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Chicken Quesadillas

chicken quesadillas on a wooden cutting board with salsa on the side

Some nights, you probably wish you didn’t have to stand over a stove, monitoring two skillets. Problem solved with these Chicken Quesadillas. It’s like a grilled cheese sandwich, but with way more potential for great fillings.


4 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch slices
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped, or to taste
4 scallions, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more as needed
1½ to 2 cups grated Mexican melting cheese (like Oaxaca, Asadero, or Chihuahua; 6 to 8 ounces)
Four 10- or 12-inch flour tortillas
Hot sauce


Heat the oven to 450°F and position 2 racks toward the middle. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and remove from the heat.

Put the tomatoes, jalapeño, scallions, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine; taste and adjust the seasoning.

Use the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to grease 2 baking sheets. Put 2 tortillas on each pan, turning them to rub both sides with some of the oil. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tortillas; scatter the chicken on top. Transfer the pans to the oven and bake until the cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes.

Fold the tortillas in half. Continue to cook, turning once, until the tortillas are golden and crisp on both sides, about 2½ minutes on each side. Let the quesadillas sit for a few minutes, then cut them in wedges and serve with the salsa, passing the hot sauce at the table if you like.

Excerpted from Dinner for Everyone by Mark Bittman. Copyright © 2019 by Mark Bittman. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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