15-Minute Chicken Mushroom Quesadillas

quick, easy, delicious - - - what more could you want? (picture credit: Food Network)

This is a great recipe from one of my most favorite cookbook authors, Ellie Krieger. Ellie is a fellow Weight Watchers member and is always working to take recipes that could be a calorie bomb – and showing how to cook these recipes with smarter ingredients. Flavor is the key here – and with fresh spinach and mushrooms, cheese doesn’t need to be the star – so you can use less and still get the delicious cheesy flavor.

This flavorgasm recipe is in my top-ten favorites list. I always make this recipe from leftover chicken breast when I make another dish. I’ll cook off an extra chicken breast – put it in a tupperware in the fridge – knowing that come a busy weeknight – I’m going to be craving these quick quesadillas!

A quick note about dairy and cooking healthy. I recommend using “low-fat” dairy (like in the sour cream in this recipe) vs. “fat free” dairy. In order to make a dairy product have the same tongue feel and texture – they add a lot of additives and stuff (read the label!) that you probably don’t want to be eating. The key is to use strong flavors with your dairy – so you can use the cheese and sour cream – but use reasonable amounts to keep it good for you as well as delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked chopped skinless, boneless chicken breast (1 breast half)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 (10-inch) whole-grain flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix or Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushroom water is evaporated and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken, cumin, chili powder and oregano and stir until all spices are incorporated.
  2. Add spinach, salt and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. then remove the pan from the heat, we don’t want to overcook teh spinach since it’s going to continue to cook as we put together our quesadillas!
  3. Lay 1 tortilla on a flat work surface and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Spoon 1/2 chicken and vegetable mixture on top of cheese, then top with an additional 1/4 cup cheese. Top with another flour tortilla. Heat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium heat. Carefully place 1 quesadilla in pan and cook 3 minutes. Using a large spatula, gently flip quesadilla and cook an additional 3 minutes until lightly browned and cheese is melted.
  4. Repeat with second quesadilla. Slice each quesadilla into quarters. Place 2 quarters on a plate with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 2 tablespoons salsa.

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