I have been on this very, very strict diet for about three weeks now, and I am trying to find some inventive ways to prepare and eat chicken, that not only tastes good, but still fits into my meal plan. I came across my fajita pans yesterday and thought I may be able to make fajitas in a whole new way. I held my first cooking class the other night and my Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken was part of the menu…it is marinated for hours and produces very tender, juicy pieces of chicken. I thought I would try this method and see how it turned out…OMG is all I have to say…the chicken was perfect…I used my own seasoning blend in the marinade. This Chicken Fajita Casserole is PERFECTION!
I know a lot of you are looking for easy weeknight meals that are still super healthy and delicious…this is it! Put this one on rotation. You can marinate in the morning and basically have this meal fully prepped and baked in about a half hour…be a super fun project to do with the kids!
I paired this with my Mexican rice…click here for recipe…and crispy tortilla strips for crunch!
I think the key to this dish is definitely in the marinade…I would suggest at least two hours. In a large storage bag or container, combine the two tablespoons of olive oil, juice of one lime, two tablespoons of the seasoning blend (recipe below). Mix well. Take your chicken breasts and pound down the thickest part of the breast to create an even breast. Season with kosher salt and add to bag. Seal and move around with your hands to coat the entire surface of each breast with the marinade. Place in fridge and allow to marinate for at least two hours. I tripled the recipe for my seasoning blend…the ingredients below are tripled…if you have any leftover…seal in bag and use the next time you make this…you will definitely be making this again and again!
Taco Seasoning (I used McCormick)
- 3 TBLS chili powder
- 2 TBLS paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 3 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- few dashes of red pepper flakes
Slice the bell peppers into strips and onions as the chicken is marinating. Grab a casserole dish and coat with non-stick spray. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the pieces of chicken from the marinade and place in a single layer into the dish. Pour any excess marinade over the chicken. Top with the peppers and onions. Sprinkle another tablespoon of the seasoning blend over the veggies. Top with cheese. I used a two-cheese Mexican blend from Tillamook. I wanted the spice from the pepper jack and the tang of the cheddar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. When you are checking the internal temp…check the middle pieces, as they tend to take more time then the outer pieces. For the last two minutes…I added just a touch more shredded cheese…turned on the broiler and allowed the cheese to bubble and slightly brown.
As the chicken in baking…prepare the Mexican rice and tortilla strips. I added the crispy tortilla strips because I was craving a crunch element. You can also use the soft tortillas to create a wrap instead, or leave them out entirely.
Heat about an inch of canola oil in a non-stick pan. Stack the tortillas and cut in half. Cut each half into strips. When the oil is hot, place strips in oil and allow to brown…keep turning so that both sides get nice and crispy. Remove from pan onto paper towels to drain any excess oil.
Grab a plate and ENJOY…you will probably go back for a second serving of this Chicken Fajita Casserole!