Thursday, September 27, 2012

Refried Bean, Corn, and Cheese Quesadillas

Now that we've FINALLY unpacked the kitchen stuff (mostly...sort of...sufficiently), Andy and I have finally started to cook things. Huzzah! Hopefully, Science and Cupcakes will include a little more cupcakes and a little less science the coming weeks.

This recipe is one of my favorite quick things to make when we don't want to get take out and don't feel like putting tons of effort into dinner. It includes my favorite cooking technique of all: opening up packages of things and dumping them into a bowl. The other nice thing about this recipe is that it is very flexible. Want to add cayenne pepper? Go for it. Cilanto? Sure! It works well with whatever spices you have on hand. Include the cumin, but everything else is up to you.

Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Refried Bean, Corn, and Cheese Quesadillas

Makes approx. 6 quesadillas
Adapted from Cooking Light

12 yellow corn tortillas
1 - 16 oz can fat free refried beans
1/2 cup frozen corn (do not thaw)
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Optional additions:
Green onions
Jalapeno peppers
Cayenne pepper

In a small bowl, combine refried beans, corn, cumin, and crushed red pepper. Mix well.

Coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Warm a corn tortilla on each side. Remove from pan. Place another corn tortilla in the pan to warm while compiling the quesadilla.

Spread first tortilla with 1/4 - 1/3 cup bean mixture. Sprinkle with ~1 tbsp shredded cheese. Place second warmed tortilla on top of filling to complete the quesadilla.

Return to pan and cook on both sides until the cheese is melted and tortillas are slightly brown. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sweet Home Chicago

Can you believe that it's almost the end of September already?! Where did the summer go? I've been back in Chicago for a little over a week now. And this time, when I say Chicago, I actually mean Chicago proper. Andy and I moved down to the city on the border of Lakeview and Lincoln Park, and so far, I am loving our new location! We're close to restaurants and the El, and our neighborhood is quiet enough that we can hear ourselves think yet busy enough that I feel safe walking around. We're still unpacking and such, but soon our place will be all spiffy and homey-like.

For those of you who have followed me around the country this summer, I hope you've enjoyed exploring the west with me. From the high desert of Albuquerque to the rolling hills of Livermore, I've tried to share my ups and downs with all of you, for better or worse. It's hard to encapsulate the summer in just one blog post, but I thought I could at least share a few musings that have been on my mind over the past few days. 

A few bullet point reflections of the past twelve weeks:
  • Livermore is cute and quaint, and the Bay Area is lovely. Seven weeks there wasn't nearly enough time to see everything. This clearly means that I need to go back soon!
  • Albuquerque is weird for reasons I can't quite put my finger on. We had sort of a rough time of it while I was there. The food is AWESOME, though. Ten points for Flying Star, green chile, and sopaipillas! I feel like to be fair, I need to give ABQ another try some time in the future. Maybe during the balloon fiesta?
  • I really like biking everywhere. Livermore was super bike friendly, and I have a new respect for people who bike around Chicago. Maybe I'll get myself a spiffy new helmet and lights and stuff and become one of those people, too!
  • Nature is amazing. Grand Canyon? Yosemite? I can't remember the last time my breath was taken away by something so beautiful. Nothing that humans can make rivals that which occurs in these places. Pictures don't do it justice; you need to see it yourself.
  • You definitely need to have a car anywhere west of the Rockies. They're not built for public transportation. Gripe as you will, but the El is amazing.
  • National labs are neat little places. They're a bit looser than the corporate world but still have that feel of academia. Perhaps a place for a post doc? 
  • Even though the places I've visited were pretty nifty, there's no place like sweet home Chicago.