Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quesadillas on the Grill

Summer time requires some improvising. Some days when it's hot out -- like today -- you just don't want to stand over a hot stove or oven at all. I'm not the first, and certainly not the last, to think this. After lounging by the pool today in 85+ degree F weather, I hadn't the energy or patience to make something fancy. Save that for a rainy day. So instead, I decided to adapt one of my favorite stove-top dishes for the grill instead.

Quesadillas. I'm not sure what it is about these little suckers, but they sure do taste good. And I found out today, they taste really good on the grill too. In the past, I have based my quesadillas off of The Pioneer Woman's
recipe with good results (does anything she post NOT result in something spectacular... not in my experience so far).

So here is today's version of quesadillas, hot off the smoking grill and enjoyed in the waning sunlight of a beautiful Michigan summer evening.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
additional salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs. butter + 1 Tbs. olive oil
assorted peppers and onions, sliced thinly
soft taco shells
sour cream

Preheat outdoor grill. Pound or slice chicken into thin cutlets. Combine cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cilantro, salt and pepper in a small bowl; whisk to incorporate. Sprinkle on both sides of chicken, patting to make sure spice mixture sticks to the meat. Place on grill and cook until no longer pink. Remove from grill and slice into thin strips.

While chicken is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil, stirring to melt/combine. Add peppers and onion, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft and pliable.

Once chicken is finished, heat soft taco shells on grill until slightly browned and crispy on both sides (not too done - you'll be putting them back on the grill later). Assemble quesadillas by putting a layer of cheese, a layer of chicken, and a layer of vegetables on a soft taco shell. Add a few spoonfuls of salsa and another layer of cheese. Top with another taco shell. Return to grill for about 2 to 3 minutes, placing on a greased piece of aluminum foil, until cheese is fully melted. Remove from heat and slice into quarters. Enjoy with sour cream.

Note: We made 4 quesadillas and had A LOT of meat leftover (yay, can't wait for tomorrow!). I would guesstimate that this makes at least 8 to 10 quesadillas, so adjust ingredients as needed for yourself, and enjoy!

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