I’m really excited about this Dollar Store Dinner. When I tell you I GOBBLED this down while taking the photographs, that would be an understatement. 😅 Quesadillas are one of my favorite easy meals, so I was really excited to see the ingredients needed to make these awesome Bean Quesadillas at the dollar store. I added a side of seasoned rice pilaf that I fancied up with a can of Rotel, and dinner was done! Seven ingredients, $8.75 total, four servings. 🙌
Dollar Store Dinners
Welcome to the Dollar Store Dinners series on Budget Bytes. We’re making quick and simple meals using only ingredients found at the dollar store. While the availability of ingredients will vary from store to store, hopefully these easy recipes will give you some inspiration for when money is tight and access to groceries is limited!
What’s in This Meal?
This meal consists of really simple bean quesadillas that are filled with a mix of beans, vegetables, cheese, and a little seasoning, then cooked until crispy in a skillet. I added a packet of Spanish rice as a side dish and incorporated a can of Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles) to make the rice a little more interesting.
Here’s what we bought at the dollar store:
- Flour tortillas $1.25
- Santa Fe Blend frozen vegetables (corn, black beans, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onions) $1.25
- Canned pinto beans $1.25
- Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles) $1.25
- Cheddar cheese $1.25
- Spanish rice mix $1.25
- Bayou Blend seasoning $1.25
And we still had a couple of leftover tortillas and tons of seasoning blend to use in future meals!
What Kind of Seasoning to Use for Quesadillas
Normally I would have bought a taco seasoning packet for quesadillas, but the seasoning packets are only enough for one recipe and they are the same price as this huge bottle of Bayou Blend seasoning. While the Bayou Blend isn’t southwest flavored, it has a wonderfully smoky-spicy flavor that I think still goes great with the beans, cheese, and vegetables. So it was definitely a better bang for my buck (or buck twenty-five). If you do use taco seasoning instead, you may need to add a little salt to the quesadilla filling if your taco seasoning does not contain salt.
What Else Can I Add?
If you have access to more ingredients I’d definitely add some sour cream and/or salsa for dipping! And maybe some green onions to top the Spanish rice. You could also dice up some cooked chicken and add that into the quesadilla filling.
No Dollar store, No Problem.
This recipe was crafted using the limited ingredients available at a dollar store for those who only have access to groceries this way, but you can make the same or similar recipes using ingredients from regular grocery stores, and oftentimes for a lower price. This meal was actually inspired by two of our other recipes: Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas and Tomato Rice. So you can check those out if you want a more “from scratch” approach.
Bean Quesadillas and Spanish Rice
- 12 oz. Santa Fe Blend frozen vegetables ($1.25)
- 1 15oz. can pinto beans ($1.25)
- 4 oz. cheddar cheese ($1.25)
- 1.5 tsp Bayou Blend seasoning* ($1.25)
- 8 flour tortillas ($1.25)
- 1 5.6oz. pkg Spanish rice ($1.25)
- 1 10oz. can Rotel (diced tomatoes with chiles) ($1.25)
- Thaw the frozen vegetables and drain them well. Rinse and drain the pinto beans. Shred the cheddar cheese.
- Add the thawed vegetables, pinto beans, shredded cheese, and 1.5 tsp seasoning blend to a large bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning or salt to your liking. Set the quesadilla filling aside.
- Drain the liquid from the can of Rotel into a liquid measuring cup, then add water until you have 2 cups liquid total (or the recommended amount on the package of rice).
- Add the rice packet, drained tomatoes, and measured liquid to a saucepot. Stir to combine. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 7 minutes (or follow the instructions on the packet). After 7 minutes, turn the heat off and set the rice aside.
- While the rice is cooking, divide the quesadilla filling between 8 tortillas (a scant ½ cup each), spreading it over one half of the tortilla, then folding it closed.
- Cook the filled quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is melted on the inside and the tortillas are crispy on the outside (I do not use oil, but you can if you prefer).
- Slice the quesadillas in half or into thirds. Fluff the Spanish rice. Serve the quesadillas and rice together and enjoy!
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Bean Quesadillas – Step by Step Photos
Here are the items we bought at the dollar store to make this meal: flour tortillas, Santa Fe blend frozen vegetables, pinto beans, Rotel, cheddar cheese, Bayou Blend seasoning, and a Spanish rice packet.
Thaw the 12 oz. bag of frozen vegetables first so you can drain off the excess water. You don’t want soggy quesadillas! I just microwaved mine for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until they were fully thawed, then drained them really well.
Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of pinto beans. Shred 4oz. cheddar cheese. Add the beans, cheese, and 1.5 tsp Bayou seasoning (or taco seasoning – you may need salt if your taco seasoning doesn’t contain any).
Stir everything together, then taste the filling and adjust the seasoning or salt to your liking. Set the quesadilla filling aside.
It’s time to start cooking the Spanish rice. The directions on the packet said to add 2 cups of water, but I wanted to add Rotel tomatoes to the mix. So I drained the juices from the can into a measuring cup, then added enough water until it reached the 2 cups of liquid suggested on the packet.
Add the contents of the Spanish rice packet into a saucepot. Add the drained tomatoes and 2 cups of liquid (juices from the Rotel + water). Stir everything to combine, place a lid on top, then bring it up to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn it down to medium-low and simmer for about 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, turn the heat off and set it aside.
While the rice is cooking, fill the quesadillas. I had just under 4 cups of the filling, so I filled 8 tortillas with a scant ½ cup of the filling. Spread the filling over one side, then fold them closed.
Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is melted on the inside and the tortilla is brown and crispy on the outside. I did not use oil in the skillet, but you can if you prefer a more fried effect.
Slice the quesadillas into two or three pieces each. I like to use a pizza cutter for this, but a large knife works well, too!
Fluff the Spanish rice with a fork.
Serve your cheesy bean quesadillas and Spanish rice and enjoy!