Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chicken Parmigiana Quesadillas with Cheesy Marinara Rice

My friend Carla and I found this recipe about 2 years ago. It comes from Publix Apron's Meals and it couldn't be easier. Plus it's delicious and if you're in a hurry, it takes probably 15-20 minutes to make! This is a great meal to make if you have kids because the chicken is actually breaded chicken nuggets and what kid doesn't like chicken nuggets?! You could puree or shred some zucchini and hide it in there for added nutrition or add some chopped peppers! These are a hit as a week night dinner or as hors d'oeurves. The cheesy rice is a great addition. I use it all the time to complement other dishes too. Tip: Heat up the extra marinara sauce to dip your quesadillas in! Enjoy!

My notes: I use my favorite jarred marinara sauce (I like Bertolli or Prego, personally). I have a small George Foreman grill that I use to make these but if you don't have one, just use a wide skillet and flip once after the first side is browned & the cheese is melted. For the rice, I use Uncle Ben's 90 second microwaveable rice - it's called Cheesy Rice, I think. That is what you want for this! Again, I just use the same jarred sauce for this that I used for the quesadillas. I've used fresh & pre-minced garlic - it doesn't matter. I don't have a garlic press so I grate it into the rice or just use the pre-minced - it isn't as strong as raw garlic anyway.

Chicken Parmigiana Quesadillas (rice recipe below)

10 ounces frozen breaded chicken tenders or strips
8 medium-size flour tortillas
cooking spray
1 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce with olives, divided (I just used my favorite jarred sauce - I hate olives)

Preheat two-sided tabletop grill. Place chicken tenders on plate (may be paper). Microwave on HIGH 3-5 minutes or until heated. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Lightly coat one side of the tortillas with cooking spray. Arrange 4 of the tortillas on clean work surface (sprayed side down). Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cheese over each tortilla, then one-fourth of the chicken. Spoon one-fourth of the marinara sauce over the chicken; then sprinkle with 2 more tablespoons of the cheese. Cover each with remaining tortillas (sprayed side out).

Place one or two quesadillas on grill (depending on size of grill). Cook 4-5 minutes or until golden. Let stand 2-3 minutes before cutting. Cook remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve.Note: Quesadillas may be cooked in large sauté pan preheated on medium. Double cooking time, turning once.

Cheesy Marinara Rice

1 (8.5-ounce) pouch pre-cooked rice with cheese
1 cup tomato pasta sauce with olives
3 fresh garlic cloves
4-5 sprigs fresh Italian parsley (rinsed)

Combine rice and pasta sauce in small saucepan on medium. Crush garlic, using garlic press, into rice. Use knife to remove garlic from bottom of press. Chop parsley finely (1 tablespoon); stir into rice. Cook 2-4 more minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thoroughly heated. Reduce heat to warm; cover until ready to serve.

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