Clean Snacking · Rachel's Recipes

Mini Margherita Kebabs

If you’ve seen my post on Margherita Pizza, you’ll know how much I love tomato, basil, and mozzarella! Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to eat as much fresh food as possible. That’s why for my family’s Memorial Day cookout a couple weeks ago, I make some mini margherita kebabs to have as appetizers. They’re super easy, healthy, and delicious!

Makes 10 kebabs

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Ingredients:

20 fresh mozzarella pearls

10 grape tomatoes

5 fresh basil leaves

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Kosher salt (optional)

10 toothpicks

Directions

  1. Wash the basil and cut each leaf into four pieces.
  2. Skewer a mozzarella pearl on a toothpick. I recommend using Crave Brothers cheese if you can get your hands on it, but I’m not sure if it can be found outside of Wisconsin.
  3. Add a piece of basil, a tomato, another piece of basil, and one more mozzarella pearl.
  4. Continue with the remaining toothpicks.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Breakfast Pastries · Rachel's Recipes

Triple Chocolate Scones

For the past few weeks (or should I say entire school year) I’ve been so busy and stressed out that I haven’t had much time to bake, let alone write. However, I only have one week until graduation, so I figured I could bake something to help get me through my last couple of finals. The result was Triple Chocolate Scones! They’re perfect anytime of day whether it be for breakfast, a snack, or a healthy dessert. This recipe features whole wheat flour and a flax seed “egg” as usual and is low in sugar too! Enjoy a fresh, warm scone with a hot cup of tea or a tall glass of milk.

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The first step to this recipe is making an “egg” with ground flax seed and hot water. Heat three tablespoons of water on the stove and whisk with one tablespoon of ground flax in a medium sized bowl. Then set the mixture aside and preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

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In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Stir until everything is evenly distributed.

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When all the dry ingredients are mixed, cut in 1/3 cup of cold butter. To get it started, I used a pastry blender, but towards the end, I used my hands to make sure there were no clumps of butter left. It gets a little messy, but the best way to get a sense of dough is to use one’s hands.

Now that the butter is mixed in, add the chocolate milk and vanilla to the “egg” and whisk it well.  Then pour it into the dry ingredients. Be sure to use chocolate milk with no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.

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Stir the ingredients the best you can–it can be a little tough since scones are by nature a little dry. Again, you may need to knead the dough with your hands. Once everything is mixed, fold in one cup of miniature chocolate chips.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. As you can see in the picture, I had a little too much flour, but if that happens, they will turn out just fine. Divide the dough into two sections and form each one into a circle, roughly two inches high. Then cut each circle into eight pieces and place them on the prepared baking sheet. If you wish, you can sprinkle each scone with some course, decorative sugar.

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Bake the scones for about 12-14 minutes. When you think they are done, test them with a toothpick. It should come out clean, but some melted chocolate chip is okay. After a few minutes, place the scones on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Makes 16 scones

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. ground flax seed

3 Tbs. hot water

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup cold butter

1/2 cup low fat chocolate milk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Course sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flax and hot water to make an egg substitute. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter and begin combining the ingredients using a pastry blender. Then, use your hands to make sure all the butter is evenly distributed and there are no large pieces left.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla to the flax mixture and whisk them together.
  6. Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl and stir until the ingredients come together. Again, you may have to use your hands to knead the dough since scones are by nature a little dry.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  8. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Form each piece into a circle about two inches thick.
  9. Cut each circle into eight triangular scones.
  10. Place all 16 scones on the baking sheet and if desired, sprinkle them with course sugar.
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when they are done with the exception of some melted chocolate from a chocolate chip. Enjoy!
Lunch and Dinner · Rachel's Recipes

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

For Easter today, I decided we needed some sort of bread item to go with scalloped potatoes and green bean casserole. The result was buttermilk chive biscuits! Believe it or not, they are actually very similar to my orange-raisin Irish soda bread. The only differences are that chives and lemon balm replace the orange and raisins and they are in biscuit form rather than a loaf. These are very versatile make a great savory side for practically any dish. Rosemary or thyme can also be used in place of chives or lemon balm.

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First, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Then, heat three tablespoons of water on the stove and preheat the oven to 375°F. When the water is ready, whisk it with one tablespoon of ground flax seed in a small bowl. It will have a gooey consistency because it will be the binding property of the biscuits in place of an egg.

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In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in three tablespoons of cold butter and mix with a pastry blender or your hands. Personally, I’m not afraid to get my hands a little dirty because I like to have a feel of the dough so I know if I need to adjust anything.

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Add the buttermilk to the flax “egg” and give the mixture a good whisk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix them until they are combined.

