Andy and I have been hemming and hawing over how we can make our blog more exciting, not only for you but for us, as well. We want a reason to write stories, but when we are not traveling as much as we would like, it makes it difficult to come up with a great story. Besides traveling our home state, or an occasional vacation, our other favorite hobby is cooking in our own kitchen. We LOVE to cook, and I am pretty damn sure that *love* is an understatement.
I really find excitement searching around on the internet or dusty old cookbooks from the library for fun and tasty new recipes. It can be anything from a simple pasta dish to a more complex Moroccan chicken dinner. It doesn’t matter to me, I am up for a challenge and am not afraid to try new spices! Thank goodness Penzey’s is right down the road! ;-)
So for our first recipe to be featured on our blog is something I created myself for a really simple and quick dinner, but yet offers tons of flavor, and it is not that bad for you health wise. Actually we started this meal when Andy and I started to do a cleanse and eating ‘clean‘ approved foods. Now it is my go to recipe for when company comes over, or I am feeling like a quick dinner with low prep.
Becki’s Spicy Fajita Bowl (or tortillas)
With any great recipe and kitchen you are going to want to stock up on everyday spices. For us, cumin and chili powder is an everyday spice, and they are great staple to any kind of Mexican or spicy, smoky dish. Once you get more comfortable in the kitchen, go to a great spice store and start browsing around and see what flavors make you excited. We really fell in love with Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming and use it in all kinds of dishes. From our fajitas to chicken tortilla soup, and even Andy likes to use it for Mexican corn. The world is your oyster and don’t be afraid of FLAVORS!
After you get your spices organized, I like to place them on the counter in arm’s reach as I use them quite often when making this dish. Heat up a large non-stick skillet and oil it up. Olive, canola or even coconut oil (which is what we use) are great for this dish. While the pan is heating you can start chopping up your veggies of choice. Onions and peppers are a must. If you are pressed for time, frozen works great! Once the peppers and onions start softening up, start using your spices and don’t forget the salt!
When the vegetables are doing their thing, start prepping the chicken. You can cut the chicken breasts on an angle to make thin strips, this works the best for this dish. But you may also cut them into bite sized pieces, whatever your heart desires. Start by seasoning the chicken with salt and black pepper, and use the spices mentioned above to give the chicken a nice coating of love.
It’s time to call the veggies to the side line, meaning get a plate for them to rest on while the chicken take the show. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes per side. If you feel the need to spice them up again, by all means, DO IT.
This is one of my favorite parts of this dish, ONE, there is another, but this is the first. After the chicken is not longer pink and turns a delicious shade of ‘eat me’ you are going to want to mix the vegetables back into the pan. They sure do make a happy pair, don’t you think? Look at all the love of flavor and color, and if this was smell-a-net, it would knock you into an instant food crazed zombie. Also, more spices! This is also a perfect time to throw in some garlic!
So, I am pretty new to the bean-loving-train-gang, but now that I have experienced beans, I am so delighted I am part of this gang! If you are one of those people that want to rinse and drain your beans, go ahead. But I am warning you, the dish will not be a magical if you do! The magic to this dish is the BEAN JUICE. No, seriously, it is. I believe the best foods are the ones that leaves your chin full of moistness (made you shudder!) and napkins or back of hand wiping is necessary! Think about it… sloppy joes, spaghetti (when slurping noodles!), watermelon, and Becki’s Fajitas! Point is, you are going to want to keep the bean juice so drain about a quarter to half the juice and then add the rest to the pan with the chicken and vegetables.
There you go, after the beans have cooked up and you also added some more spices to the beans, you have completed an awesome, quick meal! Depending on my mood, I serve this dish in a bowl but if I’m feeling extra saucy I use tortillas and top them with all types of goodies. Avocados, onions, cheese, salsa, etc.
But most importantly, add your favorite hot sauce! It kicks it up an extra notch and leaves your mouth on fire but still wanting more! YUM!
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – sliced (Skirt steaks works well too!)
2 Tbsp coconut oil – divided
2 bell peppers – color is up to you and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp cumin – divided
1 Tbsp chili powder – divided
1 Tbsp Arizona Dreaming – divided (any mix of Mexican spices will do)
1 tsp cayenne pepper – more if you like spicy
2 tsp minced garlic
Salt & fresh ground black pepper – to taste
1 can black beans – quarter to half drained of juice
Toppings: Sliced avocado, red onion slices, cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, etc.
Step 1: Start by heating up a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, olive oil may be used if you do not have coconut oil. Let oil heat up over medium heat.
Step 2: Slice onion and bell pepper into thin slices. Once done, add to hot pan. Be sure to watch out for splattering hot oil! After the onion and pepper have cooked for about a minute, add the garlic. You just want to make sure to add it after a bit so the garlic doesn’t burn.
Step 3: Add one teaspoon of each cumin, chili and Arizona Dreaming powder to the pepper and onion in the pan. Depending on your range of spice level, add a dash of cayenne powder.
Step 4: While the onion and pepper are cooking, slice up chicken breast. Thin slices will work nicely. Once sliced, add another round of spices to the chicken. Be sure to sprinkle a small amount of salt over the chicken.
Step 5: Carefully remove the cooked onion and pepper into a bowl to cool off while you begin to cook the chicken. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot pan. No need to clean pan, have the chicken collect the spices. Cook chicken 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on the width of your cut chicken.
Step 6: Once chicken is cooked, add the vegetables back to the hot pan.
Step 7: Open up the can of black beans and drain about half the juice, I use the bean juice in the fajitas because it gives extra flavor, texture and juiciness!
Step 8: Add remaining spice powders to the meat, bean and vegetable mixture. Cook for about another 5 minutes so beans have enough time to heat up and flavors begin to mix together.
Step 9: ENJOY! Spoon fajitas into bowls and enjoy this spicy and quick delicious meal!
Add your favorite toppings to give an extra blast of flavor. And remember, you can always enjoy this recipe on tasty warmed up tortillas. **Don’t forget to top it off with your favorite hot sauce!**