Monday, December 20, 2010

"Tortillas for Dinner"

This is not a recipe to make your own tortillas.  I buy mine at the store.  Good for you if you make yours from scratch.

One of our top five dinners is "tortillas" which essentially means there are tortillas on the table, and a whole bunch of things to put into them.  Tonight was the fajita version of "tortillas" because I had an abundance of bell peppers that needed a good use.

Tortillas for dinner usually yields plenty of leftovers for another favorite meal, called "Quesadillas" at our house.  Think grilled cheese with tortillas instead of bread, and chopped up, leftover fajita ingredients for the filling. 

Here's how I roll.  Feel free to interpret widely and liberally with whatever makes you and your family happy.  Don't forget to make too much, because the leftovers are completely worth it!

Tortillas For Dinner

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
juice from 3 limes
salt and pepper
oregano, cumin, chipotle powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed

Place all of the above in a large glass bowl, turn to combine, and put in the refrigerator for a few hours, stirring once or twice.

3 bell peppers of assorted colors, cored, seeded and sliced
2 large yellow onions, sliced
salt and pepper
juice of half a lime
olive oil and butter

In a large skillet (cast iron!), heat enough oil and butter to coat the bottom of the pan - medium high is good.  Add onions and peppers, season with salt and pepper.  Stir from time to time, and when they are slightly soft, squeeze the lime juice over them.  Increase heat, stir more frequently, and they'll be done when the onions are browned and the peppers are a bit brown and somewhat blistered.  Remove to the serving dish.

Add a bit more oil to the skillet.  Drain the liquid from the chicken and add meat to the pan.  Cook, stirring here and there, and pour off some of the liquid if it's too much.  You want the chicken to brown.  When it's done, add it to the serving dish with the vegetables.

We serve with the following:
Shredded cheese
Shredded lettuce
Fresh cilantro
Sour cream
Salsa
Hot sauce
Pickled jalapeno peppers
Chips
Guacamole (recipe follows)
"Drunk" Pinto Beans (recipe follows)


Guacamole
3 avocados, seeded and scooped
Juice from 2 limes
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Place all of the above in a bowl, and mash to your liking.  If you like it chunky, smash it less  :)


Drunk Beans
3 cups pinto beans (either soaked and cooked, or canned), drained
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
3/4 cup beer (something with substance, but not too dark)
3 tablespoons bacon grease or lard (if you plan to mash for refried status)

Put beans, seasonings and beer into a sauce pan.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring here and there.  If you want "refried" beans, drain off some of the liquid and add the bacon grease or lard to the beans, mash coarsely or thoroughly as your mouth prefers.  Eat as a dip, or in tortillas.


Quesadillas

Leftover chicken and peppers and onions from fajitas
Shredded cheese
Tortillas
Salsa and sour cream for serving

Chop chicken and vegetables finely.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a pat of butter.  Place one tortilla in the hot skillet, add a half cup (or so) of chopped chicken-veggies, then a generous sprinkling of cheese.  Leave a half-inch free at the edge of the tortilla.  Place another tortilla on top.  I like to cover the pan at this point.  After a minute or two, carefully flip the quesadilla and brown a bit on the other side.  Remove from pan and cut into wedges, serve with salsa and sour cream.  If you're not happy about turning the big quesadilla, then only fill one half of the bottom tortilla, fold it over and cook and flip as above.  You'll get 2 or 3 wedges rather than 4 or 6.

Enjoy!

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