unfussy fajitas

Confession: these were actually my first made at home fajitas, so I can’t speak from experience to general fajita fussiness. But these sure aren’t fussy, and my sister–much more of a fajita connoisseur, both in restaurants and at home, than I am–assures me that they are in fact easier and less messy to make than the average. We actually ‘pinned this recipe during the same week, and she beat me to making it. Which worked in my favor, because I got the benefit of her wisdom and the tweaks she was thinking of for the next time she made this dish, which she’s already planning on. All good things, I thought.

fajitas-plated1I’m not sure why I was drawn to this recipe, beyond the fact that I tend to pin a lot of what Budget Bytes puts out there (and, that it’s hard to resist a recipe post with “Ooo, these are my new favorite thing!!” as the first line). If I’m at a Mexican restaurant I’ll look with longing at sizzling plates of fajitas as they pass by, but rarely actually order them. Instead, I almost always go for tacos or a burrito or some special seafood something. But this looked simple and healthy and like I would feel good about making and eating it, qualities that are especially appealing given that my dinner roster has included a lot (even more than usual, which is saying something) of Thai delivery lately.

this veggie pile felt pleasantly virtuous.

this veggie pile felt pleasantly virtuous.

When I asked Joie for her thoughts and suggestions on this recipe, she allowed as how she had added more meat, because, as her boyfriend pointed out, “No one has ever said, ‘You know what these fajitas need? Less meat.'” Wise man. Tho the original recipe calls for 1 lb of chicken, the author mentions that she only used one small breast, probably closer to 3/4. I used a lb of chicken breasts that came pre-pounded, was happy with the amount. Joie had mentioned that in retrospect she wished she had bumped up the spice amounts since she added more meat, and since I also added an extra red pepper I decided to follow her advice. She suggested one and half of the original amounts, and I’m here to tell you that you can go ahead and double it. My mind wandered a bit while measuring spices, and about halfway through I realized I had been doing double amounts without thinking about it. I decided to throw caution and spiciness to the wind and just go with it, and was glad I did. And also glad for another of Joie’s suggestions, subbing in smoked paprika for the regular, to up the smokiness. She’s a clever one, my sister.

spicy spices.

spicy spices.

I really enjoyed this recipe for it’s simplicity, taste, and plentiful leftovers, but also because the end result reminded me a lot of Joie’s constant order at our favorite Mexican place at home, named El Rancho but called Tony’s (after the owner) in our family. My father and his best friend go to Tony’s almost every Saturday, and have for years–the waitress has a Heinken and Diet Coke with no ice ready for them as soon as they walk in. Joie and I almost always go at least once when we’re home, and she almost always orders the chicken fajita wrap. I admire her healthier looking choice while I chomp down on my own always order, their “California” burrito, and wonder if next time I’ll switch up my choice and follow her lead. Probably not, especially now that I know I can make something comparable at home…and I doubt the same could be said about the California burrito.


oven fajitas
adapted from Budget Bytes, with the help of my sister


2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 small (or 1 lg.) onions
2 medium green bell peppers
2 medium red bell pepper
1 lb. chicken breast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium lime
your favorite tortillas
roughly torn cilantro


Preheat oven to 400. Combine all spices and corn starch in a small bowl. Slice peppers, onions, and chicken breast into thin strips. Place veggies and chicken in a 9×13 baking pan, pour spice mixture and oil on top, and toss to combine–you really want to get the spice mixture evenly all over everything. Bake for 35-40 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking time. Remove from oven and squeeze half of a lime over mixture. Serve on tortillas with cilantro. If you happen to have rice and beans as sides (which would be a very good call) everything mixed together and reheated is great in a tortilla for lunch the next day.


11 thoughts on “unfussy fajitas

  1. This looks so easy! I’ve never read Budget Bytes before, but it looks great – do you or Joie have any other faves from the site?

  2. Are the spices already doubled in this listing? (Also, hmm, onion and garlic powder. Never really got into those enough to keep any around.)

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