Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summertime Ranch Chicken Fajitas

Since I began my journey back to healthier eating, I'll admit I sometimes get tired of the simplicity of combining a portion of lean meat with two veggies and calling it dinner.  Sometimes that simplicity is just what I need, but other times I want something a little more complex in taste and texture, yet still within my range of healthy choices.  This recipe came about from my family's love of fajitas, my overflowing garden tomato basket, and my love of sweet, fresh corn.  I started by making up this recipe to fit my family of six, so you can adjust your ingredient amounts accordingly. 

I chose six ears of fresh, sweet corn and cleaned them:  {You could absolutely substitute frozen corn here.}

After they were fully cleaned, I cut the kernels from the cob:

Next, I chopped one large onion into strips and diced two large bell peppers.  I sauteed them in about one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, until they were tender, then removed them from the pan.

After removing the onions and peppers from the pan, I put the pan back onto a medium-high heat, added another tablespoon of olive oil, and added about two pounds of chicken breast, cut into small strips or chunks.  While the chicken was sauteing, I added to it one teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, while adding two teaspoons of chili powder and three teaspoons of ground cumin.

I tossed it all around to coat well and cooked it until done, around 8 minutes.  When the chicken was nearly cooked, I added to it the cooked peppers and onions and allowed it a few minutes to sit together and absorb the seasonings before I tossed in the fresh corn.  After adding the corn, I allowed it to warm through, but not cook for any length of time so I could preserve its sweetness.

Now, what goes better with a dish like this than some fresh pico de gallo?  Nothing!  So, since I had more tomatoes from my garden than I could eat at the moment, I made up a fresh batch.  Here's how I did mine:

I finely diced two cups of tomatoes, one small green bell pepper, half of a large red onion, a good handful of chopped, fresh parsley (you can use cilantro if your family doesn't think it's a little too strong), a dash of garlic powder or a fresh minced garlic clove, and finish it off with a dash of salt and pepper and a few shakes from the hot sauce bottle.    Simple and SO good on just about anything.

I was initially craving this with a little ranch dressing, so that is how I made mine.  However, when I went back for the second one {uh hmm} I used plain sour cream.  They were both good and I still don't know which way I prefer them.  You may want to try it both ways as well.

Putting it all together:  I used a warmed Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Tortilla, and layered in a portion of the chicken and corn mixture, an equal amount of pico de gallo, and topped it off with a bit of shredded cheese and a couple teaspoons of ranch dressing.

This was absolutely a huge winner here at our house and everyone is waiting for the next time I make these.  The corn and pico de gallo made the perfect addition to plain old chicken fajitas to make them taste perfectly like summer.  They're definitely going back on the menu next week!

Here's the rundown of the recipe again:
Click here for the Printable Recipe

Summertime Ranch Chicken Fajitas
serves a family of 6, so adjust your amounts accordingly

6 fresh ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
1 large onion, cut into strips
2 large bell pepper,  your choice of color, cut into strips or dices
2 pounds of chicken breast, chunked or cut into strips
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp chili powder
3 tsp ground cumin
*(of course, you may adjust the spices to your taste)
Ranch dressing or sour cream
shredded cheese
flour or whole sprouted grain tortillas

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add the sliced onion and chopped bell pepper.  Saute until tender then remove from pan, set aside.  Place the pan back onto the heat, this time at medium-high, and add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the chicken breast.  Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and saute for about 8 minutes.  Add the onions and peppers back to the pan, tossing to coat in the seasonings.  Cook for another two minutes.  Turn the heat to low and add your corn, just heating it through then removing from the heat.

Pico de Gallo

2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 handful cilantro (or parsley for a milder flavor), finely chopped
a dash of salt and pepper
a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce

Combine all these ingredients in a bowl and toss.  You can make this ahead of time and store in the refrigerator, or put it all together while your chicken is sauteing.  

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