sizzling chicken fajitas

Fortunately, for like nutritional balance and all that boring grown-up stuff, we did not entirely subsist on double-chocolate banana bread for the last few weeks, tempting as it may have been. We’ve also been making chicken fajitas like it were the early 1990s and they were all the new rage again.

for the chicken marinade
start marinating the chicken in lime juice

I don’t mean to mock the dish. I have fond memories of going to Tex-Mex restaurants in strip-malls (New Jersey, represent!) in high school and college, the kind of places that served slushy margaritas in cactus glasses and had waiters hurrying loud, sizzling skillets of meat and vegetable fillings from swinging kitchen door to various tables. But once the dish cooled, expectations usually did as well. Mounds of extras (chopped fresh onions, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro were the standards) turned them into passable tacos, but without the fixings, they were deceptively dull despite their dramatic entrances. I never imagined a future where hacking the dish to our satisfaction would be probably the only meal we’ve ever eaten four times in three weeks; we’re a little addicted and it’s amazing how well it works on a weekday night. [Or where I’d make my own corn tortillas for it, but that for another day, when I’ve returned to my sanity.]

rainbow peppers make things prettier

a pico for the last day of winter
getting the fixings together

And especially right now, on the first day of spring. Comprised of mostly cold parts — we like it with a light lime slaw, pico de gallo, slices of avocado, black beans and Tapatio, of course, but shredded cheese, sour cream and pickled onions are equally popular toppings — and requiring only stovetop cooking for all of ten minutes in a single skillet, this seems the perfect dish to usher us away from all of the soups, stews and heavy white foods we console ourselves with all winter, and into the light, crunchy more colorful meals ahead. Finally.

get a little char on the peppersadd the onionscooking the chicken stripssizzling chicken fajita skillet
chicken fajitas
chicken fajita night (4th in a month)

Talk to me: Last year, I asked you about your weeknight go-to meals. This year, I have a more aspirational question; I’d love to know what kind of dishes you dream of making, if only time/money/energy/lack of audience (read: picky kids/spouses/roommates) participation/enthusiasm weren’t a factor. What you would tackle?

Three years ago: Tiny Poppy Seed Hamantaschen and Oat and Maple Syrup Scones
Four years ago: Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs, St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, Warm Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts and Coconut Milk Fudge
Five years ago: Key Lime Coconut Cake, Steak Sandwiches, Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and Pita Bread
Six years ago: Alex’s Chicken and Mushroom Marsala (newer updates to this, which has also become a weeknight favorite), Almond Biscotti (still perfect; still a favorite) and Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Seven years ago: Italian Bread and Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

Sizzling Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas were traditionally made with skirt steak, and the name fajita or arracheras
referred to the cut, which was once considered a throwaway cut, given to cattle hands along with other unpopular cuts as part of their pay. Here’s a great article on fajita history. Needless to say, thin strips of skirt steak would be excellent here too. You could also use an increased medley of vegetables to make this vegetarian.

Serves 4 to 5

For the chicken
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (though, frankly, a little more or less will be fine here)
2 tablespoons lime juice (half a juicy lime)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
Few dashes hot sauce, optional

To assemble
8 (6-inch) flour or corn tortillas
Olive oil
2 large bell peppers, cut into thin strips (I use a mix of green, red and other colors, if I can find them)
1 large yellow or sweet onion, halved and sliced thin
Coarse salt

Fixings (pick your favorites)
1 1/2 cup cooked black beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
Salsa or pico de gallo
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Shredded cheese or sour cream
Minced white onion or pickled red onions
Chopped cilantro, pickled jalalpenos, hot sauce and lime wedges

Prepare chicken: Slice chicken thighs into thin strips (1/4- to 1/2-inch wide). Place in bowl or freezer bag. Add lime juice, spices and garlic and mix together. Let marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days in the fridge.

20 to 25 minutes before you’re ready to eat: Heat oven to 250 and wrap tortillas in foil. Set on rack to wram. Set out fixings of your choice.

Cook peppers, onions and chicken: Heat your largest skillet (I use a 12-inch cast iron) on the highest heat. When very hot, drizzle in some olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. When this is nearly smoking hot, add the peppers in a single layer. Wait. (This will be a theme.) Try to get them a little charred underneath before you move them around. Once they’ve begun to brown, add the onions, plus some salt. Wait again for some color to develop before you move them. When peppers are nicely charred in spots and onions have softened and sweetened, scrape mixture onto a plate or bowl to clear the skillet. Heat skillet again on a very high heat with a thin slick of olive oil. Spread chicken strips in as much of a single layer as you can. Wait until they brown underneath to move them. Saute strips, regularly pausing so that they can get some color, until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Return peppers and onions to skillet. Heat again until everything is sizzling and bring to the table.

Eat immediately, spooned onto warm tortillas and piled with fixings of your choice. Repeat again tomorrow.

Shortcut recipes:
My Lazy Taco Slaw: 1 bag of coleslaw mix + 2 scallions, thinly sliced + a spoonful or two of mayo + lime juice + salt to taste. If you don’t like mayo, use olive oil. I don’t recommend yogurt or sour cream because they might curdle. Creme fraiche would not. If you don’t have coleslaw mix, just shred a few cups of cabbage and add a grated large carrot to approximate it.

