The neighborhood where I grew up was only 5 minutes from a big mall. When I go back, there is something very familiar even though it is not the mall from my childhood. Many stores and brands are long gone. I still have memories of the first time my mom let me browse parent-free with a few friends. We had explicit instructions for our designated meeting time and place, but we still felt so grown up roaming the stores on our own.
Being close to the mall meant lots of chain restaurants all with lengthy menus to appeal to a wide audience. Yesterday I recreated one of my franchise favorites, grilled chicken fajitas, a Tex-Mex classic. I marinated the chicken in a mixture of cumin and other spices and lime juice. Before firing up the grill, I brushed the peppers and onions in extra marinade. The result was far more flavorful than any fajitas I had ever enjoyed in a restaurant.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 red bell pepper, quartered and deseeded
1 yellow bell pepper, quartered and deseeded
1 green bell pepper, quartered and deseeded
1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
8-12 flour tortillas, warmed
Monterey jack cheese, salsa and sour cream for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Pound the chicken breasts to a uniform thickness (about 1/2 inch), as necessary. Transfer the chicken to a re-sealable plastic bag. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade before pouring the rest over the chicken. Marinate 1 hour up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on medium high heat. Brush the bell peppers and onions with the reserved marinade. Grill the chicken for 10-12 minutes, turning once, until cooked through. Grill the vegetables for 5-7 minutes, turning once, until they have grill marks and are tender.
Slice the peppers and chicken into thin strips and halve the onions. Serve with tortillas, Monterey jack cheese, salsa and sour cream.