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Chicken Quesadillas

"If I was having my own Super Bowl party at home," says chef Malone, "for pre-game, I'd do something spicy, with a Mexican flair, to go with the party atmosphere." (The first list of ingredients is for a party-size recipe to serve 25 people. We pared down the recipe to serve 6-8 people. The smaller quantities are in parentheses.)


1 cup lime juice, from 2 large limes ( 1/4 cup lime juice from 1/2 large lime)
1 bunch cilantro ( 1/4 bunch cilantro, or 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped)
2 tablespoons chili powder (1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder)
2 cups tomato juice ( 1/2 cup tomato juice)

8 (6- to 8-ounces each) skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 whole breast)
16 (8-inch) flour tortillas (6 tortillas)
2 small cans (4-ounce each) refried beans ( 1/2 can beans, or about 8 tablespoons)
6 garden tomatoes (1 1/2 garden tomatoes about 1 1/2 cups diced)
1 cup sliced jalapenos ( 1/4 cup sliced jalapenos - we used jarred variety)

6 green peppers, roasted,seeded, peeled and diced small (1 1/2 peppers)
1 bunch scallions (2 scallions)
3 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded ( 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded)

3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded ( 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded)

Chop cilantro very small. In large bowl, combine cilantro with lime and tomato juices, chili powder and a little salt and pepper. Place chicken in large container and pour marinade over. Allow to sit, covered, at least one hour in refrigerator.

Meanwhile, grill or pan-sear tortillas over medium to high heat (up to 15 seconds each side, just until brown spots appear). Set aside. Chop tomatoes, peppers and scallions with stems into fine dice and slice jalapenos.

Grill or pan-sear chicken over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes each side. Chop into small dice.

Spread one side of each tortilla with 1 tablespoon refried beans. On three tortillas, arrange chicken, tomatoes, peppers, scallions and jalapenos, dividing evenly. Top with cheeses. Place the remaining shells on top of the toppings. You should have three quesadillas (8 if using large quantity recipe). Place on a foil-covered baking sheet and heat in a 350-degree oven until heated through and cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into triangles and garnish with scallions and cheese. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer (25 if using large quantity).

Thursday, January 20, 2000

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