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Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

November 27, 2018 by Nicole Collins

Guys, I have been so sick!

I thankfully don't get sick that often, but this time around has been quite a doozie.

I started feeling not quite right on Thanksgiving, felt ok Friday during the day, then on Friday night things started going downhill. By Saturday, I was pretending I was fine until I absolutely wasn't. Saturday night was rough. Bella and I both tossed and turned all night. (Little Charlie just shifted with us like a champ.) Sunday, I stayed curled up on the couch all day with the pups. And, yesterday I got to work from home, thank goodness.

Today, I don't feel quite like death, but I'm certainly not out of the woods yet either.

I'm not a medicine taker, so I've been trying all kinds of all natural drinks. Tumeric tea. Ginger tea. Tumeric ginger tea. Ginger kombucha. I've been trying to ingest my fair share of spices with anti inflammatory properties. They didn't quite do the trick on this cold like they usually do for me.

I told you this one was a doozie!

Don't you hate that you always seem to get sick at the most inconvenient times? Not that getting sick is ever welcomed. But, I had soooooo much that I wanted/needed to get done this holiday weekend, and all I did was rest.

Which honestly, my body was probably in desperate need of a break.

Anyways, thank goodness I had today's recipe locked and loaded before I got sick. So don't worry, I know 100% what this recipe tastes like. And, it tastes like amazingness.

Today's recipe was actually inspired by the bestie. Before I left for Italy, I prepared for a week of eating by having a Mexican feast with Sultan. We used to get together every weekend, make all kinds of food, and just sit and eat, gab, and watch Hallmark movies all day. But, as life gets busier and busier, we don't do that anymore nearly as much as we'd like.

But when we do, we go all out. For our Mexi feast, she made honey shrimp with caramelized onion quesadillas and frito pie. I made Strawberry Pretzel Pie and guacamole. We also had some store bought chips, salsa, and queso. And, of course, there was Corona with lime (our absolute favorite!)

When she started telling me about her quesadilla idea, I was practically drooling. They were totally delicious, but they were really sweet and rich. So, I did a little brainstorming, asked her if I could recreate them with a few tweaks, and that brings us to today's recipe.

Today, we're making Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas!

The real winner of these quesadillas are the caramelized onions. I've never thought to put caramelized onions in a quesadilla before, but I'm sure glad Sultan did. They are sweet, and soft, and rich, and add this totally comforting flavor to the quesadillas. They're so good! I chose to caramelize a red onion since, to me, they're already a little sweeter. But, you could use a regular white or yellow onion if you prefer.

She used honey on her shrimp, but that was borderline too much sweet on sweet. So, I took out the honey but cooked the shrimp in the same pan that caramelized the onions to help the flavors carryover. To season the shrimp, I used classic mexican spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika. This helped to add some savory balance to the sweet onions.

For the cheese, she used a mild colby jack. But, I wanted to cut the richness of the onions with a little heat. So, I chose to go with pepperjack as my cheese. And, that little extra kick was the perfect accompaniment to the sweet onions and the juicy shrimp. All together, these are the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, and savory.

All of these goodies get wrapped in a flour tortilla and toasted in a hot non stick pan sprayed with some cooking spray. This process goes fast! So, don't let your quesadillas burn. By the time you get to your first flip, the pan will be screaming hot, and they'll need less and less time per side. This is not one of those meals where you can walk away even for a second. The line is very fine between crispy and burnt on this one, guys.

I make quesadillas all of the time. But, even one of my quesadillas may have been a little “well done” on one side. Just saying...

One of the other great things about these quesadillas is you can totally make them in advance and reheat them in the oven. You guys know I love a good “make ahead” option.

Alright guys, my goal for today is to be able to fully breathe through my nose at least 85% of the day. Wish me luck!

And, stay tuned! Because Saturday, we're starting our next challenge!

But for now, let's eat!


Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

Serves: 4 Print


For the Caramelized Onions:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 large red onion, quartered and sliced

  • 1 tsp honey

  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Shrimp:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed if frozen)

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp chili powder

  • ¼ tsp paprika

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp pepper

  • juice of half a lime

To Assemble:

  • 4 8-inch flour tortillas

  • 2 cups pepperjack cheese, shredded

  • cooking spray

  • sour cream, for serving (optional)

  • guacamole, for serving (optional)


  1. Caramelize the onions: In a non stick skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add onions, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 30-35 mins, stirring every 5-10 mins, until the onions are softened, caramelized, and deep brown in color. Remove the onions from the pan.

  2. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp butter, shrimp, and all spices for the shrimp (except the lime juice). Stir well to combine. Cook for 2-3 mins per side until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Finish with lime juice, toss to combine, and remove from heat.

  3. Assemble the quesadillas: Take 1 tortilla, and fold it in half to mark your fold line. Unfold the tortilla. On the top half (above the fold line), layer ¼ cup cheese, ¼ of the caramelized onions, ¼ of the shrimp, and another ¼ cup cheese (in that order). Fold the tortilla in half, covering the filling with the bottom half of the tortilla. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

  4. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Spray the skillet well with cooking spray. Lay 2 quesadillas (or 1 depending on the size of your pan) in the skillet, and press down with your spatula. Cook for 2-3 mins until golden brown on the bottoms side, flip, and cook for another 2-3 mins until golden brown. Remove from the pan, spray cooking spray into the skillet again, and repeat with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla in to fours. Serve with sour cream and guac, if desired.

Recipe notes:

*You can make these ahead if you'd like! To reheat, place quesadillas on a foil lined sheet pan, and bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 mins. They'll be nice and crispy again!

*The longer the pan is on the heat, the less time each quesadilla will need per side. Don't walk away from the pan. This toasting process goes fast!

*I chose to use a smaller sized shrimp so It would fit nicely in the quesadilla. You can use a larger shrimp and chop it before adding it to the quesadilla.

*I highly recommend shredding your own cheese as opposed to buying pre-shredded. It melts a lot better in this quesadilla.

*You could use a whole wheat tortilla, as well.

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