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Rinse the chives and lemon balm and chop them finely on a cutting board. Feel free to experiment with any other savory herbs you like such as rosemary or thyme.

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Fold the herbs into the dough until they are evenly dispersed.

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Using a small, greased measuring cup, scoop dough onto the baking sheet. I like using the silicone baking mats because they have size guidelines. Each biscuit should be roughly 1/4 cup of dough.

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When all the dough is used up, bake them for about 15 minutes ate 375°F. This recipe makes 10-12 small biscuits. Test them with a toothpick when they are getting slightly golden.

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Enjoy as a savory side for scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, or any favorite dish!

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. hot water

1 Tbs. ground flax seed

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 Tbs. cold butter

3/4 cup buttermilk

Chives

Lemon balm

Directions:

  1. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Heat three tablespoons of water on the stove and preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. When the water is ready, whisk it with one tablespoon of ground flax seed in a small bowl. It will have a gooey consistency because it will be the binding property of the biscuits in place of an egg.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Cut in three tablespoons of cold butter and mix with a pastry blender or your hands.
  6. Add the buttermilk to the flax “egg” and give the mixture a good whisk.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix them until they are combined.
  8. Rinse the chives and lemon balm and chop them finely on a cutting board. Feel free to experiment with any other savory herbs you like such as rosemary or thyme.
  9. Fold the herbs into the dough until they are evenly dispersed.
  10. Using a small, greased measuring cup, scoop dough onto the baking sheet. I like using the silicone baking mats because they have size guidelines. Each biscuit should be roughly 1/4 cup of dough.
  11. When all the dough is used up (there will be about 10-12 biscuits), bake them for about 15 minutes ate 375°F.  Test them with a toothpick when they are getting slightly golden.
  12. Enjoy!
Breakfast Pastries · Rachel's Recipes

Orange-Raisin Irish Soda Bread

With St. Patrick’s day being this past week, I figured I should be a little festive. As a result, I made some Irish soda bread. However, instead of just adding raisins, I used some orange zest too to give it a springtime kick. This whole wheat, low sugar, egg free bread is best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea and some fresh orange slices. Enjoy!

0319171228aPreheat the oven to 375°F and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I prefer using the mats because they are reusable and result in less waste.

Heat three tablespoons of water in a teapot and whisk with one tablespoon of flax seed in a small bowl to make an “egg”. If you don’t have an egg allergy or flax seed, one normal egg will work just fine.0319171235a

Then, wash an orange and grate the peel until you have about one tablespoon of zest. Set aside.

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In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. After that, cut in three tablespoons of cold butter. Don’t be afraid to get in there and mix it with your hands. I find that to be the best way to work with cold butter.:)

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Fold in a heaping 1/3 cup of raisins and set the bowl aside.

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In a separate, medium sized bowl, combine the buttermilk, skim milk, and “egg”.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well combined. Turn out the mixture onto a well floured surface and knead until you have a nice dough to work with. Form it into a small, round loaf.

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Transfer the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut an X in the center of the loaf, being sure to cut all the way to the edges.

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Bake at 375°F for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Enjoy with the lefter orange and hot cup of tea!

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. hot water

1 Tbs. ground flax seed

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (plus some extra for kneading).

1 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. orange zest

3 Tbs. cold butter

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup skim milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Heat the water in a teapot and whisk with the flax seed in a small bowl. This will make an “egg”.
  4. Zest the orange and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.
  6. Cut in the butter and combine it with the other ingredients by hand.
  7. Fold in the raisins.
  8. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, skim milk, and “egg”. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients.
  9. Turn out the mixture onto a well floured surface. Knead until it forms a nice dough.
  10. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  11. With a sharp knife, cut an X in the center of the loaf, being sure to cut all the way to the edges.
  12. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tip: Try substituting the raisins for blueberries. Just be sure to toss them lightly in flour first so that they do not discolor the bread.

Lunch and Dinner · Rachel's Recipes

Margherita Pizza

Tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella! Is there a better culinary combination in all the world? I think not. These three classic ingredients are the foundation of the authentic Neapolitan margherita pizza. While I can’t certify that the crust is truly Italian, it is made with whole wheat and bursting with garlic and herb flavours. Then comes the sauce which is a determining factor in the quality of any pizza. I’ve always used store-bought sauces until I tried this recipe. It is absolutely phenomenal and really easy. I don’t think I’ll ever buy sauce again. Finally the toppings. When it comes to cheese, only fresh mozzarella will do–not the block of mozzarella next to the American singles at the grocery store, but truly fresh cheese. All that’s left is some fresh basil and oregano. I used to add other toppings like olives, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, and onions too. Don’t get me wrong–those are great. However, I’ve found that less is more because too many toppings take away from the scrumptious crust, tangy sauce, and fresh cheese.

