Everyone is posting about pumpkins, but there are still ten more days of summer and our garden is at its best. I am finally enjoying my summer harvest, the crickets are still chirping and it's still light here at bedtime, so I don't want to talk or think about fall just yet. These grilled chicken fajitas are the reason I start planting my garden in May. Just a taste of this recipe is why I put blankets over my tomatoes and take a wild toddler to the garden store who has in the past knocked over a large vases and I had to pay for the broken vase. All the work is worth it the end of August or early September when there are enough ripe tomatoes and peppers to retrieve from the garden. I just love the distinctive flavors and textures all cuddled together in a warm tortilla.
Grilled fajitas take some time to prepare, but I like making them for a larger group of people because the pico and guacamole can double serve as my appetizers. This recipe should serve about eight adults and there is plenty of guacamole and pico to snack on. I also like fajitas because they are a good option for me when I have both vegetarians and gluten-free eaters over for dinner.
In the summer, I like grilling my chicken as whole breasts so the resulting meat is juicy and delicious. The secret to fajitas is garden fresh pico de gallo, killer guacamole and just a sprinkling of sugar over those peppers and onions while they sizzle.
Steps to making fajitas:
1 - Prepare the marinade and start the chicken marinating in the fridge
2- Prepare the guacamole and pico, cover and put in the fridge
3- Grill the chicken, heat the tortillas and cook the vegetables
4- Assemble the fajitas with the pico, guac, tortillas, chicken and sour cream
Ideally you have a couple of cooks around to help with step #3. If you don't, then I would grill the chicken first and keep the chicken warm in foil. I would then heat up the tortillas and cook the vegetables at the same time, keeping a cautionary eye on both. I usually lose a couple of tortillas when I do this. Keep the tortillas warm in some foil. It's better to have the chicken keeping warm in the foil instead of the veggies because the veggies can lose that crisp tender stage quick and turn mushy fast.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken breast in a large, resealable plastic bag. Add the marinade. Close the bag and then squish it around a bit to distribute the marinade.
Place the bag in the fridge for an hour. Prepare the pico and guac while the chicken marinates. Place the pico and guac in the fridge while you grill the chicken.
Heat your grill to medium. Remove the chicken from the bag and throw away the marinade. Grill the chicken until the meat is firm and juices run clear or until the chicken registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Place the chicken in foil while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.
Just like Chipotle Guacamole
(We are huge Chipotle fans at our house. This is our take on their guac.)
1 jalapeno, chopped as small as you can
1 lime, juiced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
few twists of pepper
Prepare the avocados. Remove the skin, split the avocado in half and remove the pits from the avocados. Take three of the avocados, six halves, and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh of the fruit into a medium sized serving bowl. Mash the avocado up with a potato masher. Take the fourth avocado and carefully slice the avocado into small sections. I do this by running a knife through the flesh to make a checkerboard. Put the checkerboard pieces aside for a minute.
Add the jalapeno, the juice of the lime, the cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Now add the pieces of the last avocado.
Just like Mom's Pico de Gallo
5 medium tomatoes
1 1/2 large onions
1 1/2 bunches of cilantro
1 1/2 limes
1 teaspoon of salt
We once had a women's meeting at church were a few ladies shared favorite family recipes. Michelle shared her mom's pico de gallo recipe and explained to all of us that the secret to pico is equal parts tomato, cilantro, onion. The tomato shouldn't be overwhelming the rest of the ingredients. It's easy to make, just takes some time to chop up all the ingredients. Just chop everything up and add to a bowl then stir lightly. Juice the lime over the pico and salt to taste. I start with a teaspoon and go from there.
8-10 flour or 10-12 corn tortillas, or a mixture of both
Heat the flour tortillas, or corn tortillas for those who eat gluten-free according to package directions. Make sure your plan is medium-hot before you start. I really prefer the uncooked packaged tortillas. It takes about the same amount of time to heat them as the precooked tortillas, but they taste much better.
Prepare the vegetables
3 red peppers
2 green pepper
1 large red onion
pinch of sugar
Cut the peppers and onions into thin strips. Heat a pan to medium-high. Add a tablespoon of oil, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and stir until the onion just begins to sweat. Add the peppers and cook until the peppers are crisp-tender. To help bring out the sweetness, add just a sprinkling of sugar to the vegetables during the last minute of cooking.
Remove the chicken from the foil and cut into thin strips. Place a tortilla on a plate and stack the veggies, chicken, pico, guac and sour cream on the top.