With leftover roast chicken in the refrigerator, chicken quesadillas became the lunch solution at my house this week. Add a cup of soup, a green salad, and you have a satisfying dinner. Chicken quesadillas are quick and easy to make, and this version is gluten-free.
Leftover Chicken – A Busy Cook’s Friend
On Sunday’s I usually roast a whole chicken for dinner, then save leftover chicken to use during the week for a second meal. It’s a time-saving strategy for busy cooks: cook once and eat twice. You can add it to soup, make chicken salad, toss it with pasta or add it to risotto. This time, it was quick chicken and avocado quesadillas, made in just minutes.
Brown Rice Tortillas for Gluten Free
Embarking on a wheat-free dietary test has made me hunt to find alternatives to what we used to eat made from wheat. That’s how I discovered brown rice tortillas. Rice tortillas are not as soft as wheat tortillas, but that’s why I love them for quesadillas. In fact, I like them better for quesadillas as they get crisp more quickly. When you bite into them, they have a nice chew and texture.
The brand I’ve been using is made by Food For Life. They are 9 1/2” across (24 cm) and make a nice crispy quesadilla. I found them at my local Whole Foods in the refrigerated deli section.
How to Make a Quick Quesadilla
Heat a 12” (30 cm) stainless steel fry pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil or a spray of non-stick. Add the tortilla to the pan and top with a little grated cheese. Jalapeno-Jack or a low-fat Jack cheese work well. When the cheese melts, place chicken and avocado slices on one half. You can add thinly sliced tomatoes, fresh salsa, or chopped cilantro for more flavor and color.
When the bottom of the tortilla is getting golden and crisp, fold the unfilled half over the filled half with a metal spatula. Press down a bit with your spatula to get the inside to stick together. That’s it. You can make one in just a few minutes.
If the chicken was cold, you might need to leave it in the pan a little longer to warm through or pop the pan into a warm oven. Alternatively, warm the chicken before adding it to the pan. Cut your quesadilla into thirds and serve. A little sour cream is good on the side and a cooling compliment to the crisp quesadilla. A squeeze of lime juice is good too.
A good basic pan I use every day is my All-Clad 12″ (24 cm) fry pan, here on Amazon.
A classic Lodge 12″ cast iron skillet works great too, and is what I use to roast my whole chicken in, here on Amazon.
A slotted metal spatula is a handy tool to have in your arsenal, here on Amazon
Quick & Crispy Chicken Quesadillas
- 1 teaspoon oil or a spray of non-stick
- 1 large brown rice tortilla
- a little grated Jalapeno Jack or Jack cheese
- a good handful of leftover shredded roast chicken
- 1/4 of an avocado sliced or mashed
- Options: fresh salsa chopped cilantro, thinly sliced tomato
- Heat a 12 ” (24 cm) saute or fry pan over medium heat. Add the oil or spray. Place the tortilla in the pan. If one side is more textured, put the more textured side down. Add the cheese all over the tortilla and allow to melt. Add the chicken to one half and top with the avocado and any options. Don’t over stuff your quesadilla.
- Fold the unfilled half over the filled half and press down a bit with a metal spatula. Cook until the quesadilla is browned and crisp. Watch your heat so it does not burn. Cut the folded quesadilla into thirds and serve.
- Note on the chicken. If it’s very cold, you may want to warm it up before adding it to the quesadilla. Alternatively, turn the heat down and allow the chicken to heat through, or pop the pan into a warm oven for a few minutes.