April 8th, 2011

I love quesadillas. They’re like an empty canvas just waiting to be made into a beautiful work of art. You can do just about anything with quesadillas, and that’s what makes them so fun! If you love BBQ chicken pizza, you will definitely be in for a treat with this quesadilla recipe.

Chicken is always a must with quesadillas. Meat lovers who want to reduce their fat intake and boost their protein levels should definitely switch on over to chicken. Trader Joe’s Bold & Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce complements the chicken very well! While BBQ sauce is definitely not a health food for its high sugar content, this particular brand by Trader Joe’s stands out from the rest because it has no cornstarch in it. When eaten in moderation, BBQ sauce is loved for its non-fat aspect.

Something new that I tried with this recipe was adding garbanzo beans. I always seem to be adding garbanzo beans to unsuspecting recipes (like Cupid’s Cupcakes), but I can’t help it – they are just so healthy! Unlike other carbohydrates, garbanzo beans have a low glycemic value (meaning they don’t negatively affect blood sugar levels) while still providing lots of energy. Full of fiber and iron, these little beans have been known to control hunger and lower consumption levels, making them a fantastic weight controller!

Like garbanzo beans, corn is high in fiber and folate. While corn doesn’t usually get good press, there must be something good about it if the Aztecs, Mayans, and Native Americans all ate it. If you don’t smother your corn in butter and other fattening ingredients, corn (in moderation) can have some great health benefits. Corn is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and especially B.

And you can’t forget about the cheese! I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Shredded Cheese Blend, which has smoked cheddar, gouda, provolone, and mozzarella. The high calcium content in cheese helps the body absorb other vitamins and minerals while its high protein content provides energy and promotes tissue-building in the body.

This recipe is one to try when you’re very hungry! Its high protein content not only fills you up, but its smoky flavors combined with fresh cilantro and green onion make it oh so tasty.

Did I forget to mention my Scallop Stir-Fry made it to FoodBuzz’s Top 9 on April 4? Looks like wikiKitchen made it to the #2 spot out of 2,389 posts! Don’t forget to “like” the Facebook page for updates on my web series, Bitchen in the Kitchen. It’s premiering in just two weeks, so get ready for it!

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla
Adapted from Foster’s Market
Makes 1 quesadilla

1/2 cup TJ’s Just Chicken, shredded
1/8 cup TJ’s Bold & Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce
TJ’s frozen Pacific Northwestern Super Sweet Cut White Corn, cooked
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained but not rinsed, 1 tbsp liquid reserved
1 garlic clove, minced
1 scallion, minced (white and green parts)
1 TJ’s Chile & Onion Flour Tortilla
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup TJ’s Smoked Shredded Cheese Blend
Olive oil spray

Combine the chicken, barbecue sauce, and corn in a small bowl and toss gently to coat.

In a separate, small bowl, combine the chickpeas and the reserved liquid, garlic, and scallions. Place the mixture in a Ziploc bag and mash the ingredients together, leaving the mixture slightly chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

To assemble the quesadilla, lay the tortilla on a flat work surface and spread the chickpea mixture over half of the tortilla, dividing it evenly. Top with the chicken and corn mixture and sprinkle each with a few cilantro leaves and the cheese. Fold the tortilla in half to form a half moon.

Lightly grease a large skillet with olive oil spray and heat it over medium-high heat until it’s hot. Place the quesadillas in the skillet to grill for about 3 minutes per side, turning once, until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is golden brown. Cut the quesadilla into wedges and serve warm.

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