Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Ranch Baked Quesadillas & Science Experiments

  • Prep: 20 min
  • Total: 35 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Servings: 4
Ranch Baked Quesadillas & Science Experiments

Quesadillas are the hero of back-pocket meals — quick, satisfying and suitable for anytime of day. This baked version is easy to batch cook for a family and any leftovers make an easy meal the next day. You’ll love its combo of shredded chicken, spiced green chiles, ooey-gooey cheese and of course the zesty ranch kick. Be sure to take it to the next level of deliciousness with a side of guacamole and salsa.

Along with this Ranched Baked Quesadilla recipe, we’ll explore a range of science concepts for every age. After all, cooking is the ultimate science experiment. From the preschool principle of exploring senses (what does each ingredient taste and smell like?) to lessons for elementary age kids in life science principles (where do dairy products like cheese, milk and butter come from?) and middle schoolers following a recipe using the scientific method (hypothesis: This quesadilla is tasty!). Let’s explore how science and cooking are intertwined, shall we?

Ingredients (8)

Steps (3)

Gather your ingredients and supplies.

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    Teachable Moment

    Teachable Moment

    Tortillas are made of flour (or corn), water and a little salt. That’s it. Many cultures around the world have some type of flatbread that is similar to the tortilla. In India, there’s “chapati” or “roti,” across the Middle east there’s “pita,” in eastern Europe there’s “lavash,” in Ethiopia there’s “injera” and the list goes on. Each region has a different version, but all are made to accompany other delicious foods on the table.

    BONUS TEACHABLE MOMENT:
    Lining a baking sheet with parchment paper is a game changer for clean up! You can also use a silicon sheet and wash each time. It’s so hard to keep a baking pan clean, lining it in something will preserve your pans life and make tidying at the end of the recipe a breeze.

    Mini Activity

    Mini Activity

    Little Kids: Put parchment on baking sheet and inspect all of the ingredients.
    Big Kids: Retrieve all the ingredients needed and set the table if eating when quesadillas are ready. Line the baking sheet and preheat the oven.
    Middle and High Schoolers: Follow the recipe, you got this!

  • 2

    Combine chicken, cheese, seasoning and chiles in medium bowl.

    Teachable Moment

    Teachable Moment

    Use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to divide the mixture into four equal parts. You can use an ice cream scoop to make all kinds of things perfectly uniform. Try making evenly-sized cookies using the tool to scoop dough (they’ll look like they came from a bakery!) or scoop mashed potatoes in a fancy way. What other foods would be perfect for an ice cream scoop? Mini Activity

    Mini Activity

    Little Kids: Stir ingredients in a large bowl with mom’s help. Lay out the four tortillas on the counter, help mom scoop mixture onto each tortilla and fold in half.
    Big Kids: Stir ingredients and scoop mixture onto each tortilla and fold in half.
    Middle and High Schoolers: Keep following that recipe!

  • 3

    Divide meat mixture evenly between each tortilla; fold in half to seal. Place quesadillas on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with salsa, dressing and guacamole, if desired.

    Teachable Moment

    Teachable Moment

    If a little cheese mixture escapes from the tortilla, that’s ok! Sometimes cooks do that on purpose, creating a hard, cheesy crisp known as “frico” in Italian. You can make frico as a base for toppings or to dip into hummus, ranch, salsa as a cheesy “chip.” Use the same technique as this recipe (parchment-lined pan and 350°F oven) and sprinkle a few 2- to 3-inch cheese piles. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes until crispy. Mini Activity

    Mini Activity

    Little Kids: Check on quesadillas midway through bake time with the help of a parent.
    Big Kids: Help mom or dad put the quesadillas into the oven and check on quesadillas midway through cook time.
    Middle and High Schoolers: Finish up the recipe. Excellent work!

Downloadable Activities

Looking for more fun ways to learn science? We’ve put together hands-on activities for kids of every age.

  • Downloadable Activity Age
    3-4

    5 Senses Blind Food Test

    Age Group: Preschool

    Project Goal: Project Goal: All of the senses that come together when we cook and enjoy food. When we take away our sight, how can we use our other senses to distinguish food?
    Download PDF
  • Downloadable Activity Age
    11-13

    Cheese Mold Experiment

    Age Group: Middle School

    Project Goal: Project Goal: Put the scientific method to the test and see which of your favorite cheeses will mold the fastest under different moisture conditions.
    Download PDF
  • Downloadable Activity Age
    5-7

    Homemade Butter

    Age Group: Lower Elementary

    Project Goal: Project Goal: Let’s explore where cheese and dairy products come from – we’ll use our knowledge in a fun experiment with making butter.
    Download PDF
  • Downloadable Activity Age
    14-18

    Make Your Own Cheese

    Age Group: High School

    Project Goal: Project Goal: We’ll start with a little research and end up making a ricotta cheese that your whole family will love.
    Download PDF
  • Downloadable Activity Age
    8-10

    Cow’s Digestion Project

    Age Group: Upper Elementary

    Project Goal: Project Goal: Cheese comes from milk and milk comes from cows. Let’s take a closer look at how our four-legged friends turn grass into cheese for your quesadilla.
    Download PDF