My love for quesadillas is right up there with pizza. They’re like brothers from a different mother. Both combine melty cheese, crispy bread, and whatever other creative combination of ingredients you can think of. Delicious flexibility!
These quesadillas combine hearty chicken with sweet pineapple, spicy red pepper flakes (although you could use jalapeño instead, if you’d like), hearty black beans, fresh green onion and cilantro. The result is fresh, filling, gooey, and crispy all at the same time. This, my friends, is the magic of quesadillas.
I had one chicken breast left in my freezer, so I used that. This recipe would also be great for using up extra rotisserie chicken if you have it. I cooked my chicken quickly on my George Foreman grill, but you could also cut it into chunks and then sauté in a skillet until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. And, as always, I purchase my chicken breast on sale and then keep them in the freezer (individually wrapped) to avoid paying $5/lb. You just have to keep your eyes peeled for the sales!
If you’re not into cilantro, fear not, you can just leave it out. Other ideas for great add-ins include: corn kernels, avocado, or red onion. I’m keeping the pre-made filling in my refrigerator so that I can quickly make fresh, hot quesadillas throughout the week. WIN!
Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas
- 1 lg. chicken breast (3/4 lb.) $1.50*
- 1 (15 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice $1.14
- 1 (15 oz.) can black beans $0.87
- 3 whole green onions $0.22
- ¼ bunch fresh cilantro $0.25
- ½ tsp cumin $0.05
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes $0.02
- ¼ tsp salt $0.02
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella or monterrey jack $1.99*
- 8 (8-inch, soft taco size) flour tortillas $1.20
- Cook the chicken in a countertop grill until golden brown on the outside and completely cooked through. If you don’t have a grill, cut the chicken into 1-2 inch chunks and sauté in a skillet until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool slightly as you prepare the rest of the filling.
- Drain the pineapple chunks well, then roughly chop the chunks into smaller pieces. Rinse and drain the black beans. Roughly chop the cilantro and slice the green onions. Combine the pineapple, black beans, cilantro, green onions, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and shredded cheese in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Once the chicken has cooled some, chop it into small chunks (no need to make neat or tidy shapes, just chop roughly). Add the chicken to the rest of the filling in the bowl and then stir to combine.
- Place ½ cup of the quesadilla filling onto a tortilla and spread it out over half of the surface. Fold the tortilla in half and then cook it in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and crispy on the bottom. Flip and cook on the second side in the same manner. Use oil or non-stick spray in the skillet as needed to keep the tortilla from sticking (I find that I don’t need either when using a non-stick skillet).
- Use a pizza slicer to cut the quesadilla into three wedges and serve hot.
Step by Step Photos
Cook the chicken in a countertop grill (like a George Foreman) until golden brown and cooked through. This usually takes about 7 minutes on my grill. If you don’t have a little grill like this, cut the chicken into small chunks (so they cook faster) and sauté them in a skillet until golden brown and cooked through. Let the chicken cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the filling.
Drain the pineapple REALLY well and then roughly chop it into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces help the quesadillas stick together because large pieces are bulky and poke out. Plus, this way you’ll have a little bit o’ sweet in every bite. :)
Rinse and drain the black beans. Roughly chop the cilantro, and slice the green onions. Combine the pineapple, black beans, cilantro, green onions, cumin, salt, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Stir together…
Also add the 2 cups of shredded cheese. I used mozzarella because that’s what I had on hand, but I think monterrey jack would be AMAZING, too.
Now that the chicken has cooled some, chop it into small pieces. Again, the small pieces make sure that you get a little bit of chicken in every bite, plus big pieces tend to poke out and make it hard to keep the quesadilla together.
Stir the chicken into the filling…
I had about 4 cups of filling, so I used 1/2 cup of filling per tortilla. These were 8-inch or “soft taco” sized tortillas. Spread the filling over one half of the tortilla, then fold the empty half over top.
Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Be sure to not keep the heat too high or the inside will not have time to heat and melt before the outside browns. So, I usually cook over medium heat or just slightly lower. If you’re using a non-stick skillet you may not need any oil or non-stick spray, but stainless steel skillets probably will need a little lubrication.
Use a pizza slicer to cut the quesadillas into three triangles and serve hot. NOTE: I find that if you run the pizza cutter from the outside edge TOWARD the center fold, less of the filling will squeeze out!
Yum! I love them! :D Quesadillas forever!