Fajita Chicken is so easy to make at home. You marinate and season the chicken, cook it in the pan, and slowly cook the sliced bell peppers and onions in another pan alongside. While that works, your rice is cooking in a small saucepan on another burner. By the time the rice is done, the rest of dinner is almost ready to come together. Easy peasy, and flavorful.
This was the first time I tried marinating the chicken during the work week, I used to think it was an extra step that just took up time I didn’t have. Since I freeze individual portions of thin-sliced chicken breast after I buy it, I already had one chicken breast defrosting in its ziploc bag in a bowl in the refrigerator. So I just added the marinating ingredients to the ziploc bag, squished it up a little to coat the chicken, and placed it back in the fridge for 15 minutes. You wouldn’t think that short of a time would make a difference, but it does….it really tenderizes the chicken, you can taste the difference once its cooked. Perhaps because it is thin cut chicken, the short marinating time is enough to do wonders. You have plenty of time during those 15 minutes to multi-task and slice up peppers and onions, then place them over low heat in a skillet to start getting tender and caramelized, which takes about 20 – 30 minutes if you like them really soft and tender, like I do.
A tip regarding bell peppers: the recipe calls for half of a bell pepper, sliced. You may want to know what to do with the other half of the pepper? If you wrap it in plastic wrap, or place it in a bowl with a cover, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a day or two, so you can slice or chop it up into eggs or a chili the next day. After that, the bell pepper may get soft in spots, which means you don’t want to use it at that point. For longer storage, I slice the bell pepper and place it in a snack size Ziploc bag and freeze it. It will keep for a couple of months that way, and believe it or not it is fine sauteed up in a pan straight from frozen, it defrosts and softens and cooks just like a fresh bell pepper, I was amazed the first time I tried this.
I keep the rice simple, just plain boiled white rice seasoned with a little salt. I like the way it balances out the stronger flavors in the rest of the dish.
1 thin-sliced boneless and skinless chicken breast
3 tsp olive oil, plus extra for the pan
1 tsp apple cider vingegar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Several grinds of black pepper
Red pepper chili flakes, to taste (optional)
Half a green bell pepper (or red, yellow or orange bell pepper)
Half a cup sliced white onion
1/2 cup rice
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place chicken breast in a Ziploc bag. Add the ingredients for the marinade: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, salt and black pepper. If you want to add a little heat, also add red chili pepper flakes to taste. Place in a bowl in the refrigerator and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large skillet and heat over medium low heat. Core and slice the bell pepper and add to the skillet along with sliced onion. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cook, slowly over medium low heat, stirring once in a while until peppers and onions are tender and caramelized in spots, about 20 – 30 minutes.
While the peppers and onions cook, make the rice: Add rice to a saucepan with a lid along with 1 cup of water and a few pinches of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir so that rice doesn’t stick, then lower the heat to very low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rice sit, covered, another 5 minutes or until you’re ready to serve.
When chicken has finished marinating, take it out of its marinade and let rest on a paper towel on a plate to soak up any excess marinade. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a small non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken breast and cook about 3 – 4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Let rest on a plate for 5 minutes, then slice across the grain into half inch strips.
Serve the fajita chicken with the bell peppers and rice.