This recipe makes the simplest, tastiest fajitas and seasoned refried beans.
Remember that the seasonings you end up preferring may be different than these, but this is a good place to start based on taste tastes (well, actually the way the young adults around here pack it away!)
But try this recipe as a start. You may want a spicier or milder or sweeter recipe. But start somewhere, make notes and experiment.
For beef fajitas, flank steak is the traditional the cut of meat. I have found though, that flank steak can be very expensive relative to other cuts such as an “asada cut” beef steak. Asada cut simply means it comes pre-sliced at about 1/8″ thick. So try a different, less expensive cut.
To cook the beef I simply slice it into bite sized chunks cross grained and sautee in a skillet with medium hot olive oil until cooked. I might accidentally add some Worcestershire or A1 Steak Sauce.
For chicken, use the boneless, skinless breast or thigh meat. If you can get the pre-cooked chicken from the deli it makes it easy and flavored already. If not, here we goooo…. Slice in strips cross grained and sautee in medium hot olive oil, stirring frequently, until done.
For shrimp? Well…use shrimp. You can cook them anyway you want to, just cook them before adding to the veggies here. Oh. Yeah, for you (non)masters of the culinary arts at T.G.I. Fridays? Take the shrimp out of the shell before cooking in fajitas or other Cajun soups and stews. I mean, really people?
Make the refried beans FIRST
Then mix the spices for the meat.
- Fajita meat – 1 lb. of whatever you choose.
- Bell pepper – 1 large
- Onion – 1 med-large white or sweet (I really prefer the sweet)
- Lime cut in half (a lemon will work just fine)
- 1 tbls. Sweet, smoky paprika
- 1 tsp. Chili pepper*
- 1/2 tsp. Cumino, ground*
- 1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper* (this is my own personal twist)
- 1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. Lemon or lime zest or dried peel
- 1/4 tsp. Ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. Salt
Whisk all of the spices together in a bowl. Place the mix in an old spice jar. I use one that has the perforated lid made to sprinkle the spices.
- Slice the bell pepper lengthwise.
- Clean out the insides and rinse.
- Remove the paper skin from the onion.
- Cut the onion in half from top to bottom.
- Lay the onion halves flat and slice across so that you end up with half rings.
- In a large skillet heat 2 tbls. olive oil over medium-high heat until really hot, but not smoking.
- Sautee half of the onions and bell peppers. While sauteeing sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the spice mix.
- When you feel the veggies are just crisper than you want, add a cup of meat and sprinkle with another 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. spice mix. You may need to add some oil as well.
- Reduce heat, stir and heat the meat through.
Squeeze lime or lemon juice over the mix.
- Serve with the beans, and tortillas.
Seasoned Refried Beans
If you really want the flavor throughout here are a couple of things you can try:
- Mixing the seasonings really well with the sour cream before stirring into warm beans.
- Make up an hour or so ahead of time for better flavor.
- Make the seasonings and sour cream mix in the morning and let sit until ready.
Again, everyone has their own taste buds and preferences. This is just a starting point. Also, pay attention to the refried beans you are buying – they may already have a lot of seasoning, especially salt. I tend to buy the blander, fat free or low fat variety and spice it up myself.
1 – 12. oz Can of refried beans, unseasoned (it will have salt in it anyway) fat free or low fat
1/3 to 1/2 cup sour cream – I use fat free and it turns out just fine
2 tsps. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Cumino
1/2 tsp. Chili pepper
1/4 tsp. Salt or salt substitute