I usually make the same meal differently every single time I make it. It’s not necessarily on purpose, it’s usually as a result of multiple things…
1. I’m always short on time. Whether I am trying to finish up a post, fold the laundry, clean the dishes, make a grocery list, or sit down for the first time all day… I’m ALWAYS running late. Plus, it’s probably the same with your kids, but mine go from happy happy happy to insanely ticked off, in the blink of an eye!… Well if I’m being honest, it always happens right around 6 o’clock. But, somehow, I’m always caught off guard! Probably because when it’s 6, I usually think it’s 4 or 5! (Side not… Where does the time go!?)
2. I’m also always missing ingredients. I can’t tell you how many hours a month I spend trying to make a comprehensive, yet, budget friendly grocery list. It’s one of those tasks where I really sit down and research store prices, sales, and coupons; as well as take into consideration meals for my family and recipe development for Tasty Mistakes. But it’s a lost cause. No matter how organized I think I am; when I get to the store, shit get’s crazy ;). Products are sold out, substitute items are twice the price, I lose track of time trying to calculate sale prices and coupons for items that weren’t even on my list (I’m such a sucker for big red sale signs ;)), and somehow… I straight up skip things on my list. I don’t think it’s a thing, but I’m positive I have selective reading! Then, it never fails, the grocery store is PACKED; so I check out as quick as possible and get home only to find out half of my coupons didn’t go through. Mom problems, right!?
3. Ok, well I ran out of reasons… but there were a few extra ones up there 😉
So, long story slightly shorter; a scatterbrained mom, hangry kids, limited ingredients, and no time, means I just wing it. And, for the most part, it’s usually fine! I use to think that a recipe is a recipe because you MUST follow it exactly to get the result you want. But in reality, if you follow it exactly, you get the result the recipe creator wants. For me, that’s not good enough. When I make food, I make it work with the ingredients I have available to me and I make it how WE like it. If I forgot to thaw/buy meat, I will make a recipe vegetarian. If a certain fruit or veggie is out of season/too expensive, I will sub it for something cheaper/available. If we don’t like rosemary, I’ll use thyme. And if my daughter picks out every single onion/tomato/green thing she sees, I will grind it up and add it anyways 😉 Point is… my cooking is flexible and thus, my recipes are flexible. So when I use variations for certain ingredients, I let you know it’s an option. That way, you can make food the way YOUR family likes it!
Ok, enough of my rambling. On to the the quesadillas! Here’s some quesadilla tips from all my errors and edits:
You can fill your quesadillas with anything. I used chicken tenderloins when I took all the pictures below. I used chicken breasts in my youtube how-to video. I have also used flank steak, leftover filet, and leftover pork carnitas. For a vegetarian option, sub the meat for more veggies; corn, zucchini, tomatoes… or even better, roasted tomatoes! ;))
There are two options for adding the seasoning. You can sprinkle it on both sides of the chicken before placing them in the pan, or you can add it while the chicken is frying. It doesn’t matter at all. I add the seasoning whenever I remember to add the seasoning… which is usually the latter option ;))
Instead of mozzarella you can use oaxaca cheese. I would use oaxaca every time if I could, but it’s not available in my area. Mozzarella works just as well 🙂 And, as a rule of thumb, you can never have too much cheese. So, if you want more, add more!
If you like a kick, add jalapeños. My husband and kids don’t do spicy… but if I could, I would!
Lastly, when you are browning the tortilla at the beginning and the quesadilla at the end, err on the side of caution. Start at a lower temperature in order to see how the tortilla fries. It might take a few more minutes to get it to the brownness that you want, but at least it won’t burn! There’s no reason to fry on high if you are not comfortable with it! I LOVE and trust my stove (induction, not gas!) so I fry on high heat constantly; but, I’m also always in a rush. Plus, I give my family the good stuff; I eat the burnt stuff 😉
That’s about all I got for this one. I also have a guacamole and pico de gallo recipe (pictured with the quesadilla) that I will be posting shortly, so be sure to check those out! I’m also working on my Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla How-to video :), but I’ll probably space and forget to post the link here when I’m done with it… So, subscribe to the Tasty Mistakes Youtube channel for new videos!
