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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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Chicken Quesadillas (28)

 

 

 

 

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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Chicken Sausage, Black Bean, And Cilantro Lime Rice Burritos

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These Chicken Sausage, Black Bean, And Cilantro Lime Rice Burritos are delicious and so easy to make. Today I’m using Italian chicken sausage. It’s much leaner and adds a really nice flavor.

Pan searing the outside of the whole-grain tortillas gives these burritos great texture.

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Sweet Italian Sausage (2)

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Cilantro

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Non-stick Cooking Spray

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Cast Iron Grill Press

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 1 (12-inch) cast-iron skillet, 1 (cast-iron) grill-press, non-stick cooking spray, chef’s knife, 1 (3-quart) saucepot, 2 large serving bowls, Microplane

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of Fajita seasoning
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 lime, juiced
1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped

8 large whole-grain flour tortillas (substitute flour tortillas)
1 package (8 ounces) of shredded Colby jack cheese
Cilantro Lime Rice
Pico de Gallo

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 bag of Success (boil-in-a-bag) Basmati white rice (substitute brown rice)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of lime zest (2 to 3 limes)
1 lime, juiced

Ingredients For Pico de Gallo:
1-pint of red grape tomatoes halved
1-pint of yellow grape tomatoes halved
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced (substitute jalapeno)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients For Fajita Seasoning:
8 teaspoons of chili powder
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
4 teaspoons of Kosher salt
4 teaspoons of smoked paprika
4 teaspoons of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of onion powder
4 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of ground cumin

Note: Recipe yields approx. 2 1/2 cups of Fajita seasoning.

Directions For Seasoning:
In a medium-size mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the above list, mix to combine. Tip: Store in an air-tight container, in a cool dry place.

Directions For Cilantro Lime Rice:
In a 3-quart saucepot, over medium-high heat add 1 quart of water. Submerge 1 unopened bag of rice. Bring to a boil add Kosher salt. Boil uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes.  Using a pair of tongs to remove the bag from the saucepan. Drain any excess water. Carefully cut open the bag with scissors before transferring the rice to a large mixing bowl. Add lime zest, lime juice, chopped cilantro, and fresh ground black pepper, stir to combine. Set aside.

Directions For Pico de Gallo:
In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the list above for the Pico de Gallo. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, transfer to the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill before serving.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat add olive oil and the diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

Stirring frequently, cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions become soft and translucent. Add red pepper flakes, minced garlic, cook for 1 minute more. Next, add the chicken sausage. Using the back of a wooden spoon start breaking the sausage up. Add 2 tablespoons of the Fajita seasoning. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Add chicken stock and fresh lime juice, reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After the sausage has been simmering for 25 minutes add the black beans, mix to combine. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes allowing the beans to heat through. With the heat off, add the chopped cilantro.  

Start by warming up 8 whole-grain flour tortillas. Place a tortilla on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the number of tortillas. This process makes them pliable.

Layout the tortilla on a flat surface. Place 2 tablespoons of the chicken sausage on the bottom third of the tortilla, add small amounts of Colby jack cheese, cilantro lime rice and finally, the Pico de gallo. Once you have all the fillings in place, pull the bottom half of the burrito over the meet the top half. Then, pull the tortillas back. This will form the filling into a roll. Next, fold one side in. Then the other side. With both ends folded, tightly roll your tortilla.

Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly spray non-stick cooking spray on each side of the burrito. Set the burrito into the hot skillet placing the grill press on top. Every 30 seconds, check the burrito. You’re looking for a golden brown color. This process happens quickly. Flip the burrito and repeat on the other side.

To serve, slice the Chicken Sausage, Black Bean, And Cilantro Lime Rice Burritos on the bias and served with a side of my Pico de Gallo. You can see the layers of deliciousness inside. I felt really good about this dish. Using leaner meat, and a whole grain tortilla, this meal was totally guilt-free and super satisfying.

Pico de Gallo

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Braided Puff Pastry With A Chicken Fajita Filling

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Braided Puff Pastry Filled With A Chicken Fajita Filling is a fun twist on serving fajitas.

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Shredded Roasted Chicken

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Puff Pastry

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Egg Wash

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Cilantro

Pico de Gallo Two Ways (12)

Here I have a variety of finely diced vegetables. I’m going to quickly sauté a few of these colorful peppers to use as a garnish when the pastry finished baking. Finally, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro leaves.

