What to cook when weather beckons

  • Updated: May 16, 2012 - 2:02 PM

Some days -- especially when the sun is shining bright -- we all need a break in the kitchen.

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Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen? Meals such as Black Bean Quesadillas are quick yet nutritious.

Photo: Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

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It's no secret that I love to cook ... except when I don't. After all, even the most enthusiastic cooks have days when they'd much rather be doing something else, and food professionals are no different. Today is one of those days for me. The sun is shining, the garden beckons and my inner child is stomping her little feet, screaming, "I don't want to come inside and cook!" Still, dinner needs to get on the table every night, whether I feel like cooking or not.

And the fact remains, I want my family to eat something good every night, so with that in mind, I've come up with a few go-to dishes that make "quick and easy" quicker and easier. Foods like hummus and whole-grain pita chips, grilled cheese sandwiches or scrambled eggs, paired with a simple salad using whatever I have in the vegetable bin. Among the family favorites that fit into this category are quesadillas, the Mexican equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Without a doubt, these are winners with both kids and adults. While the younger ones start out enjoying this easy-to-make meal at its simplest -- a grilled tortilla stuffed with melted cheese -- most at the table may want more variety.

Fortunately, there are easy, flavorful ways to upgrade quesadillas. And this black-bean version is one of them, taking only a few minutes worth of prep, but delivering a meal that looks more complicated.

Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of "Everyday to Entertaining" and "The Big Book of Appetizers." Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.

  • FAVORITE COMBOS • APPLES AND CHEDDAR CHEESE • CHICKEN, SAUTÉED MUSHROOMS AND MONTEREY JACK • SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL

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