In college I was lucky enough to have roommates who not only tolerated my culinary experiments, they were willing and encouraging participants! While I sometimes took the reins on more complicated adventures like no-knead bread, our combined efforts produced some deliciously comforting food. Together we swapped and perfected chocolate chip cookie recipes, reportedly giving one friend’s mother a run for her money. We ventured into the homemade pizza realm on several occasions, some trips more successful than others. And we hosted our fair share of fajita nights.
Collaboration was at the heart of our fajita nights. While we rarely had all the ingredients on hand individually, our pooled resources always came through. Someone would contribute the chicken, someone else the peppers and onions, and another the tortillas and toppings. Cooking, eating, and clean up time always turned into a much-needed gossip break from our respective studies. So next time you’re in the mood for good ol’ comforting food and company, round up the gang for fajitas!
Juliana Barton is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, where she avoided the dining hall by playing lunch lady in her own kitchen, complete with fajita night.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 small onions, halved and sliced into half moons
2 bell peppers, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
½-1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons salsa
3 chicken breasts, sliced into long strips
juice of 1 lime, plus more to taste
For the toppings:
sour cream or yogurt
Heat oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions have softened slightly and begin to turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers and garlic and cook until peppers have softened.
While vegetables cook, mix together paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place chicken strips in a bowl and pour half of the spice mix over chicken. Pour other half of spices on the peppers and onions.
Add salsa and chicken to skillet. Stir occasionally, until chicken is cooked. If mixture looks dry add more salsa or a little lime juice. When chicken is cooked, add lime juice and adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve on tortillas with your choice of toppings.