I hope you enjoy my recipe! If you get a chance to make it, comment below and let me know what you think!
4 burrito size tortillas (around 8-10 inches)
3 Chicken breasts
4 tbsp. oil (separated)
½ green bell pepper
½ red bell pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
4 oz. Queso Fresco
2 c. fiesta/Mexican blend cheese
- In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and salt & pepper. Set aside. Clean and trim the chicken. Sprinkle one side of the chicken with half of the seasoning mixture. Flip the chicken and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
- Using a large frying/sauce pan (anything works, just make sure it has a lip to contain the juices, and a lid), heat 1 tablespoons of the oil on high. Carefully place the chicken into the oil and fry on high for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom of the chicken turns a medium brown color. (It’s not too late to add the seasoning here, if you haven’t done so already).
- After 2-3 minutes, flip the chicken and continue to fry on high for another 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom of the chicken turns medium brown in color. (Once again, if you haven’t done so already, sprinkle the this side of the chicken with the remaining seasoning).
- Once both sides of the chicken are nice and brown, place the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to low. Cook covered, on low, for 20-30 minutes. Be sure to cut into the thickest part of one of the chicken breasts to be sure it is fully cooked (meat should be white and juice should be clear). Once fully cooked, leave your pan where it is, but turn off the heat. Let the chicken rest in the juice while you prepare the onion and peppers.
- Wash the peppers and cut them in half. Seed one halve of both the red and the green peppers; then, slice them into skinny strips.You will not need the remaining two halves of the bell peppers; go ahead and store them in the fridge.
- Cut the top and bottom off of the onion and then peel the outer layer. Place the onion flat on the surface you are using (cutting board, butcher block, etc.); slice in half. Turn both halves onto their flat side and slice into skinny slivers.
- Place the peppers, onion, and 1 tbsp. of the oil, into a medium frying pan. Peel and then mince the garlic into the pan. Turn the heat to high and fry the veggies until they start to brown. Cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the onions are opaque and the peppers are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Gather the fiesta/Mexican blend cheese, fresh mozzarella, and queso fresco. Slice the mozzarella into sugar cube size chunks (or use the mozzarella pearls), and add it to a medium size bowl. Crumble the queso fresco, if it’s not already (pictured above in chunk and then crumbled form), and add it to the mozzarella. Lastly, add the fiesta/Mexican blend cheese and combine. Set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a cutting surface (cutting board, butcher block, etc.). Dice the chicken into small pieces and then set aside.
- Gather the chicken, cheese mixture, remaining 2 tbsp. of oil, tortillas, and peppers & onions. Place them around or near your stove so that everything is within reach during the cooking process.
- Use a pan that is the same size or larger than the tortillas. Place the pan on the stove and heat on medium high. Place one tortilla flat in the pan. Using a brush or spatula, lightly brush the top of the tortilla with oil. Once you’re done, flip the tortilla so that the oiled side is down. Now, lightly coat this side of the tortilla with oil. Set the oil aside.
- Let the tortilla brown on the base of the pan for 20-60 seconds (depending on how hot your stove gets). Then, flip the tortilla one last time, and turn the heat down to low. (You want this side of the tortilla to brown as well, but you don’t want it to burn while you are assembling it. Once the tortilla has been filled and folded closed, you can turn the heat back up.)
- Sprinkle about 1/4 c. of the cheese mixture onto half of the tortilla.
- Then, add a few of the peppers and onions (around a 1/4 c.). Try to be a little stingy with this step to make sure you have enough for all 4 quesadillas.
- Now add about a 1/2 c. of the chicken.
- Lastly, to it off with another 1/4 c. of the cheese mixture. Fold the blank half of the tortilla over to close the quesadilla. Turn the heat backup to medium high or high. Flipping every minute or so, brown both sides. Occasionally, use your spatula to press down on the quesadilla to be sure all of the cheese inside is melting.
- Remove the quesadilla and set it on a serving dish. Repeat the process 3 more times. Serve hot with a side of pico/salsa, guac, and sour cream. Enjoy!
You can substitute the full breasts with 6-8 tenderloins if you like/if your husband buys the wrong thing at the store 😉 Hey, at least he went!