Slacker Pico de Gallo: Diced tomatoes + minced white onion + 1 minced jalapeno + squeeze of lime juice + splash of olive oil + salt + cilantro, if that’s your thing.

Pickled Red Onions: Mix 1/4 cup red wine vinegar + 1/4 cup cold water + 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon Diamond Kosher salt or generous 1/2 tablespoon Morton or another brand of kosher salt until sugar and salt have dissolved. Add thinly sliced red onion. Let marinate for 30 minutes (for very light pickling) or up to a week in the fridge. Put on everything.

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322 comments on sizzling chicken fajitas

  1. Erika

    I can’t wait to hear about your homemade corn tortillas….I’ve tried them once. The taste was great, but wow did I make a mess, and they all tore.

    I mostly dream of making everything from scratch, with organic ingredients, more than a particular dish. But alas, those “time” and “money” factors always get in the way ;)

  2. Margi Briggs-Lofton

    This sounds delicious! I have had a hankering for fajitas lately and this is a perfect kick-off to spring. Thanks!

  3. We turn to fajitas quite often when we’re in need of a quick + tasty weeknight meal. You can’t go wrong with ’em. As for what I dream about making from scratch, probably fancy dishes involving fresh homemade pasta. I love proper pasta but it’s just never going to happen on a regular basis.

  4. I know it is wrong but tex mex is a guilty pleasure of mine. It may not be true taste of Mexico but it is delicious all the same. Love the colors you have chosen for your peppers! it is like a fiesta on a plate!

    I dream of making Real American BBQ; like the low roasted over the fire kind/ Sign if only…

    1. Anna

      I made this work as a SUPER quick sheet pan meal:
      -drizzle a bit of olive oil over everything (chicken, onions, peppers) and give it a stir….spread it all out on the baking sheet
      -375 degrees
      -15-20 min
      -under the broiler for an additional 3-4 min to get a bit of charring, if you like.

      Also works as a freezer meal:
      -Prep the chicken…..
      -Put the chicken at the bottom of the bag …
      -And you can even have sliced peppers at the top which freeze just fine
      -Day of/Night before, pull the bag out to defrost and….
      -Just cut up the onions the day of

      SUPER QUICK, go-to-meal!!!!

  5. Alli

    This is AWESOME. I have never made fajitas (why??), but just thought about it this week. I put it on my meal plan knowing I still needed to find a recipe. What luck!! It’s supposed to be 60 degrees in Portland, OR, this weekend, so the hubs is gonna break out the grill for this recipe! Thank you! Also LOVING your shortcut recipes. I have a hard time trying to figure out what to serve with Mexican food besides piles of tortilla chips. Great post!

    As for dishes I dream of making? I work part-time and have two young kids, so time is the main issue. Baking and yeast intimidate me…I would love to try making breads, cinnamon rolls, pie crusts – stuff like that.

  6. Courtney

    My ex used to make chicken fajitas at home about once a month or so. One day, out of the blue, he called me at work and announced, “I have FAJITA MADNESS. Can you pick up some sour cream on the way home?” The name stuck, and we started referring to the dish as Fajita Madness. He didn’t care for onions, so we made them with peppers and mushrooms. It was pretty good, and the leftovers made a great filling/topping for omlettes or scrambled eggs.

  7. Sarah

    Well this sounds amazing. Homemade tortillas yet bagged coleslaw mix– I’m so glad you keep it real and don’t make everything from scratch, or then we’d start REALLY wondering…

    I dream of making an awesome, nutty-flavored bread from the Tartine Bread cookbook (but I’m scared of using yeast) and homemade pasta. The two things that I think I COULD make, but they just seem pretty daunting or like an all-afternoon affair.

  8. Clementine

    YUM! This looks Fantastic!!

    My ‘if only’ meal is amazing, fabulous homemade ravioli. Probably an incredible lobster ravioli with fabulous light, delicate, homemade pasta encasing the most perfect sweet filling.

  9. Homemade tortillas are so much fun! This might be dinner tonight–I have peppers that aren’t going to last the rest of the week, homemade salsa on its last legs, and have been craving avocado like crazy. One stop at the Mexican market on the way home for their tortillas and some chicken. Excellent timing, as always :-)

  10. Tacos are a frequent weeknight standby in our house, but the jump from tacos to fajitas look pretty easy (and tasty!). What do I dream of making? My own bread. I mean, sure, I do biscuits and quick breads and whatnot, but the only yeast dough I’ve ever tackled is pizza dough, which I loved, but only get a chance to do once in awhile. For me, like most of those above, it’s a time issue…

  11. Adriane

    If I had the time, I would tackle every recipe in my copy of How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. I would also spend time trying to figure out why, after one extremely successful attempt to make ice cream, I have failed every time since.

    Great recipe for fajitas! Excited to add to my weeknight menu.

  12. Laura

    This looks amazing! Thanks for including instructions for the sides, too–I was hooked and hoping for the slaw recipe since you mentioned it at the beginning :)

    This is not that out there, but I would like to tackle chicken lettuce wraps. For some reason it seems unreasonably daunting, probably because of all the sauces and vinegars and oils and other special ingredients I don’t have but most recipes for it call for.

