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Quesadillas are undeniably an easy weeknight meal—and a dish that warrants the joyful, underutilized ability to eat with your hands. These hand-held pockets of melty cheese ooze out of a crispy, golden brown tortilla, primed to be dipped in sour cream or guacamole. While the standard filling may be cheese, you can really use tortillas as blank canvases to create a ton of options.

Related Reading: 9 Best Quesadilla Recipes for National Quesadilla Day

Because I’m a big fan of fajitas, I decided to marry the two and make a loaded chicken quesadilla with the flavors of fajitas (think sautéed peppers and onions), all jammed into two pan-fried tortillas. For some added greens, I throw in a handful of baby spinach, transforming it into a full meal, right in the palm of my hands.

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Use this recipe as a jumping off point, allowing you to repurpose any leftovers you have around. Rotisserie chicken is the star of this version, but feel free to use last night’s leftover pork chop or steak. For a vegetarian version, sprinkle in some black or pinto beans and you won’t even miss the meat. Once everything’s in the pan, keep the heat on medium and check the bottom to make sure you are getting an even brown. If not, press down with a spatula to melt the cheese and achieve toasty brown perfection.

Loaded Chicken Quesadillas Recipe

Loaded Chicken Quesadillas

Serves: 4
  • One 3-pound rotisserie chicken, deboned and chopped into small pieces
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 8 medium flour tortillas
  • Two 16-ounce packages Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons neutral oil, grapeseed or canola, divided
  1. After chopping up the rotisserie chicken, set it to the side while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. In a large saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add spinach and cook for two to three minutes, just until it is wilted.
  3. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil to sauté the pepper strips and onion for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Set aside.
  4. Wipe out the pan and add a teaspoon of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat To medium. Add one tortilla.
  5. Top the tortilla with cheese, some chicken, some spinach, the peppers and onions. Season with salt and pepper and then sprinkle the cheese to cover the meat and vegetables. Cover with another tortilla.
  6. Once the tortilla begins to sizzle, about 2 minutes, the bottom should be golden brown.
  7. Carefully flip the quesadilla and cook for an additional 2 to three minutes to brown the other side and completely melt the cheese.
  8. Remove to a cutting board and cut into triangles.
  9. Serve with toppings such as salsa, sour cream, guacamole and cilantro.

Header image by Anna Gass.

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