Chances are, if you were born before 1985, you probably remember the advent of fajitas in the late 80s as THE COOLEST FOOD EVER! Who doesn't have a fond memory of going to one of many brand-new Tex-Mex joints in their neck of the woods (readers from south of the Mason-Dixon line, please ignore this) and being bombarded by the smell of meat sizzling on super-hot metal plates that they served in front of you with all the cool fixins on the side? And then you got eat that goodness with your hands! YEAH! 13-year old me is PLOTZING just thinking about it!
My mother would continue the tradition at home with nearly the same amount of spectacle. And a ton of clean-up for the kids aferwards (fajitas at home = mixed blessing!).
Now, as time has passed, I've found myself craving that awesomeness, but do I have the room or implements to make that kind of meal? HECK NO! But, as with any good cook who has limited space, time and resources, I tinker. So, after a few attempts, here's my take on fajitas.
Basically this recipe takes all those different ingredients that you put on a bunch of different plates and cook differently and puts them altogether. It also is a year-round recipe. No grilling involved.
Half-assed Fajitas for 2-4
- 1 lb. boneless steak or chicken or pork (cut into strips about 2 inches or 7-8 cm long, 1/2 inch or 1.5 cm thick) OR 1 lb. peeled shrimp (remove tails)
- 1 small red pepper, cut into strips
- 1 small red or sweet onion, chopped
- 1 ripe tomato, chopped
- Shredded lettuce (optional - I usually don't bother since lettuce is about as nutritious as paper)
- Chopped cilantro (optional)
- 10 small tortillas - flour or whole wheat
- Fajita sauce
Ingredients for Fajita sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (whichever kind you prefer, I use President's Choice Smokin' Habanero Barbcue Sauce , which is really tasty, but also quite spicy)
- 2 tbsp hot sauce (whichever you prefer, I like either old school Frank's Red Hot style, or a smoky chipotle sauce)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup beer
- Whisk all sauce ingredients together.
Putting it together
- In a large frying pan on medium-high heat, pour in Fajita sauce, meat, peppers and onion and sauté. You can add the tomato if you like it cooked (I do it this way) or keep it aside if you want to add it raw.
- Fry up mixture for about 15 mins until everything's cooked.
- As mixture is cooking, place as many tortillas as you're using on cookie sheet and preheat oven to 350 F.
- Spoon mixture onto tortillas and roll into cylinder.
- Cook in oven for about 5 mins, to heat and crisp tortillas
- Remove from oven, open fajitas and spoon sour cream, salsa, guacamole, chopped cilantro, etc. etc. - how ever you want it!
- Eat and get messy!
Psssssst... You want a recipe for guacamole? DEAD easy!
- 1 ripe avocado, cut in half, pit removed (this is a bit tricky. First of all, a ripe avocado is a deep greenish-black; totally black usually means overripe. Second, to split the avocado, just cut through the soft part until you hit the pit, DON'T try cutting that in half! Just work around until the soft part is cut in half, and gently pull one side away from the pit, then the other)
- 1 tsp chopped onion
- 1-2 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tomato chopped (optional)
- juice of half a lime
- salt and pepper (and, if you're feeling frisky, a pinch or two of chili powder)
Putting it together
- Scoop the avocado 'meat' into a bowl
- Add all other ingredients and mash with a fork until desired consistency is reached.