Remember when Gloria (Rose Perez) has to list 5 foods that begin with the letter ‘Q’ on Jeopardy in the movie White Men Can’t Jump? I don’t think any of them were quesadilla…..
If you have kids, then you know that thinking about dinner on Halloween is not easy. Getting the kids out the door with a little something in their stomach to buffer the sugar is one of the few things you can do to wrangle a bit of order into this free-for-all holiday.
My kids are too old to be reigned in candy-consumption-wise, and so I just make something simple, and think of some far away yoga pose, and look forward to rooting around in their bags when they get back.
The Perfect Quick and Easy Dinner
Simple chicken quesadillas fit the bill nicely: kids can pick up the cheesy wedges up by the hand and eat while they look around for the missing pieces of their costumes, and after they are on their way, they pair nicely with a glass of wine for any grownups left manning the door at home (and the friends that are willing to hang out with them).
A Flexible Recipe
This particular combination of cheese, chicken, and vegetables makes my family happy, but quesadillas are a very wonderful springboard for all kind of ingredient combinations, so you should absolutely feel free to use what you like, and what’s in your fridge. It’s a very flexible chicken quesadilla recipe, as are really all quesadilla recipes.
If you have leftover simply cooked chicken, use it here. You can use cooked dark meat or chicken breasts, whatever you prefer, whatever you have. If not, this is what rotisserie chickens were made for.
The olives are optional, but my kids love them. Use whatever mushrooms you like, from easy to find inexpensive button or cremini mushrooms to any wild mushrooms you feel like including. And if mushrooms are not your family’s thing, leave those out, and then you have a chicken and spinach quesadilla (or leave out the spinach – and then you get chicken and mushroom quesadillas.
Or leave out the chicken, and voila, vegetarian mushroom and spinach quesadillas). Cheese-wise you can use all Monterey Jack or all cheddar, but I love the combo.
Bump up the volume of the other ingredients if you take one out. These make fat, slightly overstuffed, cheesy quesadillas, which are so much more soul-satisfying than flat under-filled ones. I’d much rather have two wedges of slightly overstuffed quesadillas than four wedges of skinny quesadillas any day. If you prefer differently, use more tortillas, and fill them with less stuff.
Keep Quesadillas Warm
You can keep the quesadillas warm on a baking sheet in a 250 degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. Cut them into wedges just before serving.
Salsas are an easy way to keep changing these up, either store-bought or homemade. Some salsas to play with are Pineapple Mint Jalapeno Salsa, Spicy Salsa Verde, Spicy Pear and Cilantro Salsa, Tropical Fruit Salsa, Corn, Cucumber and Cantaloupe Salsa, Peach and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa, and a more classic Herbed Roasted and Raw Tomato Salsa with Olives.
If you want a little more info on how to create your own quesadilla recipes, click here!
Spinach, Mushroom, and Chicken Quesadillas
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms any kind, or a mix
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup roughly chopped spinach
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 8-inch flour tortillas
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
- ¼ cup chopped pitted black olives optional
- Sour cream and salsa to serve
- Combine the two cheeses in a small bowl.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the butter in a skillet with a cover over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms and sauté for about 8 minutes. The mushrooms will soften and probably release some liquid as they cook. Continue cooking until all of the liquid has been released, and evaporated, and the mushrooms start to brown a bit. Add the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for two minutes until the spinach has wilted. Turn the vegetables onto a plate and set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet, then return it to medium heat and add a half teaspoon of butter. Place a tortilla in the pan and cook for 30 seconds, then flip the tortilla. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture over half of the quesadilla, and distribute about 1/8 (a couple of tablespoons) of both the sautéed vegetable mixture and the shredded chicken over the cheese. Top that with another 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Flip the bare half of the tortilla over the filling, cover the pan, and sauté for about 2 minutes until the bottom is golden and the cheese has started to melt, then use a spatula to flip the half-moon quesadilla, and continue to cook, uncovered, until all of the cheese is melted and the underside is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the quesadilla to a cutting board and let the quesadilla sit for a minute before you slice into 2 or 3 wedges. Repeat until all of the quesadillas are cooked. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Made this recipe? Post a photo of your delicious creation on Instagram with our hashtag #dinnersolved