Modern Hostess: Fajita Fiesta!
Who doesn’t love fajitas?? They seem to be a very popular choice among most people I know. And why wouldn’t they be? Fajitas are fun, delicious, and satisfying and you get to choose how to fill yours up. But the best part about fajitas is how incredibly easy they are to make!
I used to think that the only way to make delicious fajitas was by using a fajita seasoning mix, but I always found these blends to be really salty. Over the years, I have experimented with lots of different spices and seasonings, and I have learned that there are many flavor combination’s that result in fantastic fajitas. The recipe that I provide below is my standard fajita recipe that I use most often when I make fajitas (and I actually make them all the time), but you can feel free to modify it to your taste. I usually make chicken fajitas, but you could easily substitute steak in this recipe. Also, I use Cajun spice blend because it includes all the seasonings I like, but you could also add paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, or any combination of these.
Serving a variety of fillings with fajitas makes this meal exciting! I like to include shredded lettuce or spinach, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (if you haven’t tried it, you are missing out! Especially the variety that is laced with jalapeno peppers), and of course lots of sauces: salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. I don’t always have all these ingredients on hand, and that’s ok! As long as I have tomatoes and cheese and at least one of the sauces, I consider that to be a fajita fiesta. Sliced avocado would also work well as a filling… just make sure you drizzle it with some lemon or lime juice so it doesn’t turn brown.
There are several important things to keep in mind while making these fajitas:
1. Try not to overcook your chicken… it will end up rubbery and dry. The key to not overcooking chicken is to remember that once it is white all the way through, it’s cooked. I always just take out a piece when I think it’s done and cut into it… as long as it doesn’t have a bright pink fleshy part inside and it’s completely white (or even slightly pinkish white), it’s done.
2. I use red bell pepper and onion because I love the flavor that these veggies impart on the dish. You can also add green peppers if you like them. Not a huge fan of onions? Leave them out (although I must say they do add a delicious taste to the dish… perhaps cook with them but don’t fill your fajita with any!). You can also use more or less of any vegetable or seasoning, depending on your taste.
3. Make sure you have a big enough pan for everything to rest in a single layer while it cooks. I sometimes use a wok if I’m making a big batch. Another thing I also do occasionally is cook the chicken first, with a bit of salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil, then remove it and place in a bowl, covered, but leave all the juices in the pan. Then I cook all the veggies, and add the chicken back at the end to reheat and flavor it.
Fajitas are a delicious (and super easy!) choice whether you’re having a dinner party or just looking for a fun and simple homemade meal. Try them for dinner tonight!
Chicken Fajitas (Serves 4)
-2-3 tbsps olive oil
-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced or cut into small pieces (size of your choice… keep in mind that the smaller you cut it, the faster it will cook)
-1 or 2 cloves garlic
-1 onion, thinly sliced
-1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
-2-3 tbsps Cajun spice blend
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-salt and pepper, to taste
-Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
-Add chicken, garlic, vegetables and seasonings.
-Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Add more oil if necessary.
Serve in warmed fajita shells with toppings of your choice. To warm shells, wrap in foil and heat in oven at 325 for about 5-10 minutes.