I have had some requests for quick and easy gluten-free meals. I get it. Everyone’s hungry, the day has been long, and take-out can get expensive and pretty limited when you’re gluten-free. Prepared frozen meals are fine once in a while but are also pricey and not as nutritious as you might want. So I will be giving you some “22 Minute Gluten-Free Meals” that are not only quick and easy but will be very efficient in their use of tools and kitchen equipment. After that long tiring day you do not want to spend a long time cleaning up from dinner.
This time it’s Gluten-Free Chicken Fajitas. This will this be a step-by-step recipe along with specific instructions on how to use your 22 minutes efficiently. No making five trips to the refrigerator or pantry. No waiting for something to heat up. You will be active the whole time.
So you might say “But you’re a professional chef. I can’t work as quickly as you do.” I thought of that. I timed myself for about 17 minutes. So don’t fear, you can do it! And if you want to make it even easier, get your family involved. Make them your “sous chefs.” Give them the list and have them gather the ingredients, get them rinsed, measured and ready for you while you are already working. Five minutes of help from one person will save you 10!
Before you start, print out the recipe and have it ready. Quickly read it over so you know what to expect.
Ok. ready? Set, go!
Step 1: You will take the first couple of minutes to get EVERYTHING you will need at your work station. So take this recipe with you as you as you gather the tools and ingredients. Make one trip around the kitchen and use your cutting board as your tray. If you can, set your cutting board and all other items on the counter closest to the stove.
1 cutting board
1 large, non-stick skillet
1 wooden spoon or spatula
1 sharp knife
1 fork and 1 teaspoon
1 measuring teaspoon
1 colander or draining basket
1 small cup or bowl
1 soup type bowl
1 dinner plate
1 medium serving bowl
1 paper towel
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken breast
3 red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers
1 medium red onion
3 zucchini and/or yellow squash
Cotija cheese, a crumbly Mexican cheese (optional)
8 whole leaves of red or green leaf lettuce
8 small or 4 large gluten-free tortillas (optional)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Put the skillet on the stove (don’t turn it on yet).
Step 2: Rinse the lettuce leaves, cilantro and vegetables and put them in the colander or basket to drain. Shake the excess water off the cilantro and wrap in the paper towel.
Step 3: Combine all the spices (not the salt)in the smallest cup/bowl.
Step 4: Cut the avocado in 1/2 and remove the pit. Leave it in the skin and slice into strips. Use the spoon to scoop under the flesh and loosen it from the skin but do not remove it. Leave it in the skin and put the 2 halves back together to keep it from turning brown. Chop up some cilantro. Cut the limes in half this way:
Put all the step 4 ingredients in the soup type bowl and set aside.
Step 5: Cut the vegetables into strips. Put the cut vegetables into the medium serving bowl as you get them done.
Peppers: Cut off the tops and bottoms of the peppers and save for a salad tomorrow. Run your knife just around the inside of the flesh to remove the seeds and ribs, cut in 1/2 (from top to bottom) and then into strips.
At this point turn the flame to high under the skillet.
Onions: Cut in 1/2 through the stem and root ends, lay the flat side down and cut into thin strips.
Zucchini and Squash: Cut in 1/2 length wise. Lay the flat side down and cut lengthwise into a few strips then crosswise into thirds.
Step 6: Put a light coating of oil in the pan (barely enough to cover the bottom.) Throw all the vegetables into the skillet, sprinkle on about 1/4 of the spice mix an a couple of pinches of kosher salt. Saute (stirring every so often) until they are slightly softened, about 3-4 minutes.
If you have whole chicken breasts cut them into strips now, while the veggies are cooking. Just keep an eye on the veggies.
Step 7: Dump the veggies back into that medium serving bowl and cover with a dinner plate to keep warm. Put the skillet back on the flame and lightly coat with oil again. Take your cutting board over to the stove and slide the chicken into the skillet. Put the cutting board and knife into the sink and wash your hands.
Step 8: Squeeze the limes over the chicken using the fork to help get the juice out. Sprinkle on the remaining spice mix and a few pinches of kosher salt. Now stir a bit. When the chicken is almost done, split the tortillas into 2 stacks and put the stacks directly on the burners with a very low flame. Turn them over a few times while also keeping an eye on the chicken. Also take a second to remove the avocado from the skin. Saute until the chicken is cooked through. Put the tortillas on the dinner plate that is covering the veggies. If anyone’s trying to cut calories or avoid starch, just use the lettuce as your wrap.
Your work is done! Have everyone bring their forks and plates over to create their own plate.
I like to layer it this way: