Well, technically these aren’t tacos, but I did actually make them on a Tuesday! A friend and I were trying to find a time during the week where we could get lunch, but there was no time that worked for both of us. So instead, we decided to do homemade dinners, now that we’re mature (at least in theory) upperclassmen with apartments. And the day we decided on for these homemade dinners was Tuesday. Anyway, for my first time hosting and cooking I decided to make chicken fajitas, enlisting the help of my always-reliable roommate Aaron Wildavsky.
- 6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- 8 bell peppers (the more color variety, the better!)
- 1 white onion
- 2 cups brown rice
- 1 medium-sized can of yellow corn
- 1 red onion
- A bunch of cherry tomatoes (how many is up to your personal taste)
- Salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika, and coat them with olive oil.
- Roast the chicken breasts for 35-45 minutes, until the meat is cooked through yet still tender.
- Take the chicken breasts out of the oven and let them sit for 10 minutes so that they retain their moisture.
- Slice the chicken breasts along the shorter axis into 1-inch wide strips.
- Add olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat.
- Cut the bell peppers as follows: cut the top off of the pepper and remove the seeds. Place the pepper on a cutting board so that the open end is facing down. Slice the pepper into 1-inch wide strips, and then cut these strips in half.
- Dice the white onion.
- Add the white onion and bell peppers to the pan and season with salt, pepper, cumin, and olive oil. Sauté until the veggies begin to turn translucent.
- At this point, add the chicken strips to the pan. Continue cooking the mixture until the veggies finish caramelizing and the chicken develops a thin, crispy, crust.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-large pot.
- Stir in 2 cups of brown rice.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and let the rice simmer for 40 minutes, with occasional fluffing with a fork.
- Remove the rice from the heat. Let it sit (still covered) for 5 minutes, until the remaining water has been absorbed.
- Drain the water from the can of corn.
- Empty the corn into a medium mixing bowl.
- Dice the red onion and add it to the the bowl.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half along the shorter/fatter axis and add them to the bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil.
Why this recipe is good for college students: Yes, we’re college students, and we’re busy, but we do like to host a sit-down meal every once in a while. It really makes a college apartment feel more like a home and is a great way to see friends. There’s also something to be said for the added fun of a meal which entails a “build-you-own” element. On a more practical level, all of these ingredients are simple to find, and this meal can provide leftovers for a few days. Lastly, if there’s anything college students have mastered, it’s multitasking. And this meal offers plenty. Preparing the salsa while sautéing the veggies and hoping all of that was done at the same time the chicken is finished requires the same skills as does being efficient in orgo lab and doing homework while watching baseball.
Why this recipe is good for those who keep Kosher: This recipe doesn’t lose anything by not having dairy. What I mean is that it’s not as if this chicken would benefit greatly from being soaked in buttermilk. Additionally, it is pretty easy to find kosher boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Bonus tip: make the rice parve, so it can be enjoyed as a leftover with any meal.
What I would do differently if I made this recipe again
- I didn’t realize how much space the peppers and onion would take up in the pan. This especially became bothersome once the chicken was added. Next time, I would split the veggie mix into two pans, so they all come into contact with the pan and so that they’re not overflowing.
- I have a very low spice tolerance. As such, I decided to err on the side of caution when it came to the “kick” of this meal. However, even I admit that the meal as a whole maybe was too bland. If I were to make this recipe again, I would incorporate a spicier seasoning or sauce into the chicken and veggies or use spicier peppers in the salsa.