Chicken fajitas are a great way to add flavor to chicken without adding calories.
At its core, what the world knows as Mexican cuisine isn’t terribly complicated. Many Mexican dishes start with a tortilla, some kind of protein and vegetables. with cheese occasionally thrown in. Mexican food is actually far more complicated than that, and one good example is fajitas, which weren’t originally part of Mexican cuisine but have since become an accepted addition.
If Fajitas Aren’t Mexican, What Are They?
Fajitas are actually a form of Tex-Mex, an offshoot of Mexican cuisine that features a heavy emphasis on ingredients and flavors that aren’t commonly used in Mexican cooking. For example, many Tex-Mex dishes opt to use beef as the preferred protein, but real Mexican chefs don’t usually cook with beef.
Instead, the beef that’s used in fajitas is mainly an American creation, as beef is quite common in Texas and is eaten in many of the state’s dishes. However, white meat is far more common in Mexicans’ daily diets, and chicken and pork are often used instead of beef when meat is a required part of the dish.
Why Should You Bake Chicken?
When you’re preparing chicken, the way that you prepare it has a large effect on the health benefits of your dish. When you fry chicken, for example, you’re adding a lot of flavor, but you’re also adding a lot of calories in the process. Plus, frying chicken retains the skin, and most of the fat on a chicken is in the skin. While eating the skin mostly provides heart-healthy unsaturated fats, it’s also not wise to eat too many fats if you’re trying to lose weight.
Baking chicken, however, is a great way to prepare chicken in a way that adds flavor without adding calories. When you saute chicken, it doesn’t get a lot of time to take on the flavors of anything else that it’s being cooked with. Usually, you’re only getting the flavors that you’ve personally added, either by way of a marinade or herbs and spices.
When you bake chicken, however, it’s going to be sitting in the oven for about a half-hour as it cooks evenly. That’s plenty of time for chicken to absorb the flavors of whatever it’s being baked with, resulting in a flavorful bird that retains much of its juice.
What Variations Exist?
With fajitas, if you can think it and find it at your grocer, you can make it happen. Fajitas allow you to customize just about any ingredient you want, from your protein to your tortilla. You can use a corn or flour tortilla, add chiles and mushrooms, incorporate beans or even add tofu. Whatever tastes sound good to your palate are fair game.
How Do I Make Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas?
When you’re making this dish, you’ll want to be sure that you slice your chicken into strips before you start the cooking process. Once you’ve preheated the oven, place your sliced chicken and whatever vegetables you’re using on your sheet pan and sprinkle with fajita seasoning. You’ll have to toss everything once to make sure it all cooks evenly, but once you’ve done that, all you need to do is wait until the chicken reaches 165 degrees internally. When it does, get your tortillas ready and enjoy!
Being able to customize a dish to your own specifications is one of the best things about learning to cook, and it’s even better with a dish that’s designed to be customized the way fajitas are. If you try this out with your family’s favorite vegetables, you’ll have a popular dinner that’s easy to assemble!