The Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Quesadillas
Original Recipe Found In: Cooking Light, May 2013
What You'll Need:
1 1/2 Teaspoons Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 (6 Ounce) boneless, skinless Chicken Breast halves
1 small Onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 small Orange Bell Pepper, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
3 Ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 (6 inch) Flour Tortillas
To start, preheat a grill to medium high heat. While the grill preheats, prepare the chicken: in a small bowl, mix the paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper until throughly mixed. Rub the mixture evenly over both sides of the chicken and let stand for 10 minutes, or until the mix has just began to settle into the meat.
Once the grill is heated, arrange the chicken, onion, and bell pepper on the grill rack. Cook the vegetables until tender, about four minutes on each side. Flipping the vegetables, especially the onion might be a bit tricky. Since there are small layers inside the onion, those small pieces might fall through the grates of the grill. But, if you use a wide enough metal spatula, those pieces will stay with the rest of the onion. You will have to be careful with the bell pepper too, since it has very thin slices. Using the same metal spatula, carefully flip it over and make sure it lands on the grates. It's very important to keep these vegetables (mostly) whole as they play a very tasty part to the quesadilla.
Cook the chicken on each side until done, about eight minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. While the chicken is cooking, coarsely chop the vegetables and keep warm with aluminum foil. Once the chicken is done cooking, transfer to a chopping board and let stand for five minutes. During which, a skillet over medium high heat can be preheated.
On clean plates, prepare the flour tortillas: lightly sprinkle one half of the tortilla with the shredded cheese. Once the chicken has reached its five minutes, thinly slice the meat and divide evenly over the cheese half of the tortilla. Divide evenly the vegetables also and fold the non-cheese half over the filling.
By now, the skillet should be warmed and ready to use. Place two quesadillas in the skilled and cook until the cheese begins to melt and the tortillas are lightly browned, about four minutes. Carefully, sprinkle another thin layer of cheese over the filling and flip the quesadillas over, cooking on this side for another four minutes. Cut each quesadilla into two wedges, serve, and enjoy!
The End Result:
The flavors from the chicken are not only smoky from the grill, but have an intensely spicy notes. The grilled orange pepper and onions are softened and bring another flavor realm to the quesadillas. They do get quite tough to flip once on the grill, but if you can salvage the peppers and onions, it adds a nice depth. Using the cheese only as a "glue" for the quesadillas (which was hard for me, considering I like cheese...a lot,) it cut down on the calorie intake, but having a hint of cheese flavor was a nice change of pace. These quesadillas were under 350 calories, which is great when you want huge flavor from not a lot of ingredients.
Come back tomorrow as I continue the grill theme, but completely change culinary styles. Until then,