  13. Mariah

    Dishes I dream of making:

    Your Lasagna alla Bolognese – I’ve been dreaming of making it ever since you posted the recipe, but have been a little intimidated by the combination of homemade pasta sheets, Bolognese, and Béchamel sauce. When I do get the courage to make it, I want to do it right.

    Mimi Thorisson’s CONFIT DE CANARD or really any one of her dishes, but what I really dream of is making one of her posts in its entirety (appetizer, entre and dessert) oh and since this is my dream/fantasy, I would like to make the meal in Medoc, with her and her family :)

  14. These look so. good. I ate my mom’s version of fajitas all the time growing up and this reminds me of that but better.
    What I’ve been dreaming of making recently is sourdough bread. It seems so complex and you can’t use store-bought yeast. Michele Humes recently wrote a beautiful tome about her adventures with it and it has only further sparked my lust.

  15. NeNe

    I can only dream of making Duck a l’Orange. But having trouble find good duck that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. And the husband doesn’t like to eat duck (something bogus about them being too cute; he doesn’t say this about bacon or steak.)

  16. Tim H

    Deb! You say 2 Tb of lime juice = 1/2 a juicy lime. Where do you get your juicy limes this time of year?! Or do you have a special method for getting all the juice out? (I use the “roll it on the counter to ‘pre-juice'” trick). The most recent limes I’ve bought yield only ~1 Tb of juice, 2 Tb if I’m lucky.

  17. ElizabethB

    This looks great!

    For difficult projects, I am addicted to tamales of all kinds and would live to learn how to make them.

  18. Even though I went to college in Texas, I never picked up a legitimate fajita recipe, maybe because it was just so much easier to go to the wonderful Tex-Mex restaurants that seemed to dot every neighborhood of Houston. I love smoked paprika, how did I never think of adding it to fajitas? I’ll have to try this! Although not right away, because I gave up meat for Lent.

    I have a really tame aspirational dream, which is just trying to be more seasonal in my cooking. I can be incredibly picky about vegetables and fruit for the weirdest reasons, and so I buy the same produce basically all the time.

  19. Gail

    I totally understand this being an addictive go-to weekday meal. Yum! And the thing I’ve always dreamed about making is… corn tortillas! I’m going to take the plunge, actually, with the recipe Mark Bittman just published in the NYT. I seriously love corn tortillas, and would love to try my hand at them. This means, I guess, that I am (sort of) taking back what I said about Mr. Bittman being the equivalent of Fun Bobby on Friends (you know, how he used be all cream-butter-party guy, and now … grapefruit? raw beets?). He’s great at stuff like these corn tortillas – making them seem easy and approachable. But I do miss Fun Mark occasionally. THANK YOU, Ms. SK, for maintaining a balance between butter-sugar-good-times, and the occasional kale-salad. :)

  20. Yum, looks delicious. I once saw an episode of Iron Chef with Jeffrey Steingarten judging, and the secret ingredient was skirt steak. He told this very pompous story about how fajita actually means skirt steak, so if he is ever in a restaurant that offers chicken fajitas or, god forbid, shrimp fajitas, he just “throws my menu to the floor and stomp out immediately.” I hope he was kidding, but he probably wasn’t. Whenever I see chicken fajitas on a menu (or anywhere, apparently), I think of that story. My husband and I still laugh about it and pretend to be appalled if the fajitas are anything other than skirt.

  21. Liz S.

    This looks delightful! Takes me back to an open-kitchen restaurant that used to serve them (now condos). They would bring them out on a sizzling platter followed by clouds of steamy delicious aroma.
    Speaking of which, cast iron skillet + high heat + oil + cold food = lots of spatters to clean up? Smoke alarms going off? That’s the equation in my kitchen and explains my reluctance to drag out the cast iron skillet on many occasions. Do you have any suggestions to minimize the mess/cleanup?
    Dishes I’d love to make: I’ll throw in my vote for duck confit. Also a recipe I saw some time ago for a mini porchetta made with a boneless pork loin that had the pork belly attached and wrapped around the loin.

  22. Victoria

    I dream of cooking the way I and my ex did when we lived in Austria. Long, slow, lazy three course meals. Some lovely starter eaten while cooking – like pizzette with (insert available at markt produce and cheese here) and then a whole roast chicken with chanterelle and rice stuffing and an apricot and mascarpone strudel for dessert. Problem there is, in Austria I was an opera singer for a living. My ex was a pianist. We finished at 2:30 in the afternoon and on a non-performance night that was it. In the States it’s more of a grab-something-on-the-way-home-open-a-bag-of-lettuce sort of schedule. Slow food only works if you have time to be, you know, slow.

  23. Abbie

    I would like to be the person who made all the bread that ever appeared in my house, including a healthy yet tasty daily staple bread like my grandmother made, and all other sorts of tasty but less-healthy breads. Bagels. Jam. I just bought a smoker, but I’ve never smoked meats, so here’s hoping that I learn how to make lovely smoked meats. A few special occasion dishes. A few awesome, hearty, and healthy bean stews. (This list used to be longer, but I’ve learned how to cook many so many good things since I started reading this site: pizza, pudding, cakes, pasta sauces. My game has been upped).

