Saturday, April 27, 2013

Instagram Quickie: Chicken Quesadilla

There's nothing like the simpler things in life, especially when it comes to food. A couple weeks ago, it was no different. My family had a "Fajita Night" and with an abundance of tortillas, cheese, salsa and what not from Costco, there was no way it was going to disappear unless to make food with it. 

Quesadillas are one of the easiest things to make and probably one of the best simplest foods out there. You can really add anything to the inside. Whether it be left over Rotisserie chicken, spinach, mushrooms, anything can go in them. 

To make these Chicken Quesadillas, I used some of the leftover grilled chicken, onions, peppers, jalapenos from the night before. However, it's just as easy to make from the beginning. Just a little sauteing here and there, flipping it over and Bam! Chicken Quesadillas.

Chicken Quesadillas
Recipe by Me

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Garlic Powder

Fajita Style Filling
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Medium Onion, sliced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, Sliced
1/2 Jalapeno, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Quesadilla Assembly
Cooked Chicken Breasts
Fajita Style Filling
4-6 Large Flour Tortilla
1 1/2 to 2 cups Mexican Blend Cheese

Chicken Breasts
Heat up a large skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and garlic powder and set aside until the skillet is hot. Once heated, add in the chicken breast and begin to brown on one side for about 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the chicken and let it cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the pan and onto a plate once cooked. Cover with foil and allow the chicken to rest until ready to use.

Fajita Style Filling
In the same skillet you used for the chicken, add a tiny bit more olive oil and add in the garlic. Cook for about one minute and add in the Onion, Red/Green Peppers and Jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper and cook until everything becomes soft but still has a bit of crunch to them. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl.

Final Assembly
Rinse out the skillet that was used for both the chicken and fajita filling. Place it back onto the stove over medium heat. While the skillet is heating up, cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Once the skillet is hot, add a tiny bit of olive oil to the pan and place the tortilla into the pan and move it around, lightly coating it with the olive oil.

Add in about 1/3 cup cheese evenly over the top of the whole tortilla. Next, take about 1/4 cup of the fajita filling to make a thin layer over half of the tortilla. Add enough chicken directly on top of the fajita filling so that there's chicken in every bite, again only on half of the tortilla. Finally, fold the portion with just the cheese over to the side with the filling, making a half moon.

Cook the quesadilla for about 2 to 3 minutes on both sides or until it reaches a light golden brown. Remove from the pan and cut it up into slices.

-Aaron John

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

A couple weeks ago, I tried to love pudding by making Aborio Rice Pudding. Sad to say, that didn't go over so well. After watching the "Worst Cooks in America" finale last week and seeing Bobby Flay's mentee making Bread Pudding, it gave me the next opportunity to take another stab at Pudding. 

I assumed Bread Pudding would be something I would like because it contained bread and if you know me, you know I'm a carb-aholic. But, you never know, pudding is a pudding, no matter how you slice it. Plus, I'm not exactly the type to like mushy bread so I was cautiously optimistic.

Did this Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding taste like a Cinnamon Roll? Not exactly. More like Cinnamon Bread with custard. Was it able to convert me? Not exactly either. I wasn't really feeling the texture so much. Once again, texture comes into play as to why I'm not a fan of pudding. By the looks of it, I don't know if I'll ever be a fan of Pudding, but maybe third time's the charm?

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding
Recipe by Aida Mollenkamp

2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
1/3 cup nut-flavored liqueur (recommended: Di Saronno or Frangelico)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 cups large dice cinnamon challah (or plain challah or brioche plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon) (about 10 ounces challah)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in middle.

Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, liqueur, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until egg is broken up and mixture is smooth. Evenly distribute bread and walnuts in a 2 quart baking dish, pour custard mixture over bread, and allow to soak for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring about 8 cups water to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Evenly distribute remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over bread pudding. Set the filled baking dish into a larger roasting pan and add enough of the hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until custard is set and top is lightly browned, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from water bath and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature.

-Aaron John


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