Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla

Contributors: Jessica Lee

If you were to ask my husband what my favorite show was, he’d look at you a little funny. He’d take a minute, and then finally answer, “Can everything on Food Network count as one show??” When he comes home from work, I have Food Network on while getting ready for the gym. When he walks into the bedroom, I have Food Network on while I’m getting ready for bed. When he has the TV on ESPN, then quietly goes to get a snack, he comes back and I have Food Network on while I settle into his seat.

I am obsessed with almost every show on Food Network (Cupcake Wars is hit or miss with me… Sorry!). John and I watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives religiously and visit the local spots often. Chopped is on as we settle down for the night almost every night of the week. Cutthroat Kitchen is like a Japanese game show with food and I just love it (dinner AND a show?? Yassssss). But there is one show that absolutely has my heart.

The Pioneer Woman is everything I want to be. She’s calm and even mannered, but still silly and playful (do you follow her on Snapchat? You definitely should… @thepioneerwoman). She is so gorgeous with her red hair and light eyes. She has a large, loving family that is respectful and hard working. She has a STUNNING KITCHEN. Ree Drummond is queen of her own show, massively successful foodblog, cookbook line, cookware line, mercantile, ranch, etc. AND SHE MAKES DELICIOUS FOOD.

She has a recipe for Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas that is to die for. I made them for a friendly gathering a while back with no substitutions or alterations and they were a hit. Just so scrumptious and loaded with sweet pineapple and barbeque sauce, and cheesey, spicy jalapeno slices inside a crisp, and buttery flour tortilla. Oh man, the hunger is real as I type this…

Now, it’s summertime and people are eating outside! Betcha’ didn’t think quesadillas would be good for an outdoor meal, now did you? Well, I’m dusting off Ree Drummond’s delicious recipe and adding a few twists of my own. I’m adding spicy pepper jack cheese to combine her monterey jack and jalapeno slices. I’m also going to add good ol’ avocado, because AVOCADO ALL THE THINGS. Let’s get started!

I normally am a canned pineapple user. In this case, fresh is best. I know, I know, it’s more work to prep a fresh pineapple than it is to open and drain a can. Trust me, it will be worth it to cut into a big and sweet smelling fresh pineapple. It makes grilling easier, and there is just another layer of sweetness and caramelization that happens when you use fresh pineapple. The one I picked up from the market was absolutely perfect! It almost didn’t make it to the grill!

Next, grill up that chicken. Some tips for perfect chicken: start with completely thawed and room temp chicken. I see all you Costco chicken buyers out there. No judgement here, my freezer is full of frozen Costco meats. This tip makes a huge difference in your grilling. Coming from a home where the frozen meat went straight on the grill, this was LIFE CHANGING for me. In order to have juicy chicken, room temp is key.

Tip number two for the best grilled chicken of your life, cook it until the inside is still the tiny tiniest bit pink. Then, remove it from the heat and tent it with foil for at least 15 minutes before you even think about touching that chicken again. The chicken will continue to cook to tender perfection and the juices will have time to settle back into the meat. Chicken that is cut right off the grill is chicken that is dry and almost chalky. And for this delicious grilled chicken and pineapple quesadilla? Dry chicken just will NOT do.

Tip number three. Add the barbecue sauce in the final minutes of cooking the chicken for perfect caramelization of the sauce. You want sticky sweet chicken and not crusty charcoal glazed chicken.

The final grill step for this grilled chicken and pineapple quesadilla, is grilling up your loaded quesadillas! Assemble your flour tortillas with loads of pepper jack cheese, cut grilled pineapple, sliced avocado and juicy barbecue chicken. Be sure to spray your grill with cooking spray (only do this if the flame is out or you’ll have a HUGE flame on your hands) or brush the tortilla with butter.

That’s it! Only one step left; enjoy this Pioneer Woman inspired grilled chicken and pineapple quesadilla out in nature for the complete effect.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla
Author: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 8 mins
Total time: 38 mins
Serves: 4 quesadillas
Ingredients
  • – 4 flour tortillas
  • – 1/2 pineapple, sliced and grilled
  • – 2 grilled BBQ chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • – 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • – 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • – your favorite BBQ sauce
  • – butter or cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Heat grill to a medium heat, or about 350 degrees. If using cooking spray, spray before the grill reaches goal heat.
  2. Assemble quesadillas on a plate away from the grill. If using butter, butter the bottom side of the tortilla. Open one flour tortilla then place cheese, pineapple, avocado, chicken, a bit more bbq sauce and a touch more cheese on one half of the torftilla, folding over the top to create a pocket. Folding the tortilla and making only a half quesadilla allows for better control of flipping the quesadilla and avoiding falling ingredients.
  3. Place quesadilla on grill and allow to cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until cheese melts.
  4. Remove from grill. Cut and serve immediately. Enjoy!
3.5.3208

 

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