This week, I was “forced” into making dinner for friends again. I wanted to make something easy, yummy and hard to mess up. Fajitas are my go-to for this kind of occasion.
What I like about fajitas is the endless array of options. Use chicken, shrimp, beef, tofu or pork. Or stick with just the veggies; bell peppers and onions are traditional, but try it with carrots, cabbage or tomatoes.
Sometimes I make fajitas as a stir-fry and simply layer it over rice with beans and cheese. Sometimes I sop up all of that delicious stir-fry filling and sauce with tortillas. Sometimes I do a big combination of rice and beans and tortillas, which is what happened this round.
Here is the general recipe I followed. It served four people. They didn’t complain.
- 1.25 lbs. chicken
- 2 bell peppers, any color
- 1 white onion
- 1 – 2 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Chili powder
- Hot sauce of your choice
- Cooked rice (optional)
- Can of beans (optional)
- 10-12 tortillas (optional)
- Cheese (optional)
- Cut the bell peppers into strips, and then cut those strips in half length-wise.
- Cut the onion into strips.
- Set the veggies aside. You can season them with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil here if you want to.
- Cut chicken into strips or one-inch cubes.
- Add one teaspoon or so of olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium or medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, turning every once in awhile to avoid burns, but try not to move the chicken too often.
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic.
- Cook chicken until the outside is white on all sides.
- Add one more teaspoon of olive oil to the pan.
- Add the vegetables and a few strong dashes of hot sauce. If you are a fan of spicy food like I am, add more cumin and chili powder at this point.
- Let it all cook together, tossing occasionally, until the onions are transparent, the peppers are soft, and the chicken is white all the way through. This is the longest step.
- Once the stir-fry is cooked, spoon some fajita onto a tortilla. If you like, add rice, beans, cheese and more hot sauce. Or, pile on the fajita stir-fry onto a bed of rice and beans and top it all of with cheese.
Some thoughts I had while cooking:
-Don’t worry if your pan is overflowing with chicken and veggies. These will cook down and become more manageable after awhile.
-Be sure to get all of the flavorful and tasty brown bits in the bottom of the pan leftover from cooking the chicken when you cook the veggies. This is where the money’s at.
-If you like herbs, add cilantro or even parsley.
-If you are cooking with company, set up a serving line when the meal is cooked. Let everyone add rice, beans, cheese and filling to their own tastes.
-Unless you somehow serve raw chicken, this dish is luckily pretty hard to get wrong. Enjoy!
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