These Oven Baked Chicken Quesadillas are so good that no matter how many I make they're wiped out in minutes. They're a great leftover to pack for next days lunch.... IF there are never any left over!
The word Quesadilla means "little cheesy thing" and contrary to popular opinion this is not really a traditional Mexican food. According to donacholita.com cheesy quesadillas are a combination of North American, Spanish and Italian cuisines.
The original quesadillas had simple vegetables like squash and pumpkin and were often eaten as a dessert. The Italians introduced Oaxaca cheese to Mexico and the cheesy quesadillas became popular. Next came the Spanish and introduced meat to the filling.
The chicken quesadillas we eat today are what is known as "quesadilla sincronizada" or synchronized quesadillas.
I'm always on the lookout for easy and healthy recipes to cook on many busy weekdays. I find Mexican food not only delicious but quick and healthy depending on how you make it.
Given my family's love for spicy food this is a perfect fit for us. I often succumb to making tacos but whenever we eat out my kids often go for quesadillas. I personally find the restaurant ones a little greasy and bland for my liking so decided to experiment with my own version.
After seeing a recipe for sheet pan chicken quesadillas on foodnetwork.com I thought I'd create my own version using Ree Drummonds concept. The family unanimously gave these a thumbs up!
I find it takes little to no time to boil a few chicken tenderloins and shred them. Since tenderloins are cut small they cook very fast. I use the time while I wait for them to prep my salsa and guacamole.
However, you can easily go with shredded rotisserie chicken and use store bought guacamole and salsa instead. In that case these quesadillas will take you only 20 minutes! You can't beat that for a quick dinner!
At times I use the excess chicken from my homemade chicken broth for this recipe as well!
I had fire sauce on hand as we use it often but you can change it up and opt for your favorite mexican sauce or whatever you have on hand. The purpose is to give the chicken some flavor and moisture.
Just enough sauce to coat the chicken is sufficient as too much can make the tortillas soggy.
Traditionally quesadillas were made with corn tortillas, however those can be a little tricky to work with for these sheet pan chicken quesadillas so I'm using flour tortillas for this recipe.
If you chose to use corn tortillas I would halve the filling so they don't fall apart. I usually use low carb mission tortillas, trying to stay on the healthier side , but any type will do.
Just make sure to brush both sides with oil and layer the tortillas with enough overlap to hold the filling in.
Adding the layer of cheese below and on top of the chicken further helps keep the filling in. As the cheese melts it holds everything together.
I don't add any vegetables inside the quesadilla as I feel it makes it a little soggy. But if you want to add any I would saute them first and cool to room temperature.
This way they won't release any water while cooking or sweat as they cool inside the enclosed tortillas. The jalapenos and spices help give the additional flavor that may be missing due to the lack of vegetables.
As you can see my toothpicks weren't holding up so I used knives instead! Whatever works! Despite using considerable oil the quesadillas weren't as greasy as the restaurant ones are, but they were crunchy and tasted a lot healthier!
Remember that tortillas absorb a lot of oil so if you do want that restaurant type taste just add more oil. I use avocado oil as it has a high smoke point and mild taste.
Since we're cooking the quesadillas at such a high temperature using the right oil is important. Canola oil would be another good option if you're not a fan of avocado.
Since I don't use any vegetables inside my quesadillas I make the corn and bean salsa as a side. I love eating the salsa on it's own as a salad for lunch the next day! Make a bowl with the salsa and a dollop of guacamole and you have your healthy fat, loads of fibre and some vitamins!
It takes very little time to put together and by the time the quesadillas are done cooking your sides will be ready!
For a quick guacamole I simply add a few dry spices and lime juice and mash the avocado. This works great as a dip for the quesadillas and any leftover gets eaten as avocado toast for breakfast. Add a boiled egg and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and you'll have an amazing start to your day!
Oven Baked Chicken Quesadillas
- 2 cookie sheets
- basting brush
- Cooking Pot
- Cooking Spoon
- 1 lb chicken tenderloins
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 soft tacos
- 1 lb boiled shredded chicken
- 14 oz mexican blend shredded cheese
- ¼ cup pickled jalapenos
- ½ bottle taco bell fire sauce
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp tajin
- 2 tbsp avacado oil
black bean and corn salsa
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can corn
- 2 roma tomatoes
- ½ purple onion
- 2 fresh jalapenos
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 2 limes
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 avacados
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- sour cream
- cholula sauce
- boil the tenderloins with the garlic cloves, salt and 1 cup of water for 15-20 minutes
- drain any excess water and garlic cloves and shred the chicken
- preheat the oven to 425°
- brush oil on one cookie sheet
- brush oil on the tortillas
- layer the tortillas, half will be hanging over the side of the cookie sheet, making sure to overlap, leaving 2 tortillas to cover the top
- mix the chicken with the fire sauce
- spread half the cheese on the layered tortillas
- spread the chicken and sauce mixture next
- spread the chopped pickled jalapenos and sprinkle the paprika, cayenne and tajin
- spread the remaining cheese
- place the last 2 tortillas on top and start closing the tortillas hanging over the sides. Use the toothpicks if to hold them together as you work
- generously coat the top with oil
- cover with the second cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes
- let sit for 5 minutes, cut into pieces and serve with the salsa, guacamole and condiments
black bean and corn salsa
- drain and rinse the beans and corn
- dice the onion, tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro and mix with the beans and corn
- squeeze the lemon juice and add salt and pepper and serve
- remove the pulp of the avocado, keeping the pits for later
- mash with a fork
- add the lime juice, pepper, salt, garlic and onion and mix well
- add the pits back as this prevents the guacamole from browning and serve.
Hope you decide to try these! Don't forget to leave a rating and comment when you do!