So as I sit here writing this, daydreaming of the yummy dinner I am going to prepare tonight, I cannot help but be saddened a little by the fact that I cannot feel my mouth at all. I went to the dentist this morning, and two hours later, I am still waiting for the Novocaine to wear off so I can eat lunch. Since I was going to the dentist, I didn’t eat breakfast, either, so I am pretty much starving. One attempt at trying to drink water, which ended with me not being able to feel/swallow the water and thus making a big mess, deterred me from any further attempts at consuming food or beverage for the near future.
Bummer! But in the mean time, at least I can’t feel the pain that will come after the numbness is gone, so I am counting my blessings.
In other news, I finally got around to emailing myself a couple of pictures for comparison between our old apartment and new one, specifically the kitchen area. We lost two closets (as you’ll see in the pictures) but I gained a foot and a half of counter space, and a hell of a lot more cabinet space too. It is also a lot more of an open layout here now, which I like. I can actually see my guests while I am cooking dinner, which is important to me.
This is the old corner – keep in mind that we got the exact same layout/square footage that we had before – same apartment, different building. As you can see, there was a large coat closet and a smaller closet where we kept the vacuum, broom, etc. Sorry for the mess, I took this the day we moved. Behind that wall you can just barely see the counter top and cabinets of the kitchen through the opening on the left.
This is the exact same corner in the new place on the day we moved in. As you can see, less closets, but more cabinets! In the old place we had a stacked washer/dryer where the long cabinet in the corner is. Here, we have a washer/dryer combo, so we gained all of that space for counters/cabinets. I like that I can see into our living room, and currently, there is a love seat on that wall. We have not been able to fully unpack, as continual maintenance issues have prevented us from doing so. Two weeks later, we’re still waiting for this nonsense to be resolved…however once it is, I will be able to unpack, clean, and give you better pictures. Yay for more counter space to work on, though!
I am actually sitting on my couch waiting for maintenance to come visit me now, ironically. *sigh* But I won’t get into that, I could rant for DAYS.
Instead, I will show you chicken quesadillas! These are not the most “authentic” quesadillas out there, and I actually learned from the Ryan that in Mexico, a quesadilla is made only with cheese. Adding meat or anything else actually turns the quesadilla into what is called a sincronizada. The most common cheese in Mexican quesadillas is actually Oaxacan (or string) cheese instead of what we use here as “Mexican Cheese” like cheddar jack and so forth. That being said, I enjoy Sargento’s 4 cheese Mexican blend. I also have some queso blanco I bought from the Hispanic section of my grocery store, and I will use that also. Wanna know a little more about quesadillas? Click here to read!
First, though, we should start out with the marinade for the chicken!
You will need: Olive oil (around 1/8-1/4 cup), the juice of 1 lime, Goya Adobo Seasoning (mine is all purpose with Cumin), cayenne pepper, onion powder, cumin, and garlic (4 cloves, run through a press). I did not really measure the spices, I just added them to my taste preference.
Mix them together in a bowl (I later threw in some black pepper and crushed a bay leaf) until well blended.
Add chicken to a gallon bag and then add marinade. Toss the chicken to make sure the marinade is coating all of the chicken well. I used a combination of tenders and cubed thigh meat to give the quesadillas some variety in taste. Refrigerate the chicken in the marinade for at least half an hour, but longer if you can.
For veggies to accompany the quesadillas, I chose to use red onion, a red and yellow bell pepper, two jalapenos and some garlic. I also added cilantro.
Dice all of your veggies and mix them up in a bowl. Set them aside and heat a nonstick pan and a grill pan (or another nonstick pan).
Also prepare a few cloves of garlic separate from the vegetables. I used 3.
In your first heated pan, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
In your second pan (or, in my case, a grill pan), start cooking your chicken.
Once the garlic is fragrant, add the vegetables you diced to your second pan. You do not need to oil the pan, as the vegetables cook they will release moisture. Cook them until almost done (if you don’t want to, you don’t have to – cooking the veggies beforehand is optional).
Once your chicken is cooked, shred it and set it aside.
Chop up some fresh cilantro.
Heat a large skillet, and spray lightly with nonstick spray or melt some butter. Fry your flour tortilla for about 30 seconds per side, flipping once, until the tortilla starts to stiffen and bubble.
Transfer to a cookie sheet and layer chicken, veggies, cilantro and cheese on one side.
Fold the tortillas in half and press down, making sure the top side is touching the cheese – this will ensure the cheese melts and basically acts as the glue. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tortillas are slightly stiffened.
I like to let my quesadillas set for a few minutes before I remove them from the pan and cut them.
Cut your quesadillas and serve with Mexican crema (as I did), guacamole, salsa or all three! Enjoy!
A final, important note: I am sure that everyone is aware of the tragic recent events in Aurora, Colorado. While I did not live in the Denver area during my time in Colorado, I can say that the state and its people are very near and dear to my heart. To have innocent bystanders, just wanting to see a good movie, brutally attacked and killed by someone who clearly methodically planned out such a tragic event is something that so many of us cannot comprehend. I cannot begin to imagine what I would have done if I had been in any of those victims’ shoes. And now that I am on the east coast, I, like many, feel the desire to help from afar. I will be donating a portion of my next paycheck to the families in Aurora, and I have provided an article below on being cautious and finding a legitimate charity in the wake of tragedy (and avoiding scams), as well as a list of charities that are accepting donations for the victims and their families:
Caution is Key: MSNBC’s article on choosing a worthy charity
The Daily Beast: List of Charities and Fundraising Efforts for the families and victims of the Aurora shooting
I recommend using the tips presented in the MSNBC article to make an informed choice as to which charity you will donate to, if you should choose to do so.