Want to know the worst part of my family’s new love of clean eating? Doing so many dishes and running the dishwasher daily. But do you want to know the best part? I always have fresh ingredients on hand that I can easily throw together to create a healthful, flavorful meal on a whim. This benefit far outweighs the number of minutes spent at my sink or unloading the dishwasher.
This can save you in a pinch when your meal prep or meal plan has failed you. We are humans–many of whom are raising mini humans–and life happens! Don’t let life cause you to stop at a fast food joint when in almost as much time as the drive-thru would take you can get creative and make something yummy and clean in your own kitchen.
This pinch-hitting dinner came into play a few weeks ago. I had planned on making stuffed peppers Monday night, but ended up using the ground turkey I had on hand for a potluck recipe the day before instead. I swore this dish would create enough leftovers for dinner but, alas, it was just too good. Clean recipes tend to be that way. I was left, then, with a series of peppers and onion and no dinner plan on the first day I returned to work post-maternity leave.
I pass Pancheros–a delicious Chipotle-style fast food joint–every day as I drive home with the “big kids” from their school. I so wanted to pull in the parking lot and get something, but I didn’t for a few reasons: 1. How much of a pain is that with two kids and a newborn? 2. We are striving to eat clean and save money! 3.I had some awesome ingredients awaiting me and my new-found kitchen creativity awaiting me in my own kitchen! I decided then to head home and figure out how to make fajitas–something I have never made before nor ever really desired to eat before.
I’ve noticed, though, that the more cleanly my family and I eat–meaning, the more whole, real foods I cook with and snack on–the more adventurous I am becoming in the kitchen. My palate is definitely expanding. I now crave flavors I didn’t know existed: fresh citrus squeezed onto a bed of greens, cayenne pepper tossed into a homemade soup, the differing tastes of various onion varieties. Beyond that, I am more confident playing Martha Stewart or Julia Child as well. I am starting to be better aware of the relationships between foods, to understand how certain spices or flavors or textures compliment and contradict one another. I believe all of these new cooking mentalities led to my fajita-making endeavor.
I knew I had plenty of peppers and onion, and Mike always picks up at least one steak and a few chicken breast each Sunday. What we don’t use within two days, we freeze. I also knew that we had Ezekiel tortillas in the freezer that could make a yummy fajita roll-up or just as a starch of sorts under and the seasoned goodness. As soon as we got home, I got the kids set up with some coloring, began defrosting the tortillas, and began my prep.
This meal took no more than 15 minutes from start to finish: 5 minutes to wash and chop/slice and 10 minutes to saute the veggies and grill the steak. This turned out to be a new favorite of mine. I have made it twice in the past two weeks. Yum!
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
1 lean steak (ranch steak is the perfect size), sliced thin
1 chicken breast, sliced thin
1/2 Ezekiel tortilla per fajita
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (optional, to taste)
1/4 cup fresh or jarred salsa (optional, to taste)
1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese (optional, to taste)
(Ok, lots of thin slices–but the thinner the better!)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
- Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Toss in veggies and stir frequently for 3 minutes. Adjust heat as needed.
- Preheat grill pan over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil over steak and chicken, and then grill for approximately 2-3 minutes each side. Keep a close eye on this, though, as size and thickness make a big difference.
- Add seasoning spices directly to saute pan, tossing veggies to coat. Continue cooking until onions are translucent.
- Break up 1/2 tortilla on plate (or stuff!), top with veggies, and then protein of choice (I had a little of both!). I then sprinkled cheese over it all, and dolloped a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top in lieu of sour cream. Add salsa as well if you choose.
That’s it! Simply, scrumptious, and just the right amount of spicy. Please comment below with your thoughts or variations!