April 12, 2010

Fajitas! Spanish Rice! Muy Delicioso!

I looooooove Mexican food. Whether it be authentic Mexican food (the real kind, that you get in Mexico), or my own version of Mexican food which is not very authentic sometimes but (I think) is still really good. It's good party food, it's comfort food. It can be a super easy go-to meal, or a complicated process (see my recipe for chicken enchiladas). It can be made healthy or artery clogging. Last night's version was not super authentic, but it was comforting, easy and partially healthy but mostly topped with cheese and sour cream. First, we will talk fajitas...

Mmmmmmmmm - fajitas. I always used to cook fajitas in a pan on the stove, until one day when I used leftover grilled kabob meat and veggies to get my fajita fix. Holy cow. 100% improvement. Obviously, if it is raining or freezing, I still do fajitas inside, but if at all possible - try this recipe on the grill. You will need soaked bamboo skewers or grill baskets if you do it this way.

*side note: you can use whatever kind of meat you want for fajitas, and whatever veggies too. I used chicken, onions, and peppers because I am boring, but I have also used pork, beef, shrimp, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, etc. Feel free to substitute or use whatever you have on hand!

  • 2 lbs of chicken breasts (you can easily halve this. I wanted leftovers for fajita salads, nachos and quesadillas because, like I said, I love Mexican food)
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into strips (I used red and yellow)
  • 1 small onion, cut into strips (or more if you like onion)
  • 1 lime, cut in half (roll it on the counter before you cut it to juicify it. Did I just make that word up?)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (or less if you don't like it. Which would make me feel pity for you.)
  • fajita seasonings, divided (cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic...or a pre-made blend like Penzey's...or just buy one of those packets of fajita seasoning - I won't tell anyone!)
  • shells (hard, soft, flour, or corn - whatever floats your boat!)
  • jarred jalapenos and some juice from the jar
  • fixins! sour cream! salsa! guac! taco sauce! shredded cheese! shredded lettuce! black olives! diced tomatoes! Whatever your little heart desires! But remember - if you are trying to keep it healthy, more veggies and less cheese/sour cream/guacamole.
Cut your chicken breasts into strips, and toss it with the juice from 1/2 of your lime, a generous handful of cilantro, 2/3 of your fajita seasonings and some juice from your jar of jalapenos. In a separate bowl/bag, toss your cut up peppers and onions with the juice from the other 1/2 of your lime, a small handful of cilantro, and the remaining fajita seasoning. Marinade both for a couple of hours, or however long it takes you to finish your bloody mary, relax on the patio furniture, start your grill and get it to the desired temp.

At this point, you can either skewer the meat/veggies (separately), or throw them into separate grill baskets. Steve (aka grill master) skewered the meat, and threw the veggies in a grill basket that had been coated with oil. He put the veggies on first, let them cook indirectly for a few minutes, and then put the chicken skewers on. While the food was a-cookin, I warmed up the shells. Once everything was done, we threw everything into serving bowls and loaded up our own fajitas and fixins! Delicious! See below for Spanish rice.

Printable Recipe

Spanish Rice:
When I first starting cooking (and I use the term "cooking" loosely), I would crave Spanish Rice but wouldn't know how to make it, so I would make minute rice, and then stir in jarred salsa and some Kraft singles. Super authentic, huh? Especially the Kraft singles. Barf. When I got my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, that was one of the first recipes I made, and even though I have it memorized and make my own version of it now, the book still falls open to that particular page (that page and the one for jambalaya) when I first take it out. Here is the BHG recipe (with my alterations, of course):

  • 1/2  cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1/2  cup chopped green sweet pepper (I use red, orange or yellow peppers, because I don't like green)
  • 1  clove garlic, minced (I like garlic, so I use 2-3 cloves)
  • 1  tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1  teaspoon chili powder
  • 1  28-ounce can tomatoes, cut up (I usually use 2 cans of Rotel, unless I don't have it on hand. Then I will just use diced or stewed tomatoes...make sure you don't drain them)
  • 1  cup water
  • 3/4  cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1  4-ounce can diced green chile peppers, undrained
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon black pepper
  •   Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce (optional) don't be a pansy - this isn't optional!
  • 1/2  cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional) I wouldn't leave this out either
  • diced up jalapenos (I usually just keep a jar in the fridge. If you are using fresh, you might want to saute them with the onion/peppers/garlic first)
  • salsa or taco sauce
  • cilantro, chopped
  • sour cream for garnish


1. In a large skillet cook onion, sweet pepper, and garlic in hot oil until tender. Add chili powder; cook 1 minute more. Stir in undrained tomatoes, water, rice, chile peppers, jalapenos, salt, pepper, and, if desired, several dashes hot pepper sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. If desired, sprinkle with the shredded cheese, cilantro, and a little salsa or taco sauce. Top with sour cream. Bueno!
2. Makes about 5 cups (6 to 8 side-dish servings)

Printable Recipe

1 comment:

  1. Oh yum ~ I love fajitas and spanish rice! I've never made them with shrimp before ~ great idea.