I have to share this recipe today, because it is almost life-changingly quick and easy. I had pinned it months ago, thinking I’d try it if ever in a pinch. Then, the other day, I was having Blind Wife Charlie and her husband Lars over for dinner and a movie. (She had never seen Jaws before, if you can believe it, so I felt it my duty to introduce her.)
I would have invited all my friends, but for that I would have needed… wait for it… a bigger boat. =D
As you loyal readers know, I have a 5 week old baby. Anyone who has ever had a baby, or even babysat a baby for a few hours knows that it’s nearly impossible to get anything done with one of them around. Leon (the baby) and I were home alone for the weekend, so getting my house ready and getting dinner made were all up to me. I had some pretty grand plans to make this amazing slow cooker Thai-style fish curry with shrimp, but by the time I got myself out to the grocery store, I was short on time. Then, they didn’t have the key ingredient, so I changed the plan and got stuff for fajitas instead. I make some mean fajitas.
By the time I put the groceries away and nursed Leon (a marathon nursing session at that, I guess he was traumatized from being out running errands and shopping for 2 hours), I had almost no time to make dinner, and I hadn’t even started to clean. Fajitas don’t take that long, but they do require tending to. I usually fry up the veggies in my cast iron skillet, and cook the meat under the broiler. I just knew there was no way I could pull that off. And then there was my house… It was trashed! I had to at least pick things up and throw them in closets to make it look somewhat presentable.
I almost cancelled altogether, but then I remembered the baked fajitas recipe. I thought that if ever I was in a pinch, it was now. And I am thoroughly surprised to say they were delicious! It took me about 10 minutes to chop everything and throw it in my baking dish, then they cooked, unattended, for 40 minutes until they were done. I was able to use that 40 minutes to do some frantic, bare minimum cleaning, and therefore pulled my little party off!
I used 1 lb of chicken, and 2 lbs of shrimp. For veggies, I did 8 oz of mushrooms, 3 bell peppers, a large onion, 2 smoked anaheim peppers from the farmer’s market, and a can of tomatoes.
All you have to do is throw everything into the pan, toss it in your seasoning mix (I use a blend of chili powder, cumin, ancho chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper… I couldn’t begin to offer measurements, but the recipe from the link above–click on the picture–looks similar to what I use), and then you bake it at 425 until the meat is cooked through, and the vegetables are to your liking. Finish it with a squeeze of lime and some fresh cilantro if you have any.
My only qualm was that this recipe yields quite a bit of unusable liquid. I like my fajitas with some juices, but this was like, 1/3 of the pan, so I lost some of the seasoning. I don’t know what I could to reduce it next time besides drain the tomatoes, but that wasn’t all of it, there was way more than that. I might try straining it afterward, reducing it (by boiling until most of the liquid is evaporated), and then making a sauce. In a pinch though, it was still good as-is.
Update 11/19/12: I made this again last week, and in a stroke of genius saved the liquid in a freezer bag. A few days later I made tortilla soup and added the liquid to it. Fabulous!
Let me know if you try it! And if you haven’t seen Jaws yet, get together with some friends, and treat yourself! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream… It’s the perfect movie.
I grew up in a coastal city in New England. Of course I never saw Jaws. I would never go to the beach again! I loved the movie and I loved the fajitas. Thanks for having us over!