Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Sneaky Quesadilla Saga

Ever since I first got my hands on the book Deceptively Delicious, I've tried to make a habit of sneaking fruits and veggies into my kids' food. I no longer follow all of the recipes to the letter, but after trying several recipes and learning a few techniques, I'm always on the lookout for homemade recipes that are ideal for concealing foods the little and big bees would normally turn their noses up at!

One of my favorite dishes to hide veggies in is quesadillas. Since I use cheddar cheese, which is orange in color, I make sure and hide other orange and yellow things in it! I've hidden various squashes and corn in it before, and even sweet potatoes and carrots!

After our Valentine's Day family get-together, we had some delicious leftovers. Here's some sweet potato mash (sweet potatoes with minced onions, garlic, salt and pepper sauteed in olive oil),
and Marc's super awesome smoked turkey breast!

I thought this was the perfect opportunity to whip up some quesadillas for the kiddos. I planned on making a big batch ahead of time and having some leftovers.

I started by pureeing the leftover sweet potato mash in the food processor (essential piece of kitchen equipment when you plan on hiding veggies in food!), then placing it in a separate bowl. Then I threw in a handful of raw baby carrots and chopped those up really fine and added them to the sweet potatoes.

I got all excited when I saw these cute little baby tortillas at target and scooped them up. Perfect for kids' meals!

I mixed in the shredded cheddar with the sweet potatoes, carrots, and finely chopped smoked turkey breast.

I scooped about two heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto each small tortilla,

then put another tortilla on top, and piled them up in the fridge to fry up later that night!

You can brush them with olive oil, or spray with cooking spray or butter, then throw them in the pan to brown off!

Now, I have to interject here and tell you that the above batch was not originally well received by the littles. I did not use any particular measurements, and the ratio of cheese to sweet potato and carrot mixture wasn't right. There wasn't enough cheese. When I presented the kids with their quesadillas, I just told them they were cheese and chicken quesadillas. I totally got busted when they started asking me what kind of "cheese" I used and said they didn't like it.

The thing was I had a huge batch of leftovers I'd intended to feed the bigs with the following night when we'd have them! Yikes. I had to rethink my plan. So, I peeled them all open and added an extra spoonful of cheese on each one.

Instead of putting them back in the pan with more oil, I just lined them up on a baking sheet and threw them in the oven for a few minutes until I could tell the new cheese was melted.

The final batch was much better received by the bigs! Corrinne went on and on about how they were the best quesadillas she'd ever tasted, and had seconds and thirds! Carter also practically inhaled his. Aidan and Alec were sadly a little gun shy from the night before and picked at them a little. They finally finished them, though.

Next time, I'll be sure to get it right. I think the trick might be to smush a layer of sweet potatoes and carrots in between two layers of cheese to better hide it, or simply use less potato and carrots. I think as long as about 2/3 of the mixture is cheese, and the rest is the meat and veggies, you're good to go.

Good luck getting sneaky! And please share any tricks you use to sneak veggies into your littles!

Love and Honey,

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