When it’s time for entertaining, keep it simple and healthy
There’s nothing that spells the three Fs—“friends, family and fiesta!”— better than cream cheese quesadillas.
What was conceived in Spain, as a sweet pastry filled with cheese and sugar, travelled to the ‘New Spain’ (now known as contemporary Mexico) in the early 1500s. This is when the quesadilla became a popular savoury dish made with corn or flour tortillas, cheese and other fillings, such as mushrooms or mincemeat.
The quesadilla is a staple of everyday Mexican cuisine, and its beauty lies in its simplicity. This easy-to-prepare dish is also a nutritional powerhouse. Tortillas are usually fortified with iron and folate—essential minerals that keep our body, brain and energy levels in tiptop shape; and cheese.
And surprisingly, 40g of cream cheese give us about 38mg of calcium, 50mg of potassium, and covers 10 per cent of our daily requirements of vitamin A—which helps to maintain a healthy immune system and vision.
A recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition says people who consume cheese daily can lower their risk of stroke by up to 10 per cent and their risk of coronary disease by up to 14 per cent.
So next time you invite friends and family over, delight them with a quesadilla feast…without the guilt. They’re easy to make—with preparation time being less than 15 minutes—and they won’t stop raving about them.
Quesadillas with Moondarra Cracked Pepper and Smoked Salmon cream cheese
¼ cup of Moondarra Cracked Pepper and smoked salmon at room temperature
2 flour tortillas
Canola oil spray
50g of smoked salmon, diced
50g of Moondarra Club Classic Cheddar, grated.
Combine the cream cheese, salmon and grated cheddar cheese in a bowl. Spray a medium-sized skillet or griddle with canola oil and put it over medium-low heat. Spread the cheese and salmon mix on a tortilla and place it on the skillet, cover with the remaining tortilla. Let the quesadilla cook for about one minute and then carefully flip it and cook for another minute, or until the cheese is melted. Transfer the quesadilla to a chopping board and cut into four. Serve while still warm. Want to make it extra fancy? Serve with an olive oil and dill vinaigrette for dipping.
Quesadilla with Moondarra Herb and Garlic cream cheese, shredded chicken and cucumber salad
For the quesadilla
¼ cup of Moondarra Herb and Garlic cream cheese at room temperature
2 flour tortillas
Canola oil in spray
50g of shredded chicken
For the salad
1 cucumber, diced
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Combine the cucumber and the avocado in a bowl. Add the juice of half a lime and the virgin oil, and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste and put in the fridge. In another bowl combine the cream cheese and the chicken. Spray canola oil on a medium-sized skillet or griddle and put it over low heat. Spread the cheese and chicken mix on a tortilla and put it on the skillet, cover with the remaining tortilla. Let the quesadilla cook for about 40 seconds on each side. Transfer the quesadilla to a chopping board and cut into four. Serve while still warm with a side of cucumber salad.
Quesadilla with Moondarra Tomato and Basil cream cheese
¼ cup of Moondarra Tomato and Basil cream cheese at room temperature
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 tsp of butter
Add your choice of either chicken or prosciutto
Combine the cream cheese and spinach leaves in a small bowl. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a skillet or griddle. Spread two spoonfuls of the spinach mixture on a tortilla and put it on the skillet, put the cherry tomatoes on top, along with your choice of either chicken or prosciutto, spread the rest of the mixture on the other tortilla and cover. Let the quesadilla cook for about one minute and then flip carefully and let the other side cook for another minute, or until the tortilla is golden and the cheese has melted. Transfer the quesadilla to a chopping board and cut in four. Serve while still warm.
Sweet quesadilla with Moondarra Honey and Pistachio cream cheese and figs
¼ cup of Moondarra Honey and Pistachio cream cheese at room temperature
2 figs, washed and sliced
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp of icing sugar for dusting, optional
1 tbsp of butter
This recipe brings the humble quesadilla back to its sweet, sweet origins. Combine the cream cheese and the vanilla extract in a bowl. Melt the butter over low heat in a skillet or griddle. Spread two spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on a tortilla and put it on the skillet, top with slices of fig (save about half to decorate), spread the rest of the mixture on the other tortilla and cover. Let the quesadilla cook for about one minute and then flip and let the other side cook for another minute or until the tortilla is golden. Remove the quesadilla and put it on a chopping board. Cover with the remaining fig slices and sprinkle with sugar. Slice in four and serve while still warm. And yes, it is a delicious pancake alternative for those lazy Sunday family brekkies.
So stock up on Moondarra cheeses and be ready to host a fabulous quesadilla lunch. Head to your nearest Coles or IGA (and independents) throughout Australia, or any supermarket across New Zealand, to snatch up your pick of the bunch.