Roasted Veggie Quesadillas with Pesto and Goat Cheese + a Twist to My Favorite Barley Risotto

As I have been prepping for my first day back to work tomorrow I have tried to get myself back in the mindset of thinking through all our meals on Sundays. I forget how this can be a lot of work up front but how much easier it is as the week goes on and you have things prepped and ready for the meal ahead of time. I wanted to share two meals I made this week that were delicious. If you are able to roast the vegetables ahead of time then the actual prep of these delicious meals is simple. First up was a variation of my favorite barley risotto. Instead of mushrooms and sausage this time I did butternut squash, kale and turkey sausage (this would be just as good without the meat as well). I love anything with roasted vegetables and have always loved roasted vegetable sandwiches so decided to try it in quesadilla format.  I added pesto and goat cheese to make it complete.

As I said I highly recommend roasting the vegetables for both of these recipes at the same time.  Then when it comes time to make the meals it’s fast. Plus, after the vegetables are roasted the risotto only uses one pot (MY FAVORITE) and all I had to do to make the quesadillas the next night was assemble and bake. After roasting store the squash separate from the other vegetables (the mushrooms, zucchini, onions and red peppers can go in the same container). Below is one of the two pans of veggies I did (the other had the onion, red pepper and second zucchini).

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Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Serves 4IMG_3264

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 zucchini sliced the long way
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced into 1 inch long chunks
  • 3 portabella mushrooms, julienned
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 8 flour tortillas

Directions

  1. This step can be done in advance. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray then lay vegetables on top and drizzle olive oil over them. Roast at 400 for 40 minutes or until tender. If making the quesadillas later in the week store the vegetables in a sealed container in the fridge overnight.
  2. When it’s time to eat. Set oven to 350
  3. Assemble quesadillas by laying four tortillas down and spreading the vegetables evenly over them. Next, break off small chunks of goat cheese and spread on top of the vegetables. On the other 4 tortillas spread 1/4 cup of pesto evenly to the edges. Flip this quesadilla on top of the other tortilla.
  4. Lay all four assembled quesadillas on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes (until tortilla is slightly browned), flip and bake 5-10 min on the other side.
  5. Serve warm

Butternut Squash, Kale, Turkey Sausage Barley Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound of bulk turkey sausage (or two sausages with the casein removed)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of hull-less or pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and ripped to small pieces (I used a 5 ounce bag of kale)
  • 1 Butternut squash peeled and diced (I bought a 20 ounce container which is ~3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. This step can be done a day ahead if desired. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray then place the diced squash on the pan and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Roast the butternut squash at 400 for 40 minutes.
  2. Heat dutch oven (or a large pot) to medium high and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Saute the onion and  sausage until sausage is cooked through.
  3. Add chicken broth and barley to the pot, bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer for ~40 minutes until barley is tender and the liquid is absorbed
  4. When 10 minutes remain (after barley has been on for 30 minutes) add the kale and roasted butternut squash.
  5. Remove from heat. Add the Parmesan cheese.
  6. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve
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