Chicken (Fajita) Dance

One of my most favorite meals in the whole world is chicken fajitas. I love the spicy smells, the flashy colors, and most importantly, the yummy peppery flavors.

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Fajitas were one of the first “real meals” that I learned to make by myself, and are surprisingly really easy. All you need is a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast; one red pepper, one green pepper, one red onion, and some soft shell tortillas. After that you can add anything you want: black beans, guacamole, sour cream… I always have to add cheese, lettuce, and salsa to mine.  They are a great choice for meal makers dealing with picky eaters because all of the toppings are optional!

First, start with the peppers and onion. Slice them thinly, and sauté in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil for about 10 minutes, or until they are nice and soft. My mom’s recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: cumin, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, and thyme. Cass and I cheat with some Tone’s Fajita Seasoning, cayenne, and a dash of cumin. We don’t really measure- just season to taste!

After the seasonings and veggies have gotten a chance to get well acquainted, add the chicken. I like the chicken cut into smaller strips, but it’s whatever you prefer. Throw 1/2 a cup of chicken broth in there, too, and let it all sizzle until the chicken isn’t pink anymore (don’t forget to stir it all up every couple of minutes!). Fajitas are extra-delicious when they are fresh and hot, but I took some of the leftovers with me to school the next day and warmed them up in the microwave. They were still pretty dang good.

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I remember that the first time I cooked chicken, I had no idea what I was doing. So for all of the kitchen newbies out there, here are some:

Tips and Tricks for Cooking Chicken

When using dry heat (baking, roasting, grilling, sautéing): Use high heat and low time. (Hint for beginners: Chicken fajitas use dry heat. You’re welcome.)

When using moist heat (microwaving, steaming, poaching, slow cooking): Use low heat and longer time.

You don’t have to wash chicken before cooking it. Anything gross gets taken care of by the heat.

When defrosting frozen chicken, nuke it in the microwave, or let it chill out in the fridge overnight. Never let frozen chicken sit out on the counter, and only refreeze chicken if it was thawed in the fridge.

If you’re really paranoid about whether or not your chicken is done, don’t just cook the crap out of it. You want your chicken to be juicy and tender, but I understand that no one wants to risk salmonella or food poisoning. Check it with a food thermometer. Chicken breasts should measure 165 degrees in the middle.

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