Quesadillas were one of my favorite childhood meals. Even now when I eat one, it brings me back to summers spent at my grandmother’s house, where my little sister and I would beg for the little cheesy triangles for lunch nearly every day. Of course, back then they consisted simply of a plain cheese quesadilla microwaved until melty and consumed with the scent of chlorine in our hair by the pool, but they still hold a special place in my heart. These days, I’m typically not wearing a bathing suit when I eat quesadillas, and they usually have a few more nutritious fillings inside. My favorite way to eat them lately is stuffed with black beans, shiitake mushrooms, and spinach, and served with creamy guacamole and tangy sour cream for dipping. They make a perfect Meatless Monday dinner because the meaty-textured Shiitake mushrooms are a great vegetarian substitute, and the black beans are packed with protein. Spinach elevates the meal by giving a pop of freshness and vibrance amid all that gooey cheese.
I like to think of fettuccine Alfredo as the broke-girl’s boujee Italian dish. The sauce is based solely on heavy cream and parmesan, and the add-ins are very affordable (especially if you keep it vegetarian). Your cardiologist might experience heart flutters at the sight of the fat content in heavy cream, but I keep things a little lower in fat by cutting the recipe with half & half. The end result is a creamy sauce that still coats the noodles without sacrificing any flavor.