Chicken Fajita in a Pita (Salad)

Like most origin stories, this one involved a chance event. I wanted a salad but I wasn’t in the mood for my usual turkey salad. I wanted something with a bit of a kick to it, so I decided to go for a chicken fajita salad. Simple enough.

But then, what was I going to eat with a chicken fajita salad? I needed some type of bread. My immediate thought was a biscuit–I’ll eat biscuits with just about any meat–but biscuits seemed an odd choice for a Mexican dish. So I said, hey, why don’t I just make tortilla strips? That’ll be easy and fast, and I can even use a premade tortilla.

And then it dawned on me. Biscuit got me to tortilla and tortilla got me to . . . pita bread (I’m not really sure how tortilla got me to pita. Clearly, my brain made an odd association there. Just roll with it.) I would take my delicious salad and stuff it inside of a pita pocket. A fajita in a pita. It rhymed. It would be glorious. It would eliminate the need for a fork.

It would have a kick :O.

So I did just that, and the Chicken Fajita in a Pita (Salad) was born.

Pica de Gallo Salsa

Pico de gallo

Ingredients:

  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup purple onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos, diced
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes.

Fajita Seasoning

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsps corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Chicken Fajita

Ingredients:

  • Fajita seasoning
  • 3 large chicken breasts, halved
  • 1/4 cup of onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1/4 each of one red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and orange bell pepper, sliced (note: this is not 1/4 cup, but 1/4 of the bell peppers)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash and clean chicken.
  3. Place chicken in a glass casserole dish. Coat chicken in olive oil.
  4. Rub fajita seasoning into chicken, being sure to coat both sides.
  5. Add all other ingredients and combine/mix using a spatula.
  6. Cover dish with glass top and cook for 15 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for 15 additional minutes or until chicken is tender and juice run clear.

Optional Toppings:

  • 2 tbsps low sodium corn
  • 2 tbsps Black beans
  • a handful of tortilla strips

Putting it all together

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 chicken fajita strips
  • 2-3 tbsps Pico de Gallo
  • low sodium corn, black beans, tortilla strips, or other toppings
  • Pita bread, warmed on low for 5 minutes
  • 1-2 cups of salad mix
  • 1/4 cup of Mexican cheese
  • Taco sauce, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine chicken, pico de gallo, corn, salad mix, cheese, and taco sauce in a small bowl.
  2. Stuff above mixture into pita bread and enjoy!

Pepperoni Panini

Pizza and sandwiches are two of my favorite things (along with bright copper kettles), so anytime I can combine the two into one and form some kind of extra-cheesy lovechild I’m there.

Hence, the Pepperoni Panini*. It’s cheesy. It’s pesto-y. It’s just what you need when you don’t want to make the poor pizza guy come out in Florida’s unpredictable weather.

* Who cares that it’s not technically a panini? We love alteration and we’re rolling with it.

Pepperoni Panini

 

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 sandwich-sized pepperonis
  • 2 slices of Italian bread
  • 2-4 tsps of pesto
  • 1 slice of Havarti Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, Asiago, Muenster, and Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 sun dried tomato slices
  • 1/8 tsp each of parsley, oregano, and basil
  • 2-2 1/2 tbsps olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat pepperonis on stovetop over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on either side. Drain.
  2. Spread half of the pesto on either side of the Italian bread.
  3. Top one slice of the bread with pepperonis, parsley, oregano, basil, cheeses, and sun dried tomatoes. Place other slice of bread on top.
  4. Pour half of the olive oil into a small, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook sandwich until golden brown on one side. Remove sandwich, add olive oil, and replace sandwich on uncooked side. Cook until golden brown.
  5. Serve with sea salt and vinegar chips, baked french fries, or pasta salad.

Butter Post II – Now with Truffles!

I finally got around to using the Target brand butter and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The butter has a good taste to it, albeit it does have a greasier texture than the Land O Lakes butter I’m used to. The greasiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it does produce a smooth, creamy truffle just as my go-to butter does.

While I’m not convinced that it’s the best butter out there (I’m stubborn), I’d definitely buy again based on the outcome of these truffles. Still, that’s not going to stop me from running more tests, just to be sure.

