Have you ever went to the grocery store with the intention of making either fajitas or tacos that night for dinner?  Did you spend a fortune on some amazing produce, purchase some fresh (maybe organic?) protein, and then throw one of those packaged fajita/taco seasoning pouches in your cart?

 I have.  Many times.

I'd go home, cook everything up, add the spice mix (following the directions on the back), take a bite, and immediately wish I would've went to Taco Bell!  

There's just always something so funky tasting about those little spice packets, and no wonder! There are more chemicals listed on the ingredients list than there are spices!

A little salt, pepper, lime juice, cumin and chipotle chili pepper are all you need to recreate that smoky, delicious fajita flavor reminiscent of a Mexican restaurant.  It couldn't be more simple!

I decided to use chipotle chili powder because it has a nice smokey flavor--and it's not an artificial smokey flavor, either.  It's also one of the milder chili powders; but at the same time gives the dish the flavor and heat you would expect when making fajitas.

Chipotle chili powder is made from smoked jalapeno peppers which are then ground into a powder. They can also be purchased whole--in a can--packed in a very spicy adobo sauce.

Not only do fresh chilies and chili powders add spice to your dish; but because they increase themogenesis (heat production in the body)--for up to 20 minutes after they're eaten--they could also help take inches off your waistline.

The heat—or hotness—you feel after eating spicy food requires energy to produce. The more often you incorporate chiles and spices into your meals—the more calories you will burn.

Chipotle Chicken Fajitas

This recipe is very simple and very versatile. It can be adjusted to incorporate whichever vegetables or proteins you have on hand. They're equally good with shrimp as they are with chicken!

(serves 6--each fajita is approximately 150 calories)

Chicken Marinade:

1 lb chicken breast, diced

1 large shallot, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

juice of half a lime

zest of half a lime

1/2 tsp salt

pepper

1 tsp. ground cumin powder

1 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder

2 tbsp. minced cilantro

1 tbsp. olive oil

Rinse and dry chicken.  Put it in a large ziploc bag along with the other marinade ingredients.  Toss everything together until the chicken is evenly coated.

 Let the chicken mingle with the marinade for around 30 minutes—while you are cooking the veggies. 

Veggies:

2 large red bell peppers, cut into strips

2 large green bell peppers, cut into strips

1 large white onion, cut into strips

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pan.  Once it is hot add in the onions. Cook the onions over med-high heat until they are nice and browned.  This will take around 10 min or so.

Once the onions are browned, add in the garlic.  Cook for about two minutes and then add the peppers.  Stirring occasionally, cook the peppers until they are tender but still have a little bite to them.  

Add the mushrooms and cover the pan, they'll take about 5 minutes to cook.  Season the veggies with salt and pepper.  Remove the veggies from the pan and set them aside.

In the same pan you cooked the vegetables, add a little olive oil.  Dump the chicken in the pan along with all the marinade.  Stir everything together and then put the lid on the pan.  After a minute give everything another good stir.  

Once the chicken has cooked for around 4-5 minutes (make sure they are fully cooked), add the veggies back into the pan and stir everything together.  Let the mixture cook together for about 5 minutes, with the lid on.  

Take the lid off, scoop the mixture into tortillas or onto brown rice; and enjoy!!!

Note:

Calories for this recipe were calculated using 50-calorie Tortilla Factory tortillas. If you use a different brand, be sure to check the nutrition label. Some tortillas can have more than 200 calories in one serving!

About the author: Shari enjoys learning about food, making food, and eating food. She especially has an affinity for unique ingredients and Indian recipes. You can read her blog over at MyFancyPantry.com

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