It's Monday and that means that our weekend diet of Irish pub food and more than a few ice cream cones is at an end. That being the case, I can think of no better time to share with you one of our favorite weeknight meals.
I make this salsa chicken at least several times a month. I pile it on breakfast tacos, nachos, and quesadillas. It is so flavorful, versatile, and quick that it is little wonder that it appears on our weekly menus so often.
There is only one kind of jarred salsa that I will buy, and that is the Salsa Authentica from Trader Joe's, They do not pay me to say that, I just love it. The ingredients are simple and, as its name suggests, the flavor is identical to the endless bowls you would find at your favorite Mexican joint.
Yes, you could certainly make your own salsa, but that would somewhat undermine the simplicity of this recipe which makes it so delightful.
One jar of salsa, several chicken breasts, a bit of lime juice and butter is all it takes to bring this chicken together.
The chicken simmers away in the salsa for about forty minutes, giving you just long enough to shred a whole lot of cheese and make yourself a spritzer. Lime juice and ginger ale is a solid move here.
After the chicken has simmered away, it will almost fall apart on its own, but I use a couple of forks to help it along. Stir in a bit of lime juice to brighten up the flavors and a couple tablespoons of butter to cut the acidity.
Our shredded chicken meets with whatever combination of cheeses you fancy. Monterey Jack is my favorite, but sometimes I will throw in some Colby too.
I prefer flour tortillas here, but you could certainly use corn if you want to make these gluten-free!
Serve alongside black beans, plentiful chips, and more salsa. Always more salsa.
Happy, happy Monday!
MY FAVORITE SALSA SHREDDED CHICKEN QUESADILLAS
makes six quesadillas
- 3 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1, 12oz jar Trader Joe's Salsa Authentica
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- freshly squeezed lime juice
- 12 flour tortillas
- 1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- vegetable oil
- sour cream, for serving
Cook's Note: You can use practically any cheese you like here. Sometimes I mix in a bit of Colby Jack, or traditional Mexican melting cheeses make wonderful choices as well!
Combine chicken, salsa, and water in a 4-quart saucepan and set over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer slowly for 40 minutes, until the salsa has reduced and thickened and the chicken is tender. Remove from heat.
Cook's Note: Depending on your stovetop, you may need to set the heat to the lowest setting. Just keep an eye on the chicken and if the liquid appears to be evaporating too quickly, reduce the heat further.
Add butter to the pot and stir until melted. Use two forks to shred the chicken, then fluff the chicken and drizzle with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Place a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Dip a paper towel into a bit of vegetable oil and rub it over the surface of the pan. Lay one tortilla in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover with shredded chicken and spoon a bit of the thickened salsa from the pan over the chicken. Top with another tortilla and cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Use a spatula to gently lift up the bottom of the quesadilla to check the crispness. Once the bottom tortilla is golden and crisp, flip the quesadilla and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the opposite side.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Slice into wedges and serve with sour cream and a bit of fresh salsa.