Alli's Killer Quesadillas

Ocean City, New Jersey is one of my favorite places in the world.  It's also the home to one of my favorite little restaurants, Jon & Patty's.  The fare is casual but delicious, always seasonal and always fresh.  You're probably thinking, "haven't you written about this place before?" to which I will say - YES!  And I can almost guarantee that it won't be the last time I will, either!  

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Everything I've tried on their menu has been delicious.  Nutty chicken salad with craisins and almonds? YUM.  Grilled veggie wraps?  Yes please!  Sliced turkey (the real, roasted kind!) sandwich with avocado, arugula and tomato?  Come on now!  The best part?  Everything is seriously yummy and most things on the menu can be made gluten free! Heck yes!!

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But there are plenty of days where a healthier option, whether by default because it's the only menu selection that's safe to order (I know my gluten free peeps can relate!) or just because cravings are real, a nice light meal isn't always going to cut it!   

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No matter what you get at Jon & Patty's, you can't go wrong, but if you're looking for something a little naughtier and extra delicious, spring for "Alex's Killer Quesadillas".  It's named after one of the owner's kids, and is killer on so many levels.  It's a loaded grilled quesadilla, oozing with cheese, peppers, onion and chicken, snuggled next to a side of sour cream and salsa.  

In every attempt to recreate this dish from miles away, I present to you Alli's Killer Quesadillas. 

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Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb of thin sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

For the quesadillas:

  • 2 gluten free wraps
  • 1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Several bunches of scallions, diced
  • Optional Garnishes: 1 jalepeño (thinly sliced, seeds removed), salsa and sour cream

Directions

For the chicken

  1. Create the spice rub.  Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne.
  2. On a parchment lined sheet tray, spread out the chicken breasts.  Apply the dry rub, and massage onto the chicken until each piece is covered. 
  3. Bake at 400 degrees, until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees (usually between 30-50 minutes, depending on the thickness and your oven).
  4. Let cool, then thinly slice into long strips. Tip: The longer you let the chicken rest before cutting it, the juicier the chicken will stay.  If you cut it too quickly, the juices will run and it will result in a drier, chewier chicken. 

For the quesadillas:

  1. Preheat a large non-stick frying pan on medium low heat.
  2. Place one wrap directly onto the pan.  Sprinkle cheese, beans, scallions and chicken evenly over the wrap.
  3. Place the second wrap directly on top.
  4. Check the bottom wrap every couple minutes to prevent burning.  The wrap will slowly become golden and brown.  
  5. Once the bottom wrap is crispy, place a large plate over the top of the pan with the quesadilla.  
  6. Carefully holding the plate in place, apply pressure so there's no space between the pan and the plate.  Turn the pan upside down, so the top wrap is now transferred to the plate.  The golden side should now be face-up on the plate. 
  7. Gently transfer the quesadilla back to the pan, so the already-golden part remains face-up in the pan.
  8. Continue cooking until the second side is golden brown, and all cheese is melted and gooey.
  9. Let cool for a couple minutes, then cut into 6 slices.
  10. Garnish with salsa, sour cream and jalepeños.  Enjoy!