Some dishes will never win a beauty contest. These slow cooker Sloppy Joe beef quesadillas may not take the swimsuit competition, but oh, they are good. And, like real Sloppy Joes, they're sufficiently messy to eat. You can cook the meat ahead of time, in your slow cooker, and freeze it in portions to fill quesadillas, tacos or burritos, whenever you want them. Add something green -- chopped avocado, lettuce, cilantro leaves -- or serve them with nothing more than melted cheese, and a bit of salsa on top. Summer should be just that easy.
Slow cooker Sloppy Joe beef quesadillas
Inspired by this recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen. Serves 10-12.
For the meat filling:
2-1/2 lbs ground beef sirloin (5% fat)
2 oz hot sauce (I use green Tabasco; use your favorite mild hot sauce)
4-oz can chopped green chiles, drained
1 Tbsp chili powder (I like Penzeys Chili 3000)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
For the quesadillas:
10-12 small corn or flour tortillas
6 oz grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Store-bought or homemade tomatillo salsa
Optional add-ins: sliced avocado, chopped cilantro
Optional toppings: sour cream, guacamole
In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, add all ingredients for the meat filling, plus 1/4 cup water. Stir to combine.
Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Uncover, and using a potato masher or pastry cutter, break up the meat and stir again to evenly distribute the seasoning.
Cover and cook for 1 more hour, uncover the pot and mash again.
Then, cook uncovered, on HIGH, for an additional 30-45 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
At this point, you can remove the beef from the slow cooker, cool completely, pack into airtight containers, and freeze. Or, continue on to make Sloppy Joe beef quesadillas.
To make the quesadillas, heat a griddle or large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Set out the tortillas on the countertop. Sprinkle a small bit of cheese on one half of each tortilla. Top with a few spoonfuls of beef, and more cheese. (If you are adding avocado or cilantro, tuck it in there now.)
Fold each tortilla in half to make a half-moon shape. Cook on the griddle, a few minutes on each side, pressing down lightly with a spatula if needed until the cheese begins to melt. When the tortillas are lightly browned, and the cheese inside has melted, the quesadillas are done.
Serve hot, with tomatillo salsa on top, plus any additional toppings you like. The quesadillas will be messy, like real Sloppy Joes, so be sure to serve with forks.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Texas fiesta bowls, from Salad in a Jar
Beef tamale skillet dinner, from $5 Dinners
Tex-Mex lasagna, from Simply Recipes
Spicy beef and black bean soft tacos with cucumber, tomato, and lime salsa, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Beef flautas, from Homesick Texan
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