Chicken Quesadillas

I love reading food blogs not only because I get to know so many great people but also because I get to benefit from the wonderful recipes they share!

The other day I saw a recipe for crockpot chicken tacos on Beantown Baker, a blog I recently started reading. I immediately bookmarked the recipe.

By now you know that my boyfriend and I can always agree on Mexican dishes -- whether fajitas, tacos, or quesadillas -- although mine are always loaded with much more stuff.

I love that these dishes are usually quick to make and easy to get on the table. And if you're using a crock pot/slow cooker for the bulk of the work, that's even better!

Truth be told, my slow cooker hasn't gotten much use, if any, this summer. It seems silly since it's so easy to use and doesn't heat up the whole house like the oven does, but I usually only think of using it in the winter for stews, soups, and chili. Turns out it works really well for summer recipes too!

Head over to Beantown Baker for the complete recipe, which starts with making a taco spice mix. I think this is such a great idea. I'm always buying taco seasoning packets, but now I know I can effortlessly mix up a batch of my own that tastes just as good -- if not better! I even have some leftover for the next time I make this chicken... or for use in some other Mexican dish I decide to make.

Then it's as simple as throwing the chicken (I used 4 chicken breasts), spice mix, some broth, and diced tomatoes in the slow cooker. One change I made since this was an after-work undertaking was to set the slow cooker on high and let it do its thing for about 3.5 hours. (If you have 6 hours to spare or know you can start your slow cooker, head out, and be back within a 6-hour time frame, then you can follow the Beantown Baker recipe exactly.) I also rubbed the slow cooker with a little oil instead of using non-stick cooking spray.

During that 3.5 hours, there's plenty of time to whip up some quick guacamole. I simply mashed an avocado with some lemon juice, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. I have to have guacamole with my Mexican food!

When time was up, I pulled out my indoor grill and started preheating it while I removed the chicken from the slow cooker and shredded it. The chicken stayed super-moist from the broth and tomato juices.

Then I took flour tortillas, sprinkled a mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese on them, scooped on some of the chicken (avoiding tomatoes for the boyfriend and heaping extras on mine), sprinkled more cheese on top, and then tucked in the ends and folded the tortillas up.

I melted some butter on the hot grill, placed the quesadillas on it, and closed the cover, so they would be nicely pressed and brown all over.

I love how this gets the cheese all gooey and makes the outside of the quesadilla look so enticing!

We enjoyed this feast with some corn on the cob, and of course, I heaped guacamole on my plate.

Note: If you have extra chicken leftover, it still makes great quesadillas the next night. When you store the leftovers, just make sure to add a lot of the juices from the slow cooker to the chicken. Then when you're ready to reheat the leftovers, spread the chicken, tomatoes, and juices on a sheet pan lined with foil, and pop it under the broil for a little bit. I assembled our "leftover" quesadillas the same way as the originals, this time using broiled chicken.

Do you use your slow cooker/crock pot during the summer? What do you make in it?