Ameri-Mexican Style Dinner

Note: If I was you, I would make the Sangria and start sipping it first.. Yummy.

Skirt Steak Fajitas

Skirt steak, which is full of flavor and holds marinades well, is the essential beef cut for fajitas.

2 skirt steaks (about
11⁄2 pounds each)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons minced jalapeño pepper
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Cut the steak crosswise into 2 to 4 pieces and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over the steak, turning it to coat well. Marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator, turning once or twice. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Preheat the broiler. Remove the steak from the marinade, scrape off any bits and place on a baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat source for 3 minutes per side for medium-rare meat. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Slice the meat thinly. (For easy eating, the steak strips should be 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick.)


Chicken Fajitas

4 skinless and boneless chicken-breast halves (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients and toss over the chicken. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for about 6 hours. Bring to room temperature before baking.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3. Bake the chicken, basting frequently, until cooked through, about 30-35 minutes.
4. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch slices. Halve slices lengthwise to create strips.

Serves 8. Per serving (chicken and marinade only): 121 calories, 7g carbohydrate, 18g protein, 2g fat, 48mg cholesterol.

How To Build a Fajita

Start with a large platter, plus:
Skirt Steak Fajita strips (see recipe)
Chicken Fajita strips (see recipe)
2 to 4 cups diced tomatoes
2 or 3 large onions, thinly slivered
4 limes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, for garnish
16 flour tortillas (71⁄2-inch diameter), warmed
Tomato Papaya Salsa
2 to 4 cups guacamole, store-bought or homemade (see recipe, page 14)
2 to 3 cups sour cream
2 to 3 cups grated Monterey Jack

1. Arrange the steak, chicken, tomatoes, onions and limes decoratively on the platter. Sprinkle with parsley.
2. Place tortillas in a napkin-lined basket. Put the other toppings in bowls.
3. To serve yourself, fill a tortilla with  steak or chicken; add toppings to taste. (Don’t overstuff.) Roll up and enjoy.





Tomato Papaya Salsa

Papaya brings a fresh twist to the traditional tomato salsa.

1 ripe papaya (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 large ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced (1/4 inch)
1/3 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
11⁄2 teaspoons finely minced and seeded jalapeño
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Gently combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use, up to 4 hours.

Makes 4 cups. Per 1/4 cup: 15 calories, 3g carbohydrate; no protein, fat  or cholesterol.


Rosy Peach & Ripe Melon Sangria

Rosé wine with fresh fruit adds the right touch to this spiced-up menu.

8 peeled, diced (1/4 inch) ripe white or golden peaches
4 cups diced (1/4 inch) ripe cantaloupe
2 cups diced (1/4 inch) ripe strawberries
2 bottles rosé or dry white wine
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice or orange jiuce
1/4 cup Cointreau liqueur
4 cups sparkling water
16 mint sprigs, for garnish
1/2 cup sugar

1. Place all the fruit in a large pitcher. Pour in wine, juice and Cointreau. Let rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours to blend flavors.
2. Before serving, add the sparkling water. Serve in wine glasses over ice and garnish with mint.

Serves 8. Per serving: 320 calories, 40g carbohydrate, 2g protein, no fat or cholesterol.


Fiesta Golden Rice

Toss with the vinaigrette while rice is warm, so it absorbs the flavors.

31⁄3 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron
Salt, to taste
11⁄2 cups long-grain rice
11⁄2 cups red-wine vinaigrette
1 each red and green bell pepper, diced (1/4 inch)
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) dry chorizo sausage
1/3 cup dried currants
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring the water, olive oil, saffron and salt to a boil in a pot. Stir in the rice and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff rice with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette, then let cool.
2. Toss with the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings. Add additional vinaigrette if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8. Per serving: 340 calories, 38g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 19g fat, 5mg cholesterol.



A must for fajitas! Make it smooth or chunky. For the best results, be sure the avocados are ripe.

4 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
2 teaspoons finely minced jalapeño
Salt & Pepper to taste

Coarsely mash the avocados with the lemon juice and cumin in a bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Makes 4 cups. Per 1/4 cup: 90 calories, 5g carbohydrate, 1g protein, 7g fat, no cholesterol.


Roasted Peppers With Tomatoes

To keep this dish colorful, be sure to layer the red tomatoes inside the yellow peppers and the yellow tomatoes inside the red peppers.

3 each red and yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
24 ripe red cherry or pear tomatoes, stemmed
24 ripe yellow cherry or pear tomatoes, stemmed
2 to 3 tablespoons drained tiny capers
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Arrange the peppers, cut-side up, on an oiled baking dish to fit. Brush the peppers with some oil.
2. Place 4 garlic slices in each pepper. Place 4 red cherry tomatoes in each yellow-pepper half and 4 yellow cherry tomatoes in each red-pepper half. Sprinkle the peppers evenly with the capers, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool the peppers to room temperature.
3. To serve, arrange the peppers on a platter in alternating colors.

Serves 6. Per serving: 140 calories, 13g carbohydrate, 3g protein, 10g fat, no cholesterol.


To be honest about it, just cook whatever you like and ignore the rest.
Chicken and the Skirt steaks are delicious. If you decide to try these the last minute, don't worry about marinating, still comes of great. This was my daughters first official cooking menu in our household and it was an absolute success. Never tried the papayas.




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