  24. Shanon

    Croissants! It’s a personal hurdle. I know that after all of that rolling, folding, rolling, folding if they *don’t* turn out incredible and better than bought I just won’t get over it.

  25. Leigh

    Did I see you say something about making your own corn tortillas!? Would love it if you posted a recipe! I have a child with a wheat allergy and have tried several recipes for corn tortillas and they have all been awful. I’m sure like everything else on your site, your version would be delicious!!

  26. My cooking aspirations center around making Indian/Japanese/Thai food without being absolutely scared.

    Mexican or Italian I’m comfortable with and can totally let myself experiment and explore. But with Asian/East Asian flavors and I tense up. And curries just scare me. I don’t know why! I need to play more–and find a good cookbook/website to help me!

    ps those fajitas are def hitting the stove before the week is up!

  27. Tracy B

    As a fellow apartment dweller I have to wonder how you manage to heat a cast iron skillet that hot and not set the smoke detector/fire alarm off!! I am pretty sure just thinking about making this is enough to make mine go off! Advice?!

  28. amy

    I would love to figure out Pad Thai at home. And a traditional Southern-style coconut cake (with the seven-minute frosting). I am frantically googling for a good recipe for my birthday cake and not finding much. A friend gave me one and both my previous attempts at baking it have been epic fails. Most of what I’m finding online doesn’t even have any coconut in the cake, just in the filling/frosting. I want it to taste really coconutty–coconut oil, coconut milk, SOMETHING in the cake.

    #16 Laura: You can do it! We use this one and it is fabulous …I totally get the intimidation, though; I had it for years before we actually tried it. But you don’t really need hot mustard (I just use dijon), the rice vinegar and chile paste last forever (and we have found ourselves using it in other things), and the sesame oil is unnecessary.

    1. Hi Amy, I’m back making this recipe for the umpteenth time, and *finally* browsed the comments again and came across yours! Thanks so much for the recipe link and encouragement! You may be happy to hear that I have tackled chicken lettuce wraps in the time between my first comment and now. You were right, they are totally do-able! My go-to is also a PF Chang’s copycat recipe:

      Thanks again for your encouraging response!

  29. I would love to make pho with that broth that cooks for a whole day or two. I also would love to make fresh pasta and use it to make some kind of complicated ravioli, complete with a homemade pasta sauce, Italian grandmother style. Ok, and also homemade tamales- so many steps, but my husband would die of happiness.

    Also, these fajitas look so good! I’m not sure why it never occurs to me to make Tex-Mex (or regular Mex). Probably since I live in LA and there a million, very cheap taco stands that are so much more convenient. But I know we won’t live here forever, and so I better add this recipe to the arsenal!

    But Deb- what would YOU make? We know cooking is your job, but is there something you’re intimidated by or just dying to make but know the family won’t eat it?

  30. These look great. I hope you post your recipe for the corn tortillas soon. I bought some Masa Harina last year but haven’t gotten around to using it. I’d love to know how you made yours….

  31. Brittany W

    Getting Pad Thai right would be great. There was an epic fail once that has scared me away since. Also, I would like to try duck, but am very intimidated.

  32. Claire

    I dream sweet savory dreams of homemade tortellini en brodo. The little hand made tortellini filled with delicate long cooked meats and boiled al dente in homemade stock. Alas, on my snow days I only ever got as far as making the stock. It sits in my freezer awaiting this or a less miraculous fate.

    Could you make it Deb? I would love to live vicariously from my desk! And then I would know I had a good recipe. :)

  33. Fajitas is one of my favorite meals of all time, and this post is a brilliant reminder of what should we eat tomorrow night with a couple of margaritas on the side…

    I would love to make your wedding cake…I have been looking at the wedding cake you posted and I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. I don’t know of anyone who’s going to be married soon… but would it bee too wrong to just make it for the heck of it and share it with some friends???

  34. I would love to make Indian dishes well. I’ve taken a stab at “Indian cooking lite,” but would love to have all the ingredients and time to have a truly magnificent, long-cooking meal.

    Second fantasy recipe: Porchetta. The recipe intimidates me, and requires so much time. But man is it delicious!

  35. Lauren

    This blog is the BEST…Look at all these people helping one another solve problems #38, #42 ( that cake looks awesome BTW) and also sharing their heart’s desires for cooking genius with us all.These fajitas are going to be wonderful…wish my avocados could always look like Deb’s do in the photos. That little bit of slaw peeking out has YUM written all over it too. Thanks for the “Joisey” link as well.. very funny.

  36. Vilde

    I’ve always wanted to make pasta. You might think “oh, well, go ahed and make it. then”, but it’s not that easy for me. It’s not that I’m a hopeles cook, no, I actually managed a perfect beef wellington this christmas. And I have also (finally) got the hang on the Indian sauces and the spice oohmpf they need. But with pasta, it’s different. I’ve been planning and thinking of this pastamaking for so long now it has grown in to an obsession in my brain that I’m kinda afraid if i start up with a pastamaking project it will all fail in a gruesome manner and I will never venture into that eggy Italian quagmire again.

