Chicken Fajitas for Lunch
This is a great recipe that is so easy to make. It’s loaded with so many fresh vegetables, lean chicken and Mexican-style seasonings. It has lots of lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro, which I think always makes a dish seem so fresh tasting, especially in the summer months.
The first time I made this recipe for chicken fajitas was for a summer healthy kids’ camp I did a few years ago. The kids were in charge of preparing their own lunch. The idea was to introduce the kids to basic measuring and chopping skills, and show them how they could make healthy food choices by eating the “colors of the rainbow.” Chicken fajitas seemed the perfect recipe choice for the kids to prepare as they are easy to make, healthy, and colorful.
Prepping our Chicken Fajitas
First we prepared the marinade. We put the ingredients of this easy marinade recipe in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and sealed it shut. Next, we cut the chicken into thin slices and added them to the marinade in the Ziploc bag, squishing the marinade all around the chicken making sure we coated all of the pieces completely. We then put the bag of marinating chicken in the fridge until we were ready to grill. The kids could hardly wait!
Chopping Broccoli…and Carrots, Onions, Bell Peppers, and Celery
After washing our hands while singing Happy Birthday twice (the length of time to get those hands really clean) and scrubbing the cutting boards with HOT soapy water, the kids and the counselors moved on to chopping and slicing…and lots of chopping and slicing. (For the basics, see Knife Skills 101.) We sliced onions and colorful bell peppers, getting them ready to grill grilled along with the marinated chicken. We then cut broccoli, carrots, and celery for a veggie tray. Since we didn’t have access to an outdoor grills, we grilled the chicken fajitas on a large George Foreman grill.
Ready to Eat
The kids absolutely loved the chicken fajitas! We filled tortillas with grilled chicken and vegetables, topping them with sharp cheddar cheese and lots of guacamole and salsa. Oh they were so good!
Maybe it was because they had been playing and hiking outdoors for the entire morning, but I think it was because they prepared the chicken fajitas themselves, from start to finish. The camp counselors even voted these the BEST chicken fajitas ever. No arguments from me or the kids that’s for sure. As for the leftovers? There were none—always a sign of a great recipe.
I’ve been using this recipe for chicken fajitas ever since. I even hear from some of those counselors when they prepare the dish at home to let me know how much they love this easy-to-prepare recipe.
What great memories of a fun summer working with the kids, meeting the camp counselors, and sharing a few cooking tips for them to take back to use in their college apartments and home kitchens.
When grilling the chicken fajitas at home using an outdoor grill, I prep the chicken a little differently. I leave the chicken breasts whole when I marinate them. I don’t have a grill tray and don’t want them to slide through the grates. After marinating the chicken, I grill it to perfection. I then slice the chicken after it comes off the grill. This works pretty well, but I must admit I think slicing ahead of grilling allows the marinade to absorb a little better, giving the chicken a little more flavor. A grill topper or basket may work if you like the idea of preslicing chicken before it hits the grill.
During the winter months, I use my wok to quickly stir fry the chicken and veggies. The results are still outstanding, and the cooking time is even cut a little shorter.
- 1¼ - 1½ pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
- 2 Tablespoons canola safflower, peanut or grapeseed oil (a high smoke point oil)
- 1 large onion sliced lengthwise (root to tip) into ¼-inch strips
- 3 bell peppers of various colors sliced into ¼-inch strips
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ jalapeno seeded and minced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 8-12 flour tortillas
- Sliced avocado
- Sour cream
- Thinly sliced iceberg lettuce dressed lightly with salt and cider vinegar
MIX all the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. ADD the chicken, MIX well, COVER and let MARINATE in the fridge for 1 hour. (You can marinate chicken in the fridge for up to 8 hours but no longer than that.)
REMOVE the chicken from the marinade.
HEAT a large metal skillet on high heat for 1-2 minutes. ADD 1 Tablespoon of canola oil (or other high smoke point oil) to the pan.
When oil begins to smoke, ADD chicken pieces to the pan. Depending on size of pan, you may have to work in batches (Don't crowd the chicken or it wills steam instead of grill). COOK chicken undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, until you have a good sear. TURN the pieces over and COOK for another 2-3 minutes until well seared on the other side. REMOVE from pan.
ADD peppers and onions to the pan and grill until onions are opaque in color (nearly clear looking).
SERVE chicken with sautéed pepper and onions in warm tortillas. TOP with your choice of shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, and/or thinly sliced iceberg lettuce.