I’m pretty sure it was the fajitas that kept us dating so long. On Friday nights in high school, I’d head over to my then boyfriend’s house. His mom made better-than-restaurant fajitas and topped them with white cheese. We only had orange cheese at my house, so this was a luxury. One night while eating fajitas, his dad told me that he’d like to give me their nice pots and pans when we got married. I was 16. My love of food was present at birth, but I hadn’t yet discovered an interest in cooking it. I awkwardly sloughed off his comment with a laugh. My high school boyfriend and I broke up and got back together a hundred times. I think it was because of the Friday night fajitas.
This post is the final of a 4-part series on reclaiming your kitchen in partnership with Wolf. We eased back into the kitchen making dinner from the pantry in a single pot. We shared our meal planning successes and woes then made sun-dried tomato bowls. We upped our dessert game while keeping things simple with strawberry puff pastry bites. Today we’re making a mess, gathering everyone into the kitchen, and reconnecting over fajitas. Join the revolution with Wolf and with me. Reclaim your kitchen. Visit reclaimthekitchen.com for more inspiration.
When Kev and I go out for Mexican food, we always share fajitas. Some people fall in love over a plate of angel hair pasta, dimmed lights, and Barry Manilow. We fell in love over a steamy cast iron skillet, salsa soaked tortillas, and the blaring trumpets of a Mariachi band. Sometimes love is blind; other times love is deaf.
We share fajitas partly because we’re cheap, partly because we love them, but mostly because fajitas are meant to be shared. The tortillas should sit at every place at the table. The guacamole bowl should have one last scoop that no one dares take. And the cheese should be handled by many (clean, if you’re dreaming) hands.
Come Friday night, we sit at the dinner table with a full week under us, usually tired, sometimes rushed, with a thousand thoughts streaming in the background. There’s plenty to talk about, but the conversation is always a little slow at first. Until someone says pass the guac. That’s when the trumpets sound and the chorus of conversation begins.
I love fajitas for their vibrant, simple, fresh flavors. But I also love that they are a vehicle for camaraderie. They are a way to get everyone in the kitchen grating cheese and chopping peppers and making a mess. They are a way to get people talking, eyes locking, and glasses clinking. They are a way to reclaim the kitchen. Your kitchen, their kitchen. That space where you meet again and again at the end of a long, busy week.
Marinate. I prefer using chicken tenders since they are similar in width and pre-cut. If using chicken breasts, pound out to about 3/4″ thick and cut into long tenders using kitchen shears. Add chicken and remaining ingredients to a plastic bag. Massage together and return to refrigerator to marinate for 1-5 hours.
Prep. Chop the veggies, keeping your cuts uniform in size. Make the guacamole (or slice an avocado just before serving). Shred the cheese. Many hands make light work. This can be done hours in advance or just before serving.
Make. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Once hot, spray with oil and place chicken on the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove chicken from skillet and allow to rest on a cutting board.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to skillet. Then add in peppers and onions. Using tongs, evenly coat veggies in oil. Add a generous pinch of salt. Cook for about 8 minutes or until veggies are lightly charred and limp. Meanwhile, add beans to a small saucepan. Add about ¼ cup water and a generous pinch of salt and cook until heated through.
Just before serving, heat tortillas either wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave or over the gas flame of a skillet. Add to a heat safe bag to keep warm.
Serve. Place everything on the table. Pass the tortillas and sound the trumpets.
This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms Wolf blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. When I started these posts, I thought I had mealtimes figured out only to realize how chaotic and unplanned they had become since our family grew to three. I wasn’t alone. You expressed a similar sentiment. Meal planning and generally being more mindful about mealtimes has worked wonders for us. I’d love to hear your experience on reclaiming the kitchen. What works for you? What doesn’t? Visit reclaimthekitchen.com for more inspiration. Make Friday Night Fajitas and tag them with #reclaimthekitchen and #therealfauxmartha.