    I need guidance. I need a helping hand. I need Smitten kitchen tellin’ me how to do it the no nonsense and utterly delicious way!

  37. Sally

    I wish I had more time in the day…I make our dinners and lunches from scratch, breakfast is usually fruit but I just can’t seem to make those really time consuming dishes that often. Between working, and hiking and skiing on top of planning a wedding!! I wish for more hours in the day so I could make bread more often.

  38. Brynn

    My lazy taco slaw is similar: coleslaw mix, lime juice+apple cider vinegar+olive oil+honey+salt+cumin, a thinly julienned green apple, and some chopped cilantro. Yummm. It doesn’t look so “lazy” when I type it out, but it is….promise.

  39. I absolutely LOVE fajitas. We make them often. Of course kid #1 hates all things south of the border but he just has to deal since I love tex/mex so very much.

    I always want to make the gigantic cakes, or croissants, or fussy, time consuming meals. I don’t so much anymore because of kid 1 and kid2. I have an entire binder full of fussy recipes that got put on hold once life got hectic. Maybe someday.

  40. Lucy

    Good question! My ambitions include:

    -Chiles rellenos (cheesy, crisp, but with a nice deep green taste)
    -Homemade pasta and ravioli (especially with lemon or goat cheese flavors, instead of just heavy tomatoey tastes)
    -Good fish and chips
    -Hand pies (both dessert and savory ones)
    -Layer cakes (especially ones that feature toffee or custardy fillings)
    -Veggie burgers and falafel
    -Cheese and onion pierogis
    -Cheese blintzes (working up to undertaking your recipe!)

    I wonder what kind of trends you’ll see in the cooking goals people procrastinate on? My bet is that they’ll include lots of deep frying, pastry, and expensive ingredients?

  41. Gayle

    Wow – this looks delicious, and now I’m sad because I’m tearing down my kitchen for imminent remodel. Will store this away for six weeks (plus? – I hope not!) from now when the kitchen is back in business again. The ultra-fast slaw has me pining for cabbage already, this may happen soon.

    One of my favorites that I would like to make at home is Moo Shu. Most restaurants sell it with pork, but I sub in chicken all the time. I also would LOVE to make my favorite Thai restaurant food; Pad Nam Siraracha, which is a veggie stir fry with meat of your choice and a siracha sauce.

  42. Lauren

    I make this all the time, but going to try it next with thighs. I also make an extra spice mix with cornstarch and add to the veggies and chicken with a splash of chicken broth once the veggies and chicken are close to done. Makes then nice and saucy!

  43. Alison

    It’s been ages since I made chicken fajitas, but I like the look of this spice mixture. Love your question about dream dishes. I’ve done a lot of exploring in the kitchen over the past couple of years – facilitated by a wonderful renovation and loads of inspiration from my cookbooks and blogs like yours. But I would really like to be more experimental with vegetables and exotic grains. My husband has a fairly adventurous palette when it comes to different types of cuisines and flavour combinations, but there are many vegetables that he doesn’t like. We don’t have kids, but often there are recipes that just don’t seem worth the effort to tackle for one. That being said, I had a mini-rebellion recently and bought a cauliflower. I want to tackle your cauliflower with brown butter crumbs, and maybe the cauliflower fritters…hubby can have “bread-and-find-it”!

    1. deb

      Your ambitious cooking dreams — Thank you, I love these, and yes, I am chewing on a potential new project where I could tackle a few of these and hope it pans out so we can all enjoy it. And I did forget to include mine, some of which I’ve tackled here (over-the-top quiche, lasagna bolognese, chicken pho), some in the cookbook (deepest dish apple pie), some that I’d still like to (croissants, danish, marrons glaces, tortellini, pochetta, if only to make the husband happy, bo ssam, which I am the last person on earth to have not yet made, perfect veal/beef stock…), and some that I can’t talk about yet. I do really get enchanted with the idea of making everything from scratch sometimes — i.e. like the tortillas here, as well as the fixings. Which reminds me, I’ve had a salsa recipe I’ve wanted to share for eons. When the tomatoes are back…

      Tracy — Put the food on before it smokes. :) I don’t seem to have a problem with smoking once food is cooking in it. Pan-seared steak, however, forget it. Smokes up everything, always.

      Liz — You can use a splatter screen. That said, this was a bit splattery but nothing like steak. The skillet will be quite full, so the splattering gets smothered by ingredients.

      Harmony — 1. I love Jeffrey Steingarten. 2. I absolutely believe that story to be true. 3. He is technically correct, as I mentioned in the head notes, but on this, like many other things, I just shrug and feel you should let people cook whatever food makes them happy. I mean, if these ranch hands were given chickens, I’m sure this would be traditional, too. 4. Steingarten also rails against salad. SALAD. I mean…

      Gail — That’s really funny. I was thinking about using his recipe, but ended up using the one on the back of the Bob’s Masa Harina bag, which had too much water by far. Then I ended up watching 10 horribly lit, overly long (some, in fact, in Spanish, which I do not speak) YouTube videos on it (my new favorite way to learn anything in the kitchen, despite production quality issues!) and felt I got it right. But I’m no expert, of course. Oh, also: Bittman’s was the only one I saw with butter, oil or lard in it. Suspect!