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Prep Time: 0 minutes (all prep can be done while roasting the chicken)
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, 8-inch sauté pan, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 small mixing bowl, rolling pin, pastry brush, large spatula, chef’s knife, paring knife, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper

Ingredients:
2 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, roasted and deboned (approx. 2 1/2 cups of shredded chicken)
2 sheets of Puff Pastry (1 box), thawed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, julienned
1/4 red onion, finely diced
3/4 red bell pepper, julienned (reserve 1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced)
3/4 yellow bell pepper, julienned ( reserve 1/4 yellow bell pepper, finely diced)
3/4 orange bell pepper, julienned reserve (1/4 orange bell pepper, finely diced)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of Fajita seasoning
1 chipotle pepper, seeded and minced
2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 (14.5-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups of (Green Giant) shoepeg corn, thawed
1 (15-ounce) can of black beans, reduced-sodium
1/2 cup of store-bought cantina-style fresh salsa, divided
1 (8-ounce) package of shredded Colby Jack cheese, divided (substitute Monterey Jack)
2 tablespoons of cilantro, roughly chopped (plus cilantro leaves for garnish)
*egg wash
1 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes

Ingredients For Fajita Seasoning:
8 teaspoons of chili powder
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
4 teaspoons of Kosher salt
4 teaspoons of smoked paprika
4 teaspoons of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of onion powder
4 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of ground cumin

Note: Recipe yields approx. 2 1/2 cups of Fajita seasoning.
Note: 2 tablespoons of Fajita seasoning per pound of meat.

Directions For Fajita Seasoning:
In a medium-size mixing bowl add all the ingredients from the above list, mix to combine. Tip: Store in an air-tight container, in a cool dry place.

The night before, transfer the box of Puff Pastry to the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Place the chicken onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Rub olive oil over the top of each one. Sprinkle Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper over each chicken breast. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165-degrees F.

In the meantime, prep the vegetables. Drain and rinse the black beans. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the finely diced red onion. Set aside.

In a preheated small sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the finely diced multi-colored bell peppers, a light sprinkling of Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper to taste, stir to combine. Stirring occasionally, cook the peppers until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Set aside for garnish.

Once the chicken comes out of the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Uncover and allow the chicken to cool down enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bone. Using two forks, shred the chicken, transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

In a large preheated sauté pan over medium heat add olive oil, diced onion, julienned red, orange, yellow bell peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables get some nice color, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the finely minced Chipotle pepper, Fajita seasoning, and the cooked shredded chicken, stir to combine.

Add the chicken stock and the fire-roasted tomatoes with their juice, stir to combine. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens. Finally, add the shoepeg corn, the black beans, diced red onion mixture, and the 2 tablespoons of cilantro. Stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Note:
Keep the Puff Pastry in the refrigerator. You want to make sure the pastry stays nice and cold until your ready to roll out the dough.

In the meantime, dust your board with a good sprinkling of flour. Using your hands, spread the flour around. Roll the dough out forming a rectangle (9 x 13) as seen in the pictures above.

Spoon the chicken fajita mixture in a 4-inch strip lengthwise down the center of the dough leaving a 3-inch border at the top and bottom. Top with 1/4 cup of Pico de gallo and half the shredded cheese. Using a paring knife, make cuts 1-inch apart on the long sides of the dough within 1/2 inch of the filling. Alternately cross strips over the filling; press the edges to seal. Using a large spatula, carefully transfer to a rimmed baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process for the second sheet of Puff pastry.

Brush both Puff pastries with *egg wash and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley.

Transfer both pans to the center rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes. Garnish each one of the braided pastries with the multi-colored finely diced peppers from earlier. Top with a few cilantro leaves. Cut crosswise into slices. Serve with a side of my homemade Pico de Gallo. There you have it, my Braided Puff Pastry With A Chicken Fajita Filling.

*egg wash: A mixture of beaten eggs and water or milk broth over pastry or dough before baking in order to give an attractive color and shine to the surface.

My Tips For The Most Flavorful Chicken

Fajita Frittata Muffins

Pico de Gallo-Two Ways

 

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