Sunday, May 06, 2012

Easy Fajitas for Cinco de Mayo (or whenever!)

No, we're not Mexican, but I do love me some Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine. So, Cinco de Mayo is a great excuse to cook up something spicy. I also found out that the Teen had no idea what the holiday was, so we took the opportunity to explain to him.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over French forces at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862. According to Wikipedia, the date is now commemorated in parts of Mexico and throughout the US as both a celebration of Mexican heritage and to "commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War."

In our house, it is a celebration of Mexican and Tex-Mex food.

I thought I'd share with you my really easy fajita recipe. Working with purchased sauces and other prepared foods, this is actually a very quick meal to pull together. The most important part is to choose a chipotle sauce/marinade that suits your family's tastes. I used La Grille's Southwest Chipotle  this time around. Very flavourful, a bit spicy. There is (or was) a President's Choice "Memories of ..." that I always used, but haven't seen it lately. There are many brands out there - find one with the flavour for you.

Easy Fajitas
You will need:
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 medium tomato, diced
1 bottle/jar of your favourite chipotle or fajita marinade
1 pkg 10 inch soft tortillas 
(my family always wants white tortillas, but you could make it healthier by going whole wheat)
shredded Tex-Mex cheese (buy a bag of it pre-shredded)
tomato salsa (store bought)
sour cream

You can also add in a tin of refried beans if you wish. And I like to serve this with Mexican rice (made from a box or can) and some corn (frozen or canned niblets).

1. Slice the chicken breasts into strips about 1/4 inch wide (I find this easiest when the chicken is still partly frozen)
2. Place in a bowl and cover with marinade. You can follow the directions on the package, or just let this sit until you've finished the other prep
3. Slice the peppers into 1/4 inch (ish) strips
4. Toss pre-sliced mushrooms and pepper strips in a second bowl and toss with some marinade
'cause raw chicken always looks so appetizing
5. Add a little olive oil to a large frying pan. Cook chicken strips in their marinade over medium high heat until done. (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from pan
6. Add peppers and mushrooms to pan and cook until soft.
7. Meanwhile you can heat up your refried beans in a little saucepan with some olive oil, over medium heat.
8. Cook rice according to directions
9. Heat corn in microwave for 1-2 minutes

When everything is ready, present your family with their fajita makings:
Peppers & Mushrooms
Shredded Cheese
Diced Tomatoes
Sour Cream
Refried Beans
Aside from being totally yummy, this meal is fun because everyone gets to put together their own dinner in their own special way. Like, if you're Little Boo, you can just wrap up some shredded cheese in a plain tortilla and call it done. Sigh. (I did make him a quesadilla as an alternate.)

The one thing I did make that was an actual effort was homemade guacamole. But that's my specialty and I know Hubs just loves it. You can find my recipe here, or just go buy a tub at the supermarket :) I think Guac is a necessary part of a fajita. But that's just me. I honestly don't try to strive for a particularly "traditional" meal experience. I put things together to suit my and my family's tastes. Experiment and see what sides and add-ons work for you!

Oh. And I also made margaritas. Yummy!!! This is my special mommy treat for being such a good girl and feeding my family so well ;) And, as you see, I am not afraid to use store-bought margarita mix when needed as well. This meal really is about great taste and convenience.
Tip: If your kids would like to join in with a celebratory drink as well, try mixing some of the margarita mix (it's non-alcoholic) with some ginger ale or club soda. Kid-friendly and not their everyday drink.

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