Friday, April 19, 2013

Fajita Fiesta

Continuing with our recent foodcentric posts, I thought I'd share a meal that I made for a (not too) recent dinner party we had.

Wait. Did I just write "dinner party"? Whoa. I'm an adult? When the hell did...

Anyhoo, I guess you could call it a dinner party. We had Dave's bro, Dan, and his wife, Tara, over a few Fridays (okay, weeks...okay, maybe months....) ago for dinner 'n chats 'n a bit of baby time. I'm pretty comfortable in saying that everyone had an incredible time. Even the baby, I think. But you never can tell with him.

Since it was towards the beginning of lent, I wasn't sure if the meal should be vegetarian or if I should just be gutsy and make a meat main. So, looking at the tortillas sitting in my fridge, an Edison-style lightbulb went aglow over my head. A fajita station!!

It didn't end up being a "station", per say (meats were still in their pan on the stove, etc), but it definitely had a fun kind of "make your own fajita" thing goin' on. The cool thing is that you can make this to suit whatever your needs are. Here's what I did (in what I like to call a "Confusing Non-Recipe Description"):

~ a couple of pounds of shrimp, de-veined and de-tailed
~ a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into slices/chunks
~ 2-3 limes (zest and juice)
~ a couple cloves of garlic

~ 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. each cumin & chili powder
~ 1/8 - 1/4 tsp. crushed red chili pepper flakes (depends on how hot you want it)
~ medium yellow onion, sliced
~ one each of red and green pepper, sliced (or any color you prefer)
~ a buttload of mushrooms, sliced
~ about one cup of cheddar cheese (use whatchya like -- I know traditional fajitas don't use cheese, so omit if you like)
~ fajita-style tortillas (I used whole wheat)
~ plain Greek yogurt
~ chopped cilantro

Saute one of the cloves of garlic in a pan with olive oil (medium-low heat) until cooked but not brown. Add shrimp along with the zest and juice of 1/2 a lime, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, and chili pepper flakes. Cook for a couple of minutes (until pink), then flip and cook for another minute -- don't over-cook shrimp! Do the same with the chicken (garlic, lime, seasonings) but cook until no longer pink in the middle -- only a couple minutes more than the shrimp.

While doing this, saute (in more olive oil, but not too much - start with a tablespoon) the onion, red and green peppers, and mushrooms SEPARATELY. This way, if someone doesn't like something, they don't have to use it. I used several pans to do this; to use fewer, you can grill or saute up the onion, put it in a bowl, saute the peppers, then put the onion back in on one side of the pan.

Throw the tortillas in the microwave per package instructions. Let everyone make their own plate up, and be sure to let folks know to add yogurt (or sour cream), cilantro and a squeeze from an extra wedge of lime.

I also cooked some corn and wild rice as sides, which our guests (and my husband) used on the fajita -- so this could very quickly turn into a burrito party, too. Looking over the recipe, I also have realized that this would probably be a great summertime grill shindig, too -- just marinate the meats (throw in a little oil, too) and throw it all on the grill, including foil-wrapped tortillas (and maybe foil-wrapped veggies, although they'd take longer).

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