Tequila Chicken Quesadillas

Another awesome Father’s Day has come and gone. And when I say awesome, it was perfect. Not because we did anything particularly exciting, but because it was another day with the most important people in my life, my wife and sons. And our first Father’s Day with our new little guy, Connor. A fun baseball practice in the morning followed by a day at the pool and a nice family dinner, my idea of awesome. After dealing with some major health issues the last couple of years and finally starting to feel like myself again, I never take a minute for granted and feel so incredibly blessed to be a dad.

Tequila Lime Chicken Quesadilla via Real Food by Dad

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know I get on a roll with certain things. Mexican food, popsicles, stuffed food, etc. So last week, I made some Tropical Tequila Sunrise Popsicles and figured these Tequila Chicken Quesadillas would be the perfect meal to eat prior to a couple of those popsicles (the popsicles for adults of course). And they were a perfect pre-cursor to the popsicles! Seriously, my boys could eat quesadillas all day long if they could, but the way they like them is soooo boring to me, so I rarely make them, unless I’m in a total jam or time crunch. Seriously, 2 tortillas and a slice of american cheese, microwaved? Yuck.

And since I was in the mood for a good (real) quesadilla myself, I took it up a notch by making a tequila marinade and then added some fresh mangos. The mangos helped break up the flavors and gave the quesadillas a lighter, refreshing, summer-y bite, which provided a really nice contrast against the main ingredients. And don’t worry, even with the tequila, these are still kid-friendly. At high heat, the tequila burns off in the oven but really helps tenderize the chicken. But if you are concerned, go ahead and leave the tequila out, the marinade is still very good without it.

Tequila Lime Chicken Quesadilla from Real Food by Dad

Tomorrow, I am at it again, doing the best that I can to be a good dad to my boys, leading by example, showing them and Naomi how much they are loved by me, and helping them be true to themselves and good friends to eachother and others in their lives. I am far from perfect when it comes to being a dad, but there’s nothing better in life to me and I give thanks for my blessings and pray for guidance every day. Thanks John Wooden! And in between all of that, a good family meal or treat never hurts.

On a side note, for those that are readers here and at Naomi’s blog, yes these photos were styled by her and shot by me. That’s the perk of being married to a seasoned blogger and food photographer—help is just a holler away. Trust me when I say, styling quesadillas are bit challenging to a novice blogger like me.


Tequila Chicken Quesadilla

Tequila Lime Chicken Quesadilla via Real Food by Dad

By Published:

    Another awesome Father's Day has come and gone. And when I say awesome, it was perfect. Not because we did anything particularly …


    • 1/4 cup tequila
    • 1/4 cup lime juice (about to 2 limes)
    • 3 tablespoons orange juice
    • 3 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1/4 cup cilantro
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 jalapeno
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
    • 2 lbs chicken breast
    • 2 mangoes, diced
    • 2 cups cheese (cheddar or Mexican or a combination of the two)


    1. Place all ingredients but the chicken breast, cheese and mango in a food processor bowl or blender and pulse until well blended. Transfer marinade to a resealable plastic bag and add in chicken. Set aside for an hour.
    2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line bake sheet with foil. Remove chicken from bag and allow excess marinade to drip off. Reserve marinade. Place chicken on bakesheet. Bake for until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile transfer remaining marinade to a small saucepan and boil until thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to platter and brush with reduced marinade.
    3. Layer chicken and mango onto one tortilla and sprinkle on cheese, place second on tortilla on top and place. Transfer assembled quesadilla to a dry pan and cook until tortilla begins to brown. Flip quesadilla and repeat on other side until brown. Turn heat down to low, and place a lid on top and cook for 1-2 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove quesadilla from pan and set aside to cool for 1 minute prior to cutting.

    • http://www.fromcupcakestocaviar.com JanetFCTC

      Oooo, I love quesadillas. I even like them the boring way with just cheese. But I have to admit, these would beat that out any day! They look delicious.

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Janet! It was nice to switch things up a bit with these:)

    • Serene @ House Of Yumm

      These look awesome! I love the addition of the mango! I think this could be a hit in our household!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Serene! I was going to use pineapples but glad I stuck with the mangos, turned out so good!

