Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Restaurant-Style Chicken Fajita Bowls

Chicken Fajita Bowl

A few years ago (pre-babies, pre-grey hair), the Hubster and I lived in a fabulous apartment downtown really close to a Mexican restaurant whose name matches that of a car. I'll give you one guess. Yup, that's the one! We spent many a dinner there, hanging out with friends, trading war stories, and eating our weight in chips and salsa. And although most of the food wasn't that great, the fajitas were the bomb! Wait, did I just date myself using that phrase? It doesn't even matter because the memory of those fajitas makes me so happy! Grilled chicken, perfectly charred veggies and a million toppings. Those fajitas were it.

Recently, after many years, we went back to that restaurant and I got the fajitas because of course! And the fajitas? They were sort of lackluster. Womp womp womp. Don't get me wrong, I of course ate the entire platter because I never turn down a challenge but the entire experience bummed me out for days. The Hubster insists they were the same fajitas from all those years ago but I'm convinced they were not. I would go so far as to say, the restaurant sold the original fajita recipe to a secret new restaurant and I just have to find the secret new restaurant that is holding my fajitas hostage.

Chicken Fajita Bowl

The only thing left to do was recreate the fajitas (the true fajitas!) from all those years ago while I honing my detective skills to find the new mystery fajita restaurant. And without further adieu, I present you with the Chicken Fajita Bowl. I generally use brown rice instead of glorious flour tortillas because even though I love me some tortillas, my pants disagree. If you prefer it over tortillas (and really, who wouldn't?), you do you! I like to make up a giant batch of fajita chicken, perfectly charred veggies, and rice on the weekend so we can make individual bowls for lunch and dinner for the next few days. Topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and fresh lime juice, it puts all restaurant fajitas to shame.

Oh, and speaking of restaurant fajitas, even though the fajitas at the restaurant weren't as great as I remembered, I was comforted to know that I'm still the reigning queen of chips and salsa eating.

Restaurant-Style Chicken Fajita Bowls

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in strips
5 tbs. oil
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
Salt and Pepper

1 large red pepper
1 large green pepper
1 onion
1 1/2 cups brown rice

Add chicken strips, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice and spices to ziploc bag. Mix thoroughly so chicken is coated with spices and marinate for a few hours or overnight.

In a heavy cast iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and cook chicken in small batches. When pan is dry, add another tablespoon of oil and finish cooking the remaining chicken. I generally use a cast iron grill pan and love how it gives the chicken that perfect char. If you don't have a cast iron pan, you can use a regular pan but be sure to let the chicken cook on one side without moving it around, and then flip to the other side.

While the chicken is cooking, boil water and cook brown rice. Cut the peppers and onions into strips. In the same pan that you cooked the chicken, add the last tablespoon of oil and cook the peppers and onions.

Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and fresh limes.

14 comments:

  1. I think what happens is that your tastes evolve and change and what might seems great at one point in your life, appears "lackluster at another point. Looks like you remedied the situation with a great recipe.

    Velva

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so true! The prospect of eating a box of sugary cereal makes me gag a bit but in my younger days, I could down one with no problems. Well except for Cocoa Puffs. Those remain spectacular and will be even when I'm 80 years old.

      Delete
  2. That happened to us too, we haven't gone to our favorite restaurant in the longest time and when we finally did, it wasn't as good as I remembered it. These fajita bowls however look just perfect :P)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so sad right, Kelly?! I feel like food has so much to do with preserving that moment or those memories so change is generally no bueno.

      Delete
  3. It is totally amazing how I think back so fondly on so many foods/restaurants and then now, when we do go back, it never tastes nearly as good as I remembered! Not sure if it's me or the dishes/restaurants that's changed. Probably both. I love that you made a knock-out fajita bowl yourself! That's what I'd try to do as well. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, I like to think I haven't changed at all but I'm grudgingly beginning to admit that it's likely me. Glad to know others are in the same boat!

      Delete
  4. Aww, what a bummer! It's so disappointing when something doesn't live up to your memories of it. On the plus side, your fajita bowls look miles better than what you could get at a restaurant :)

    The only way your could date yourself more is if you wrote "da bomb" - which also dates me, yikes!! Haha ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also have discovered more gray hairs than I'm willing to admit so the dating is definitely happening! :)

      Delete
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