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Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas (2)

My Chicken Fajita Quesadillas are a combination of two delicious Tex-Mex favorites. I love Fajitas, and Quesadillas so why not combine the two. I’m also going to be doing the quesadillas two ways, one, using a grill-press and two, without the grill-press.

Rice also is one of my favorite side dishes and goes really well with this dish. I’m taking a little help from the grocery store on this one, I’m using a quick-cooking Basmati rice along with a few other bold and flavorful ingredients that will make my Tex-Mex Rice super delicious.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes, (prep can be done while the chicken is poaching)
Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 Quesadillas
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, cast iron grill press, 1 (4-quart) saucepan with lid, plastic cutting board, 2 bowls, large mixing bowl, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

Ingredients For Fajita Spice Blend:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Directions For Fajita Spice Blend:
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together. Store in an air-tight container in a cool dry place.

Note: If you prefer the tortillas just warmed up and not pressed, you can warm the tortillas up in the microwave. On a microwave-safe plate, wrap up 2 tortillas in a couple of sheets of damp paper towels. Heat anywhere between 30 to 60 seconds.

Ingredients For Poached Chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-quart unsalted chicken broth
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Ingredients For Chicken Quesadillas:
2 tablespoons of Canola oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (if making vegetarian, substitute mushrooms)
1 large onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
4 green onions, sliced thin (reserve green tops for garnish and sliced thinly on the bias)
1/4 cup of Fajita Seasoning blend
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup of chicken broth, unsalted (if making vegetarian, substitute water or vegetable broth)
1/4 cup of fresh Pico de Gallo, medium (reserve more for garnish)
2 (8-ounce) packages of shredded Mexican cheese (substitute grated Monterey Jack and/or Queso Freso)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped, (reserve some for garnish and 2 tablespoons for the Mexican-style rice)
lime wedges for garnish, optional
1 (20-ounce) package of 10″ large flour tortillas, (8-count)
Non-stick cooking spray

Ingredients For Mexican-Style Rice:
3 cups of cooked Basmati rice, (Success, Boil-in-Bag)
1 (14.5-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 (10-ounce) can of Steam Crisp Southwest-Style corn, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons of Pico de Gallo
2 limes, zested
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, (1 juicy lime)
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
Green onion tops for garnish

Directions For Poaching Chicken:
Place the chicken in a single layer, thyme, smashed garlic, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper into the saucepot. Pour 1-quart of unsalted chicken broth to cover the chicken by an inch. Turn the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the water comes to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, cook. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and let the chicken simmer. Begin checking the chicken after 8 minutes. It’s done when opaque through the middle and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat registers 165-degrees F. Chicken will typically finish cooking in 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.

While the chicken is poaching, cook the rice 8 to 10 minutes then drain really well. Slice onions into half-moon slivers, julienne the peppers, mince the garlic, seed and mince the Fresno chili, and slice the green onions reserving the tops.

In a large mixing bowl add the cooked Basmati rice, drained corn medley (Southwest-style), drained fire-roasted tomatoes, Pico de Gallo, green onion tops, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. Mix to combine.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid to a plate discarding the poaching liquid. On a plastic cutting board, using two forks, shred all the chicken and transfer to a large plate.

Directions For Quesadillas:
In a large sauté pan heat the Canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and minced chili to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes just until hot. Next, add the sliced green onion (the white parts) and minced garlic cook for 1 minute more.

Add the cooked shredded chicken into the pan, the fajita seasoning blend, and unsalted chicken broth, stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium, add the Pico de Gallo and fresh lime juice, simmer and stir for another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the fajita filling into two bowls, equally divided. Each bowl of fajita filling will make 4 quesadillas.

Note: If you don’t want to make all eight at one time, transfer the fajita filling in an airtight container and store in the frig up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 200-degrees F.

Spray one side of a tortilla with non-stick cooking spray. Place the tortilla, sprayed side down into the same sauté pan set on medium-low heat, sprinkle an even layer of the shredded cheese onto the whole tortilla then top half of the tortilla with the cooked chicken fajita mixture. Fold the other half of the tortilla over placing the grill press on top. Cook, flipping once, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat the process using all the remaining fajita filling.

Note: Place the finished quesadillas, on a sheet pan, in the oven to keep warm while you’re making the remaining ones.

Slice the Chicken Fajita Quesadillas into wedges. Top with shredded cheese, Pico de Gallo, and finely chopped cilantro. Serve with a side of the Mexican-style rice and garnish with some cilantro and lime wedges.

For Vegetarian Quesadillas: Follow the recipe leaving out the chicken substituting mushrooms or Tofu. The only other change would be to substitute water or vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Tex-Mex Rice

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