Friday, February 08, 2013

Tropical Chicken Quesadillas with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

I've had this recipe for Tropical Chicken Quesadillas with Mango-Avocado Salsa printed out for awhile but I wasn't sold on the mango. Then I had leftover pineapple from these Island Burgers with Pineapple-Lime Salsa and realized I could sub the pineapple for the mango.

tropical chicken

I left the hot pepper out of the salsa because I'm not that into spice. I also opted to cook the onion until caramelized and leave out the red pepper because I don't particularly like peppers. As I was getting ready to cook the chicken I noticed the leftover spice rub from the BBQ Spiced Pork Tenderloin sitting on the counter. I decided to use it and wow, what a great idea. The flavors from the rub were perfect on the chicken and went so well with the onions and cheese.

But the real winner was the salsa combined with the quesadillas. The pineapple was a great substitute for the mango and when I put a little salsa on the quesadilla it was the perfect combination of tang from the pineapple, creaminess of the avocado and a slight bite from the red onion.

I can't wait to make these again.

Tropical Chicken Quesadillas with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa
Adapted from Apple a Day

For the salsa:
1 1/2 cups diced pineapple, cut into quarters (juice reserved)
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly slicked red onion
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the quesadillas:
2 boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary
2 teaspoons oil, divided
1 onion, thinly sliced
8 medium/soft taco size tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
Cooking spray

To make the salsa, combine all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Marinate the chicken breasts in the reserved pineapple juice for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Combine the brown sugar through dried rosemary in a bowl. Mix well. Remove the chicken from the pineapple juice and sprinkle the dry rub on the chicken breasts, coating evenly.

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet. Sauté chicken until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Cut into a small dice or shred.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the other teaspoon of oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the onions and saute until caramelized and brown, about 15 minutes.

Lay out four tortillas and assemble quesadillas in this order - cheese, onion, chicken, cheese. Top with remaining tortillas.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Lay quesadilla in the skillet and let cook until the bottom of the tortilla is golden and crispy. Flip and let cook until the other side is also golden and crispy and the cheese is melted. Repeat cooking process with remaining quesadillas. Serve immediately with salsa.
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