Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas

Now that I love mushrooms, I admit I have been looking for nearly any opportunity to use them. This recipe for Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas, from the always reliable Ellie Krieger, is a dish that I knew would have me feeling nostalgic. When I was growing up, my dad would make the best homemade quesadillas. They put restaurant quesadillas to shame! They were full of chicken and ooey gooey cheese, and they contained mushrooms. That would not seem particularly revelatory, except for the fact that this was the only way I would ever eat mushrooms. I guess if they were all wrapped up in a cheesy, chickeny package, I could be more easily persuaded to eat them!

These quesadillas are like a kicked-up version of the original that I was brought up eating. With the addition of sauteed onions, shredded baby spinach, and a good dash of cumin, chili powder, and oregano, Ellie's quesadillas are truly some of the most scrumptious ones I've ever had. I love the fact that the spices add so much flavor. The veggies make it even heartier, and the cheese is not excessive, yet it's more than enough. Simple and perfect.

I deviate slightly from Ellie's cooking method, just to keep up my old traditions. My childhood version was baked in the oven, so I choose to do that here instead of pan-frying them. I fill one flattened tortilla with all the quesadilla innards, then top it all off with another tortilla, making a quesadilla sandwich. I count one whole quesadilla as a serving, while Ellie counts just half as a serving. What can I say? We like our quesadillas around these parts!

Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas
adapted from Ellie Krieger, via
makes 4 quesadillas

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
8 oz. white buttom mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped cooked, boneless and skinless chicken breast (1 breast half)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cups baby spinach leaves, sliced into ribbons
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup salsa, optional
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, optional

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the mushroom liquid has evaporated and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add chicken, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and stir until all the spices are incorporated. Add spinach, salt, and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lay 1 tortilla on a flat work surface and sprinkle 1/4 of the chicken/veggie mixture over the tortilla. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over the mixture, then top with another tortilla. Spray the top of the quesadilla with nonstick cooking spray. Place the quesadilla on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Repeat with remaining tortillas, until you have four quesadilla, two per baking sheet.

3. Bake the quesadillas for about 8-10 minutes, until the filling is very hot and the cheese has completely melted. The top of the tortilla should be nicely browned on the edges. Using a pizza cutter, slice each quesadilla into 4-6 wedges. Arrange on a plate, garnish with salsa and sour cream (if using), and serve.


  1. One of my favorite recipes we have ever made, and I have a lot of them. This looks gorgeous...lunch tomorrow!

  2. These were so good! I should fit them in again soon :)