Tex-Mex on the East Coast?

Sure enough, this displaced Texano and his familia had an awesome time last night team cooking a fabulous batch of chicken fajitas and Mexican rice. If you aren’t familiar with the name, it’s pronounced “fa-hee-tas” with the emphasis on the “hee,” but I digress…
We had four cooks, no injuries and enough food to feed everyone plus some.

The recipes came off the Internet, given to me by one of the sous chefs, so I can’t give credit where credit is due, but I’ll tell you up front, they aren’t mine…I only wish they were! These turned out great and I do believe that we will be using these again, many times!

Here we go:

Chicken Fajitas and Mexican Rice

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded flat

Marinade
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded
salt and pepper to taste

Put the marinade ingredients into a blender and puree. Put the flattened chicken into a gallon-sized zip lock bag and add the marinade puree. Seal the bag up and let the chicken soak for 30 minutes or so (in a cooler or refrigerator – no need to take chances!)

Next…

3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
3 zucchini, also cut into small cubes
1 yellow squash, cut into small cubes (see a trend?)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Put the potatoes, zucchini and squash in a glass baking dish. Add oil and seasonings; mix well.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until potatoes are soft; should take about 30 minutes, maybe more.

Now for the arroz Mexicano:

2 Cups long grain white rice
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup of your favorite salsa (I use Mrs. Renfros, out of Fort Worth Texas)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

Soak the rice in a bowl of hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and shake dry.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the rice and toast – stirring often to prevent too much sticking to the pan. Do this for about ten minutes; the rice should start to turn tan, slightly brown, but not too much!
Meanwhile, put the onion, salsa and garlic into a blender. Puree, then add to the rice mixture and cook until the liquid is absorbed.
Don’t ask questions – now add 3 cups of water, and the chopped jalapeno. Mix well, then cook over medium heat until the rice is tender. This will take about ten more minutes.
Remove from heat; cover.

Back to the fajitas…

1 large white onion, peeled and cut into slices
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil

In a different skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add sliced onions and bell peppers.
Cook until the onions start to turn translucent and the pepper soften.
Set aside on the stove top to keep warm.

In yet another skillet (use the vegetable skillet above, unless like me, you have vegetarians in the house) pan fry the chicken. Once done, cut into strips.

Finally…

8 inch, soft flour tortillas (three per person, at least)

Let’s use some technology here:

Using a microwave oven, steam the tortillas. Start by dampening two folded paper towels with water. Wrap the tortillas in a different paper towel and place on top of the damp ones. Put the whole stack in the microwave oven and cook on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Check to see if the tortillas are warm and steaming. If so, you are done. If not, cook for 20 seconds more. This should do it! If not, keep trying 20 seconds intervals until done.

Get the plates ready, because by now the potatoes should be done!

Grate some Colby Jack cheese and get some sour cream ready for optional toppings.

Serving:
Put a tortilla on the plate. Add a bit of potatoes, zucchini and squash, chicken (for those who partake) and some onions and peppers. Fold the tortilla over, top with cheese and sour cream if it suits you, and serve with a side of Mexican rice.

Recommended beverages:

Any fine red wine will do, as will tequila straight up (but we didn’t have any so Merlot it was)

Buen provecho, mis amigos!

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