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COOKSTUFF : The Last Minute

When Seconds Count

November 04, 1998

How do you get dinner on the table fast? We mean real fast. The rules: No more than one stop on the way home, no more than 10 minutes' prep time. The rest is up to you.

This week's solution comes from Food Staff Writer Russ Parsons. Next week, we'd like to hear from you.

In my family, the solution is quesadillas. These are not the delicacies of fancy cooking, made from fresh masa and stuffed with squash blossoms and whatnot. They're more like a grilled cheese sandwich with additional protein and fiber.

Spread one flour tortilla with canned refried beans (if you're a little more ambitious, you can re-fry your own from canned or even leftover pinto beans). Spread another with fresh goat cheese (its tang is nice in such a rich dish). Then smush them together and fry them on the griddle.

Serve with bottled salsa tarted up with a little fresh cilantro. Or if you've got some good tomatoes, jalapenos and garlic lying around, chop them together to make a quick mix that is much better than the commercial stuff yet can be made in the time the quesadillas are frying.

To share your last-minute dinner idea, write to The Last Minute, Los Angeles Times Food Section, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053. Or e-mail us at food@latimes.com.

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