There’s not much easier or more universal in this world than grilled cheese. If a culture has bread, cheese, and mastery of fire, that culture will surely find some way to combine them. We’ve already looked at the Italian pressed sandwich, so now it’s time to come back to the New World and take a look at the quesadilla.
The recipe is really easy: Place between two tortillas (corn, wheat, whatever), some cheese (or one of its tasty alternatives) and whatever else you think would taste good grilled between tortillas (we like crockpot “refried” beans, leftover tidbits of grilled veg or roasted meat—obviously these babies are made for leftovers). Don’t overfill, as it can become difficult to cook them through. From there, you throw a little oil (butter is nice, too) in a pan, and cook over medium heat until your quesadilla is browned and the fillings are all hot and melty. Top with salsa, greek yogurt, cilantro, etc.
This is a great recipe to teach your kids who are ready to start learning to cook because it amounts to making a sandwich and flipping once in a pan. They are also great because they are customizable. You can put whatever “challenging” ingredients you want on yours, and the kids can eat bread, beans, and cheese, and you have still technically held your ground on your no-special-kid-food rule.
The batch shown here—as conceived, constructed, and cooked by a five-year old—is one of the more straight-forward versions, with whole-wheat tortillas, a healthy schmear of refried beans, and a sprinkling of cheddar. A well-supervised kid with a healthy respect for hot iron and a sturdy step stool should have no problem with this recipe.