Down & Dirty Fajitas

Use this recipe when you've forgotten to marinate the chicken and your kids have likewise forgotten to take the chicken out of the fridge for you even though you asked.

Also, when you don't have time to grill, when someone needs a ride to class within in hour, if you like leftovers, if a relative is dairy intolerant, or if you're practicing a gluten free lifestyle. I'm not sure about the caveman diet, but I'm pretty sure I can fit it into Weight Watchers parameters.

Basically mix and max chicken fajitas can work if you want to slam dinner on the table for most omnivores.

…and yes, even I invest the cash for skinless, boneless white meat from time to time.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken sliced into bite sized pieces

1 medium to large onion, halved & sliced

2 bell peppers, any color combo, halved & sliced

2 cloves of garlic, sliced, optional

Veggie oil

3 teaspoons cumin, separated

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander, separated

1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional

1 lime

Salt & pepper

Whole wheat, corn or rice tortillas ….or over rice

Condiments: pickled jalapeño, grated mild cheese, sour cream, lime

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken about 5 minutes, then add 2 teaspoons cumin and 1 teaspoon coriander, toss and finish cooking 3-4 more minutes. Remove chicken. Add 1-2 more teaspoons of oil. Sauté onions, adding peppers and garlic (if desired) after a few minutes. Veggies are done when they're crisp, caramel colored outside & tender inside. Season with 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander (cayenne if desired) when close to being done. Add chicken back to pan, tossing to reheat. Squeeze 1/2 lime into pan. Adjust salt & pepper.

Meanwhile heat stack of tortillas covered by damp paper towels in microwave (about a minute).

Platter, serve, eat & carpool – B

 

Bold Flavors, Soft Tacos

It always pays to have a plan. My goal? Make sure the kids eat vegetables intentionally or not, and bribe my son's friend who is staying with us through food. So I set my plan in motion weeks ago asking for a list of his faves. I got back a string of ingredients and a nod toward junk food. Ingredient suggestions in hand I planned the menu for the week. I don't always make a menu, but when I do, food production feels less like a chore. (Admittedly grocery shopping Sunday night wasn't all that…except for the company 🙂

Tonight – crowd pleasing soft tacos! I can't tell you exactly what was said, enough to say there were no leftovers.

Mea culpa. I bought a taco seasoning pouch. Confession. I was too paranoid to use it. Two ingredients I didn't recognize and we were already fighting a potential allergy in the house.

As an alternative, I offer this super simple any night of the week supper.

Ingredients

1 1/4 lbs lean ground beef, or turkey

1/2 large onion chopped

1 teaspoon Veg oil

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

Sprinkle cayenne

1 tablespoon cornmeal

10 oz. can tomatoes with chiles, mild

Salt

Pepper

Soften chopped onion in oil in large skillet. Salt & pepper. Add ground beef, cooking the pink out of it and breaking up chunks. Season with chili powder, cumin, cayenne. Stir 1-2 minutes. Add cornmeal and mix. Add tomatoes & chiles. Cook 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The fixins: shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce, pickled jalapeños, whole whet tortillas (cover stack with damp paper towel and zap 30-45 seconds in microwave)

Make it your own with your best toppings – guacamole? Sour cream?

Enjoy – B

 

Fork or Spoon Guisada

Despite my best intentions and a blizzard, I never did break out the Ninja this weekend. This after I forged my way to the market like a dedicated postal worker through rain, sleet, snow and manic Jersey drivers to buy the beef and green pepper needed for Slow Cooker Carne Guisada. But alas on Sunday the beef still needed to carne and I was missing several of the hours needed for countertop cooking. No matter! That's where the Dutch oven comes in. Slow cooker carne guisada in half the time.

I used a favorite Martha Stewart recipe, browning meat and softening veggies stovetop, before combininglot and setting it in a 350 oven for almost 3 hours.

Here's the pic and the question, fork or spoon?

 

Dig in – B

Note : as written in the recipe, great in tortillas!

 

Meatless & Mexican Monday

“This is a good dinner.” Hallelujah, praise the stove…a teenager complimented the quesadillas. And I pulled it together in less than 30 minutes, though I cheated on the corn.

I like quesadillas because you can pretty much cater to any taste. Plus it’s a great way to use leftovers. In my case the spinach was set to expire. I knew I could get it into them if I jammed some other favorites around the greens. In this case mushrooms, onions, and lighter fat cheese. Adding leftover roast beef to the most avid carnivore’s quesadilla was pure genius (thank you). I pulled a Martha recipe, but feel free to find your own inspiration. There is nothing I won’t throw with cheese into tortillas.

Btw…this recipe calls for baking the quesadillas. Feel free to “burn” ’em in a skillet.

As for the side…my friend Barbara Sibley, chef and owner of La Palapa Cocina Mexicana gave me the recipe and the queso mix when she came on my radio show. I just reduced the portions and cut the corn off the cob for lazy eaters.

Elote del Mercado

Roast Corn on the Cob Seasoned with Lime, Mayonnaise, Queso Cotija and Chile Piquín

12 ears of corn on the cob, partially husked

3 qt water

2 T sugar

2 T salt

2 limes cut in half

½ cup of Mayonnaise

½ cup grated queso añejo, parmesan or ricotta salata may be substituted

1 teaspoon chile piquín powder

1 teaspoon spanish paprika


1. In a shallow bowl mix the queso añejo, chile piquín and spanish paprika and set aside.

2. Remove the outer leaves from each ear of corn, leaving a single layer of corn husks protecting the corn kernels.

3. In a 8 quart stock pot bring 3 quarts of water to boil. Add the sugar and salt.

4. Boil the corn in the water for approximately 8 minutes or until corn is cooked.

5. Remove from the water and drain well. Wrap each corn cob with aluminum foil and place on the grill turning every three minutes. Gill 6 minutes or until the kernels are lightly browned. Remove from heat and unwrap.

6. The corn husks may then be pulled down to create a “handle” with which to hold the corn.

7. Rub a lime over all the kernels. Then using a pastry brush, brush the kernels with mayonnaise. Sprinkle the mayonnaise with the queso and chile mixture.

enjoy!–B