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Start by making the sauce. While it is simmering, go ahead and start the crust. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk 3/4 cup lukewarm water, yeast, and two teaspoons of sugar. Set aside for about 10 minutes to allow the yeast to proof. It should be getting bubbly when it’s ready. In another small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of lukewarm water with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed. This will make an “egg”.

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In a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining flax, salt, garlic powder, pizza seasoning, and dried basil. Then add the yeast mixture, flax seed mixture, and olive oil. Stir until well combined.

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Take half of the dough and place it on a well floured surface. It will still be pretty sticky, so knead in more flour until in becomes a firm dough ball that you can work with.

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Then roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch in thickness and place on a pizza stone. Repeat with the remaining dough. If the oven is still preheating, set the crusts on the stove top to warm up. They won’t rise significantly, but it will help a little bit. When the oven is ready, bake for 10-12 minutes.

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While the crusts are in the oven the sauce should be finishing up. This is also a good time to slice the mozzarella, basil, and oregano.

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When the pizza crusts are slightly golden brown on the bottom, pull them out and top with sauce, cheese, and herbs.

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Put the pizzas back in the oven for about 12 more minutes or until the crusts are golden and the cheese is melted. Makes two 12-inch pizzas. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup lukewarm water

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (not instant)

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 cup lukewarm water

2 Tbs. ground flax seed

2 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (plus some extra for kneading)

1 tsp. ground flax seed

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Penzey’s Roasted Garlic

1 tsp. Penzey’s Frozen Pizza Seasoning

1 tsp. Penzey’s California Sweet Basil

1/4 cup garlic infused olive oil

1 batch homemade pizza sauce

8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil

Fresh oregano

Directions:

  1. Prepare the sauce and while it is simmering, start the crust.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk 3/4 cup lukewarm water, yeast, and two teaspoons of sugar. Set aside for about 10 minutes to allow the yeast to proof. It should be getting bubbly when it’s ready.
  4. In another small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of lukewarm water with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed. This will make an “egg”.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining flax, salt, garlic powder, pizza seasoning, and dried basil.
  6. Add the yeast mixture, flax seed mixture, and olive oil. Stir until well combined.
  7. Take half of the dough and place it on a well floured surface. It will still be pretty sticky, so knead in more flour until in becomes a firm dough ball that you can work with.
  8. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch in thickness and place on a pizza stone. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  9. If the oven is still preheating, set the crusts on the stove top to warm up. They won’t rise significantly, but it will help a little bit. When the oven is ready, bake for 10-12 minutes.
  10. While the crusts are in the oven the sauce should be finishing up. This is also a good time to slice the mozzarella, basil, and oregano.
  11. When the pizza crusts are slightly golden brown on the bottom, pull them out and top with sauce, cheese, and herbs.
  12. Put the pizzas back in the oven for about 12 more minutes or until the crusts are golden and the cheese is melted. Makes two 12-inch pizzas. Enjoy!

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Lunch and Dinner · Rachel's Recipes

Lemon Dill Salmon

Lately, salmon has been extremely popular and often seen on lists of “super foods”. Salmon is packed with protein and healthy fats, so it’s sure to keep you satisfied. Not only is is really healthy, but it’s also mouthwatering–especially when prepared with lemon and dill and served with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli! I know this recipe may seem a little vague to anyone who likes to follow recipes exactly as written. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little though–I find that to be half the joy of culinary arts! When it comes to baking, precision is more important, but for cooking, feel free to make it your own.:)

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Start by washing approximately four cups of fresh broccoli. Cut or break it into bite sized florets and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

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Once the broccoli is ready to be steamed, wash and slice about 10-15 small red potatoes. Put the pieces in a bowl and toss with your favorite olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. (I used Tuscan Herb infused olive oil from The Olive Sprig.)

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When the oven is ready, put in the potatoes. They will take about 30 minutes to roast. You’ll know they’re done when they start to get a little golden brown around the edges and are tender when poked with fork…or a good old taste test will do the trick.

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Before touching the raw fish, I like to prep the lemon. Start by grating the peel of a small lemon. 1/2 teaspoon of zest is a good guideline, but it doesn’t have to be exact.

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After you acquire the zest, set it aside and juice the rest of the lemon. You may only need 1/2 of the lemon depending on its size, but to give you an idea, you’ll need a few tablespoons to drizzle on the fish.

