04 May 2015

Eats: chicken quesdillas

I know we just had Eats last week, dear readers, but I’m back with another food post again today. Why am I holding back the post I originally thought I’d share today? Because tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, and for once in my life, I actually have a relevant post! I know! I’ll pretend that I planned this and feel good about myself!

In case you were as on top of things as me (that is to say, not really) and haven’t planned tomorrow’s Cinco de Mayo dinner, might I suggest... chicken quesadillas? For years I’d avoided quesadillas because they seemed so much more complicated than setting up a taco bar – but they’re really not, I promise! And I’ve got a few new quesadilla tips for you since I wrote my black bean quesadilla post. So let’s make some ourselves some dang quesadillas!

First up: you need chicken. Splurge on a rotisserie chicken if you like (mmmm) or just bake your own when you have extra time.

If you’re really into flavor, use thighs for extra tasty meat! Mr. P prefers white meat, so I just baked two breasts (and poked at them to make sure they were done).

Then shred it up!

I like to cut the breasts with a knife against the grain into 1-inch strips, then just pull apart into chunks with my fingers. It’s the fastest way I’ve found to shred chicken – sure, a mixer is faster, but then you have to clean the mixer!

Now: jalapeno time! Mine was on its last legs – hence the brown seeds – and also I was using my old broken cutting board... but no matter! The bigger concern was chopping it up without touching it with my fingers, as I knew I’d promptly stick my finger in my baby’s eye without thinking later if I got jalapeno juice on my fingers. Fortunately, you can manipulate it with a fork and a paring knife if need be!

Just slice the top off and cut it in half. Then use a fork to hold the green part while scraping and slicing off the white membranes. Not as hard as you’d think, and no screaming baby later!

Okay! Combine the jalapeno and chicken with a drained can of Rotel tomatoes.

You can also add in black beans or roasted corn, but I’m kinda digging the Mexican patriotism of red, white, and green, you know? If only I’d dumped the jalapenos to the side instead of in the middle!

Stir that all together with taco seasoning (I used a packet) and lime juice (I used the bottled kind, but half a lime would do).

Time to assemble! Start with a handful of shredded cheese – I used a store brand spicy blend – on a flour tortilla.

Then spoon on the chicken mixture. It’s up to you if you want super full quesadillas, so add as much (or as little) as you want! Just be sure to add cheese on top, again.

That cheese is going to bind it all together, so make sure it’s on both sides!

Now it’s time to grill them! My grill press mysteriously stopped working just as I was trying to make these, but no matter. You don’t need a fancy grill if you have a griddle pan and a cast iron skillet!

Just a few minutes on medium heat per side, and you’re good to go! It’s not absolutely necessary to press the quesadillas as you make them, but it sure does help keep the innards all together.

Cook ‘em all up, then cut them into quadrants with a pizza cutter and you’re done! Add sour cream or guac on the side and you are totally winning Cinco de Mayo.

These are so easy, there’s plenty of time left to make margaritas or my preferred sangria (who cares if it’s actually Spanish, it’s still delicious with quesadillas!). Enjoy – and happy Cinco de Mayo to you, too!


Janice said...

An added beauty of this recipe is that you can cook up several chicken breasts, shred them, and freeze for use later in a variety of recipes. I mean, as long as you're heating up the oven or grill, make a bunch at once and be done.(Only took me 15 years of cooking to think of that tip, I'm a slow learner apparently.) Also, since you're going to be cooking it up anyway, you could actually mix up the filling and freeze it all as well. Later thaw and place on a fresh tortilla and cook as usual. Speedy and delicious with minimal fuss. My kind of cooking!