Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Hi all!  I'm on my way back home from visiting family in MN (it's a bit weird to call the new house "home" and my childhood house my parents' house, but that's really the way it is now).  I have a TON of things to share, including beautiful pictures from my trip to San Francisco, lots of yummy eats on the trip, and highlights of my MN trip, but to tide you over, let's go with something Brendan and I made right before I left for the week.  Hope you enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

In the interest of full disclosure, I was inspired to make this dish when I received a (free) bottle of KC Masterpiece Buffalo sauce through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.  But I will now be making these on days when we need something quick and delicious - they are really, really good!

Boneless, skinless chicken breast (1-2 feeds 2 people, depending on how big the chicken is)
KC Masterpiece buffalo sauce (or, well, probably any buffalo sauce)
Shredded cheese (I used a "Mexican" blend from the store, but you could shred your own cheddar too)
Onions and/or peppers
Tortillas - 2 per person
Sour cream, salsa, or anything else you want for dipping

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.  Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator with buffalo sauce.  When you're done marinating, turn on your broiler.

Cook onions and peppers in a saucepan over medium heat with a bit of olive oil for around 10 minutes, until they are soft.

While cooking the vegetables, place chicken pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the broiler until pieces are no longer pink - around 5 minutes.  Remove chicken and preheat oven to 350.

For each quesadilla, put one tortilla on a baking sheet, then top with chicken, cooked vegetables, and a handful of cheese.  Fold the tortillas in half and bake at 350 for around 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Let cool a bit and serve with sour cream, salsa, or another dipping sauce.

My honest review?  I think the buffalo sauce was great.  I was worried that it would be too hot when the label said "HOT" on it - but the flavor was pretty mild.  Brendan loves spice and would have liked a bit more kick - but I really enjoyed it.  You do need to use a lot of sauce to marinate, and adding some at the end would probably help add back a bit more spice - but for a quick and easy dinner, this was a great idea.

Would I buy it again?  Probably....but maybe not very soon.  I love BBQ and use a lot of it, but buffalo is a bit of a niche flavor.  And as with any sauce like this, there is plenty of added sugar and sodium to be concerned about.  Overall, the sauce is exactly what I would expect - a great way to add flavor to something quickly for a weeknight dinner, but not the end all and be all of culinary excellence.

Thanks to KC Masterpiece for sending me the sauce to try - we really enjoyed it!

With that, I'm out - I have a flight to catch!  But, assuming I'll be less stressed now that I'm mostly moved in and over my cold, we'll be back to the regularly scheduled program this week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And we're back!

So sorry to leave you hanging, dear readers and friends!  As predicted, things got majorly hectic the last month or so.  But it's all winding down, and I'm resurfacing.  Here are the few big things that happened the last few weeks:

I finished writing my thesis.  After weeks and weeks of writing, printing a zillion times, and sending out to committee members and the external reviewer, I officially finished writing the thesis.  I actually have a few more tiny revisions to make (mostly formatting things that I want to fix before it's immortalized online), and it has yet to be deposited (due to a weird scheduling thing), but it's done.  Like, really done.

I defended my thesis - successfully!  I pretty much shut down in the few weeks leading up to my thesis - thus the absence from the blog world.  But as nervous as I was for the actual defense, it went great, and my committee gave me official approval to "pass" my thesis defense.  Although I won't technically have my Ph.D. until August (when the next degree deadline is), I think you can safely call me "Dr. Sanborn" (wow, that sounds weird).

I ran Broad Street. As part of my crazy say-goodbye-to-Philadelphia plan, I signed up to run the Broad Street Run on May 1, the morning of my big move.  The race was 10 miles, and all I can say is it's lucky it was mostly downhill, because I was super undertrained due to all the thesis hoopla.  I did get my long training runs in, but I barely did any other runs in the few weeks before.  I beat my 10-mile PR, but that's not a huge accomplishment - my only other 10-mile run was last year's Broad Street, when I was still starting running and was just getting over a major cold.  At 2:18:35 for 10 miles, I won't be qualifying for Boston any time soon - but it was a total blast, and the best way I could think of to say goodbye to a city I've known as home for the last 5 years.  I don't have pictures yet because I still need to find my camera cord - those will come soon!

I moved to Boston. After running Broad Street in the morning, I literally showered, ate, and finished packing up the moving van.  We'd mostly prepared it the day before, but it somehow took a LONG time to pack up the last few things.  We didn't leave until 5:15, and got in to Boston around midnight.  The whole day was long, action-packed, and extremely tiring - and the 3+ hours of moving things into Brendan's house the next day didn't help, either.  Everything's now in the house - totally disorganized still, but I'm working on digging out from under his mess and putting together a neat, organized, happy home.

And now I have some time off, while I settle in here and take a short vacation.  I'm so lucky to have the luxury of time off - with moving in with Brendan, we've worked out a plan to make it ok that I won't have a paycheck for a few weeks.  It's the first time I've taken any break since sophomore year summer in college - I hope I can get the house in order in time to have at least a week to do absolutely NOTHING.  I'm thinking sitting outside in the sun, enjoying the hot tub, catching up on my magazines, cooking and baking (yes, that's fun for me).....just getting the last bit of "me time" in before the craziness of a postdoc ensues.

I promise more pictures and more updates soon - I'm still not on the computer very often, since I'm spending a lot of my day unpacking and cleaning up.  But once I know where everything is again, I will be around more often.  Next up - a buffalo chicken recipe with a new product review!