With all of the rain that has soaked Raleigh in the past several months, we haven’t grilled outside nearly as much as we normally would. One of the last things I made before our kitchen remodel began were these wonderful chicken and spinach quesadillas with jalapeno-cheddar tortillas and lots of yummy cheese. Delicious ! I have a quesadilla maker that I got for a Christmas present several years ago (thanks Darren and Meredith!) and often use, but it was packed so I just used a large skillet instead.
These quesadillas go great with my fresh and easy pico de gallo that I posted earlier this week (click here for the recipe.) Also, if you want a vegetarian version, omit the chicken and either double the spinach or add a can of drained seasoned black beans.
Ingredients (Makes two 10-inch quesadillas)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided in half)
- 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
- 1 package quesadilla seasoning mix
- 1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed and chopped small
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Sea salt to taste
- Hot sauce to taste (I used jalapeno hot sauce)
- 4 (10-inch) tortillas (I used jalapeño cheddar, but any flavor will work.)
- 4 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken tenderloins and sprinkle with half of the quesadilla seasoning. Flip the chicken over after a couple of minutes and sprinkle with the remainder of the quesadilla seasoning.
Sauté until the chicken is no longer pink inside (about 10 minutes.) You may need to add some water (half a cup or so) to the skillet while this cooks.
Once the chicken cools, cut it into small pieces and place it in a large bowl.
Add the spinach, cilantro, garlic, salt, hot sauce and lime juice and mix well.
Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Place one of the tortillas in the pan and evenly spread 1 cup of the shredded cheese on top of it.
Add 1 cup of the chicken and spinach mixture and top with 1 cup of the cheese. Place another tortilla on top.
Cook for a few minutes until the bottom has browned. Carefully flip the tortilla over and continue to cook until that side is brown and the cheese has melted. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes before cutting. Repeat to make the second quesadilla.
This goes great with chips and guacamole and/or a black bean salad. And a margarita to wash it all down is suggested as well!
Eat, drink and be merry!
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Now, since my daughters grew up, I can take some of those old, family favorites and tweak them to more adult tastes. Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas with fresh Tomato Pico De Gallo is one of those. I used summer-ripe tomatoes, fresh spinach and kept the kitchen cool. What a winner! Don’t despair, for those that want the classic chicken con queso, you will find in the recipe archive. But if you want a summer twist on that favorite recipe, read more now and give it a try.
Sounds great, Ollie! Thanks!
For this recipe, we used leftover broiled chicken and fresh spinach but I am sure it will taste just as great with turkey ham and chopped bell peppers or sliced sausage and tomatoes. These quesadillas are a great breakfast, lunch or dinner food. We love them in lunch boxes, too. Your kids may want to try making them almost by themselves, with some supervision around the hot skillet.
The turkey ham and chopped bell peppers are definitely a go, with some tomatoes, of course! Thanks for the suggestion, Adela!