    • http://honestlyyum.com/ Todd @ HonestlyYUM

      Matt, this is such an wonderful post. You deserve nothing but the best this Father’s Day, and it looks like that’s exactly what you have. I could go for a few of these right now – got a serious case of the munchies :)

      p.s. I thought I recognized that styling 😉

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much, Todd. Means a lot. I’ve got the munchies now too and wishing I had some of these leftover. I will have to check with my hot food stylist to see if she stashed a few in the fridge!! Hope you guys have had a great trip!

    • Tutti Dolci

      Sounds like you guys had a great weekend, glad to hear it! Love these quesadillas, I am adding them to this week’s dinner line up!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Laura! You totally should, you will love the mango!

    • Cooking Classy

      These quesadillas look awesome!! I have a huge weakness for quesadillas, they’re so unbelievably good!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Jaclyn!

    • Mary

      Great post, Matt. I’m glad your health is better, and that you get to spend quality time with such a wonderful family! It’s really nice to see your love for them shine through all of your posts — they’re lucky to have you! {and these quesadillas! I fully support this tequila kick!}

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you so much Mary!!

    • Lemons for Lulu

      I love that you find the way your kids like their quesadillas is boring! My kids boring too and it makes me nuts!! I do think these quesadillas would be a hit wih ALL of us!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Right?! It cracks me up when they want their food like that! So I’ve got to make sure that changes sometimes:)

    • http://lovegrowswild.com Liz Fourez

      Hope you had a great Father’s Day, Matt! New quesadilla recipes are always welcome in our house! Tequila Chicken… yum!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks very much, Liz!

    • http://www.primaverakitchen.com Olivia Ribas

      Love this post, Matt. I think the same way. I never take a minute for granted and feel so blessed everyday. Your quesadillas look so delicious. Love it 😉

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Olivia! Hope you had an awesome weekend:)

    • Leah Davis

      Happy father’s day to you!! I am always on the lookout for good marinades so I will have to give this a try. Gorgeous photos as well – these look so fresh and inviting! I am a huge fan of both you and your wife’s work!!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Made my morning, thanks so much Leah!

    • HalfBakedHarvest

      Sounds like a great fathers day! Happy to hear everyone got to enjoy it!!
      Love these quesadillas! Anything crispy and cheesy is always welcomed around here!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        I figured this one would be right up your alley, Tieghan!

    • Ashley – Baker by Nature

      So glad to read you had an awesome Father’s Day! And these quesadillas!!! So yummy!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much Ashley!

    • http://www.bloggingoverthyme.com/ Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)

      These look so, so good! Sounds like you enjoyed the perfect Father’s Day!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Laura!

    • http://hipfoodiemom.com/ Alice Choi

      Matt, I’m glad to hear you are doing better health-wise. Sometimes things happen even when we are taking really good care of ourselves and watching what we eat etc. . anyway glad to hear you are starting to feel like yourself again. I hear you on not taking a minute for granted and feeling thankful for everything. As a parent, I constantly feel like I’m screwing things up and am thankful that we can start fresh every morning. (and I’m thankful that kids seem to forgive and forget easily).. loved this post today! more for what you’ve written here and for the reminder that we can’t go it alone in this life and family is so important!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Alice. I love that – about starting fresh every morning, because that is so true. I make my mistakes and kick myself but always let my boys know and we start over, or “reset”.

    • Mike @TheIronYou

      That was such a good read Matt.
      I’ve learned too over the years to never take anything for granted and to be grateful for the things I have. Life is a such blessing, we should never forget that!
      It was also great to hear that you had a great Father’s Day. You totally deserve it!

      About those quesadillas…you had me at the Tequila…do I need to say more?

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Mike, I really appreciate that! And yeah, I figured if I threw the word “tequila” in there, you’d be hooked. Ha! Have a great weekn.

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Mike I appreciate that! I figured if I included the word “tequila” in this, you’d be hooked. Ha! Have a great week!

