My husband makes salsa every summer, and since he's really serious about every step of the process—and the quality of his product—our little girl has eaten it almost since she started eating solids. I was always worried about the spice (there have been batches that are too spicy for me!), but she's never had an issue with it. Sure, occasionally she makes a face when it's spicier than she expects, but it usually makes her want to eat it more!
Her love of salsa makes it easy for me to add an extra dose of produce to her plate and it can help inspire her to try something new if she has some for dipping nearby. When she was a younger eater, I made these simple quesadillas with flour or whole grain tortillas since they tend to be softer than corn, though now that she is a confident chewer, we usually eat the ones that Trader Joe's sells for 99 cents. (Hint: They freeze well so you can stock up!) Whichever kind you choose, this recipe is a super fast meal option that's great for kids and adults alike. You can customize it for the preferences of your family—add meat, add some greens, use the tortillas you like most—but I strongly suggest you serve them with salsa since it pairs so well with the subtle sweetness of the sweet potato. If your kiddo is new to salsa or likes more mellow flavors, simply choose a mild variety.
Sweet Potato and Cheese Quesadillas
This recipe is really speedy without meat, so we often go that route for quick weekend lunches. But it's easy to add some cooked ground beef or chorizo if you'd like to add flavor and protein to the dish. Simply add it on top of the sweet potato and proceed as directed, taking a bit more care when flipping. Make one quesadilla at a time, starting with the kiddo's so that it has a chance to cool before everyone sits down to eat. Or use the oven directions and do them all at once.
- 8 small corn, flour, or whole grain tortillas
- 4 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1-2 small roasted sweet potatoes (or 1 14.5-ounce can pureed butternut squash, drained)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
- Salsa for serving (optional)
To make this on the stove top (this is the best method for corn tortillas):
1. Warm a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Pour in a little neutral oil or butter if the pan is dry, then wipe to cover the bottom of the pan with a paper towel. (You just need a thin layer of oil.) Spread some cream cheese onto the tortilla, then the sweet potato, and place into skillet. Add about 1/4 cup cheese and place the second tortilla on top. Press down. Cover and let warm for about 2 minutes. Flip and warm for 2-3 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
2. Remove from skillet and let rest on a plate for at least a minute before cutting into wedges. (I use kitchen shears.) Serve with salsa if your kiddo likes it. Repeat to make the rest.
To make this in the microwave (I don't recommend this for corn tortillas, but it works well for flour or whole grain):
1. Spread the cream cheese onto the tortilla, then the sweet potato, and the cheese. Place the second tortilla on top. Heat for 15-30 seconds or until just warmed through. Let rest on a plate for about a minute before cutting into wedges. Serve with salsa if your kiddo likes it (mine does!).
To make this in the oven:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil, then spread the cream cheese onto the 4 tortillas, then the sweet potato. Place them onto the lined baking sheet and top with cheese and the remaining tortillas.
2. Place into oven, place a sheet of foil on top, and weight with a baking sheet and a cast iron skillet or a pie plate. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until warm through and cheese is melted.
Add snipped spinach, cooked ground beef or chorizo, or shredded carrot to the filling.
Use creamy goat cheese instead of cream cheese.
Add chicken or tofu in place of the beef.