March 14, 2011 by Dana
Last weekend, when I was in Boston competing in the New England Country Soup Challenge (pictures and more to come on that soon!), I was bitten by a bug. I was having so much fun cooking in the professional kitchen, creating my Chicken and Veggie Corn Chowder, minding my own business, when I felt it.
Immediately I could feel the effects. My mind started racing. I couldn’t sit still. I was infected.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a bedbug (despite my deepest fears), a tick, or even a mosquito. No, it was something else entirely. It was the OBSESSION bug!
You see, the Soup Challenge is only one of many food related contests and competitions that occurs each year. Of course, I always knew that they were out there, but actually participating in one is a whole different story. While I was competing, all I could think about was what other fun contests I was missing out on!
I learned from some of the other contestants that there are websites dedicated solely to compiling food and cooking related contests for people who become obsessed with want to find them. Most notably there is Contest Cook (free) and Cooking Contest Central (membership based).
On the ride home from Boston, I was already searching the sites to see what other contest I could enter!
One of the first ones I found was the North Carolina Sweet Potatoes Blogger Recipe Contest. I knew I had to enter. While it may not always seem like it based on some of the decadent desserts and party foods I feature here on Food for Thought, I love to cook foods that are good for you and taste great.
Creating a recipe featuring a sweet and creamy, nutritionally dense sweet potato fits in perfectly with my food philosophy: real food should taste good and do your body good.
As soon as I got home, I got to work and came up with this delicious recipe for Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas to enter into the Vegetarian category:
2 sweet potatoes, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into ½ inch thick strips
4 rosemary flavored tortillas*
6 oz soft light garlic and herb cheese*
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato rounds, salt and ½ tablespoon of the olive oil until potatoes are well coated. Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the potato rounds in the oven for 25 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
3. In the meantime, heat the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Sautee the sliced onion and pepper strips for 5 minutes on medium high heat, stirring often. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium, stirring every 2 minutes until onions are golden (about 6-8 minutes).
4. Coat a large baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the tortillas on the baking pan and evenly divide the cheese among the four tortillas. Spread the cheese to ½ inch from the edge of each tortilla. Layer the sweet potatoes on one half of each tortilla. Divide the onion and pepper mixture and layer on top of the sweet potato layer.
5. Fold the tortillas in half to cover the potatoes, onions and peppers. Lightly spray the outside of the tortillas with cooking spray. Bake the quesadillas for 3 ½ minutes. Flip and bake for 3 ½ more minutes. Remove the quesadillas from the oven and let cool at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with your choice of garnish.
These Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas are the perfect meatless meal! They have so much flavor, but still feature the sweet potato perfectly. Paired with a simple side salad, this is a great vegetarian offering!