Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas with Spinach and Caramelized Onions
Grilled chicken, sautéed spinach, caramelized onions, barbecue sauce and havarti cheese makes for one heck of leftover taco. Or quesadilla in this instance. Just saying.
How I cook for the blog and how I cook for my family couldn’t be more different. Yes, we actually eat the recipes I share with you on the blog but cooking for the blog is all work. Literally. When I blog I plan ahead and everything is calculated. From creation and execution, to timing and the photographing and styling. I usually plan for and make/shoot 2 or 3 blog recipes at once and we rarely enjoy the food right after it’s made. Who wants tacos at 10am?
When I cook for my family, it’s so much more relaxed. And often fly by the seat of our pants style. I’ll usually have one or both the boys help me and as of late, dinner is looking in the fridge to see what I can pull together last minute. We cook and sit down immediately after to enjoy the hot meal. No styling the food and no fancy plates. We come to the table hungry and dive in head first. It’s funny but I’ve really come to love both styles of cooking. They couldn’t be more different but in their own ways, they are both really therapeutic for me. Both are a love of good food and feeding my family but one is work and the other isn’t.
Taco Tuesday was born out of my inventive (or so I’d like to think) way to use up leftovers. Plus, who doesn’t love tacos? They’re kind of the best. We’ve been eating tacos (and burritos and quesadillas) for as long as I’ve been cooking. They’re so easy, so versatile and I always have something in the fridge to through a quick taco meal together. But once I actually starting doing Taco Tuesday as a series, things changed. Every week I actually had to plan it. And my love of spontaneously throwing a quick taco dinner together was gone. It was all about planning. And leftover tacos. I suppose that’s why I’ve been burned out on doing tacos. Something I loved was now work.
Last night was the first night in I can’t tell you how long that taco night wasn’t planned. These quesadillas were an off the cuff kind of dinner pulled together with leftovers in the fridge. We swam most of the day away and when we got home, everyone was ravished. I looked in the fridge and pulled grilled chicken, a half container of spinach, some sliced havarti cheese and some leftover bbq sauce. While the Mr. put the kiddos in the bath, I caramelized an onion, had a glass of wine and put these quesadillas together in 20 minutes. As I drank my wine and sang along to Bruno Mars, I had this whole epiphany about blog cooking vs family cooking and realized that’s why Taco Tuesday has been leaving me so uninspired. On a whim, I grabbed my camera and literally took a handful of pictures in under two minutes- no props involved. We ate dinner off the cutting board and I served sour cream in it’s container. You know, just like real people do. I abandoned the recipe I had to share today in lieu of these quesadillas. (Don’t worry, it’s coming next week!)
For whatever reason, today I felt the need to keep it real and I have to say, it’s amazing what you can pull together with some imagination and leftovers. A hot dinner and a blog post all in a half an hour. I went to bed feeling like the man. Just like that, my love for Taco Tuesday is back.
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, finely minced
- 2 heaping handfuls baby spinach
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
- 4 deli slices Havarti cheese
- 4 whole grain tortillas
- In a large saute pan, heat butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, on medium-low until onion is soft and starting to caramelize about 20 minutes.
- When onion is caramelized, transfer to a small bowl. Add minced chicken and fresh spinach. Season with a pinch of salt and stir just until chicken is warmed through and spinach starts to wilt; transfer to a plate.
- Turn heat on pan up to medium. Add one tortilla to the pan and spread with 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce. Add 2 slices of havarti cheese and half of the chicken/spinach mixture and half of the caramelized onions. Top with the other tortilla and cook about 3-4 minutes per side until cheese is melted and tortilla is browned.
- Repeat with the other tortillas to make two quesadillas.
- Cut each quesadilla into eights and serve with sour cream if desired.