I’m not ashamed to admit that out of all the awesome places I’ve eaten (and there have been many), my favorite place to frequent has always been a little dive bar just up the road from my mom’s house. It’s an unassuming spot that’s far too small for the amount of locals who crowd in for dinner, and the portions are way too big for most humans to eat in one sitting. (Though you’ll hear no complaints about that from this leftovers-loving lady.)
Whether I go in for nachos or seafood fra diavolo, I always leave with a smile on my face and a styrofoam box for later.
But my favorite thing to order? Oh, it’s definitely their Athenian Chicken Quesadillas.
Athenian Chicken Quesadillas are made up of marinated chicken breast, crisp bacon, and tangy feta cheese all tucked inside of toasted tortillas. Not your typical quesadillas, I know, but they’re phenomenal. Who knew Mexican-Greek fusion would be this good?
Because the quesadillas were one of my favorite simple dishes, I decided a while back to start making them at home. I was able to make a pretty exact dupe for the restaurant version, which meant many quesadillas were enjoyed from the comfort of my own kitchen. No more crowded together tables in that undersized dining room for me!
Now that I’ve moved out of the area of my old favorite hole-in-the-wall, I have even more reason to cook them up myself whenever I get a craving. I’ve made Athenian Chicken Quesadillas countless times now, and over the years I’ve tweaked things a little to be even better. I mix a bit of mozzarella into the filling so that the melted cheese seals the sides of the together, I sprinkle in fresh dill for flavor, and I add in spinach for some bonus greens.
Oh, and I’ve started making them in big batches so I can freeze and reheat ’em for easy weeknight lunches and dinners. 👍
The secret to making big batches of these Athenian Chicken Quesadillas is baking them! In order to get a crisp top and keep them pressed throughout the cooking process, I use two sheet pans– one to place the quesadillas on, and one on top of them.
Of course, you can always make your quesadillas the traditional way in a skillet, one at a time, but when it comes to making enough for a party or for your freezer, this is my favorite way to get it done.
Once they’re all baked, and the cheese is melted and crisped where it’s oozed out, and the tortillas are golden brown… then I cut them into halves and serve them with some tzatziki. Well, some of them. The rest I freeze for later– whenever I’m craving the Athenian Chicken Quesadillas from that little restaurant by my mom’s… but better.
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup Greek dressing
- 10 ounces bacon, chopped
- 12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more to top
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 10–12 flour tortillas
- Nonstick oil spray
- Tzatziki, to serve (optional)
- In a large freezer bag, combine the chicken tenderloins, lemon juice, and Greek dressing. Seal and refrigerate, allowing to marinate at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon until lightly crispy. Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to absorb excess grease.
- Add the chicken to the pan with the bacon drippings and saute the chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.
- Cut the cooked chicken up into small pieces and add to a large bowl. Mix in the cheeses, spinach, and dill.
- Spray each tortilla lightly with olive oil spray.
- With the oil side down on a nonstick baking sheet, top half of each tortilla with the filling mixture. Fold and arrange to fit on the baking sheet– you likely will need to work in two batches. Continue until the fillings are all used up, depending on how thick you want your quesadillas to be.
- Spray the bottom of an additional baking sheet with nonstick spray. Press the second baking sheet on top of the quesadillas. Bake until golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Repeat for the remaining quesadillas.
- Cut the quesadillas in half and serve warm with tzatziki or let cool to room temperature and freeze in a large, sealable freezer bag for later.
- To reheat the quesadillas, place in 350°F oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave until warmed through, about 3 minutes.
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