Cooking and Recipes: Is a quesadilla the best way to use leftovers?

Colin Crawford, Columnist

Baked chicken is always a staple in the Crawford household, and I love its versatility. So while leftovers can be fun, sometimes we get tired of eating the same thing over and over again. Repurposing your chicken in a quesadilla is a great, easy way to spice things up. 

I took about two pieces of baked chicken and pulled the meat off the bone to substitute for the chicken used in the recipe below. Quesadillas are simple and filling, but they can also be elevated to include a wider variety of flavors if you’re hankering for a more robust meal. This recipe gives you the best of both worlds. 

My favorite step when making quesadillas is buttering the tortilla before placing it in the pan. This creates a nice, crispy shell, giving the quesadilla a texture contrast between the softness of the melted cheese filling and the fried tortilla. This recipe is a perfect way to use leftover chicken. Enjoy!


Serves: 4-6 (makes 4 servings) | Hands-on time: 10 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes | Source:


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 bell peppers, thinly sliced

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

4 medium flour tortillas

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Sour cream, for serving


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add peppers and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer the veggies to a plate. 
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with spices, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and cooked through, 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. 
  3. Add 1 flour tortilla to the skillet and top half of the tortilla with a heavy sprinkling of both cheeses, cooked chicken mixture, pepper-onion mixture, a few slices of avocado and green onions. Fold the other half of the tortilla over and cook, flipping once, until golden.  Cook for 3 minutes per side. Repeat to make 4 quesadillas. 
  4. Slice into wedges and serve with sour cream. 

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Twitter: @ColinMCrawford

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