Time really got a hold of me today and I ended having more work than I thought to do, so today’s post is actually after I have already cooked dinner. Like the meals we have cooked over the last couple of weeks, this one is quick, easy and has a fast clean-up. Sean chose today’s dinner as it is one of his favorites. Today was Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice and Guacamole. None of them take long to make, and it’s easily a dinner you can do at the last minute and tastes great.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 red, orange, yellow or green peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced thin
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 to 4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Tabasco
10 (6-inch) flour tortillas
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then slice it into 1/2-inch wide strips. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the lime juice.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the peppers, onion, chili powder,cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes (Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of water as needed to prevent the pan from scorching).
Return the chicken with any accumulated juices to the skillet. Stir in the Tabasco and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 40 to 60 seconds (or you can warm the tortillas individually in a small skillet, turning after about 15 seconds). Place the chicken mixture, the warm tortillas and any accompaniments on the table and let everyone assemble their own fajitas.
We always have some chopped tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheese and guacamole to use to add to the fajitas, but you could add whatever you would like to your own. As for the guacamole, I always like to make my own instead of buying the pre-made stuff from the store. It may not last as long (no preservatives) but it tastes much, much better. If you’re planning to make the guacamole the same day you but the avocados, get really soft ones to use. If you are planning your menu a few days ahead, buy harder ones and let them soften on the counter or in a paper bag.
3 Haas avocados, pitted and cut into slices
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mash the avocados to a relatively smooth puree using a fork (I actually use a potato masher) in a medium bowl. Fold the remaining ingredients into the mashed avocados until mixed thoroughly.
The guacamole can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours. Make sure that the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the guacamole (I also put the pits in the guacamole if I am refrigerating it. it does seem to help preserve it). Bring to room temperature and season with additional fresh lime juice and salt before serving. I also sometimes throw a few diced cherry tomatoes into the mix for some extra flavor.
The last piece of today’s meal was actually the most time-consuming part of it. The Mexican rice takes about 40 minutes to prepare and cook, so leave yourself some extra time to do this one. I think it’s worth adding to the dish as it brings a nice flavor. Michelle likes to put some of the rice right on her fajitas when she eats them.
2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 onion, quartered, peeled and trimmed
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups long grain rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced (optional)
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
Lime Wedges (for serving)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Puree the tomatoes and onion in the food processor until the smooth (You should have 2 cups of puree). Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and saute, stirring frequently, until light golden, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, and two-thirds of the minced jalapenos. Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the pureed tomato mixture, broth, tomato paste and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and bake in the oven until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork. Fold in the cilantro and remaining jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Serve, passing the lime wedges separately.
It’s not a tough dish at all to make and you’ll likely have some leftovers to use for another meal later in the week. Even the post is late today, it’s still a good menu to try for any weeknight. Have an ice cold beer with it, and you’re all set (or a margarita, if you are so inclined). I will try to post tomorrow’s recipes earlier in the day tomorrow, but it’s a pretty simple one anyway. Tomorrow is also Sean’s choice, and he chose Hamburgers with Fries and a salad. It’s definitely not a tough menu, and even though I won’t be making homemade fries tomorrow (Sean wants tater tots), I will post a recipe for making your own fries if you ever feel like doing it. They taste really good if you have the time to put into them. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at IguanaFlats@msn.com. Thanks for following along and I’ll see you tomorrow!