      Tim — You’re right; these were on the freakishly large size, probably grown under dubious chemical conditions. Nevertheless, this tool does get a lot out.

      Allie — On her site? I love her writing; am definitely behind on reading blogs.

      Mariah — Ha! Yes, I do fear that if I ever cook from one of her posts in full, it will not live up to the photos, because of the whole East Village vs. Medoc thing.

  44. Sara

    Cassoulet is one of my dreamboat dishes – but too heavy/expensive/time-consuming to be a staple. I have made some cassoulet-inspired hacks, lighter and easier versions like one I made recently with whole frozen sungold tomatoes from last summer. Inspired by the one-pot farro risotto, I just let everything cook down together (tomatoes, sausage, bean, garlic, raw onion, herbs) in a covered baking dish. Then I sliced the sausage, stirred it back in, topped with bread crumbs, and continued to cook uncovered til crusty/reduced. New weeknight favorite + a reason to plant more sungolds and freeze whole (and easily!) this summer.

  45. Kris

    Ironically enough, these fajitas are something I would love to make if only my husband would eat them. I don’t know how I ended up falling in love with someone who’s so vehemently anti-Mexican/”spicy” food. These wouldn’t meet any normal person’s standards for excess heat, but my hubby won’t touch anything with cumin in it, as well as chili powder, cayenne, or pepper flakes.

    My current dream project that’s constantly on the back burner is making homemade cronuts. I’m not likely to get to New York anytime soon, nor would I wait for hours at a bakery on the off chance of getting the current “it” pastry. I’ve found a bunch of recipes online, but they involve making a yeast dough that needs a lot of rolling out, layering with butter, chilling, rolling out again, more butter, more chilling…. ergh.

  46. Anna

    I would love to be able to come home each night and make myself a fresh delicious meal. As a grad student I come home exhausted sometimes with barely enough time to throw something in the microwave before it’s time for bed again. On Sundays, if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll throw together a casserole, which is often heavy and super monotonous. I’m also just a singleton so it’s the common problem of cooking for one.

  47. Mel

    Lemon meringue pie intimidates the hell out of me, so I’d probably make that. And croissants. And tortillas. And beignets. And steamed Chinese pork buns.

    There are just so many things!

  48. Mahri

    Two on my list is marzipan from homemade almond paste (and almost any recipe with almond paste). And liver pâté of all sorts.

  49. Tanya B

    I would love to make your lasagna, but I have yet to find a day or a reason to make it. Someday, maybe when I have some vacation time.

  50. Vanessa

    You have to try Ottolenghis recipe for his avocado tomato salsa for fajitas. It is my new favourite thing, to be found in his vegetarian cookbook. soooooo goooooood.
    Can´t wait for the corn tortillias:D

  51. JanetP

    So, I know nothing about Mexican food. It’s “exotic” to me in a way that, say, Thai or Indian or French isn’t. My question is: What’s the difference between a fajita and a taco? From this recipe, it looks like the only difference is sauteed peppers and onions? Help!

  52. Katie

    You mentioned a vegetarian version, what veggies would you recommend? Or, would it just be an extra large batch of peppers and onions? Would you use the same spices to make a shrimp version of this? My husband no longer eats beef, pork or poultry but he does eat fish.

  53. Kimberly

    Ambitious cooking dreams: seafood. I know this sounds odd, but seafood is fairly expensive and I am very picky about what seafood I like and how it is cooked. It seems like the intersection of seafood that I can afford with a technique that I am convinced will yield seafood I like is difficult for me to reach.

  54. Caz

    I don’t think I’ve ever made fajitas, as much like you, they were a weekly staple in my parents house in the mid-90’s. I never was a big fan, especially the flour tortillas and would gladly never eat one again. Now that corn tortillas are easier to find, I do make tacos on a regular basis though, using many similar ingredients (but normally skipping the cheddar cheese/sour cream/jarred salsa in favour of cilantro, lime juice, guac and slaw)

    Ultimate meal? Something from Luke Nguyen’s cookbooks. I have Songs of Sa Pa and it’s amazing, but a full Vietnamese meal of multiple small dishes, sauces, etc. is just such a HUGE undertaking when almost zero of the ingredients exist in my kitchen and a fabulous bowl of pho is so close/cheap/fast.

  55. Christina

    I dream of tackling Danish Seven Sisters coffee cake – flaky pastry dough, almond paste, vanilla pastry cream, toasted slivered almonds and just a drizzle of icing. A bakery in my hometown made these coffee cakes while I was growing up and I’d love to taste them again. The cakes were quite delicate and absolutely delicious. Due to time constraints and now dairy allergies that would require much recipe hacking, I haven’t attempted that one yet.

  56. Ramona

    This year in a bout of seasonal unemployment, I decided to brave croissants. The first TWO attempts failed miserably, but then I shelled out the cash for the cooks illustrated website subscription, the King Arthur flour and the European style butter, and it finally worked! And I have half of them unproofed in my freezer, just waiting for a chance to show off.

  57. Sarah U

    Croissants! Croissants! Croissants!
    I’m still enjoying the chocolate banana bread, by the way. It seems to get more moist and densely chocolate each day!

