My sister-in-law is the ultimate Midwest hostess. When she is invited to parties, they ask her to bring the food. She sells her salsa at work and never comes to my parents’ house empty-handed. On Thanksgiving, she patiently explained to me in four separate calls how to make her stuffing and then gave me a pep talk when it didn’t turn out exactly as planned.

I have succeeded in making one of her recipes- Chicken Quesadilla Dip. I have served it at several parties and always receive rave reviews. Even my teenage nieces love it! This past weekend, we celebrated the eldest niece’s graduation and I volunteered to bring her favorite dip.

There are two ways you can make the dip. You can either poach chicken breasts and then shred them. This is the good, whole food friendly, Badger Girl way to do it. Or you can buy canned chicken. This is the ‘I-have-to-run-9-miles-and-cut-watermelon-for-150-people-and-wrap-two-presents-and-be-presentable-all-before-noon’ Badger Girl. In short, it was me this past Saturday morning.

Now, given what I had to Saturday, it may be not be hard to imagine that Friday was also a little hectic and may explain why I bought one can of chicken and well, one can that was a chicken of a different kind.


I realized what I had done after opening the can and wondering why it looked so different from the other opened can. Were two brands of canned chicken really that different? Hmmm….

Despite Manatee’s insistence that it was really the same as chicken (it evens says so on the label!), I didn’t use it. I thought my nieces would prefer chicken of the land. This did put me in a bit of a bind as I needed something else to make the dip more substantial than just a bunch of melted cheese. After a quick dip into our pantry, I found a solution: a can of black beans.

Chicken Quesadilla Dip

1 small can of canned chicken, drained

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drain

1 16 oz jar of salsa

8 oz Mayo (no Miracle Whip)

12 oz shredded cheddar cheese

8 oz cream cheese, softened

10 pieces of jalapeno pepper slices, diced

1/2 cup of diced onion

1 small can of green chiles

  1. Saute chicken, black beans and 1/2 of the salsa on medium heat until liquid evaporates (approx. 8-10 minutes).
  2. Combine chicken mixture with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Stir to mix.
  4. Set on Medium for 2 hours or until cheese is melted.
  5. Serve with chips and/or celery.



  • To make it vegetarian, omit the chicken.
  • To make it spicier, omit the chiles and add more jalapeno slices.
  • To make it milder, omit the jalapeno slices and add more chiles.



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