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I love my slow-cooker. Before going to bed, I take a few chicken breasts (with bone), skin them, remove visible fat, and throw them in a food storage bag with quartered onions, large pieces of carrots and celery, a dozen whole peeled garlic cloves, and a splash of tequila. Leave in the refrigerator overnight, and in the morning before setting out for work, I dump the contents of the bag into the slow cooker on low heat and add a couple of whole unpeeled potatoes. When I get home, I throw in some sliced mushrooms and a whole uncut habanero pepper*, wait another hour and dinner is done.

(Ok, there’s the additional work before serving of removing all the bones that have fallen off the chicken, but you really need the bones in during the cooking to produce a really good broth for the stew).

*The whole, uncut, pepper will impart a savory flavor without a lot of spiciness (unless it bursts). If you want it really spicy, cut the pepper and put it in the bag overnight. If you are lucky enough to have scotch bonnets on hand, they are much more flavorful than the habaneros, but they are unfortunately much harder to find.

However, my slow cooker is big, and now that our youngest is away at college, it’s just my husband and me eating. So I always make more chicken than just one meal’s worth. There are plenty of things one can do with the leftovers — serve over pasta or add a little mayo and raw celery for chicken salad sandwiches, for example. Here’s what I did with my latest leftovers…

Chicken Quesadillas

Servings: 2



  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 chopped or grated garlic clove with the olive oil.
  2. Chop the other garlic clove and the tomato and stir together in another small bowl. If you’re not in a hurry, let these two bowls rest for a while so that the garlic flavor can seep into the oil and tomato.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Brush one side of one tortilla with the garlic-infused olive oil. Place it oiled side down in the hot pan.
  5. Spread 3/4 cup of the chicken stew (if the chicken is still chunky, shred it) over the tortilla.
  6. Put one quarter of the chopped tomatoes on top of the chicken, and place half the mozzarella over the tomatoes.
  7. Place another tortilla on top, and brush the top of the tortilla with garlic oil.
  8. When the bottom tortilla is golden, carefully turn over the quesadilla. Sprinkle one tablespoon of grated cheddar cheese on top.
  9. When the grated cheddar is melted and the bottom of the quesadilla is golden, remove to serving plate.
  10. Repeat steps 4 through 9 to make the second quesadilla.
  11. If any garlic oil is left, mix it in with the remaining tomatoes. Top the quesadillas with the tomatoes. 

Makes 2 servings. Each serving has the following:
DASH food groups: Grains: 2 servings; Vegetables: 2 servings (depends on the amount of vegetables in the stew); Milk: 1.25 servings; Meat: 2 servings (assuming 2 oz of chicken in each quesadilla); Oils: 1 serving
Sodium: 212 mg
Calories: 617

I served this with plantains (stir-fried over medium heat in Smart Balance butter and canola oil blend with a big dash of cinnamon). If I had a ripe avocado on hand, I would have chopped it and mixed it with the tomatoes that go on top of the quesadillas.

Chicken Quesadilla and Plantains


Note: I specify brands to let you know what I used for the nutritional calculations. If you can find a brand with lower sodium, go for it!