Shrimp & Bacon Quesadillas

Chicken quesadillas were one of the first things I learned how to make when I moved out of my parent’s house. I have since made quesadillas out of just about every meat or protein there is! Last week, I was using the last of some ingredients from my fridge and freezer when I decided to make shrimp and bacon quesadillas.

This is a simple recipe that can make for a great late night snack or a crowd-pleasing appetizer for your friends and family. You can modify the type and quantity of cheese that you use to really give your recipe a personal touch! 

For 4 quesadillas, cut into a total of 16 wedges, I used the following:

12 frozen shrimp – thawed, peeled, and deveined
4 flour tortillas, fajita or burrito size
4 tbsp butter
4 slices of bacon, cooked well
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp Ancho chile powder (optional)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

First, I mixed together the ‘marinade’ for the shrimp. To do this combine the lemon juice, canola oil, garlic salt, cumin, Cajun seasoning, and Ancho chile powder (optional). Stir together until well mixed and then add shrimp and toss gently.

If you have time, set the marinating shrimp in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so. This will help absorb the flavors and keeping the shrimp cool will also prevent the citric acid from cooking them before you’re ready!

Meanwhile, cook your strips of bacon if you haven’t already. When done, gently crumble into large pieces (about 1/2 inch) and set aside.

Combine the two shredded cheeses in a bowl and mix until blended. Set this aside as well.

To cook the shrimp, place a saute pan on medium heat. Drain the marinade from the shrimp and add them to the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until shrimp are pink all over.

Place the shrimp on a plate or cutting board and chop each into at least two pieces. You may want to cut the pieces even smaller if you are working with larger prawns!

  

Finally, it is time to assemble your delicious shrimp and bacon quesadillas!

Spread 1 tbsp of butter evenly over one side of each tortilla. You want to make sure to have at least a little butter on all sides so you don’t burn the tortilla. You can also use vegetable oil spread as a slightly healthier alternative, but I do NOT recommend using cooking spray or oil. These do not provide for the final texture that makes these quesadillas so incredibly tasty.

Place a medium-sized frying pan on MEDIUM to MEDIUM-LOW heat. Place one tortilla, butter side down, on the pan.

First sprinkle some of the cheese mixture on one side of the tortilla. Then add bacon, and then shrimp (6-8 pieces per quesadilla), and another thin layer of cheese.

      
     

Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the final layer of cheese as show. By the time you are done adding the ingredients, it should be almost time to flip the whole quesadilla. So, wait maybe a minute or two but no longer, then use a spatula to flip the quesadilla over. The cheeses should be melted enough by now to hold it together somewhat, and as long as you don’t over-stuff the thing, it should be no trouble to flip!

Cook for another 2-3 minutes on this side. I like to cut a small slice down the center after I flip my quesadillas. It allows some steam to flow and the cheese seems to melt a little faster.

When the quesadillas are done, allow to cool for a minute and then cut each one into four wedges. Serve with sour cream, jalapenos, salsa, or a sauce/dip of your own!

-Chef Genny

Shrimp & Bacon Quesadillas
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Ingredients
  1. 12 frozen shrimp - thawed, peeled, and deveined
  2. 4 flour tortillas, fajita or burrito size
  3. 4 tbsp butter
  4. 4 slices of bacon, cooked well
  5. 1 tbsp canola oil
  6. 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  7. 1/4 tsp cumin
  8. 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
  9. 1/4 tsp ancho chile powder (optional)
  10. juice from 1/2 lemon
  11. 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  12. 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. First, mix together the 'marinade' for the shrimp: Combine the lemon juice, canola oil, garlic salt, cumin, cajun seasoning, and ancho chile powder (optional). Stir together until well mixed and then add shrimp and toss gently.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your strips of bacon if you haven't already. When done, gently crumble into large pieces (about 1/2 inch) and set aside.
  3. Combine the two shredded cheeses in a bowl and mix until blended. Set this aside as well.
  4. To cook the shrimp, place a saute pan on medium heat. Drain the marinade from the shrimp and add them to the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until shrimp are pink all over.
  5. Place the shrimp on a plate or cutting board and chop each into at least two pieces. You may want to cut the pieces even smaller if you are working with larger prawns!
  6. Spread 1 tbsp of butter evenly over one side of each tortilla. You want to make sure to have at least a little butter on all sides so you don't burn the tortilla. (You can also use vegetable oil spread as a slightly healthier alternative, but I do NOT recommend using cooking spray or oil. These do not provide for the final texture that makes these quesadillas so incredibly tasty!)
  7. Place a medium-sized frying pan on MEDIUM to MEDIUM-LOW heat. Place one tortilla, butter side down, on the pan.
  8. First sprinkle some of the cheese mixture on one side of the tortilla. Then add bacon, and then shrimp (6-8 pieces per quesadilla), and another thin layer of cheese.
  9. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the final layer of cheese as show. By the time you are done adding the ingredients, it should be almost time to flip the whole quesadilla.
  10. Use a spatula to flip the quesadilla over.
  11. Cook for another 2-3 minutes on this side.
  12. When the quesadillas are done, allow to cool for a minute and then cut each one into four wedges. Serve with sour cream, jalapenos, salsa, or a sauce/dip of your own!
Notes
  1. If you have time, set the marinating shrimp in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so. This will help absorb the flavors and keeping the shrimp cool will also prevent the citric acid from cooking them before you're ready!
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