    • http://kitchenconfidante.com/ Liren Baker

      Happy Father’s Day, Matt! I’m so glad it was a perfect day – – time with loved one and good health is the best gift ever. I love how you and Naomi make such a good team. Your boys and your work on the blogs are proof!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Liren! We really do it for them and I am so lucky to have Naomi as my inspiration. Hope you had a great Father’s Day weekend!

    • http://www.simpleandsatisfying.com Justin

      LOVE Quesadillas. Any. day. of. the. week.

      I find it easier to use one tortilla and fold it over. Makes flipping a lot easier!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Same here Justin, thanks so much!

    • http://thekitchenmccabe.com Kayley McCabe

      So THAT’S how you get quesadillas to look good in a picture! I shot some the other day and couldn’t get it right. You and Naomi make one dynamic duo! Happy Father’s Day to you, Matt!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Kayley! Hope you all had an awesome weekend.

    • http://pickfreshfoods.com Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods

      We are on the same page 😀 Yum, I love quesadillas 😀 Tequila chicken sounds delicious! I’m going to try these too. Happy Fathers Day 😀

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much Cindy!

    • Beth @ bethcakes

      Omg! I seriously need to make these. As soon as I can! I love quesadillas and could eat them every day too, but I have never heard of someone just microwaving tortillas and a slice of cheese! Too funny. Glad you had a nice Father’s Day!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        That’s my boys!! Thanks so much Beth:)

    • http://thefoodieaffair.com Sandra Shaffer

      These look so tasty! I’ll have to try your tequila marinade. I love cooking with booze! isalud!, to your health, Matt!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Sandra, I appreciate that!

    • http://www.cookingandbeer.com/ Justine@Cooking and Beer

      I feel like I have to create a whole new bookmark folder dedicated completely to your recipes, Matt! Every time you post a new one, I want it! I love the tequila spin on these quesadillas and the photos are just beautiful! Happy Father’s Day!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        That is so awesome, thank you Justine!! :)

    • grandbabycakes

      I can’t tell you how much I adore quesadillas, especially check ones! You added tequila so these must be so fantastic!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Jocelyn!

    • Krista

      Yeah! So glad it was a good fathers Day for you and its always so special when you have another new member of the family on that day. :)

      These seriously look unreal, love the tequila addition! Perfect!

      Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Krista!!

    • noshandnourish

      These look sooooooooo good (great styling, Naomi!!!) and I love the ingredients you included, Matt. The addition of mango = pure summer perfection in my book!!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much! The mango was absolutely awesome, a much better choice than pineapple:)

    • LeanneHersh

      These look INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Leanne!

    • Kate@Diethood

      Naomi is da bomb! As are you, my friend!!! :) This looks amazing!!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        As are you Kate! :) Thanks!

    • Zainab @ Blahnik Baker

      These look amazing!!! tequila?? yes please!! PS: Glad you had a great father’s day :)

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much Zainab!

    • http://www.SouthernFATTY.com/ Phillip @ SouthernFATTY.com

      I’m gonna need you to send me some of these. Stat. Perfect with my guac! Yummmmm!

      (Beautiful styling, as usual.)

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        On their way! Thanks Phillip!

    • http://www.shelikesfood.com Isadora @ she likes food

      It sounds like you had an amazing father’s day :) I love, love, love quesadillas and am always looking for creative new ways to make them. These tequila chicken quesadillas sound like just what I was looking for! Thanks so much for sharing them!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Isadora! Let me know if you make them:)

    • marcie @ flavor the moments

      We all love quesadillas here, and the tequila and mango sound like great additions! Love the styling of these, too. :)

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Marcie! The flavors in the tequila and mangos are so great together in these!

    • Bri | Bites of Bri

      Matt, so glad to hear that you guys enjoyed the day. These look ridiculously tasty!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you so much Bri!

    • http://www.kitchenkonfidence.com Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

      Happy Belated Father’s Day!!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Brandon!

    • CrunchyCreamySw

      These quesadillas sound amazing, Matt! Gorgeous photo, as always! Pinned!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much, Anna!

