There are a few cuisines on my list that I crave more often than others, and Mexican is easily one of them.  I will readily admit that craving a good margarita may come first for me, but I promise that the Mexican cuisine craving follows shortly thereafter. 

Usually.  Sometimes a girl just needs a good margarita.  Or two.

Anyway, I can go either way on these cravings in terms of authentic or more of a Tex-Mex approach.  At my previous job, my entire staff consisted men who had moved to Chicago from Mexico and consistently brought me tacos, tamales, burritos, etc., each claiming that theirs was the best.  Not a bad gig – authentic food just handed to me each week?  That’s a no brainer.  On the other hand, I grew up in a small town in Kansas that had about three real sit-down restaurants, and my FAVORITE one was a cross between authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex.  I moved away from home over ten years ago, and I still find myself craving the enchiladas and salsa from that place.  Due to my first food cravings being related to that particular restaurant, recreating Mexican at home is a frequent occurrence for me.  Mark and I both love extra heat in these dishes, so I just want to tell you to adjust your level of jalapeno-usage accordingly. 

My favorite fast food Mexican (also from my small Kansas hometown) was something I couldn’t live without, too.  The “meat” they used in their products had a unique, creamy texture to it that I could never find anywhere else.  I find that with this quesadilla recipe, adding refried beans to the meat and veggies in these quesadillas reminds me of that texture, so I thoroughly enjoy doing that!  Also, by sautéing the veggies for only five minutes before adding the ground beef, this keeps them slightly al dente.  It’s good – I promise!

The recipe for my beefy quesadillas is as follows.  It makes three quesadilla halves on 10″ flour tortillas (I use one tortilla for each quesadilla, then fold it in on itself to complete it.)  I recommend making some guacamole, rice or beans for a side dish for the quesadillas, too. 


[my additional tips!]:

Actual Prep / cook time:  25 minutes [one of my quickest!]

Clean-up difficulty:  3 [not bad, but a few different pans and utensils are used.]

Overall difficulty to make:  2.5 [super quick and simple.]

Overall satisfaction:  8 [very enjoyable in my opinion!]

What I would change next time?  I would not change much here. 

For your own version, I recommend:

  • being aware of amount of jalapeno used in your recipe.
  • cook your veggies as you wish – up to 10 minutes before adding the meat if you want them softer.
  • don’t use too much of the refried beans; it makes the mixture too soggy.  stick to 1/4 cup or less!
  • you could add Chihuahua cheese to the meat mixture AND onto the quesadilla (as recipe calls for) if you want a cheesier quesadilla!
  • do not skip the Chihuahua cheese!  You will be able to find it at your grocery store.  It is GLORIOUS, and totally sends the flavor into overdrive!

© 2015 : a flavor journal : by sara alvord
beefy quesadillas
Serves 2
A quick, easy weeknight meal OR appetizer for the group!
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1/2 tbsp. butter
  2. 1/2 tomato, diced
  3. 1/2 green pepper, diced
  4. 1/2 red pepper, diced
  5. 1/2 white onion, diced
  6. 1/2 fresh jalapeño, diced
  7. 1/2 lb. ground beef
  8. 1 tbsp. taco seasoning
  9. 1/3 cup refried beans
  10. (3) 10" flour tortillas
  11. 1 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese
  12. 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add veggies and cook for five minutes, until slightly tender. Push veggies to one side of saucepan. On other side, add ground beef and sprinkle taco seasoning over beef.
  2. Cook beef for 7-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Combine with veggies, and add refried beans to entire mixture. Stir until fully incorporated. Set aside beef/bean/veggie combination off of heat.
  3. Using a large surface (I used a large grill pan), turn burner underneath it to medium-high heat. Once surface is hot, lay one plain tortilla onto it. Sprinkle Mexican blend cheese on one half (use about 1/3 of a cup, or more if you like it really cheesy!) On the other half, sprinkle the same amount of Chihuahua cheese. (Again, feel free to load it up if you like!)
  4. Let cheese completely melt onto tortilla, and add beef/bean/veggie mixture onto one half of the tortilla, directly over the Mexican cheese blend.
  5. Fold other half directly onto the meat mixture, and lightly pat down with your spatula to make sure it all combines well. Remove from pan and cut into thirds.
  6. Repeat with other two tortillas. Serve hot and with any garnish you like!
  1. Guac, sour cream, pico de gallo and shredded lettuce are especially good with this! Also, please feel free to add as much or little cheese as you like.
  2. If you are making this for an entree, doing a side of rice and beans is such a great option. A bean dip would even be a great side for this, too!
a flavor journal.