Chipotle sauce. I mashed this all together too until I had a very rough paste. I then tasted, added a little more sauce and some salt, until I was happy with the flavour.

I placed a single soft tortilla on the baking sheet and then spread the paste over the top.

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As you can see, I didn’t spread it to the edges. I then topped it with a second soft tortilla and drizzled a little olive oil on the top. I sprinkled with sea salt flakes and then popped it into the oven for 15 minutes.

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At this point I began making the rice. I put some olive oil into my frying pan, heated it and added some chopped onion and peppers. I used the frozen ones I had in my freezer. I’d say it was about one pepper worth and half an onion I used, but you use however much you wish.

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Once these were softened (and defrosted!), I added some sweetcorn, from a can. You can use fresh or frozen if you wish.

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I tossed these about in the pan for a few minutes. Meanwhile I microwaved one pack of basmati rice. I can’t cook raw rice, it always burns, so I buy the microwave packets.

Once the rice was hot, I added it to the frying pan, and then I sprinkled about 2 tsp of BBQ seasoning. You can feel free to use fajita, cajun, peri peri or bbq seasoning. We used BBQ because it fit with the flavours we like. I added a little of the powder, stirred around, tasted and then added a little more until I was happy.

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I like to spread the rice across the whole pan, and leave it, in the hope it’ll create a little additional texture in the rice.

I cooked this until the quesadilla was done.

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When it came out of the oven it looked a little unappealing and dry. But I knew what was inside was yummy so it didn’t matter!

I cut this into 6 triangles and served out the rice.

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I left a little space on the plate for condiments. You can have soured cream, garlic mayo, ketchup, salsa, quac – whatever you want! I had garlic mayo, but to be honest, despite it looking a little dry, it didn’t need sauces.

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Inside, the quesadilla was seasoned well, tasty with the cheese and beans and a slight chipotle kick. The top was crunchy and salty and the bottom was warm and unctuous.

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The rice was also delicious. The seasoning had added a lovely warm, sweetness to the rice and the vegetables were lovely and fresh. A perfect accompaniment!

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All in all I think this recipe was a success all round. I’ll definitely be making this again, and probably very soon!

I give this recipe 10/10!

Food Challenge Recipe 15: Baked Cheesy Gnocchi

I’d planned to try my hand at making fresh gnocchi a few weeks back, but when I got around to it the recipe I’d picked was clearly wrong and all the others I’d seen took way too long to make for the dinner I had planned.

When I saw this week’s recipe I really wanted to give it a go, but didn’t have the time (or inclination) to make the gnocchi myself, so I just bought the packets from the fresh pasta section of the supermarket. Much easier!

This is another vegetarian recipe, and can be made lactose/dairy free dependent on the choice of cheese you make. The original recipe was meant to use mozzarella but I didn’t want any dairy in my dish, and I don’t like the texture of mozzarella anyhow.

I tweaked this recipe in some parts, but loved the fact that I was making tomato sauce from scratch because that’s something I’ve never done before. I’d like to do it again and tweak it some more, maybe add some different herbs in. This recipe makes enough for 4/5 so we had leftovers for another meal in the week.

Here goes!:

I started by finely chopping 1 red onion and roughly chopping 6 large ripe tomatoes.

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I sweated down the onion in 2 tbsp of garlic olive oil. I didn’t add the garlic cloves that the recipe asked for (4!) and used garlic infused oil instead, which I much preferred and had the desired effect.

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The I added the tomatoes and cooked them down until they started to break down.

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Once they’d started to break down, I added 1/2 cup of passata, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp of sugar and salt and pepper to taste.

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I then let this simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

When this was nearing the end of its time cooking, I put the fan oven on to 200c and cooked the gnocchi according to the packet.

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See the little blighters floating to the top!

Once everything was cooked, I tasted the sauce to check it was seasoned correctly, removed the bay leaves and stirred in a handful of torn basil leaves.

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And then I stirred in the cooked gnocchi.

Then I topped it with grated cheese and popped it into the oven.

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After 10 minutes the cheese was bubbling and melted!

I topped it with some more fresh basil and it was ready to serve.

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Although not very photogenic, this meal was delicious! The gnocchi was soft and fluffy and the sauce was really deep with flavour. The cheese had managed to melt down into the gnocchi and added a little salt to the flavour too.

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I was really impressed with this dish and will definitely be making it again – and definitely be making the sauce again to try with other things!

I give this recipe 9.5/10