It is like we have been held hostage in the hottest summer for over 25 years. Too hot to cook took on a new meaning—but suddenly my inspiring business partner, Roxanne, suggested I use that trusty slow cooker! Of course! I should have thought of that. One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is one I shared with you before, but I have a new twist on it.
Now, since my daughters grew up, I can take some of those old, family favorites and tweak them to more adult tastes. Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas with fresh Tomato Pico De Gallo is one of those. I used summer-ripe tomatoes, fresh spinach and kept the kitchen cool. What a winner! Don’t despair, for those that want the classic chicken con queso, you will find in the recipe archive. But if you want a summer twist on that favorite recipe, read more now and give it a try.
Chicken and Spinach Quesadilla Recipe
1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
4 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, trimmed of stems
1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers, drained
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
6 flour tortillas, about 8-inches in diameter
Pico De Gallo, below
Fresh, sliced avocado
Place chicken breasts, jalapeno pepper and garlic in a slow cooker. Season with cumin, salt and pepper. Pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover and cook on low 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken is tender and fully – cooked.
Remove chicken. Drain and reserve liquids from slow cooker. Place spinach and roasted red pepper in slow cooker. Shred chicken and return to slow cooker.
Skim fat from collected liquids. Pour about 1/2 cup liquids over chicken. Add green chilies, cheese, salsa, sour cream and cilantro; stir well. Cover and cook on low 30 minutes.
Lightly brush a flour tortilla with melted butter. Place tortilla, buttered side down, on preheated grill. Spoon about 1/3 to 1/2 cup chicken and vegetable mixture over the tortilla. Top with a second tortilla, buttered side up. Grill 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden. Repeat with 5 other quesadillas. Top each with Pico De Gallo and avocado.
Makes 6 servings
Summer Pico De Gallo
2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and very finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Allow to stand about 30 minutes for flavors to blend. Refrigerate leftovers.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups