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Bring on the Buffalo: A twisted take on classic appetizers

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

A piece of paper floated around on our kitchen counter for several weeks.

On it was a hastily scribbled recipe for what is pictured here — Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas. Finally deciding it was time to print the recipe, I went in search of that scrap last week, and, of course, it had disappeared. My organizational skills may not be top-notch, but luckily, my memory is still pretty good, and I was able to re-create the dish to a satisfying outcome.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas is not my original idea. I saw a TV cook make a version one day and decided rather than taking the time to look up the recipe, I’d concoct my own out of things I already had in the refrigerator. Lo and behold, it turned out to be pretty tasty. So good, in fact, that it has become a regular on our rotation of quesadilla renditions.

Yes, quesadillas are common fare in our household, made at least every two weeks if not every week. While most often found on appetizer menus in restaurants, they make a satisfying meal when combined with an abundance of vegetable toppings.

 Quesadillas are also an easy way to use up leftover meats — chicken, beef, pork.

Notes from the kitchen: * Use one tortilla, not two, for a quesadilla, folding it in half to encase the filling. If you use two, the ingredients have more opportunity to escape out the edges.

* You can buy special hot sauce for making buffalo wings, but any hot sauce already on hand will do. I’ve used Frank’s Red Hot, Tabasco, Texas Pete, etc., with satisfactory results.

* To dice avocado for topping the quesadillas, slice slowly lengthwise around the perimeter of the fruit until the knife blade hits the seed. Twist the two halves apart, revealing the seed in one half. Pop the seed out with a spoon or by (carefully!) jabbing the edge of the knife into the seed and twisting. Remove seed from blade by hitting it on the edge of the wastebasket; do not use your fingers! Make horizontal and vertical cuts through the fruit down to the skin (see photo below right). Add a bit of lemon or lime juice to prevent discoloration. Use a spoon to scoop now diced avocado from its shell.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas 2 cups diced chicken meat

¼ cup (or more, to taste) hot sauce

¼ cup ranch dressing

1 stalk celery, finely diced

½ cup diced onion

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

5 flour tortillas (we like the whole-wheat ones)

Olive oil

1 avocado diced

1 tomato, diced

Shredded lettuce or cabbage slaw

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, hot sauce, ranch dressing, celery, onion and blue cheese.

Lightly coat one side of each tortilla with olive oil. Place oiled side down and spread about ½ cup of the chicken mixture over half the tortilla. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top of each, then fold tortilla over to encase filling.

Cook quesadillas, one or two at a time depending on pan size, until the tortilla is golden brown; flip over and continue to cook until both sides are browned, filling is heated through and cheese is melted.

Cut each quesadilla into halves or thirds. Serve topped with avocado, lettuce, tomato and additional ranch dressing, if desired. Makes 5 servings.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers

can be reached at 376-7327.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327