Monday, August 2, 2010

Order Up: Spicy Quesadillas

Sometimes I feel like a short-order cook.  Somebody hates onion. Somebody else hates chicken. Somebody likes their food spicy. Somebody else detests spice.  Somebody is trying to gain weight.  Somebody is trying to lose weight.  The list drones on with mushrooms, green peppers, and blah, blah, blah.

Whatever happened to the time when you ate whatever Mom put in front of you, and if you didn't like it, your choices consisted of either going to bed hungry or making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  Oh, those were the days!  I grew up in a family of five kids, and my mom never would have put up with this multiple choice nonsense. 

I bet Martha Stewart wouldn't tolerate it.  Can you imagine her contempt?  Her awesome quesadilla recipe would have been the only one prepared last night, not three different quesadilla concoctions.  I know, you're saying it's my own fault - and it is!  Mom also wouldn't put up with whining, so let the complaining cease and the fiesta begin.

The full monty.  These were fantastic, Martha.

Omnimedia-maniac Martha and her gang of culinary wizards have come through with another fabulous dish.  First, the ricotta cheesecake, and now, adobo-marinated chicken quesadillas.  Oh my word, these were spicy specimens of smokey goodness!   I rarely make Martha's recipes, but with these recent successes, I'm starting to reconsider.

Except for a quick trip to the store for additional rice vinegar and some tortillas, I had all the quesadilla ingredients on hand.  Easy and quick to prepare, these Mexican treats are hearty enough that they need no accompanying sides.  If you have picky eaters in your house - ahem - you can modify the recipe in many ways.  They have a great kick to them for those who appreciate the spicier side of life.

Adobo-Marinated Chicken Quesadillas
(Martha Stewart Living)

1 can (7 oz) chiles in adobo sauce
1/2 C water
4 chicken cutlets
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced crosswise
1 C rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1/4 C sugar
8 eight-inch flour tortillas
5 ounces low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/3 C) (I used full-fat Colby Jack)
  1. Puree chiles in adobo sauce and water in a blender until smooth.  Pour mixture over chicken to coat.  Refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, place onion in a small bowl.  Combine jalapenos, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until jalapenos are soft and sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.  Pour over onion, and let stand until mixture is cool.  Strain though a fine sieve/colander.
  3. Heat a grill pan over high heat.  Grill chicken about 2 minutes per side, depending on thickness.  Slice into strips.  Wipe pan clean.
  4. Place 1 tortilla onto a work surface.  Arrange strips of 1 cutlet to cover tortilla.  Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of Monterey Jack cheese and some onion-jalapeno mixture.  Top with another tortilla.  Repeat with remaining tortillas, chicken, cheese, and onion mixture.
  5. Carefully place quesadilla onto hot grill pan, and cook over medium heat until tortillas are crisp and cheese melts, about 4 minutes per side.  Cut each quesadilla in half, and divide among 8 plates. (This is funny because I ate an entire quesadilla, both halves.  Explains why I thought they were so hearty!) 
Notes:  I spray the outside of the tortillas with cooking spray before grilling.  If you don't have a grill pan, cook them in a skillet as you would a grilled cheese sandwich.  You won't get the grill marks, but it will still taste great.  I haven't tried these on an outdoor grill, but why not?  A medium-low temperature would probably work best.

These are missing the colorful red onion and jalapeno peppers.  Criminal!

#2  Not-So-Spicy, Low-Fat Adobo-Marinated Chicken Quesadillas
(for the I-hate-onion-and-spicy-foods-but-like-chicken-and-I'm-also-on-a-diet eater)

Omit onion-jalapeno mixture, and substitute black bean dip.
Use whole wheat, low-carb tortillas, fat-free dip, and reduced-fat cheese.

My kid raved about these simple meatball quesadillas.

#3  Easy Meatball Quesadillas
(for the skinny, chicken-and-onion hater)
Makes 1 quesadilla

6 to 8 small frozen meatballs, thawed and crumbled
1 to 2 T black bean dip (I like Fresh Market)
1/4 C Monterey Jack cheese (I used Colby Jack)
Fresh cilantro, optional
Salsa, sour cream for dipping
2 eight-inch regular flour tortillas

Spread bean dip on one tortilla.  Place meatball crumbles on top of dip.  Top with shredded cheese and cilantro, if desired.  Place tortilla on grill pan and grill a few minutes on each side until the cheese melts and you have some nice grill marks.  Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa and sour cream.

1 comment:

  1. Several years ago my family started a tradition that we would eat Mexican food on Dec. 26th as a break from the traditional Christmas dinner leftovers. Since all of us love Mexican fare, the quesadilla recipe #1 will be a welcome addition to the plain cheese ones that have been part of the menu in the past. Dos Equis and margaritas are good any time of year and winter holidays are no exception. Viva quesadillas!