  58. joey

    I have a list:

    – bolognese that doesn’t have pork but still tastes INCREDIBLE

    -Anything that is puff pastry. At this cuban bakery in Glendale, CA where I grew up, we used to get this incredible pastry called refugiados (no idea why it’s actually called that). But anyway, they have cheese and guava jelly. I’d LOVE to learn to make these and eventually take some creative liberties with the jelly.

    -Also, I SO want to learn how to cook artichoke, and brussel sprouts with confidence 9and if my husband would actually eat them).

  59. Ally

    Deb, Bo ssam would be fantastic.
    Reminds me of another Korean dish I want to try to make one day: Gujeolpan. Little delicate pancakes filled with shredded meats and vegetables.

  60. Emily K

    yumm. (tho i have to confess, i’m still obsessed with the double chocolate banana bread).

    Mole Poblano – i really want to make it, and make it until i love it and it is perfect. I want some abuela in mexico to teach me all the flavors and spices and how the heck they meld together to make perfect auburn sauce.

    Naan – and i mean, it just seems so do-able! But i mean naan like the stuff i get from the indian restaurants. I’m no stranger to yeast breads, and have many totally acceptable attempts at naan. But it just isn’t quite right. Maybe i’m missing the 500 degree clay oven? hmm.

  61. Rani

    Deb! Where have your “1 year ago” and “2 years ago” links disappeared to at the top of your recipes? I noticed for the past few they’ve been MIA…

  62. anna

    Alexandra #77
    Medovik YES!!! i am all for tackling this cake at home. Maybe Alex Would also Want to eat that? even if it doesn’t have chocolate in it? I (really) hope you see a challenge here Deb, this cake is just so good… And maybe it is easier than it looks?
    Thank you for all the incredible food i have made at home since reading your site!

  63. Andrea

    One tip I picked up working in a strip-mall Tex-Mex joint in college: to get the great smell and sizzle, pour a quarter-cup or so of Italian dressing (Kraft will do) over the hot skillet before serving.

  64. Um, well I now know I’ve been using my hand juicer wrong, not sure if that will make it work any better though. We love tacos of any sort and this sounds like a great variation.

  65. Yvonne

    I had the most glorious pistachio-chocolate croissant in Montreal a few years ago that still haunts me. I’ve only seen almond croissants in the states, so would love to recreate it sometime, though making the dough always intimidates me.

    I’ve also been failing at pad thai for years now and would love to finally find a good, easy weeknight recipe.

    And finally, I’d love to make Chinese Char Siu Pork Buns from scratch. Also seems very time consuming.

  66. Nina

    We are making this tonight!! It looks sooo yummy!! I’ve always wanted to make doughnuts from scratch, but never can muster the strength to do it because I never have enough people to feed them to and if I do I am always trying to do a million other things for the party and don’t have time. I should just have a doughnut party!!!

  67. I’d make my own sourdough bread, from scratch, every week. And it would be amazing. But between feeding the starter and actually finding time to bake…and making my fiance switch from the store-bought bread he’s very picky about…I just haven’t done it.

    These fajitas look incredible, btw! I always end up ordering fajitas and eating them out of the skillet without the tortillas, so making them at home is a great way to avoid the judging stares of other diners :) Thanks for sharing!

  68. Yum! These look amazing. Fajitas are among my favorite week night meals and I’m definitely excited to try this spice combination (and that slaw idea).

  69. Truc-Ha D

    Hi Deb! I’ve learned so much about cooking from trying things on SK; many of them are on my usual weeknight rotation now, and I call myself a baker now thanks to you!

    I wish:
    1) Peking duck with perfect, crackling skin, and on the side: the little steamed buns and plum sauce
    2) Most dim sum: must be clear and chewy for any of the “crystal” -type bits, must have perfect dough for the buns.
    3) Mead, Vietnamese headcheese, French macaroons.
    1) Homemade cheese…planning on trying your ricotta recipe this weekend…to make your cheeze blintzes.
    2) Pickles and canned goods…too paranoid about botulism to do more than refridgerator pickles and freezer jams.

  70. dotty

    My mind’s eye is dancing around souffles of various sorts: ham, berry, chocolate, pineapple, cardamom. It’s totally what I would order if it was on the menu. Quennelles is another thing ….if someone bothers to make them they are nearly always good. Otherwise, what is the point? Raw material: Fish or chicken. Something delicate and light for spring and asparagus. Also: truffles (chocolate, not fungi), oddly, are on my list. I know they are supposedly easy but they never win in the ubiquitous battle for what will make it to the table this meal/day/week/season. Donuts… made them in college. Much better than the commercial variety. I would fill them with homemade jam. In a world with no constraints. Actually things would get a little crazy foodwise without time/mess/budget/picky eaters to keep things on an even keel! Oh also Laurie Coleman’s fried chicken is also on that no constraints list.

  71. Lindsay

    These were delicious! Just finished waaayy too many for dinner! The chicken was perfectly moist and spiced. Now if only I could roll my way to my couch… Thanks for a new favorite Deb!