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Now that the lemon is taken care of, the potatoes are in the oven, and the broccoli is prepped, take four salmon fillets and place them skin down in a separate baking dish.

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Evenly disperse the lemon zest between the four fillets and drizzle each with lemon juice. Then give each fillet a generous sprinkling of dill weed and a touch of kosher salt and black pepper. Place the salmon in the oven beside the potatoes. The salmon should be ready after roughly 15 minutes and/or until it becomes opaque.

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While everything is in the oven, go ahead and steam the broccoli. Add one inch of water and a steamer basket to a saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli, turn the heat down to medium, and cover the pan. Steam until tender.

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Arrange a salmon fillet on a plate with some broccoli and potatoes. Add some butter to the broccoli and potatoes if desired or squeeze some lemon juice on the salmon. Enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 cups broccoli

10-15 small red potatoes

1-2 Tbs. olive oil

4 salmon fillets

Zest and juice of one small lemon

Penzey’s Dill Weed

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Wash about 4 cups of fresh broccoli. Cut or break it into bite sized pieces and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Once the broccoli is ready to be steamed, wash and slice 10-15 small red potatoes. Put the pieces in a bowl and toss with your favorite olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. (I used Tuscan Herb infused olive oil from The Olive Sprig.)
  3. When the oven is ready, put in the potatoes. They will take about 30 minutes to roast. You’ll know they’re done when they start to get a little golden brown around the edges and are tender when poked with fork.
  4. Before touching the raw fish, prep the lemon. Start by grating the peel. 1/2 teaspoon of zest is a good guideline.
  5. Set the zest aside and juice the rest of the lemon. You may only need 1/2 of the lemon depending on its size, but to give you an idea, you’ll need a few tablespoons to drizzle on the fish.
  6. Take four salmon fillets and place them skin down in a separate baking dish.
  7. Evenly disperse the lemon zest between the four fillets and drizzle each with lemon juice. Then give each fillet a generous sprinkling of dill weed and a touch of kosher salt and black pepper.
  8.   Place the salmon in the oven next to the potatoes. They will take approximately 15 minutes to bake. When they are done, they will be opaque.
  9. While everything is in the oven, steam the broccoli. Add one inch of water and a steamer basket to a saucepan. Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli, turn the heat down to medium, and cover the pan. Steam until tender.
  10. When everything is done, arrange a salmon fillet on a plate with some broccoli and potatoes. Add some butter to the broccoli and potatoes if desired or squeeze some lemon juice on the salmon. Enjoy!
Lunch and Dinner · Rachel's Recipes

Quesadilla with Fajita Veggies

Southwestern style food is one of my favorites–especially since there are rarely eggs, nuts, or seafood involved. Quesadillas make for a quick and easy clean meal that’s great if you’re on the go.  The spicy seasonings gives the dish some pizzazz while cilantro offers a fresh flavor. If you’re looking for a super simple, gluten-free, vegetarian, Southwestern entrée, this should hit the spot!

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

2 Trader Joe’s corn tortillas

1/4 cup refried beans

1/2 cup shredded colby-jack cheese

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

4 mini sweet peppers or 1 bell pepper

1 medium yellow onion

1 Tbs. olive oil

Penzeys Fajita Seasoning

Penzeys Ancho Chili Pepper

Penzeys Medium Hot Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

Set the tortillas, side by side and spread half of the refried beans on each tortilla. I prefer using Trader Joe’s corn tortillas because they only have three ingredients. On one of the tortillas, sprinkle the cheese and half of the cilantro. (I prefer to grate my own cheese because shredded cheese often contains added ingredients to inhibit mold and prevent caking.)Then, season to taste with the fajita seasoning, ancho chili pepper, and crushed red pepper. Of theses three spices, the crushed red pepper is the only one with heat–the other two are quite mild. Place the second tortilla bean-side down on the first. Put the quesadilla in a small frying pan and set aside.

Chop the onion and peppers and set aside. In a medium frying pan, add the olive oil and place over low-medium heat. After allowing the olive oil to warm up slightly, add the onions. Once the onions are beginning to look slightly translucent, add the peppers and remaining cilantro. Season to taste with the fajita seasoning, ancho chili pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir periodically.

On another burner, place the quesadilla on low-medium heat.  When the cheese begins to melt, flip it over and continue cooking for another few minutes. When the tortilla is slightly golden brown and crispy, turn off the burner. The veggies will be done when the onions are translucent and the peppers are no longer crispy.

Tip: Try adding grilled chicken, taco meat, or black olives for some extra pizzazz!

Enjoy with your favorite salsa and garnish with cilantro. Serves two.

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