Perfect Chicken Quesadillas

I used to think I was very fancy with my nifty quesadilla maker. It was kind of like a waffle maker, only made ESPECIALLY for quesadillas. It even pressed them into little triangles! Yet, something in my technique still left crispness to be desired. As it turns out, the secret to making the perfect quesadilla lies not in a special quesadilla press, but in a plain old skillet.

10 minutes to the perfect quesadilla! Add corn and black beans for some variety.

10 minutes to the perfect quesadilla! Add corn and black beans for some variety.

 

Around here, quesadillas are a routine meal when we have Mexican-anything leftovers to use up. I’ve made these before with my lightened-up taco filling, and even crockpot fajita leftovers; but for today let’s start from scratch.

FOR CHICKEN FILLING:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb diced chicken breast
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 heaping tbsp. Mexican seasoning
  • optional: red pepper flakes/chili powder, if you like heat

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. Throw in diced chicken and cover until chicken is no longer pink. Add in diced peppers, onions, and minced garlic. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. Pour in 1 cup of water and stir in 2 heaping tbsp. of Mexican seasoning blend ( I like to add extra cumin). Cook uncovered until water cooks off and peppers are soft.

At this point I usually scoop the whole mixture onto a large cutting board and chop it up even more.

FOR QUESADILLA:

  • cooking spray
  • tortillas
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salsa and plain greek yogurt for dipping

Take a guess at home many quesadillas you are going to make, and mist the tortillas with cooking spray. Set in a stack next to the stove so that they can absorb the oil a little prior to cooking. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Put an oiled tortilla on the skillet and lightly sprinkle entire surface with cheese. Top with filling mixture (NOTE: make sure any remaining moisture or liquid has been pressed out of the filling, otherwise you will have a sad, soggy quesadilla). When cheese appears to start melting, use a spatula to fold the quesadilla in half. Allow to cook for a moment longer, and then flip to crisp the other side.

heat quesadilla in a skillet with cooking spray until crispy THEN fold over

heat quesadilla in a skillet with cooking spray until crispy THEN fold over

Serve with salsa and sour cream. I always swap out sour cream for plain Greek yogurt because they literally taste the same to me. Greek yogurt also packs in probiotics (digestive helpers) and protein.

I actually prefer whole wheat tortillas for quesadillas because they are a little more sturdy. I use mozzarella because it is the most similar and readily-available cheese to what is used in Mexican restaurants. Do you have any ‘perfect quesadilla’ tricks?

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10 thoughts on “Perfect Chicken Quesadillas

  1. This looks delicious! In my hometown of Chihuahua, Mexico, a quesadilla used to mean a corn tortilla with cheese inside. A sincronizada used to mean a flour tortilla with ham and cheese in side. Now days this quesadilla concept has evolved as much as your imagination can go! this certenly is a great one! What I still do, is prepare them in a comal, which is a cast iron skillet specially used to heat tortillas :)

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  2. I cover my tortilla with the cheese and leave open in the pan until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy and golden brown. No need for flipping back and forth. Fold it up and pull it out.

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