Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas

I had to post this because it was Rebecca's request for her birthday. Everyone loves them in our house too. You can use anything you want in the quesadillas, leftover beef, chicken, pork, shrimp; you can even make 'em vegetarian and use spinach and mushrooms if you want.

I've learned a couple of tips about making quesadillas from my BIL Peter. He is quite a good cook (for a guy), and we tease him all the time about the deals he finds at the grocery store. Peter uses real butter to grease the griddle (it doesn't take very much at all), and puts a spoonful of alfredo sauce inside the tortillas before anything any other filling ingredients. He says it adds moisture to the quesadilla; I've tried it, and I really like it. I do start with a dry alfredo sauce mix because it has far fewer calories and fat than a jarred sauce, especially if you make it with skim milk.

So, get out your favorite spatula and get ready to do a little flippin' :-)

Chicken Quesadillas

1 package flour tortillas (I used low-carb)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 chicken bullion cube or 2 cups chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 package dry alfredo sauce mix or one jar alfredo sauce
Milk if using a dry alfredo sauce mix.

Let's start with the chicken. I didn't have any chicken broth on hand, so I brought 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot and then threw in the bullion cube (Or, you can bring 2 cups of canned/boxed chicken broth to a boil).
Don't forget what I said earlier, you can use any type of meat/seafood you want. I've bought a rotisserie chicken before, used some of it for a soup, and the rest for quesadillas.
Once the broth is boiling, add the chicken and poach at a simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is done.

Remove to a plate and let the chicken cool until you can handle it.

Chop into small pieces and set aside.

Now, for the alfredo sauce, you can make it from a package like I did (just follow the directions on the back), or you can use a jarred sauce. I didn't have a jarred sauce on hand, but I had the dry sauce mix. Making it this way means I can use skim milk and no butter; it will still taste great and work fine in the quesadillas. Either way, have it ready to go. I left mine in the pot and set it next to my griddle.

At this point, you will want to start heating up your griddle or a large, flat bottomed skillet over medium to medium-high heat. My griddle is actually my grill pan (flat on one side, and grated on the other). Get all your ingredients together and have them ready next to your griddle/pan.

I want to mention something about the ingredients. Usually, I will put some sauteed onions or mushrooms in with the chicken, maybe some cilantro or fresh spinach. Since this was Rebecca's birthday, she requested only chicken and cheese, but you can do it however you want to.

Lightly grease the griddle/pan with a little butter.

Lay one flour tortilla down over the melted butter. You should hear a bit of a sizzle. If not, turn up the heat a little.
Spread 1-2 tablespoons of alfredo sauce on one side of the tortilla.

Sprinkle some cheese over the alfredo sauce, then some chicken and then add a little more cheese. You will probably use about 2-3 tablespoons of chicken and 4 tablespoons of cheese. We're putting cheese on twice because it acts like a glue and will help the tortilla stay together once we flip it. And you don't have to use cheddar, you might want to try monterey jack, jalapeno jack, sharp cheddar, swiss, whatever floats your boat.

Using a wide spatula, flip over the bare side of the tortilla, like this:

Now you might understand why I don't cover the tortilla with ingredients, lay another one on top, and then flip the whole thing over. It is much harder to flip a whole tortilla; folding it in half isn't as scary and a heck of a lot easier :-).

Flip the quesadilla over so the other side has a chance to get a little brown and crispy (which is why we used butter instead of a cooking spray). Butter also adds flavor to the tortilla.

The cheese should be nice and melted now. Remove to a plate, cut in half, and serve immediately. I usually pop these in the oven to keep warm until I have them all ready. I was able to make 7 for dinner; it was enough for all of us, with one left over. I made my Black Bean Salad on the side, and we had birthday cake for dessert.

These are fun and easy to make, plus they can be customized to suit your family's taste.
God bless your table tonight!

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