Buttered cheese grits, anyone?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsps + 1 tsp milk
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 14 ounces Baker’s Dipping Chocolate Cups
  • 2 wax paper-lined cooking sheets!

Optional Toppings:

  • Crushed M&M, crushed peanuts, or sea salt sprinkled over chocolate coating

Directions:

  1. Combine sugars and butter in a bowl and beat on low-medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until very smooth and creamy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and milk and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Add flour and salt and mix together until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.
  5. Remove cookie dough from plastic wrap. Scrap out 18-22 balls of dough using a 1 tbsp measuring spoon.
  6. Place cookie dough bites on wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze for 30-45 minutes.
  7. Heat Baker’s Dipping Chocolate according to directions on label (or over very low heat on stovetop, stirring constantly. Dipping the dough will be easier if you use a very small boiler.)
  8. Remove roughly half of the cookie dough bites from the freezer.
  9. Place one cookie dough bite on a spoon and submerge in chocolate. Cover the top of the cookie dough bite with chocolate using another spoon (I recommend a coffee spoon). Gently slide dough off spoon and place on another wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate.
  10. Repeat process until all of the cookie dough balls are covered (don’t forget to remove the ones from the freezer after you’ve coated the ones that are already out).

Notes:

  • You’re welcome to melt a chocolate bar or chocolate chips to use for the chocolate coating. Just be mindful that chocolate bars/chocolate chips don’t tend to harden as well as baking chocolate.
  • You might insert a toothpick or lollipop stick into the dough before you freeze it to use as a dipping handle. Use the method that works well for you.

Butter

Let’s talk about butter.

No, seriously, let’s talk about butter.

Because I'm Southern.

Because I’m Southern.

I’ve been a Land O Lakes girl since the beginning of time, back when my grandma, Peewee, used to make her delicious, moist pound cake (not to mention her buttered potatoes, one of which she gave me every day after school. I’m still working those off, but man do I miss them).

Because I grew up with Land O Lakes–and because everything Peewee ever made was utterly amazing–you can understand my hesitation about sampling new butters. What if my pie’s not as flaky or my biscuit’s not as buttery? Heaven forbid I give someone a treat and they notice something off about the taste.

Well, nevertheless, I found myself in a situation the other day at Target. They had my prized Unsalted Land O Lake butter–at a moderately priced $4.74–but right beside it sat Target brand butter for $3.44. Now, I’m recently graduated and penny-pinching. A savings of even $1.30 means that I can buy an extra chocolate bar to melt for my homemade peanut butter cups. That’s tempting.

I go to Target at least once a week for deli meat and I often do price comparisons between Target and (gulps) Walmart, but I don’t ever recall seeing the Target butter before. But here it was. And over there, 10 aisles deep, was that extra bar of chocolate.

I caved.

I bought the Target butter.

I’ll let you know how it turned out.

Alfredo’s Pasta Salad

Almost everyone has one, their favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza joint that conjures up sweet memories of cheese, sauce, and banter. For me, that pizza heaven is Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe in Birmingham. I have many fond memories of catching a matinee with my friend Elaine right after stopping by Alfredo’s for a pepperoni calzone and a side of pasta salad.

Alfredo’s has since moved (and so have I), but Elaine and I remain the best of friends while the taste of Alfredo’s pasta salad lingers happily in my mind. I recently met up with Elaine over the 4th of July weekend and, feeling nostalgic, decided to try my hand at reproducing Alfredo’s classic pasta salad.

Alfredo’s Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

    • 2 cups rotini pasta, cooked
    • 1/2 cup sliced olives
    • 1/2 each of a red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and orange bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 cup mild banana peppers
    • 1/4 cup sauteed onions, chopped
    • 1/2 cup broccoli
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp basil
    • 1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1-1 1/2 cup(s) pesto sauce
    • 1/4 cup banana pepper juice, optional

Directions:

    1. Boil pasta over high heat for 11 minutes or until tender. Drain and pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
    2. Boil broccoli over high heat for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Sautee bell peppers over medium-high heat in 1/2-1 tsp of olive oil (or without olive oil if using a nonstick skillet).
    4. Sautee onions over medium-high heat in 1/2 tsp of olive oil and 1/8 tsp of sugar.
    5. Combine pasta with all other ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

 

All that’s left is to make a calzone! But for now, what’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza place?