It’s time to fiesta

A tasty tradition: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these quesadillas recipes.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

If you like margaritas, nachos, quesadillas, salsa, tacos (you get the picture), then Friday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, is fiesta time.

The day celebrates the Mexican army’s victory in the Mexican-French War at the Battle of Puebla. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated like a Mexican St. Patrick’s Day. Although many restaurants offer delicious Mexican food throughout the city, quesadillas are an easy dish to make at home to bring on the celebration.

Serve the following quesadillas with lime wedges, lime cream (1 cup sour cream mixed with the juice of one-half lime), along with your favorite salsa.

CHICKEN QUESADILLAS

4 10-inch tortillas (whole wheat with honey are good with this recipe)

Filling:

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

4 medium tomatoes, cored and diced

3 green onions, chopped thin

2 Tbsp. honey

3 cups cooked chicken or turkey breast, coarsely chopped

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

4 cups white cheddar, shredded

Garnish: 1 lime cut into wedges, lime cream and salsa.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the jalapeno peppers and the tomatoes. Stir and cook over medium heat for 15–20 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture thickens.

Add the green onions and honey.

Stir in the chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spray a griddle (or large frying pan) with oil. Heat griddle. Place two tortillas on griddle to warm for a few seconds.

Turn tortillas over. Turn off heat. Distribute ½ cup of cheese over one-half each tortilla.

Distribute ¾ cup chicken mixture over the cheese on each tortilla.

Add ¼ cup cilantro leaves and ½ cup cheese atop the chicken mixture. Fold the empty half of the tortilla over to cover the fillings, forming a half-moon shape.

Turn the griddle heat to medium, and cook the half-moons 2–3 minutes on each side until they are crisp and golden, and cheese is melted. Keep warm in low-temperature oven and repeat the process to make the additional quesadillas.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with lime wedges, cream and salsa.

CHEESE AND SPINACH QUESADILLAS

4 10-inch flour tortillas

Filling:

2 Tbsp. canola oil

½ cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ jalapeno pepper, minced, or 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

5 oz. fresh spinach leaves

Salt and pepper

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 green onions, chopped thin

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1½ cups sharp cheddar, shredded

Garnish: 1 lime cut into wedges, lime cream and salsa

In a frying pan, heat oil and cook onions over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the spinach leaves and stir. Cook just until the spinach begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat.

Spray a griddle (or large frying pan) with oil. Heat griddle. Place two tortillas on griddle to warm for a minute.

Turn tortillas over. Turn off heat. Spread 1 ounce of softened cream cheese over one-half each tortilla.

Distribute one-quarter of spinach mixture evenly over cream cheese on each tortilla.

Distribute one-quarter of the green onions and cilantro leaves over the spinach mixture.

Top with one-third cup of shredded cheese, and fold the empty half of the tortilla over to cover the fillings, forming a half-moon shape.

Turn the griddle heat to medium and cook the half-moons 1–2 minutes on each side until they are crisp and golden, and cheese is melted. Keep warm in low-temperature oven and repeat the process to make the additional quesadillas.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with lime wedges, cream and salsa.

Eat well, live long and enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats-cook-inNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

Don’t forget:

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