Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guacamole and Chicken Quesadilla

It's time to move away from the cold outdoors, at least for today, and think about something warming. Hm... how 'bout last night's dinner? It was simple, but tasty and with lots of nice flavors.

As some ripe avocados were waiting on the counter (we found them for .50 a piece) and leftover rotisserie chicken, shredded cheese, and tortillas were in the refrigerator, this could be the start of a wonderful relationship: Guacamole with a Chicken Quesadilla.

Guacamole from Diana's kitchen

5 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
diced sweet onion (about 1/3 cup)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

Place lime juice in a large bowl. Cut ripe avocados lengthwise and in half, remove the seed; the skin should easily pull away from the avocado or scoop it out with a spoon and coat each in the lime juice. Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and with a potato masher or large serving fork, coarsely mash the ingredients. Fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Let it stand at room temperature for about an hour before serving.

Note: I came across these ingredients some time ago, courtesy of Alton Brown of Food Network, and we are quite fond of the spices used. Additionally, you might check out another guacamole version that Mary featured over at One Perfect Bite; if you haven't been to her blog, you must, and look at her wonderful recipes.

Chicken Quesadilla from Diana's kitchen

touch of olive oil
4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 teaspoon of non-fat sour cream (optional)
slightly shredded chicken
white shoepeg corn (optional, but the crunch is nice)
shredded mozzarella cheese
touch of Kosher salt

Lay the tortilla on a flat surface and lightly spread on the non-fat sour cream and a little of the shredded cheese. Top with the chicken, some corn, a little more cheese, touch of salt and the second tortilla.

Transfer to a heated and slightly oiled non-stick skillet and cook for several minutes on medium heat until the tortilla is golden brown. I then place a larger plate over the skillet and carefully flip the tortilla onto it. (Be careful not to burn yourself.) Then carefully slide it back into the skillet and heat again for several minutes until the second side is golden and all is heated through.

Slide the quesadilla onto a dinner plate and cook the second one the same way. (You could also just use 1 tortilla, topping only half of it and folding over the untopped half.)

Cut into wedges (I use a pizza cutter), top with the guacamole, and serve.

A few notes: We used the milder mozzarella, and I thought of adding some diced jalapeno peppers that we like, but this version seemed to go along nicely with the spicy guacamole. Guess what I'm having for lunch... the other half of my quesadilla; it warms up nicely.

In light of our frugality, we buy a 3 to 5 pound bag of several of our favorite shredded cheeses, divide them into smaller sandwich baggies, and place as many of those that will fit in a gallon freezer bag and pop into the freezer. It is then readily available for a homemade pizza, topping off a favorite chili, or a dish such as tonight.

What is fun about a quesadilla? You can serve it as an appetizer or meal and make them with any combination of foods you like: a variety of tortillas... numerous selection of cheese... chicken, pork, salmon, shrimp... hot or sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, kale, fresh herbs... goat cheese and jam... bacon and scrambled eggs... Think of the foods you like and in combination, and the possibilities are endless. Have fun and create your own.