Some of my best meals come out of a mix of desperation (how did it get to be 5:00?!) and the need to feed my picky-eaters fast! Standing in front of an open refrigerator the other day, I perused the various bits and pieces of ingredients I had on hand. I saw onion, some red and yellow bell peppers on their last legs, leftover grilled chicken, the dregs of sour cream and a jar of salsa. It came to me – fajitas! All I was missing was the tortillas, which I asked my husband to pick up on the way home. (Unfortunately, I had depleted my supply of frozen tortillas, otherwise this would have been an even easier meal.)
Here’s how I turned this into a three-step meal:
Cut the veggies and chicken into long slivers. Put the chicken aside since it’s already cooked. If you’re using raw chicken, add it and the veggies to a zipper bag and add in enough olive oil to wet everything without pooling, some salt and pepper, cumin and garlic powder. Squeeze out the air, zip it closed and massage the seasonings and oil all over and throughout the veggies and chicken if it’s included. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or longer if you have time.
If you have an oven-safe skillet like cast iron, heat it up over the grill, then add the veggies from the bag. There’s no need to pre-oil the skillet because the food is already oiled. If the chicken is raw, cook it at the same time as the veggies. If it is cooked, add it in near the end once the veggies have started to soften and brown slightly. If you don’t want to grill, follow the same process on the stove top.
While the veggies and chicken are cooking, warm a stack of tortillas wrapped in foil on the grill or in the oven. Set out the chicken/pepper/onion mixture, tortillas and toppings so people can assemble their own fajitas. If you have them on hand, warm some refried beans, and add cheese and tomatoes too to extend the meal and add some more protein and vegetables.