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Quesadillas and Saguaro National Park - Tucson, AZ

Makes: 1 quesadilla     Difficulty: Very Easy     Meal: Main Dish     Great for potlucks!

From my RV kitchen

Long considered a symbol of the West, the giant saguaro (sa-WAH-ro) cactus grows only in the Sonoran Desert and nowhere else in the world! As an RVer I've had the opportunity to snowbird in Tucson, Arizona a few winters and have stayed in RV parks near both the east and the west districts of Saguaro National Park.

While you might be tempted to say 'seen one seen 'em all' the two sides of the park are very different from one another. On the west side - the Tucson Mountain District, there is no paved driving loop, most hiking is accessed from a dirt road loop with spectacular scenery, and the saguaro stands are more dense. In the east district - the Rincon Mountain District, the mountains are higher, there are more hiking trails and they can be accessed from a number of different points on the outskirts of the city, and there are other things to see - like homesteads.

In addition to the two units of the National Park, you'll swoon over saguaros at both Tucson Mountain Park and Catalina State Park. Both offer hiking, drives, scenic picnic spots and more.

Find more fun facts about the mighty saguaro at the Desert Botanical Gardens website.

Read about the Tohono O'odham saguaro fruit harvest in this terrific article.

After a day of exploring - or a day of driving - you might want to enjoy my easy, delicious, go-to when I'm hungry but tired dish - quesadillas. These tasty Mexican 'grilled cheeses' are so simple to make that I'm amazed they are best sellers in restaurants. Try this quick dish, top it with some of my pico de gallo from my Trio of Salsas episode, Tucson's Greatest Guacamole, and some sour cream and you've got an (almost) gourmet meal. Pop a cold one of your choice, sit back and relax. Dinner's ready in less than 10 minutes. Cheers!


2 flour tortillas per quesadilla

3/4 c shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend

fillings of your choice - torn chicken breast, canned mushrooms, black olives, onions, cilantro, etc.

Sides: pico de gallo (or salsa), guacamole, sour cream, cilantro.


Heat a dry non-stick skillet on medium heat. When the pan is hot place a tortilla flat, add chesse then other fillings. Top with the second tortilla. Toast until brown and the cheese is melting. Flip and toast until second side is brown and the cheese is completely melted. Over medium heat this takes about 5 minutes.

Remove from pan, cut into quarters and serve with sides of your choice.

Additional Tips

Fill your quesadilla with ingredients that you love - but be careful not to over fill the quesadilla or you'll have a tough time flipping it over.

Add an international flair by creating a quesadilla using Italian, Thai, BBQ or other ingredients and serve with appropriate sides.

Try this quick and easy recipe on the grill, too. Just watch that the melted cheese doesn't ooze out into the flames.

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Direct from my RV kitchen - part cooking class on wheels, part RV travel guide - these RV videos cook! Discover more RV destinations and camping recipes on the RV Cooking Show website.

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