Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crispy Chicken Quesadillas

It's hot.  Today it was hotter in Fort Wayne than in Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, and, yes, even the Bahamas.  Eighty-seven degrees.  In March.  In Fort Wayne.  Pretty soon the Floridians are going to be planning spring break trips to Indiana so they can work on their tans.  And while I haven't turned on the air conditioning like some of you wimps out there, I determined that using the oven was still a dumb move.  Instead, I broke out the food processor and made ham and cheese spread.  It's not the healthiest meal out there.  I don't think it even qualifies as a meal.  It is, quite literally, ham and cheese and mayonnaise and more cheese on crackers.  Seasoned with sherry, mustard, pepper, and... definitely not salt.  My brain must've melted--it's the only possible reason I could have been talked into eating that stuff for dinner.  Or pure laziness.  Did I mention it was hot?

Anyway, if you're looking for something a bit more reasonable that also doesn't involve turning your kitchen into a blazing inferno (more on that another time), I suggest these tasty quesadillas.  I adapted them from a recipe found on Pinterest, and you can make your own changes too, although the combination of chicken, rice, and black beans is hard to top.  I used small tortillas, which worked either as quesadillas or folded in half and stuffed; larger (burrito size) tortillas can be made into wraps, as described in the original recipe.

Crispy Chicken Quesadillas
Time:  30 minutes (plus rice- and chicken-cooking time)
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used one bag of boil-in-bag brown rice to save time)
1 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
butter or cooking spray
1 pkg. small flour tortillas
about 2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar
sour cream, shredded lettuce, and diced tomatoes, for serving (optional)

Thoroughly combine first 10 ingredients (through garlic salt).  If necessary, heat mixture in microwave (it should be warmer than room temperature).

Preheat a skillet over medium heat.  For each quesadilla, butter two tortillas on one side only.  Place one tortilla, butter side down, on hot pan.  Quickly sprinkle cheese over tortilla, leaving narrow border around edges, then allow to partially melt (to speed this process, top with a lid--avoid overcooking the tortilla).  Spread chicken mixture over cheese.  Top with second tortilla, butter side up.  When bottom tortilla is browned, flip the whole quesadilla and brown the second side (I use two spatulas, one to flip and the other to "catch" the quesadilla on its way down).

Serve with sour cream, lettuce, and tomato (avocado is yummy, too!).

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