Quesadillas


Quesadillas are one of my favorite choices at just about every Mexican and Tex-mex restaurant I end up at. I'm even a fan of unique variations with add-ins like pineapple and feta cheese, but I will always be happy to end up with a nice slightly crispy tortilla filled with cheese.  I was cooking a nice big meal for my family, and Quesadillas ended up on the menu.  I made Homemade Salsa and White Chicken Enchiladas as well for a fully chicken and cheese filled evening.

The filling seemed  basic enough: cheese, chicken, and loads of cooked peppers and onions.  I picked up a mixed bag of shredded cheeses at the grocery, including Colby jack and cheddar.

I made the chicken for the enchiladas at the same time as I was preparing the quesadillas, seasoning it with chicken with cumin, white pepper, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder, then cooked the chicken in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil.  You can find more on those steps in my enchilada post.  I chopped some fresh red and green peppers and about half an onion into strips and started cooking them in a nonstick skillet with some olive oil.



I sauteed the vegetables for about 8 minutes, until they were soft and the peppers began to brown on the outside.  To me, that is the perfect consistency for adding to a dish like fajitas, so as a quesadilla filler this seemed perfect.


I added in the chicken I made for enchiladas and set them aside in a large bowl.


Now for the fun part: building the quesadilla.  After wiping out the pan I used to cook the peppers and onions, I melted some butter in the bottom and added on a large tortilla.  I topped that with some cheese, then piled on the chicken and vegetables, and finally topped it off with more cheese and a second tortilla.


I let the quesadilla cook for 3-4 minutes, until the bottom tortilla began to brown, then used a large spatula and some crafty pan tilting to flip it to the other side.  The bottom was perfect!


After letting the other side brown for another 2-3 minutes, the cheese had melted and the quesadilla was perfectly cooked.  I cut it into slices and voila:


Talk about delicious.  These were so easy, and the results were great.  Along with the enchiladas and homemade salsa, we had quite a dinner that evening.  The onions and peppers were perfect and the chicken was seasoned just the right amount.  I liked the quantity of cheese, but a little more next wouldn't hurt anything but my diet.  Now that I know how to make a great quesadilla at home, this will be added to the dinner rotation far more frequently.  The best part is that my family had a great dinner.  Now that's a compliment to someone who loves to cook.

Quesadillas Recipe

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1/2 onion
4-6 large flour tortillas (about 10 inches in diameter)
2-3 cups shredded Colby Jack and Cheddar cheeses
2-3 tablespoons butter


Instructions:

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken with cumin, garlic powder, white pepper, salt, and chili powder. Cook for 6-7 minutes on each side until browned on both sides and cooked throughout. Slice chicken into strips and set aside. Slice peppers and onion into thin strips. In a large nonstick pan, heat some more olive oil, then add peppers and onions an cook for 8-10 minutes until softened. Combine chicken and vegetables in a large bowl. Once cooled, wipe out the pan from cooking the vegetables and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add one of the large tortillas, then add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, spreading it across the entire tortilla. Add chicken and vegetables on top, then add another layer of cheese. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then carefully flip over and cook the other side and continue cooking until the other side of the tortilla is browned and the cheese is melted.

Makes about 3 large quesadillas.

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