The Foodie Physician: Cook Once, Eat Twice: Pulled Chicken Quesadillas

Cook Once, Eat Twice: Pulled Chicken Quesadillas

In my last post I promised you another recipe featuring the delicious Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken that I made.  It's part of my Cook Once, Eat Twice series where I show you how to make a large batch recipe and then use the leftovers in a variety of other dishes. This week I decided to use my leftover chicken to make these scrumptious Pulled Chicken Quesadillas. These quesadillas are a terrific family-friendly meal that you can get on the table in a pinch. You simply layer chicken, shredded cheese and any other desired toppings on tortillas and toast them in a skillet until they're golden brown on the outside with melting, gooey cheese on the inside.

To boost the nutrition in these quesadillas I use whole wheat wraps in place of flour tortillas. Whole grains have high amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are beneficial for your health.  In fact, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of the grains you consume should be whole grains.  To decrease the amount of saturated fat in this recipe, I like to use reduced fat Mexican blend cheese.  I also keep the amount of oil in check by toasting the quesadillas in a pan sprayed lightly with olive oil cooking spray.

To add some color, texture and of course flavor, I top the chicken with sautéed yellow bell peppers and onions.  Bell peppers are packed with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.  Yellow bell peppers in particular are especially high in Vitamin C- one large pepper contains 341 mg of Vitamin C, which is 569% of your recommended daily value! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to boost your immune system and ward off chronic disease like heart disease and arthritis.  It's also vital for building and maintaining healthy skin, bones, cartilage and teeth.  Since our bodies don't make Vitamin C or store it, it's important to get enough of it in your diet.  The cooking process can actually reduce the Vitamin C content in foods like peppers so you'll get the maximum nutritional benefit if you eat them raw or cook them lightly like in this recipe.

I like to serve these quesadillas with Avocado Crema (see recipe below) but you can also serve them with your favorite salsa or other accompaniments.

Pulled Chicken Quesadillas
Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
4 whole wheat wraps (I use Tofouyan 9-inch whole wheat wraps)
1 cup reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese (I used Fresh Market Reduced Fat Mexican Mix)
1 1/3 cups pulled chicken (CLICK HERE for the recipe)

Avocado Crema:
1 medium Haas avocado, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the peppers and onions.  Season the vegetables with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender, 3-4 minutes.  Remove the vegetables and clean the skillet. 

To assemble the quesadillas, place a wrap on a cutting board or other flat surface.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over half of the wrap and then spread 1/3 cup chicken evenly over the cheese.  Top the chicken with ¼ of the sautéed peppers and onions and then another 2 tablespoons cheese.  

Fold the wrap over to close. Repeat the process to make 3 more quesadillas.

Spray the skillet with olive oil cooking spray and heat over medium heat.  Add two quesadillas to the skillet.  

Cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes, then flip over.  Cook another few minutes on the second side until the outside is golden brown and the cheese is melted.  

Remove the quesadillas from the pan and cook the remaining two.  Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.  Serve with avocado crema or other toppings of your choice.  To make the avocado crema, mash the avocado, yogurt, lime juice, cilantro and salt together in a bowl until chunky.

One serving Quesadilla: Calories 343; Fat 11.5g (Sat 4.2g); Protein 22.4g; Carb 35.7g; Fiber 4.5g; Sodium 745mg

One serving Avocado Crema: Calories 84; Fat 6.9g (Sat 1.1g); Protein 1.7g; Carb 4.8g; Fiber 3.4g; Sodium 78mg




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