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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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Taco Bake With Black Beans And Hominy

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My Taco Bake With Black Beans And Hominy is a great way to switch up having traditional tacos to a casserole with all the flavors you love.

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Olive Oil

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Onions

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Diced Red Onion (2)

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 9) baking dish, 10-cup food processor, 12-inch sauté pan, 3 large mixing bowls, 1 medium-size mixing bowl.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground meat of your choice)
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves of  garlic, minced
1 cup of Cantina-style salsa
1 (15.5-ounce) can of hominy, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5-ounce) can of black beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup of frozen corn, thawed
8 small flour tortillas
2 limes, juiced
2 bunches of cilantro (each bunch equals approx. 3/4 cup of packed cilantro leaves)
1 pint of red grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
2 avocados, pitted and diced
1 package (8-ounces) of shredded cheese, Mexican blend
1 package (8-ounces) of Colby jack shredded cheese
3 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons of taco seasoning
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup of beef stock, unsalted

Ingredients For Cantina-style Salsa:
2 (15-ounce) cans of fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (substitute diced tomatoes)
1/2 onion, quartered
1/2 a jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

Ingredients For Taco Seasoning:
6 tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
4 teaspoons of smoked paprika
8 teaspoons of ground cumin
4 teaspoons of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper

Note: Recipe yields approx. 3/4 cup of taco seasoning
Note: 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of ground meat.

Directions For Taco Seasoning:
Add all the ingredients for the taco seasoning into a medium-size mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
Tip: Store taco seasoning, in an airtight container, in a dry cool place.

Directions:
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat add olive oil with ground pork. Add the diced onion. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Continue stirring, add minced garlic, 4 tablespoons of the taco seasoning, tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Add beef stock, reduce the heat to medium, simmer for another 15 minutes.

Turn the heat off, add  2 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro. Set aside.

In the meantime to a food processor add the fire-roasted tomatoes. Add onion, 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves, 1/2 the minced Fresno chili,  garlic, the juice of one lime, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Pulse the ingredients together until you get the consistency of a Cantina-style salsa. Transfer to a medium-size mixing bowl. Set aside.

Directions For the Avocado Pico de Gallo:
In another large mixing bowl add the red and yellow grape tomatoes, diced red onion, 1/2 the minced Fresno chili, 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped cilantro, diced avocado, the juice of one lime, and 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Gently mix to combine. Place plastic wrap directly over the salsa. This prevents the avocado from turning brown. Transfer to refrigerator to chill.

In a large mixing bowl add both kinds of cheese, mix to combine.
In another large mixing bowl add the black beans, corn, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro, hominy, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper, mix to combine.

Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
In a casserole dish, start by ladling 1/2 cup of salsa in the bottom. Arrange 4 tortillas on top of the salsa. Add half of the meat mixture spreading it out evenly over the tortillas. Add half the cheese mixture. Next spoon the hominy, black bean, and corn mixture evenly over the cheese. Using a spoon, add dollops of salsa over the top of the hominy mixture. Arrange another 4 tortillas for the next layer. Add the remaining meat mixture, again spreading it out evenly over the tortillas. Add a few more dollops of salsa. Finish with spreading the remaining shredded cheese evenly over the top.

Spray the dull side of a large piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray (this will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil when it’s removed). Cover tightly, bale for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Let rest for around 20 minutes before slicing. Garnish with 2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro.

To serve, place a slice of the taco bake onto a serving plate, top with the Avocado Pico de Gallo. There you have it, my Taco Bake With Black Beans And Hominy.

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Turkey Sausage Breakfast Burritos

2014-06-24-16-06-481

What could be better than all your favorite breakfast foods wrapped up in a tortilla? I’d have to say I can’t think of anything I love more than my Turkey Sausage Breakfast Burritos.

The one great thing about turkey sausage is that it’s a blank canvas for any spices you like. You can take turkey sausage and go crazy with the flavor profile of your choice.

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Jennie-O Turkey Sausage

Fajita Spice Blend

Fajita Seasoning Blend

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Local Florida Heirloom Tomatoes

Cilantro

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes.
Inactive Cook Time: 15 minutes (wrapping the burritos)
Pressing Tortillas: 12 to 16 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Yields: 8 Burritos
Equipment: 2 (12-inch) sauté pans, non-stick cooking spray, cast-iron grill-press

Ingredients:
1 pound (16-ounce chub) ground turkey sausage
1  small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 package of store-bought Simply Potatoes, diced potatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, unsalted, drained, and rinsed
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen corn
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of fajita seasoning blend (substitute store-bought)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock, unsalted
1 package of Mission large flour tortillas (8 ct.)

Perfect Scrambles Eggs: (link below)
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese (or favorite cheese)
2 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

Pico de Gallo:
1 pint of red grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro

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

Directions For Fajita Spice Blend:
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients together. Store in an air-tight container for future use.

Directions:
Start by draining and rinsing the black beans. Mix the beans together with the thawed corn, transfer to a bowl. Set aside. Next, dice the onion, red bell pepper, and mince the garlic.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced onion and diced red bell pepper. After the peppers and onions soften, about 10 minutes, add the minced garlic and stir through. At this point, add the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the butter melts add the diced potatoes.

Stir to coat the potatoes, peppers, and onions with butter. Let cook only turning every 5 minutes. Allow the potatoes to get a nice crispy exterior before turning. Resist from constant stirring, cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat, add the fresh chopped Italian parsley, and stir. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

In another large sautépan, on medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turkey sausage. Start breaking up the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon.

Add the minced garlic, paprika, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and fajita seasoning blend, stir to combine. Continue to stir the sausage. Once the meat is completely browned and nicely caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes (or using an instant-read thermometer the until internal temperature is 165-degrees F.), then add 1/4 cup of unsalted chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Use the back of the wooden spoon to scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan and allow the liquid to completely evaporate another 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the turkey sausage to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

While browning the turkey sausage is cooking in a separate bowl add halved grape tomatoes, Kosher salt, black pepper, and chopped cilantro, mix to combine and set aside.

Next is to make the scrambled eggs. To get my recipe for Perfect Scrambled Eggs just click on the link below. Once the eggs are scrambled, 10 minutes, remove from the heat before adding the shredded Coby Jack cheese and chives, stir to combine. Transfer the scrambled eggs to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

Before you can wrap a burrito the best way to do that is to start with a warm tortilla. Place 2 to 3 tortilla on a plate at a time. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

To assemble the burritos, lay a warm tortilla out on a flat surface. Fill the bottom third of the tortilla with 2 tablespoons of each ingredient. Pull the bottom half of the burrito over to meet the top half then pull the tortilla back. Next, fold one side in then the other side. With both ends tightly folded, tightly roll the tortilla until you have a perfect burrito.

Once all the burritos have been filled and wrapped it’s time to press them. Start with a preheated large sauté pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the burrito into the hot pan. Place a grill press on top, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Press the burritos in batches of two. There you have it my Turkey Sausage Breakfast Burritos.

Serve hot. I like to garnish the plate using ingredients from inside the burrito.

The Perfect Scrambled Eggs

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