Grilled Fajitas

Skip the restaurant and fire up the grill!  These fajitas are simple, full of color and so yummy! The meat is marinated, grilled, and so flavorful. The red, yellow, orange, green and purple from the peppers, and onion are pleasing to the eye and create a gorgeous spread.  These are the perfect choice for an outdoor, summer party.  Invite some friends over and serve these up with beans, rice, chips, Fresh Salsa, guacamole, summer fruit and limeade to create an unforgettable, delicious meal. Fajitas at home used to mean opening a packet of fajita seasoning mix and adding meat and veg to simmer.  Let me share with you how to make restaurant quality fajitas without simmering in water, which just toughens the meat, makes the peppers soggy and is just plain wrong!

First we’ll prep the vegetables and marinade the meat. I used chicken here, but steak and shrimp are also incredible with this recipe!

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Most people are used to slicing peppers and onions into strips, but as you can imagine, this would make it impossible to grill them. Instead, slice the purple onions crosswise into 1/2″ rings and quarter the peppers, removing seeds.  Set aside.

Next, mix the marinade.  This is made up of canola oil, fresh lime juice, good quality worcestershire sauce, spices, cilantro, jalapeno and spices.  Whisk the ingredients together and reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade for later.  The rest is poured over the meat.

If using chicken breasts, slice them lengthwise for more even flavoring and grilling.  Place your chicken, shrimp or steak in a gallon size, zip-top bag and add marinade.  Allow to marinade from 3 to 24 hours, in the refrigerator.

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Preheat gas grill to medium high or heat charcoal until turning grey and ashy.  I like both types of grills.  A gas grill is quick to turn on,  easy to use, and easy to control the temperature. I bought this grill for my husband for Father’s Day and we’ve been so happy with it.  It is sturdy, way easy to get started and it does a good job of temperature control whether low or high.  A charcoal grill imparts such yummy flavor, can have wood chips added for smoking and can be used for indirect cooking.  A charcoal grill can take some practice to feel comfortable with. This is the charcoal Weber grill we’ve had for years and it is still as good as new!  It has no rust spots or dents, it is well made and super sturdy.  TIP: If using a charcoal grill, after spreading out the coals, replacing the grate and placing food on the grill, DO NOT COVER! This smothers the charcoal and you will quickly lose the heat.  

On the left, you can see I like to use a chimney starter for my coals.  Just place the charcoal in to fill, and place some wadded up newspaper underneath to light.  Strike a match and place through the holes at the bottom, lighting the paper on fire.  TIP: I use match-light charcoal. That means they will light with just a match and require no lighter fluid. This is just my preference, but it is so much easier than needing to buy lighter fluid also, and they light up so quickly.  Now the coals are ready, spread out, and the grate has been placed on top, time to get grillin’!

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Lay the marinated meat and vegetables on to the grill.

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Turn when the chicken starts to brown on the edges and the vegetables start to char and blister. The onions can separate and fall through the slats if you don’t flip them carefully. I have found it best to use a long, metal spatula to turn them. Don’t worry about the peppers getting black, char spots; this is a good thing.  They will be soft and deliciously roasted.  Cook the chicken until the inside temperature is at 160 degrees, tent with foil and allow to rest. In my opinion, one of the most important kitchen tools to have is a digital meat thermometer. No more guessing if your food is done, worrying about salmonella, or being disappointed with dry, tough meat.  I use mine every day. There are two types I recommend. The first is an instant read thermometer. This gives a precise temperature reading in seconds and I love that it folds up for storage.  The second type is an oven and grill safe thermometer. The probe can be left in the meat while it cooks and the base is magnetic, so it can be stuck to your oven or fridge for convenience in reading. It also has a temperature alert, and timer.  This is the one I use and I have purchased it for gifts as well.  The chicken will continue to cook (carry-over cooking) and will reach 165 degrees after 5-10 minutes.

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How beautiful are those veggies?!  I love the way these fajitas look, they really are show-stoppers! This is the point when you slice the peppers into strips and cut the onions slices once down the middle.  Then, toss the sliced peppers and onions with the reserved 1/4 cup of marinade.  Slice the chicken or steak and serve along side the roasted peppers and onions.

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Top them off with cheese, guacamole, sour cream and my fresh Fresh Salsa and EAT! Your guests will be so impressed, like my sister-in-law said when I made these for her, “The next time I want fajitas I’m skipping the restaurant and coming over to your house!” ENJOY!

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GRILLED FAJITAS

Ingredients:

6 thin-sliced chicken breasts or 3 large chicken breasts, sliced length-wise

1/3 c. canola oil

1/3 c. lime juice, the juice of approximately 3 limes

3 T. worcestershire sauce

1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed, leaves chopped

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 jalapeno pepper, with seeds and ribs removed, minced

3 tsp. brown sugar

1 large, red onion, sliced crosswise into 1/2″ slices, do not separate into individual rings

1 each: orange, yellow, red, and green bell pepper

Serve with the following:

Flour tortillas

Shredded cheese

Sour Cream

Guacamole

Shredded lettuce

Diced Tomatoes

Fresh Salsa

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, lime juice, worcestershire sauce, cilantro, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, minced jalapeno and brown sugar. Whisk together. Reserve 1/4 c. of the marinade to toss with the cooked vegetables before serving. Place chicken breasts in a large, zip-top bag and pour marinade over the chicken.  Refrigerate, chicken and marinade until 1 hour before grilling.  Preheat a gas grill or charcoals.  (See tips above) When grill is hot, place chicken, peppers and onion slices onto grill in an even layer.  When the chicken starts to brown on the sides and the onions and peppers have some nice char spots, turn them all over.  Remove chicken and veggies to a cutting board when the veggies are charred on both sides and the chicken is at an internal temperature of 160 degrees.  Tent with foil for 5- 10 minutes while you heat the tortillas.  Slice the chicken and vegetables into strips and serve immediately.

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