Since I’m only recently rediscovering my unused kitchen know-how from back in high school, I like to keep the dishes I make for my fiancé and my family simple but delicious and, as much as possible, healthy. This made me think of starting this new series on the blog: sharing my super easy, simple, everyday recipes that have become guaranteed hits among my family—which you can follow for the same results without breaking a sweat!
My family loves my California 3-Cheese Quesadillas
Besides the salads I concoct out of the few veggies that I like to eat, my fiancé and I recently started experimenting with Mexican fare—delicious, so easy to make, and has loads of potential to be healthy (depending on the ingredients you use)! One of our favorites is California 3-Cheese Quesadillas, which I recently made for my family and they loved it! It’s great for merienda or even as a light supper.
I love putting Real California Cheese on everything I make because of its honest-to-goodness quality (it’s made with Real California Milk), and with this dish, I went all out with three different types. I try to mix up the California cheeses I use, based on the available variants in the supermarket.
For this version of the 3-minute California 3-Cheese Quesadillas, I used California Cheddar, Colby Jack, and Pepper Jack Cheeses. I chose these three California cheeses because they all have great flavor, yet none of them overpower the other. They each have a distinct, well-balanced taste—not too mild, not too sharp—and I knew they would complement each other with every bite of the quesadilla. Feel free to choose other California cheeses you want to use.
Selecting my California Cheese by the SM dairy fridge
California Cheese at SM dairy fridge
Selecting my California Cheeses at Rustan’s dairy fridge
California Cheeses at Rustan’s
I bought my California Cheddar Cheese (P135 in SM Supermarket, P157.50 in Rustan’s Supermarket), Colby Jack Cheese (P148 in SM, P162.50 in Rustan’s), and Pepper Jack Cheese (P148 in SM, P162.50 in Rustan’s) in SM Supermarket in Makati and Rustan’s Supermarket in Shangri-La Plaza Mall. There are several variants of Real California Cheese you can find stored in these supermarkets’ refrigerated Dairy section. To know for sure, just #LookForTheSeal (see “Real California Milk” logo in the photo below).
California Cheese at SM Supermarket’s dairy fridge #LookForTheSeal
You can also grab California cheese in other branches of SM Supermarket, Rustan’s Supermarket, SM Hypermarket, SaveMore, Robinsons Supermarket, Cash & Carry, Landmark, Pioneer Center, South Supermarket, Unimart, Makati Supermart, Puregold, Metro Gaisano, All Days, Merkado, Landers, BQ-Bohol, Island City Mall, KCC, and NCCC.
Got my California Cheddar and Colby Jack Cheeses at SM
Paying for my California Cheese at Rustan’s
Besides the three California cheeses, I also bought a pack of whole wheat tortilla (I find these thicker and easier to pull apart from each other than the regular flour tortilla, and I can make myself believe we’re eating healthier this way, hihi), bottled jalapeño slices, and sour cream.
California 3-Cheese Quesadilla Ingredients
How to make the quesadillas
The following portions of ingredients can make two quesadillas that you can cut crosswise into four pizza slices each:
4 pcs of 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
38g of California Cheddar Cheese, sliced (basically 1/5 of the 190g pack)
38g of California Colby Jack Cheese, sliced (1/5 of the 190g pack)
38g of California Pepper Jack Cheese, sliced (1/5 of the 190g pack)
As much sliced jalapeños as you would like to add (whether in the quesadilla or as toppings)
1T sour cream per quesadilla (on the side)
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute in the microwave (per quesadilla)
Put the California Cheese on the tortilla
I realized the Pepper Jack is pre-sliced, so I put it at the center of the second quesadilla to ensure it melts evenly onto the tortilla
Step 1: Distribute the sliced three California cheeses evenly over two tortillas in a way you know they’ll melt over each other and cover every inch of your quesadilla. You may add jalapeño slices at this point if you prefer. Top with the two remaining tortillas.
(You have the option to shred/grate the California cheese, but I prefer to just slice it so it’s thicker and more gooey when it melts—and because it’s quicker, easier, and I don’t have to wash the cheese grater after, haha!)
Sliced California Cheeses
Step 2: Put a paper towel above and below the tortilla before you pop it into the microwave in a microwave-safe plate. This will absorb the steam so you don’t end up with wet, soggy quesadillas.
Step 3: Microwave one quesadilla at high for 1 minute. Repeat this step for the other quesadilla.
Step 4: Slice each quesadilla crosswise until you get a total of 8 wedges. Top with jalapeño slices and add a dollop of sour cream on the side as dip or spread. You may want to add more California cheese on top.
Voila! You now have California 3-Cheese Quesadillas that you made in just three minutes. It’s as easy as making grilled cheese sandwich!
Just look at that gooey, melted three types of cheese in the quesadillas—all three melted so well and evenly!
More about the California cheeses used in the recipe
Cheddar is one of my favorite types of California cheese—and almost everyone can claim this is their fave, too. Cheddar is a family of very popular and versatile cheeses available in a range of flavors from mild to extra sharp (I prefer the latter). We can enjoy it as is, in sandwiches, over vegetables, and yes, even in Mexican fare like quesadillas because it melts well and is very good in cooked food or shredded and sprinkled on top. Its color ranges from light yellow to orange, or may even be white. The California Cheddar Cheese I got has a light yellow color and medium flavor.
Clockwise from left: Pepper Jack, Cheddar, and Colby Jack California Cheeses
Colby is like cheddar, but somewhat milder and softer. It is used as is for snacks and in cooked food. It’s semi-firm, with a color that ranges from pale yellow to orange. Meanwhile, Colby Jack is a blend of Colby and Jack used especially for snacks and sandwiches. It has a mild to medium sharp flavor, and white and yellow/orange color. Pepper Jack is basically your almost-white Jack cheese blended with, obviously, some pepper. The California Pepper Jack Cheese has a mild flavor with a spicy kick.
Cheese tips from the California Milk Advisory Board
1. When purchasing California cheese, make sure the package is properly and tightly wrapped and sealed, and that the cheese inside looks appealing. Do not purchase any that looks dry or discolored, as the package seal may be broken. With fresh California cheeses, check the freshness date on the package. Most will maintain their flavor and quality in your refrigerator if properly stored.
#LookForTheSeal and the freshness date on the package when buying California cheese
2. Keep California cheeses in the refrigerator until needed. Once opened, follow these simple guidelines for storing them:
- Fresh California cheeses should be treated just like milk and kept refrigerated.
- Many fresh California cheeses can last for a few weeks if properly stored, so note the freshness date on the package before you buy. If you detect mold, discard it.
- Soft-ripened California cheeses will keep for up to several weeks if properly stored. If you plan to use one within a few days, store it in the refrigerator in its original plastic wrap.
- Semi-hard and hard California cheeses can remain enjoyable for four to eight weeks if properly stored. If you do not plan to consume these within a few days after their original package is first opened, consider removing the original plastic wrap and rewrapping in parchment or wax paper, which allows them to breathe. After rewrapping them, store in a covered plastic container or an open resealable-type food storage bag.
Pack extra cheese in cling wrap before storing in your fridge
- According to California cheese expert Mark Todd, after you discard the California cheese’s original package once opened, you may use Cling-Wrap when storing the remaining California cheese. However, make sure to dry the California cheese first with a paper towel before doing so. Then keep it in a resealable-type plastic bag.
- Very hard California cheeses (typically used for grating) are much lower in moisture than other types, and will keep for months if stored in the same way as semi-hard California cheeses.
Photos by Trixie Reyna