Post 1.6 - ¡Andale!

One of the diets I tried a few years back was the South Beach Diet, which actually worked well for me, but part of the diet was to avoid Mexican food. Several diets actually agree that Mexican food is bad for you. It's too high in fat and too high in carbs.

But it doesn't have to be.

I love Mexican food, so I had to figure out a way for this to work.

First, you don't have to use beef, ground or otherwise. If you use chicken, you cut the fat and cholesterol. But how to cook it? How to keep things simple?

In my last post, I talked about how I use my Food Saver to store and prepare meals, so I came up with a multi-step process for making chicken fajitas. You don't need a Food Saver to do this, but the overall principles are the same. You're going to come out of this with all the ingredients pre-made, and you'll just heat up what you need when you need it.

First, you're going to make your own taco seasoning:

2 T chili powder
5 tsp paprika
4 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Blend together and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. You can use this seasoning for up to 6 months. We're going to use it in a little while, and only 2 T worth.

Next, you'll need:

1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp of rosemary
a pinch of black pepper
1 pound (500g) of boneless, skinless breast of chicken, cut into strips

In a decent-sized bowl, combine the first three ingredients thoroughly. Add the chicken and cover, then refrigerate for at least an hour. I usually leave mine overnight.

You are going to cook the chicken by either grilling it or baking it. If you grill it, it should be 2-3 minutes on high heat per side. If you're baking, 375F for 15 minutes should do, on a baking rack over a foil-lined baking sheet (if you put it directly on the baking sheet, spray it with fat-free non-stick spray). Set aside to cool slightly.

Ok, now you'll need two medium onions and two green bell peppers. You're going to peel and slice up the onion such that you have long wide strips of onion, not mince it, not dice it, and not like you're making onion rings. Core and seed the bell peppers and cut them into thin strips.

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook the onions and peppers until the onions are translucent and slightly browned -- they should hold their shape but be tender. Drain the excess liquid.

In the same pan, add the chicken, 1 cup of water, and 2 T of the taco seasoning, and stir it all together. The seasoning will cover everything and turn your white chicken red as the whole thing cooks. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain off the liquid.

Take your favorite taco-sized tortilla and microwave it for 10 seconds. If you have multiple servings you want to make, you can cover a small stack (3-4) of tortillas with a moistened paper towel, and microwave for 10 seconds.

Place about 2 tablespoons of the meat and vegetables in the center of your tortilla. You can add some low fat cheese (I like a shredded cheddar jack blend) or some low fat sour cream. Salsa also goes great with this combination.

Eat. Enjoy. Tell me I rock. :-)

Leftovers? Easily stores in the fridge and can be reheated as you need. You can even divide up the leftovers by serving into sandwich baggies. Reheat each serving on a microwave-safe plate with a teaspoon of water for 30 seconds, as needed.

You can also add this mixture to a bowl of lettuce and tomato and a little salsa for a Mexican salad.  

Have a question or a suggestion for a future topic? E-mail me at facetsblog@gmail.com.

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