    • Jessica @AHappyFoodDance

      These quesadillas sound amazing! I definitely think I could enjoy a few sunrise Popsicles after (and maybe before) too!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Jessica!

    • http://www.chocolatewithgrace.com Mallory | Chocolate with Grace

      I am right there with you when it comes to Mexican food and popsicles! I think I could live off them in the summer!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        I totally agree Mallory!

    • It Bakes Me Happy

      There’s not much better than a gooey quesadilla for dinner, these are calling my name Matt!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Emily!!

    • http://www.lucismorsels.com/ Luci’s Morsels

      It’s so great to hear that other bloggers get stuck on things. I just got off my cilantro kick – or at least until I buy it again! These look great – and I agree plain quesadillas are less than exciting, but this is a great mixup!!

      Luci’s Morsels – fashion. food. frivolity.

    • http://lifemadesweeter.com/ Kelly @ Life made Sweeter

      So glad you had an awesome Father’s Day – totally agree – just getting to spend quality time with your loved ones and kiddos are the best :) These quesadillas with mango and tequila sound amazing!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much Kelly!

    • http://omnivorescookbook.com/ Maggie Zhu

      Love love love this one! A dish that both parents and kids will enjoy, great with soft drink or sparkling wine! :)

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        So true Maggie, it’s a great little meal for everyone!

    • Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

      So first of all these look incredible. INCREDIBLE! I was totally stalking them on Foodgawker yesterday. And second – my boys are the same way! Except we have graduated to cheddar cheese or Colby Jack, but still – plain cheese? Booooring. I’m serving these up next time for sure.

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        So awesome to hear, thanks Heather!

    • Megan {Country Cleaver}

      I’m a big fan of Mexican flavors – so keep this spicy train arollin’!!! And happy late father’s day!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        I will keep it rollin’ Megan, thanks!

    • Ala Shih

      Oh Matt, I just love reading about the dad perspective of father’s day–there just aren’t enough of these reflections floating around! I’m glad you all got to spend a low-key day together, especially with the the addition to your troupe. Love reading about the little snippets of home life and this awesome recipe. Cheers!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks so much, Ala. I could write about my family all day:)

    • ami@naivecookcooks

      Matt these are such a unique and the best quesadillas of all times!! Tequila flavoured chicken?!! Brilliant!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Wow thank you so much, Ami!

    • Eclectic Recipes

      Great idea to use tequila chicken in the quesadillas!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you Angie!

    • http://www.tastesoflizzyt.com Julie

      I can’t get enough of quesadillas either! I love the idea of mangoes in them.

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Julie, the mangos were the best part of these for sure!

    • http://bakingamoment.com/ Allie|Baking a Moment

      Sorry to hear about your health troubles! But glad to know you are feeling well now, and I think it’s so wonderful how much you appreciate your wife and family. And these quesadillas look so delicious! I love a little tropical fruit in my Mexican food- makes it so special!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thank you so much, Allie!

    • http://theblog.jessikerbakes.com Jessiker Bakes

      These quesadillas look insanely delicious, love the melted cheese coming out of it. Glad to hear that you had a great father’s day and congrats again on the new little one!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        They turned out awesome, thanks so much Jessiker!

    • http://www.isugarcoatit.com/ I Sugar Coat It!

      You had me at Tequila AND mangoes! Add last week’s popsicles for dessert and I’m in! The photos are great – wish I had someone to holla at for a little styling help now and again. 😉

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        I am so lucky to have that! Thanks so much Jacquee!

    • Back For Seconds

      There is nothing more precious than being a parent! You sound like a great dad :) And you had me a tequila, haha! These look right up my alley!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Thanks Stephanie! I knew the tequila part would be the hook here:) You’re so right, nothing better in this world than being a parent. Even on tough days. I still miss all of my boys when they’re asleep and can’t wait for the new day to start.

    • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

      Thank you so much, Luci!

    • Shanna @ pineapple and coconut

      Now this is my kind of food!! Sounds like you had a fantastic father’s day!

      • http://realfoodbydad.com/ realfoodbydad

        Mine too! Thanks Shanna, my Father’s Day was great this year:) Especially because of our new little guy!

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