This week I'm giving sweet treats a temporary break, I consumed more than my fair share during the holidays! While my blog used to be exclusively dessert recipes, I've slowly been expanding my savory recipe repertoire. I've experimented with flavorful savory meals, such as Maple Bourbon Pork Chops or my favorite version of a classic Chicken Pot Pie. I've discovered, though, that some of the more complex, scrumptious dishes require a significant amount of time. They may be dishes I enjoy preparing on the weekends, but not so much after a tiring day of work. I don't want to sacrifice flavor, but I'm all for finding a shortcut for weeknight cooking.
I love finding ways to use leftovers to create a new meal, or at least get some prep work done ahead of time. So this week I'm sharing a set of three meals that all feature a common ingredient - taco seasoned chicken. The set of meals work great if you cook up several pieces of taco seasoned chicken at the beginning of the week. With the chicken already prepared, you have a significant head start on the three meals. Each of these meals could be prepared with grilled chicken, but the taco seasoned chicken kicks up the flavor a notch!
Earlier this week I shared my favorite of the three meals - Chicken Taco Soup. The Southwestern Chicken Quesadillas, though, are a close second! They are definitely my husband's favorite. These quesadillas are fairly quick and easy, but complex in flavor. Besides the chicken, I added spice with peppers, onions, jalapenos and even threw in some spicy pepper jack cheese. To me, the more heat the better! You could tone down the spice with mild taco seasoning and non spicy cheese. I certainly can't take credit for this recipe, I didn't stray too far from the original.
Southwestern Chicken Quesadilla ingredients:
- Taco seasoned chicken, diced or shredded
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 1 whole bell pepper
- 1 jalapeno, chopped
- Vegetable or olive oil, for frying vegetables
- Small flour tortillas
- Freshly grated cheddar cheese
- Freshly grated pepper jack cheese
- Buter, for frying quesadillas
- Optional toppings: sour cream, salsa, cilantro, jalapeno slices
Southwestern Chicken Quesadilla instructions:
- Chop onion and pepper
- Dice, or shred, taco seasoned chicken
- Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat
- Cook onion and pepper 3-4 mins, or until golden brown
- Remove and set aside
- Grate your choice of cheese (I used mostly cheddar with a small amount of pepper jack)
- Melt 1/2 tbs butter in a skillet over medium heat
- Lay a tortilla shell down in the skillet
- Begin building the quesadilla by pilling on a good amount of cheese on the shell
- Top the cheese with the veggies and taco seasoned chicken
- Top with a little more cheese and the top tortilla
- Once the bottom tortilla is golden brown, carefully flip the quesadilla while adding another 1/2 tbs of butter under the quesadilla
- Continue cooking until the other side is golden brown
- Add any desired toppings and enjoy
Yum! Check back later this week for my copycat version of a salad I enjoyed at a restaurant over the holidays.