June 4, 2010

Homemade quesadillas - in an electric skillet! {review}

I love eating out, don't you? I love tasting different dishes and seeing how professional cooks season and present their best. But what I love most about eating out is... not having to cook! :)

But guess what...that changed when I got my new Presto 16" electric skillet courtesy of CSN Stores. I LOVE IT!!
(sorry for the glare - darn flash!)

I love this skillet and I love CSN Stores! They have everything you could possibly want. When I was invited to review a product from CSN, I knew immediately what I wanted to review. You see, I have no kitchen stove. Well, let me put it this way - only two of the four rangetop burners work and both of them are the teeny-tiny small ones. Try boiling a stock pot of pasta or frying chicken in a big skillet on one of those tiny burners. Doesn't work, does it?

So I'd been thinking for a while about purchasing an electric skillet. CSN came to my rescue! My new Presto is just fabulous. And did you catch the size? 16" ain't small! SIXTEEN INCHES! You can fry TWO chickens in this thing! You can make a dozen silver-dollar pancakes at a time. I was craving Rice-A-Roni the other night and one package looked so lonesome in this big ol' skillet that I ended up cooking two packages at once. With no problems whatsoever! Love it!!

Tonight I had a craving for homemade quesadillas. Yeah, try doing THAT on a tiny stove burner! First I browned some hamburger meat -
Just so you know, that's almost three pounds of ground chuck in the skillet. And there's still plenty of room for more. I cooked it until done at about 350-400 degrees (yes, there's a temp control on the skillet).

Next, I drained off all the fat and removed the browned beef. Then I plopped a flour tortilla into the skillet and didn't add a smidgen of oil. There was enough fat from the beef still coating the skillet so that I didn't have to add anything else. And when Presto says "non-stick", they mean non-stick! I've practically burnt stuff in this skillet and nothing stuck. Nothing. Anyway, here's my tortilla in the skillet -
Cook it to your desired brownness and crispiness. I happen to like mine well done and crispy, so I turned the skillet temp up to 400 for this part. Brown it on both sides, then remove it and add another flour tortilla. When you've browned one side of that and turned it over, that's the time to start adding whatever your favorite quesadilla fillings are.
I added some refried beans to the tortilla, then topped that with the browned chuck, then topped it all with shredded cheese. You might like to use shredded chicken instead of beef, or mozzarella instead of cheddar. That's the beauty of homemade quesadillas - make 'em how you like 'em! Then put the other tortilla on top and mash down gently.

At this point, I usually turn the skillet completely off and put the top on it for about two or three minutes. This insures that all ingredients get warmed through and the cheese melts, without continuing to cook the tortilla that's on the bottom. When ready, remove it to a plate, cut into eighths with a pizza cutter (I knew that gadget would come in handy one day for something besides just pizza!) and add a little salsa if you like.

And voila!
Perfect! And I guarantee as good as anything you'd get in a restaurant! Couldn't be easier. Try it sometime! Oh, and for you math majors out there, yeah, I know the picture only shows seven slices instead of eight. I snitched one before I could take the photo. Couldn't resist!! :)

Next up I think I'll make country-fried pork steaks. Just fry them up the way you like them, then remove them for a moment. Add a little flour to the oil in the skillet, stir it around until it browns nicely, then add about a cup of water or to your desired thickness. Instant gravy! Sometimes at this point I'll return the fried pork steaks to the skillet with the gravy and let it all simmer gently for about fifteen minutes. You won't believe how tender the meat will be! It will just melt in your mouth! Maybe I'll do that this weekend and take pictures so I can show off my culinary skills. :)

The whole point is it doesn't take culinary skills to be a decent cook at home. You need the right equipment - that stupid cookstove wasn't going to cut it, so I got something that would - the Presto 16" electric skillet from CSN Stores. And would you believe it is only $41.99?! List price is $52.99, and it would be worth every penny of that. But you can always count on CSN to give you better value for your shopping dollar.

One other thing I LOVE about the Presto 16" electric skillet is that the top doesn't warp. Remember those older electric skillets with the metal tops that warped and after a few uses they no longer fit on the skillet? What a pain. Well, that's no longer a problem with this jewel. The top is made of some kind of hard plastic that won't warp under high heat like metal will. Just one more reason to love this baby!

So now that I'm getting my kitchen needs taken care of, I'm thinking of other parts of my home that I can improve by shopping online at CSN Stores. I'm in desperate need of a corner tv stand, because there is only one place in my tiny living room where I can put the tv, DVD player, game console, etc. and it's right in a corner. Now I just have to decide how much my budget can stretch, because CSN has so many choices it's impossible to choose!!

I'm leaning toward this one -
- because that's about all I have to put on a tv stand at the moment. But I also like this one -
- because it just looks classy. :) And I like having the components behind glass doors when not in use. Now if I could just afford a big screen tv like that... hey, CSN, how about letting me do a tv review!!

Asking too much??

Oh well, it never hurts to ask... :)

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample gratis in exchange for providing this unbiased review of the product. No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.