How about a little Fiesta with your Monday???
Yes, yes, yes. PLEASE?!??
No but really, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could all start the weekend tomorrow for Cinco De Mayo? I have such good, good, GOOD things planned for you. I mean, I’m starting with these quesadillas, but it gets better tomorrow. Trust me on this.
So starting the weekend off tomorrow would mean Tuesday-Sunday of weekend bliss…that would totally be enough time to fly to Mexico and still be back in time for some Sunday night relaxation (you know to wind down from our relaxing time in Mexico). Ahh, where is my plane ticket, sun-screen and sombrero?? Sounds kind of awesome, right??
You see, I can dream, and dream big! It’s so much fun…until reality hits like a ton of bricks and I realize that a six-day weekend in Mexico is so not within my reach at the moment.
I could get a sombrero though, always wanted one of those. Picture me wearing a brightly colored sombrero all day tomorrow hanging in my kitchen, while it’s raining outside (truthfully it rarely rains here, think snow pretty much all year round, but is says thunderstorms all week), listening to Kenny Chesney sing about Mexico and snacking on quesadillas. Yup. That’s what reality will be tomorrow. Oh but, with a side of some grilled pineapple, guacamole AND chips.
Ok, but let me get serious here (sorry for all the sarcasm, that’s what Monday does to me). These Fiesta Chicken Quesadillas are basically the fancy version of a quesadilla that I used to make my brother Kai on a daily basis when I was still figuring out this whole cooking thing (oh wait…I am still figuring it out). Kai (the brother just below me, real name Malachi) is a pretty picky eater, so after school, or well, after snowboarding, I’d make these quesadillas with the leftover rice and chicken that was almost always sitting in the fridge. All I would do is add some seasonings to the chicken and then layer it with cheese and rice. Then I’d just throw the quesadilla in a skillet with a good amount of olive oil – super quick, and all the boys loved them. Soon I was making these quesadillas for all their friends too. This went on for a while, but then I got busy and I can’t remember the last time I made my brother a quesadilla.
Kind of sad since it shows that we are all growing up. I am only twenty-one, but I will not lie, I still wish I could be seventeen and careless sometimes. Kai is actually back in Cleveland for the summer working a restaurant job and hanging with friends before school starts in the fall. He just went to prom with his girlfriend and I am beyond sad I missed it. The pictures were just not enough. I missed out on the whole big sister tormenting/being annoying thing. Enter giant sad face.
Also, don’t ask how he has a girlfriend back in Cleveland, when he has been living in Colorado for the last eight years. The kid has friends everywhere. He’s kind of hard not to love.
ANYWAY, the point of the story it that this quesadilla is inspired by that simple one I used to make my brothers years ago. It’s still really simple and quick to make, but I added some fun things like a chipotle relish and mango salsa (officially a fruit salsa addict). The chipotle relish is beyond awesome. Like you could totally just serve this as a snack or appetizer with chips. SO good with chips. I mean, it’s better with this extra cheesy quesadilla, but chips on the side are a must.
Also a must, is the rice. I always, always, always add rice to my quesadillas. I am not sure why or how this came to be, but I am glad it did. Rice in a dilla is the best. Try it and you will see (I sound like Sam I Am in Green eggs and Ham!).
And finally, I really can’t think of a better Monday meal at the moment than this one. Don’t be freaked out by the list of ingredients. That’s just mostly seasonings that I am praying you keep in your pantry at all times. The relish and salsa are EASY too, so try to make those as well!
Promise, it’ll be the best part of your Monday…
Fiesta Chicken Quesadillas with Chipotle Relish and Mango Salsa.
Servings: 4 QUESADILLAS
Calories Per Serving: 766 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 2 mangos peeled + diced
- 1 ripe but firm avocado, pitted, peeled + diced
- 1 red fresno chili seeded + diced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon spanish smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of salt + pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 red bell pepper OR 5-6 mini peppers
- 1-1 1/2 cups [cooked coconut rice | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/hawaiian-hula-pork-fajitas-pineapple-slaw-coconut-rice/] or brown rice
- 4 flour tortillas
- 2 cups cheddar cheese or pepper jack cheese shredded (or use a mix of the two)
- Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic, cook, stirring often until lightly caramelized and sweet, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the chipotle chilies, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar and brown sugar. Add 1/4 cup water. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until thickened slightly. If desired you can puree the sauce (I did not). Transfer to a glass jar. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- In a bowl, combine the mangos, avocados, fresno chili, cilantro and lime juice. Toss well. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.
- Add the chicken to a large bowl or gallon size ziplock bag. Add the chipotle chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, brown sugar (or honey), garlic powder and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken and add the lime juice. Toss well to combine and evenly distribute the seasonings. If possible, allow the chicken to sit in the marinade for 30 minutes or up to overnight (this is normally when I make the relish and salsa).
- Preheat the grill, a grill pan or a heavy cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Rub the peppers with a little olive oil. Once the grill is hot, add the chicken and peppers. Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side or until lightly charred. Grill the peppers until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and allow the chicken to cool before cutting into bite size pieces. Once the peppers are cool, remove the seeds and slice.
- To assemble the quesadillas, heat an electric griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil. Place 4 tortillas down on a clean counter, covering each with a bit of cheese. Then evenly distribute the rice, top that with the peppers and then add the chopped chicken. If desired you can add a little of the chipotle relish to the filling too. Sprinkle with a little more of the cheese. Place the tortilla on the griddle or skillet, then cover with the other tortilla. Cook until the bottom is crispy and golden brown, then gently flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes until crispy and golden.
- Serve with the chipotle relish and mango salsa.
*Chipotle relish adapted from Delicious Magazine December 2014.