Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Adventures in Quesadillas

For someone who loves Mexican food as much as I do, it's crazy that I didn't think to make quesadillas before this week.  I was in San Antonio over the weekend and I brought some flour tortillas from Alamo Café home with me (seriously the best tortillas ever).  I'm going to freeze most of them for now, but I used a couple last night to try my hand at chicken quesadillas.  I made up the recipe as I went along, and while there are a few tweaks I would make next time around, it made for a delicious dinner. Mexican food is comfort food to me, and a week with two exams calls for comfort food!

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Grilled Chicken Quesadillas with Fresh Salsa
For the chicken:
1 Chicken breast, fat removed
Cumin
Mexican oregano
Chili powder

For the salsa:
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 Bell pepper any color, chopped
2 Green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
Small bunch cilantro, to your preference, minced
1/2 tsp Lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

Other ingredients:
1/2 cup Kraft four cheese Mexican, shredded
2 10" Flour tortillas
Butter or olive oil
Dollop of sour cream

Directions:
To season the chicken, rub the spices on the full chicken breast, trying to evenly distribute them.  Go easy on the cumin--trust me.  Alternatively, you could use a pre-made fajita or taco spice mix.  Then, cut the chicken into small pieces, anywhere from 1/2" to 1" depending on your preference.  Smaller pieces will make a flatter quesadilla, which will stick together more easily later on, so keep that in mind.    Using a skillet with a grill pan preferably, cook the chicken until it is no longer pink in the center.  You could also boil and shred the chicken if you prefer, but if you do leave out the seasonings initially.  Set the chicken aside.

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Don't go overboard on the cumin like I did!
Prepare the salsa by mixing all of the salsa ingredients together in a small bowl, adding the lime juice and salt last.  You could also chop the vegetables in a small food processor if you're pressed for time.  Make the salsa as chunky as you want!

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So Fresh and So Clean
Brown the tortillas lightly in a skillet using either butter or olive oil.  If you do use butter, use it sparingly.  Set aside one tortilla on a plate and leave the other in the skillet.  On the tortilla left in the skillet, pile a layer of half the cheese, a layer of chicken, a layer of salsa, and a layer of the remaining half of the cheese (you can always add more cheese if you'd like), then cover with the other tortilla.  Heat on medium or medium-high until cheeses have melted and the quesadilla sticks together.  You can try to flip the quesadilla midway if the bottom tortilla is getting too brown.

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Layer 1 (I realized later that I should have done a layer of cheese first)

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Layer 2
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Layer 3 (Sorry for the blurry iPhone pic)

When all of the cheese is melted, transfer the quesadilla to a plate, cut into four wedges with a pizza cutter or knife, and add a dollop of sour cream in the middle for dipping (bean dip or guacamole would also be great).  Enjoy!

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If you're not hungry enough for a full quesadilla, you can easily halve the ingredients and use just one folded over tortilla.  This huge quesadilla was too much for me to eat, but now I have leftovers for lunch today.

If you give the recipe a try, let me know how you like it!

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