Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Sizzlin’ Fajita Friday!

Where did February go?

Every time MigL and I happen to watch Paula Deen on Food Network (let me clarify we don’t intentionally watch PD), it seems like we should ask, “would you like some buttah with that?”   We always get a kick when PD says, “ya’ll we’re gonna start this recipe by ______”.  And more often than not, it’s a stick of butter. If I got a quarter every time she said butter in a show, boy I’d be rich!  I know we’re in a recession, but pennies don’t buy much so I’ve resorted to quarters. 

1 stick, 2 sticks, even melted butter.  Isn’t that what Julia Child cooked with too and is part of what made her famous in a fanciful way?  I have a feeling that butter alone makes a name for itself; but if you’re one to sell it with everything you make, you’d practically be a legend.  I have to say butter does make omelets SO much better, but that’s another post.  I know a little butter makes the world go round, but I seriously think PD just piles that buttah on.

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to find something stable, amidst the craziness in my life.  I was tired of trying to find something to cook every day to what feels like the last minute; and with a tight budget, it can be a bit daunting.  I wanted something no-brainer.  So, I came up with Fajita Friday.  Dinner every Friday is now the official Fajita Friday; except that the last few Friday’s I’ve had some flop Fajita Fridays.  The recipes weren’t as good as I’d hoped – and then on a whim I decided to invent what a fajita should taste like.  The results were disappointing.  Oh well, there’s no learning like the present, right?

So I decided to do a little homework and found a recipe that will now become a part of my Fajita Friday.  Much to my surprise and relief, PD doesn’t cook everything with buttah.  In my search, I was looking for something quick and tasty – WITH pictures included.  It’s a crime if I can’t see what I’ll potentially be making and I’ll bypass a recipe if it doesn’t have any pictures – after all, shouldn’t the food you’re eating not only taste good but, look good too?

On a Friday evening, after a long week, who really wants to wait 3 hours or more for something to marinate - unless you’ve got the whole day off, or even an afternoon; then I’d consider you, my friend, a lucky duck and I completely wish I were you.   Otherwise, I need something quick and tasty and more often than not, I need it right away; although at times, it does take a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get dinner finished.  (On a side note, I should start eating a snack in between the time I get off work and dinner so that I’m not as hungry).

Perhaps every now and again I’ll try to find new fajita recipes to prevent from being bored; but for now this is our new favorite.  I was even very surprised when MigL got seconds!

Paula deen's fajitas

Gold Medal Sizzling Fajitas

(adapted from Food Network)

Serves 8

1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fajita seasoning
2 teaspoons yellow mustard 
Dash green Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce) 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 large onion, halved and sliced lengthwise 
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
8 (8-inch) corn tortillas

In a heavy duty resalable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, cumin, garlic powder, fajita seasoning, mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper and chicken. Seal and toss the bag around to coat.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Preheat a cast iron skillet in a preheated 400 degree F oven for at least 20 minutes, to get a good sizzle when you plate the fajitas.

Heat the outside grill or a large indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the hot grill, discard the marinade. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Slice the chicken into strips.

In a large skillet heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the onions and bell peppers until crisp-tender with some salt and pepper.

Wrap the tortillas in a paper towel and warm in the microwave for 1 minute. 

When you are ready to serve, remove the cast iron servers from the oven and quickly arrange the meat and peppers and onions on it (wait for the ooh’s and ahh’s!). It will immediately start to sizzle from their fat and moisture. Serve sizzling immediately with the warm tortillas and other accompaniments.

Latin Cook’s Notes
Oh man, dinner was fajita-licious!  While I was preparing the marinade for the chicken it smelled so good; but you have to wait until it’s ready to cook (when all of the flavors have marinated) to have something incredibly great.  I think the kicker was the mustard – since I didn’t have any lemons, I wondered if this might do the trick – and believe me, it does.  You’ve GOT to try this out.  There was a pretty good party in my mouth!

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