Getting Spicy for the Game with Jalapeno Ranch

Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

First and foremost, let me state that I am an inexperienced cook. I prefer my meals to be prepared with the touch of a button with the capability of being eaten on-the-go. I received my first electric mixer when I graduated from college and I still haven’t taken it out of the box.

So needless to say, I was nervous making my first quesadilla as a pre-trial run for the game. Additionally, I would be experimenting with jalapeno ranch dressing for the first time. The recipe looked so good though, I just couldn’t pass it up. The jalapeno ranch seemed like a delicious alternative to some of the other sauces traditionally put in quesadillas.

The ingredients were super easy to hunt down at the grocery store. The hardest thing to find was actually the jalapeno ranch dressing! For future notice, some specialty salad dressing flavors and brands are sold near the produce section of the grocery store which is where I finally found my dressing. I even did a little happy dance when I saw the dressing came in a ‘lite’ version as well. Score!

Prep was a breeze. A little bit of olive oil, salt & pepper, and the chicken was in the oven. I had decided to take the easier route at the grocery store and bought chicken that had already been cut into smaller pieces. While the chicken cooked, I layered on the rest of the ingredients on a large tortilla and began to heat up a large skillet. Once the chicken was done, I sliced up the chicken, laid it on the tortilla with the other ingredients, added some more cheese, and put it on the skillet. Heads up, flipping this thing over is a bit intimidating (and messy in my case) so be sure to use the biggest flipper you have to gain some control over the situation.

So what was the result of all this effort? A gooey, glorious masterpiece! The jalapeno ranch added the perfect hit of spice to the dish. I actually think I could’ve added more of the dressing to get a little more heat in the dish. A note for the future: the ingredients are plenty for multiple quesadillas so be sure to have some friends over to help you with the rest!

This cooking experience has left me to wonder…what else can I use this dressing on? If something as simple as jalapeno ranch can change my quesadilla experience then what else am I missing out on? Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think!

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)*

8 large flour tortillas (10 inch)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

1 can refried beans (optional)

1 cup sliced black olives

Jalapeno Ranch or Lite Salsa Ranch dressing

Medium salsa

*Grilled, broiled or leftover chicken can be used

Preheat barbecue grill. Rub chicken with olive or canola oil; salt & pepper each side. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side. When chicken is done, slice it very thin. You can also substitute 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken.

To build quesadillas: Preheat 12” skillet or griddle at medium heat. Spread 1-2 tbsp. Jalapeño Ranch or Lite Salsa dressing on tortilla; top with refried beans, sliced chicken, olives, cheese and medium salsa. Top with another tortilla. Place in skillet for approximately 1 minute; flip to cook the other side, until cheese is melted. Place on cutting board; cut into 4 slices with pizza wheel. Continue with remaining tortillas.

Laurel Sprague
The Association of Dressings & Sauces