Sunday, November 8, 2009

Two for Two: Grilled Chicken & Avocado Sandwich, and Chicken Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

I’m back. In the kitchen, that is. After an embarrassing amount of time eating take-out, I found some time today to venture to the three grocery stores and back into my kitchen. To my delightful surprise, while I was at the store my mother stopped by to drop off some more homemade food (vegetable pot pie, which I am so excited to try!). My family has a way with food, and in times of need (sickness, loss of loved ones, births of babies, moving, returning from a trip, etc.) we provide each other with healthfully prepared homemade meals. Thanks, Mom!

My first order of business in the kitchen was to help out a friend in need. “Sunny” and I go way back (definitely first grade, and if I could find a class photo, I might be able to confirm kindergarten too). She is married to her high school sweetheart (I was privileged to witness their budding romance in the high school Honors English class we all took together), and they currently reside in Seattle.

In March I took a business-related trip to Seattle, and my husband tagged along as it was a destination previously unexplored to us both, but on our list of places to visit. We used our time in town to get together with Sunny. We met her, her husband, and their adorable little boy for brunch. They picked a fantastic brunch spot, and if you’re in the Seattle area, I definitely recommend Table 219. We got to witness their son’s first taste of one of my favorite foods, sweet potato fries. Even more notable, though, was his first taste of a grapefruit, and none of the adults at the table could grasp why this little one-year-old seemed so keen on such a tart and bitter taste.

Sunny has since shared the exciting news that they will be expanding their family by two! With twin baby boys on the way she is needing to up her caloric intake, however this carb-o-holic has been having an aversion to practically all food! I asked if I could help in any way, and she said that she had some mediocre guacamole at a restaurant and it agreed with her stomach. She asked for a recipe with avocado and some chicken (to add protein). I have two, and they also offer up some calcium (cheese), carbs (sandwich rolls and tortillas), and veggies (carrots, tomatoes).

The first recipe is a chicken sandwich that works well when you’re having company. There is little prep work, and the sandwiches can be assembled by each guest. It is easy to up the quantity, and grill a lot of chicken breasts for a large crowd. If you’re (having twins and) looking to add some more protein, fat, and calories, you can add bacon too! (You can also add an extra slice of cheese.)

Kate's Grilled Chicken and Avocado Sandwich
* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
* 4 sandwich rolls (I used ciabatta rolls, but hamburger buns will work too)
* 1 cup Italian salad dressing
* 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
* 1 large avocado, sliced
* 1 lime or lemon, zest and juice
* ½ cup mayonnaise
* 4 slices provolone cheese

Marinate chicken in salad dressing for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat grill. Grill chicken breasts for about 5-6 minutes on each side, or until thoroughly cooked; the meat should be solid white throughout. Grill sandwich rolls, cut side down, for about 2-3 minutes, until bread is toasted.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine lime or lemon zest, juice, and mayonnaise.

Assemble sandwiches, placing on each sandwich roll: one chicken breast, one slice of cheese, 2 slices on tomato, 2 tbsp. mayonnaise mixture, several slices of avocado.

The second recipe is a new one that I just tried. The final product looked (and smelled) so good to me that I think I’m going to have to make it again as a vegetarian version so that I can try it too. The recipe is from Cooking Light, and includes a fruit salsa. It was too difficult to find the exotic fruits it calls for in the Midwest in November, so I omitted it altogether. Sunny, you may want to use regular sour cream instead of fat-free. These will work as an entrée, appetizer, or hors d'oeuvre.

Chicken Quesadillas with Avocado Cream
(Adapted from Cooking Light, July 1998)
* Cooking spray
* 1 1/3 cups shredded carrot
* 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
* 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers, divided
* 8 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
* 2 cups chopped ready-to-eat roasted skinned, boned chicken breasts (such as Tyson; about 2 breasts)
* 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
* Avocado Cream (recipe follows)

Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add shredded carrot and onions; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons shredded cheese over each of 4 tortillas, and divide carrot mixture evenly over tortillas. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup chicken, 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, and 2 tablespoons cheese, and top with a tortilla.

Place skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add 1 quesadilla, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until quesadilla is browned. Repeat with the remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Arrange 4 quesadilla wedges on each of 6 plates. Top each serving about 3 tablespoons Avocado Cream.

Avocado Cream
* 1 peeled medium avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
* 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Place first 3 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Spoon pureed mixture into a small bowl; stir in cilantro. Cover and chill.

UPDATE: She liked it!!!


  1. Awww... thanks SO much for the shout-out, as well as the awesome recipes! :D Your timing is perfect actually, I am taking a break from making the menu for the week and putting together the grocery list for tomorrow. I have two more meals to fill for the week, and I wasn't finding anything good in my recipe selection. I saw you had a new post, and I clicked on it eager to see what you were cooking up. How perfect, meals with me in mind! :) I will let you know on my blog how they turn out -- I won't be taking pictures, though. I don't need any additional evidence that I don't make beautiful food. lol

    PS I was having the same debate in my mind, if we were in the same kindergarten class. Pretty sure yes -- wasn't it Mrs. K., I'm thinking the PM class?

  2. Good luck with your meals for the week! I hope that something appeals to you. Definitely Mrs. K's PM class! Glad I didn't have to dig through a box in the basement to figure that out! ;) After that, on to Mrs. A, Ms. D, etc.....