As you face your busy week ahead, here’s a super quick, super easy and super skinny dinner for those of you who love to cook and those of you who break out in hives when you even think about making dinner.
I know it will work for both of you…because I am both of you.
Yes, it’s true… some days I go completely Nigella, putting on mascara and mood music as I embrace my inner domestic goddess in the kitchen. But on many, many other days–like the ones I spend driving for 4 hours to shuttle children back and forth to “away” games–we all stumble into the house at dinnertime and I want to cry. (Okay, the crying usually starts on an L.A. freeway and has nothing to do with dinner…but you know what I mean…)
For those who don’t really cook, all this requires is simple slicing and stir frying of a few fresh ingredients, opening a store bought package of fajita or taco seasoning, and microwaving a can of re-fried beans.
It is so easy, that you’ll even have time to make a quick guacamole and simple salad all within 25 minutes and for under 400 calories in the whole meal…
And, best of all, (especially for working moms and dads), even after feeding the family on a busy night, you’ll still have a lovely batch of inventory you can re-purpose into omelets the next morning, a fajita salad for work the next day, or turn into a delicious soup 3 days later. Ole!
This is another reminder about how having an inventory –beans and seasonings in the pantry, a few ready to go vegetables in the fridge and individually wrapped chicken breasts in the freezer–allows you to whip together dinner on the fly whenever you need to.
In this recipe, I use common but highly nutritious bell peppers (which are sweeter in flavor), as well as poblano and Anaheim peppers, which are really mild chili peppers. Don’t skip them. They’re cheap, readily available and don’t add too much heat but a lot of great flavor and texture to the dish.
2 skinless chicken breast filets, sliced very thin (Don’t worry if you’re using frozen. Once you slice them into skinny strips, they’ll thaw by the time you need them.)
2 medium onions, sliced
2 T fresh garlic, minced
6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced thin (I prefer Shiitakes for their chewy texture, but if they’re too pricey, you can use brown mushrooms instead.)
2 bell peppers (red, yellow, or green.. or a mix.)
1 Anaheim pepper, sliced very thin (Anaheim and poblano peppers have tough skins so it’s important to slice them extra thin.)
3 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into small wedges
1 package store bought fajita or taco seasoning
4-6 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the chicken into skinny strips, toss with a bit of the packaged seasoning and set aside. Slice the onions and mushrooms and toss those with a little seasoning as well. Slice all the peppers. (No need to add seasoning as they won’t absorb the flavor while raw as the chicken, onions and mushrooms will.)
While the chicken and veg sit a moment, put the canned re-fried beans into a microwave safe dish (cover with a wet paper towel to avoid splattering!) and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Wait 20 seconds so the oil can heat up before dropping in the chicken.
Then add the mushrooms and peppers and stir and cook 4-5 minutes more.
Stir well so that the tomatoes hit the hot surface of the pan and begin to release their juices. After 3 minutes more, toss in the green onions and remove from heat and let rest in the pan or in the serving dish as I do here.
Microwave the beans and, while beans are cooking, mash up a ripe avocado with a bit of finely chopped onion, salt and fresh lemon juice.
Pull the beans out of the microwave and leave covered while you make a quick salad.
Take a mix of fresh greens (I like to mix spring greens with fresh spinach for extra nutrition) and sprinkle with salt. Pour just a wee bit of olive oil in your palm and gently toss the greens until they glisten. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and you’re done.
Finally, microwave your paper towel wrapped tortillas. (If 6 in a stack, about 40 seconds to 1 minute per stack, depending on your microwave.)
For each plate, take 2 tortillas, smear with 1/4 cup of re-fried beans and top with 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of fajita mixture. Add a half tablespoon of the guacamole and a teaspoon of fat free sour cream if you like. Fill out the rest of the plate with salad.
RE-USE, RE-PURPOSE, RE-CYCLE
There will be a lovely load of fajitas left. In the morning, make an eggbeaters omelet with some of those peppers and onions.
If there is anything left on day 3, make a simple soup. Chop the fajitas into pieces and put into a pot with more fresh vegetables (like zucchini or carrots), frozen vegetables (like corn and/or okra), and a can of black beans. Add a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilis and some chicken broth, a bit of cumin, garlic and oregano, and you’ll have another great meal!