Spicy Chicken Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions Image

Thank you to Bell & Evans for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

Happy Monday! We are only one day away from the first day of autumn and the “fall crush” has already happened. I always seem to feel it the most during the month of September. I’m not sure if it is because I am struggling to shake off the summer haze (sort of like coming out of hibernation) or that there are truly too many things happening at once. This year, we have chosen for our kiddos to be in Cohort C (thanks to COVID-19) which means they are both at home enrolled in 100% Distant Learning during the day. Time is short and we have had to make adjustments in many areas of our life.

The real rush hour happens at night in my kitchen when I am scrambling to fix simple, yet healthy meals for my family. I’ve learned a few tips for the days when I am short on time. Firstly, I keep a few packages of Bell & Evans uncooked chicken nuggets in my freezer at all times. These nuggets are all natural and really yummy. They take about 25 minutes to cook, and I usually toss in a few handfuls of french fries on the same baking sheet. They are available at Whole Foods, (click here for a location near you) among other distributors.

The second tip is to get into the habit of making more food than your family will eat for dinner – thereby creating leftovers. Instead of buying 4 chicken breasts, buy 6 and make them all. It doesn’t take any extra time and you will have a jump-start on the next meal. This is where quesadillas come into play. These can be made from leftovers such as fish, seafood, steak or chicken. Plus, tortillas, the main component of quesadillas, have a decent shelf life which makes them ideal for last-minute meals.

Below is my recipe for spicy chicken quesadillas with caramelized onions. One of many great things about quesadillas is the freedom to subtract, add or substitute ingredients. My kids like spicy foods, but are not fans of onions. So I leave them out when I make theirs. These can also be made ahead of time and reheated for someone who is coming home late from work.

I hope you’ll try these quesadillas, they are extremely flavorful especially paired with a glass of white wine!

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas with Caramelized Onions (Serves 4)


2 cups of grilled chicken, cut into strips (about 2 chicken breasts)

1 medium purple onion, sliced finely

2 cups of shredded spicy Pepper Jack cheese

4 flour tortillas

6 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh cilantro (coarsely chopped)

Optional garnishes: salsa, guacamole and sour cream.



In a medium-sized sauté or frying pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil and bring to medium heat. Add the sliced purple onion and sauté until onions caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the grilled chicken to warm it, take the pan off the heat and set aside.

Sprinkle 1/4 of a cup of the spicy Pepper Jack cheese evenly over one side of a tortilla, spread 1/4 of the chicken and caramelized onion mixture on top of that, and top it off by sprinkling another 1/4 cup of the spicy Pepper Jack cheese and some freshly chopped cilantro. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the side with the chicken, onions and cheese, and press down firmly. Repeat this for the remaining three tortillas.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add one folded tortilla and cook, pressing down several times with a spatula until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the quesadilla over to cook the other side for about 2 more minutes. Step-by-step photos below:

| leave a border so the cheese doesn’t ooze out |

Cut into triangles, sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately with sides of salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

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sarah o’brien

connecticut in style

spicy chicken quesadillas with caramelized onions