By Case D Fischer
For many of us, Memorial Day marks the start of grilling season and a leap into summer vacation, or this year we might say summer staycation. Grilling is a great way to cook – you get great charcoal flavor, less clean up, and grilling really allows the meat you choose to shine. We have all seen the news – meat sales are at an all-time high as we stay home more often and eat together as a family. So, dust off your grill, if you haven’t already, and join us this week and next in this column for some fun and easy grilling recipes. If you don’t have a grill, try using a cast iron grill pan on the stove -you can achieve mouth-watering results there too.
For some, grilling can be intimidating, but no worries, this week’s recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts which cook very quickly and evenly. If you have leftovers, they are also a handy thing to have on hand to throw into pasta or used for chicken burgers, salads, pizza, nachos, and even soup. Whether fresh off the grill, or two days later from a container in the fridge, grilled chicken breasts are very useful.
Today we are making Southwest Chicken Quesadillas. Before you start, marinate your meat with a flavorful marinade. This will make sure the chicken breasts stay moist and will add an extra layer of flavor. We’re using a cilantro lime marinade recipe for the chicken, which is a Mexican-inspired marinade that will bring lots of savory flavors to your quesadillas. To marinate, place the rinsed chicken into a Ziploc bag, pour the marinade over the breasts, fully mix in the marinade & make sure the chicken is covered, seal the bag tightly, and place into the fridge for 1-2 hours. Take out the chicken breasts and cook on the grill. You will know they are ready when the internal temperature reaches 160-165, or if when sliced, the meat shows no sign of pinkness. How you want to construct your quesadillas is up to you, but we have a suggested number of things to add to the grilled chicken for a very tasty Memorial Day meal.
Cilantro Lime Marinade:
● 1⁄4 distilled white vinegar
● 1⁄4 cup avocado oil
● 1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
● Juice of 2 limes
● 1 tbsp cumin
● 1 tbsp oregano
● 2 tsp chili powder
● 2 tsp black pepper
● 1 tsp salt
● 6 medium Flour or Corn Tortillas
● 1lb Grilled Chicken Breasts
● 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed & drained
● 1⁄2 cup canned corn, rinsed & drained
● 3⁄4 cup red bell pepper diced
● 1⁄4 cup diced jalapeños
● 1⁄2 cup red onion diced
● 1⁄2 cup zucchini diced
● 2 cloves minced garlic
● 1 tsp cumin
● 1 tsp chili powder
● 1 tsp cayenne pepper
● 1⁄2 tsp salt & pepper
● 2 cups shredded cheese (Sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack)
● Fischer & Wieser Southwest Dip (optional, for topping)
1. Heat 1 tbsp of avocado oil (or any neutral oil) in a medium pan. Add onions, bell peppers, corn, jalapeños, zucchini, & black beans. Cook 3-4 minutes until onions are caramelized. Turn heat down to low & add in garlic. Cook until fragrant. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl shred the chicken breasts with two forks.
3. In a separate clean pan over medium heat spread butter onto one side of the tortilla. Place the buttered side face down onto the pan. Top the left half of the tortilla with cheese, the veggie mixture, & chicken shreds. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the filling, & cook on both sides until golden*
4. Serve with avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro, or Fischer & Wieser Southwest Dip.
*Follow this same method if grilling the quesadillas.