Quesadillas can be easy weeknight meal

Spicy sausage and onion quesadillas.

When it comes to quesadillas, I tend to go one of two ways, neither of them great.

Most of the time I just grab whatever leftovers happen to be in the refrigerator, slap them between flour tortillas, then toast and be done. Or else I start with one idea for the filling, but get overwhelmed by the choices and just keep piling them on. By the time I'm done, dinner resembles more deep dish pizza than quesadilla.

But this dish is such a weeknight-friendly meal, it seemed worth putting a bit more thought into it.

One of the tricks to a great quesadilla is getting the fillings cooked without overcooking the tortillas surrounding them. Which means cooking raw fillings separately.

While I like the bite of hot Italian sausages in this recipe, use whichever variety you prefer.

Spicy Sausage and Onion Quesadillas

Servings: 4

16-ounce can refried beans

2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1 teaspoon adobo sauce (more or less to taste; see cook's note)

8 large flour tortillas

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 green bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup sliced white button mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 spicy Italian turkey or chicken sausages, cut into thin rounds

2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided

1/4 cup sliced black olives

Cook's note: If you don't like things spicy, go easy on the adobo sauce.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the refried beans, chipotle chilies and adobo sauce. Spread a quarter of the mixture over one side of four of the tortillas, then arrange those tortillas on 2 baking sheets.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic. Saute until the onion and peppers just soften, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage and saute for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the sausage begins to brown.

Spoon a quarter of the sausage and vegetable mixture over the refried beans on each tortilla. Divide 1 1/2 cups of the cheese between the quesadillas, then top each with a quarter of the olives. Gently press a second tortilla over the top of each, then bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of the remaining cheese over each quesadilla, then bake for another 5 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 964 calories; 395 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 44g fat (14g saturated; 0g trans fats); 109mg cholesterol; 102g carbohydrate; 46g protein; 13g fiber; 2,241mg sodium.