Winter week-nights find me longing for main dishes that are affordable, easy to fix and loaded with flavor. I love it even better when I can cook once and create the base for several meals, at once. Whether you call it batch cooking or freezer meals, I am in favor. I rarely have time to do HUGE day-long sessions, though, so I use recipes like my Best Chicken Fajitas recipe and prep multiple meals, as I am making dinner for the evening. The time invested is the same. I separate out enough for the evening meal and then portion the rest and freeze it or store in the fridge to be used later in the week.
For affordable, chicken is my go-to protein, right now. In our area, I can purchase a family pack of fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.99 per pound. Compared to $4 or more, per pound, for ground beef, chicken has become our family’s affordable menu staple. Fortunately, it’s incredibly versatile and there are so many delicious and simple recipes that can be prepared with it. Another way to make meals more affordable is to make your own seasoning blends from scratch. I even made tortillas from scratch, for this meal. With less than 50¢ worth of ingredients, I made 12 burrito-size flour tortillas. Remember, when you invest less money on food, it usually means you’ll be investing more of your time in the prep. That’s the trade off. But, if you’re working with a tight budget, it’s well worth it. Allow the extra time in your schedule and you won’t regret it.
My Best Chicken Fajitas recipe is mouthwateringly delicious and easy to prep in your oven. The recipe only calls for three ingredients. I season and make the chicken, separate from the peppers and onions, because I am dividing up the meat for the freezer. I also use this flavorful chicken for several other dishes, besides fajitas, like chicken fajita quesadillas, chicken tacos, burritos, fajita chicken salads, casseroles and rice bowls. One more reason that I don’t cook the peppers and onions with the chicken is that our family preference is for the veggies to be quickly cooked, just before serving. I basically do a high-heat stir fry in a teaspoon of oil. They cook only enough to get hot, which concentrates the natural sugars, but they stay tender crisp and retain all their vibrant color. For this recipe, you most certainly can cook the peppers and onions in the oven with the chicken, but they will become soft and lose a good deal of their color. You decide what works best for your family. The dish is going to be fabulous either way!
Baking this in a big batch means I have a meal for tonight, and the beginnings of a number of other delicious meals for later in the week or even later in the month. I start by slicing boneless, skinless chicken breasts into thin strips and arranging them evenly in a large baking pan. Salt and pepper them to taste. If you don’t have a sheet pan with high sides, you can always divide it between two 9 x 13 pans. Then I drizzle the oil over the chicken, sprinkle the fajita seasoning evenly over the whole pan. Next I give it all a good stir, being careful that each strip of chicken is coated and then arrange it evenly in the baking pan, again. All that’s left is to bake it for 40 minutes. How simple is that!!?!
The secret is definitely my special blend of Homemade Fajita Seasoning. It brings a little heat, some smokiness and delicious savory flavors into the chicken. The oil and seasoning, thoroughly coating each of the strips, and cooking them quickly at a high temperature keeps the chicken moist and tender. You can’t miss with this tasty recipe! Enjoy!
- 5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup fajita seasoning (I use my homemade fajita seasoning.)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut chicken into thin strips (1/4 to ⅜ inch thick).
- Arrange chicken in a large 12x18 sheet pan or (2) 9x13 pans.
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
- Drizzle oil over chicken slices.
- Sprinkle fajita seasoning evenly over entire pan.
- Stir and toss everything together until each strip is coated in oil and seasoning.
- Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once about 20 minutes into the cook time.
- Remove from oven and cool.
- Divide into meal portions and freeze.
- Spoon each meal portion of cooled fajita chicken into a ziptop freezer bag. Push as much air out of the bag as possible and seal. Freeze for up to 2 months.
- Spoon a cooled portion of the fajita meat into an airtight container and seal. Store for up to a week and use in various recipes.
- Add one teaspoon cooking oil to a heavy skillet.
- Heat to high heat and add bell peppers and red onions, ( The quantity you use will be dependent on how many fajitas you are prepping. For the 4 of us, with a couple of us eating two fajitas, I use 1½ bell peppers and about ¼ of a medium red onion.), sliced into thin strips. Add the portion of the fajita chicken that you will be using and stir everything together. (Be sure chicken is thawed, if you are using previously prepared portions from the freezer).
- Continue heating the veggies and chicken over high heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the vegetables are heated through, tender crisp and vibrant in color and the chicken is hot.
- Add a generous serving of the chicken and veggies to the center of a warm tortilla and top with sour cream. Salsa, cilantro and lime juice are other great topping suggestions. Use your family's favorites.