One-Armed Cooking: Chicken Quesadillas


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The beauty of making a really big roast chicken is that there are leftovers. What one does with them though is a different story altogether. I’ve learned over the past few years that with the exception of spaghetti sauce, soup and chili, I don’t like leftovers and neither do my kids. There is nothing worse than reheating pieces of chicken that get dried out in the microwave. It’s so unappetizing.  So why make a really big roast chicken and plan for leftovers? There are plenty of good things you can do with leftover chicken that will also keep babies and toddlers safe and away from the stove, which is at the heart of what I have come to call “one-armed cooking“.

If you are starting with a roast chicken, when the meal is done strip as much meat off the chicken as you can. Get rid of the carcass, and then either freeze the meat or put it in the refrigerator. If you refrigerate, use within four days.  If frozen, for most of these recipes you won’t even need to defrost it first.

Chocolate Chicken Chili Soup

Chicken and Tortellini Soup 

Chicken Fiesta Soup (one of my favorites)

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Quesadillas

What I like about Chicken Quesadillas is that they cook quickly so you are not by a hot stove for a long time,  you can be very creative with them, and you can keep them simple for kids. You can also make them as needed; meaning feed hungry cranky kids first, then yourself.

Ingredients: (there are no specific measurements here as you will basically use whatever you have and can use either a lot of it or a little)

Beans, Chicken and Tomato

Flour or corn tortillas

Diced tomatoes

Cheddar or Mexican blend of shredded cheese

Shredded chicken

Black or red beans

Cooking spray

What’s Next:

Lightly spray a flat frying pan with cooking spray and turn heat to medium.

Place one tortilla on pan and add a handful of shredded cheese.

About 30 seconds later add chicken, tomatoes and beans.

Add more cheese and a second tortilla.

After another 30 seconds to a minute, carefully flip the tortilla. As the cheese melts the top and bottom will stick together. You can cover the pan to speed up the melting process.

Once lightly browned on both sides, remove from pan and serve. Traditional accompaniments are salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

Notes from my experience:

This took me about 5 minutes to make.

Flavors are very mild, which makes it good for kids.

You could really have some fun and have kids pick which items they want on their individual quesadillas. I bet there would be some interesting combinations! Oooh, I think I need to try that myself. Enjoy!

Our One-Armed Cooking series is was born from realizing that trying to cook while holding a toddler or baby can be very tricky. These recipes are meant to be quite easy, safe and family friendly.

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