No. 12 & 13: Quesadillas Rancheros & The Perfect Fried Egg

Weeknight dinners can be the worst.

Growing up, when mom had to work late, dad would make us something he called Tuna Glop. I believe the core ingredients were cream of mushroom soup, a can of tuna and rice all mixed together in a casserole dish. Top it with mozzarella cheese, put it in the oven to heat through and you have yourself a handy Tuesday night meal.

Sometimes he'd add canned peas to make it Tuna Glob Supreme. Doesn't that sound fancy?

Dad and I

(This man fed his kids glop. And I must say, it was delicious.)

What should I make?

It's hardest for me to cook Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. By mid-week I have drycleaning to pick up, bank deposits to make and a bunch of weekend to-dos starting to pile up. It's enough to want to pull out the 'ol glop.

Then I realized I had all the ingredients for a quesadilla in my pantry (and plenty of chicken left from the weekend). So I found a recipe that puts a California twist on an old favorite.

Quesadillas Rancheros

This original recipe came from Real Simple, though I made quite a few additions.

Ingredients

For one serving
2 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking spray
Black beans, shredded chicken, diced red onion and Cheddar cheese for filling
Large egg, fried
Salsa verde, cilantro, hot sauce and any other toppings desired

To make

Heat a griddle pan to medium-hot. Once warm, apply olive oil or cooking spray.

Dividing evenly, form sandwiches with the tortillas, cheese, chicken, black beans and red onion.

Cook the quesadillas on medium-high heat until the tortillas are crisp and golden brown, and the cheese has melted. About 3-4 minutes per side.

Quesadilla

Top with a fried egg (see recipe below), then add the salsa, scallions, hot sauce or any other desired toppings.

The Perfect Fried Egg

Everything cool and hip in the Bay Area was topped with a fried egg in 2013. I have had it on everything from fish to burgers, but I hadn't made one. Leave it to The Kitchn to show me the way.

Ingredients

An egg, or lots of eggs if you feel up to it

To make

Use a nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Set the pan over medium heat and let it warm up. Add 1-3 teaspoons of oil or butter (depending on the size of your pan), and swirl to coat the pan.

Crack your egg directly into the pan slowly so the whites pour out first. If the pan is hot enough, the whites will begin to set and keep the yolk centered.

Egg

(Or in my case, I will pour the egg white over a quarter of the pan. Still came out fine.)

Now just let the egg sit. It will be done when the whites are set and the outer edges are just starting to curl up. If the edges start to curl before the whites in the center are fully cooked, cover the pan with a lid for a minute or two.

A runny yolk means the egg is only fried on one side, or sunny side up. If you prefer your eggs over-easy (like me), you can flip them partway through cooking once the bottom has set. This makes sure the top is cooked.

The results

I had big plans to hit the store on the way home and get salsa verde, scallions and cilantro for toppings. Then I realized it was 7:45pm and I was starving, so I came straight home.

Finished quesadilla

The egg + quesadilla combination was lovely. I was surprised how well the flavors complimented each other. Regular salsa was a perfectly suitable condiment.

I'm not a huge fan of runny yolk, so I did flip the egg to cook both sides. I was a bit apprehensive, but the egg yolk was pretty durable and stayed intact. I have a new appreciation for the people who turn out hundreds of these, all made to order, every day.

Trying to find an easy weeknight meal option? Fry up some eggs! I can't wait to try a version with prosciutto or chorizo.

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at theresolvedcook@gmail.com