  72. Gabrielle

    I would love to tackle Beef Wellington one of these days! It just looks so rich and delicious. Any kind of meat pie, really, is something I want to eat more of. I realize this is the wrong time of year to get excited about that, but when Autumn returns…

  73. erica

    You made a lasagne that had a million layers. I exaggerate – but perhaps that is the one you refer to in your comment above. Every time I think about going all out and making a lasagne from scratch for the first time, I recall that one and how it took so. much. time. Then I decide to make something else!

  74. Sizzle sizzle! I keep wanting to make lasagna for my boyfriend, but he’s not a big lasagna fan. Maybe if I tried your recipe that someone mentioned above, he’d change his mind? I don’t think he’s ever had it completely homemade, and that does make a big difference. :]

  75. Angela

    Our favorite way to make fajitas is to marinate the chicken in a few tablespoons of puréed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (Goya- little can). Sauté the chicken with peppers and onions, serve on warm tortillas with homemade guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheese.

    My husband actually prefers these to any from Mexican restaurants here in Austin!

  76. Millie

    JanetP: Fajitas are tex-Mex, not Mexican. They are not made with corn tortillas, always flour. Tacos, when we’re talking about Mexican tacos, are made with soft corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are most only seen in the north of Mexico, like Sonora. Corn is the most important staple of Mexican cuisine.

  77. Deborah

    These look great, and happen to be my what if meal…but….you see, I am allergic to carrots, celery and bell pepper..AND my husband dislikes onions. I know, culinary nightmare household. Oh to eat those veggies again…thanks for letting me live thru you, I love your site!

  78. Michelle

    I saw this post during my break at work and then promptly made these for dinner. So delicious! I love the spices. Sadly I didn’t have any tortillas so I just ate the fajita veggies, beans and chicken out of a bowl but it didn’t lack anything :) I think I will be making fajitas again this weekend. Thank you for all your inspiration and wonderful recipes!

  79. I just tackled the homemade potstickers with homemade skins that was on my list… But I would love to learn to make pupusas, tamales, croissants, homemade cheese… So many things that I am limited by time and location (Africa doesn’t have a wealth of ingredients) to make.

  80. This looks fantastic. Since my husband and I both live in Japan and love tacos, homemade tortillas are an every week occurrence at our house, but I look forward to your recipe for corn tortillas, because (true confessions time), I’ve only make flour tortillas. My dream food to cook is mole poblano. I have been collecting recipes for the past few years waiting until I have access to the various peppers and a few days to spare. As we are still in Japan, I guess it will wait a little longer.

  81. elembee123

    Trying this for dinner tonight! Yum!

    Yeast breads are my Mt. Everest. After my first (and only) experience with the little yeastie beasties, my husband thanked me for his new self-defense weapon and I have not been brave enough to try again.

    As I am a “learn-by-doing” type of person, I need to take some sort of class that’s not just a one-hour seminar. One where I can get in the trenches and make mistakes and have someone show me how to correct what I did wrong (probably multiple times!) Unfortunately, there isn’t anything like that where I live. Drat!

    So I read oodles of bread-baking recipes and blog posts, and watch YouTube videos and dream of someday learning how to make my own challahs and multigrain artesianal (sp?) breads, and loaves of pumpernickel and sourdough, and focaccia! *drool* :)

  82. We have a popular place in St Louis called ‘Strange Doughnuts’ and their flavors are insane and inventive. I’d like to make their cronuts. And then invent a tutu that I will fit in after I eat a batch. Id also like to make the lime/licorice parfait (with sabayon!) from Glass in Australia, or know how to make chocolates from different parts of the world. When I was dancing in Russia, the chocolate was strangely airy.

  83. Erica

    Dream dish I get right every time at home with little fuss?

    Saag paneer. Or palak paneer, depending on language preference.

    Also my yellow split pea dal is inconsistent. I’ve given up making Indian food at home, but I wish I didn’t feel so discouraged by it.

  84. Leah

    My dream dish is homemade char siu, but made with chicken. The pork variety abound at well-stocked Asian markets, but I don’t eat pork, and have never seen any made with chicken. I actually have all the ingredients, it’s just the abundance of time I am short on these days (what can I say- I have a baby).

  85. In my culinary dreams I would tackle classic Peking Duck–paper thin pancakes, hoisin sauce, the works–all from scratch (except the duck, wait, maybe even the duck).

    By the way, Deb, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook made it all the way to Senegal via a dear friend’s thoughtfulness. I use it all the time! My kids say the Chicken Milanese is the best thing they’ve ever eaten. Thanks for being a strongpoint in my kitchen in the African bush!

  86. Rebeca

    All of a sudden I feel I need these fajitas in my life, which means I’ll have to try my hand at corn tortillas since they’re impossible to find where I live.

    As for the dishes I dream of making, ravioli is high on the list, but I have sort of a mental block about it. I had an Italian boyfriend many years ago. I had many memorable meals while I stayed with his family, but the ravioli his grandma made… Oh my, out of this world amazing. ‘È molto facile’, she said, but I fear nothing I could make would ever come close to hers.

  87. ollie

    Caneles! (insert accent over last e)

    The equipment, time, and bees wax have scared me off but they are my most favorite and cherished thing to eat.

  88. msue

    Living in Texas, we have access to fajitas, tacos, tamales, etc., around every corner. But my faves are those made at home. I like your seasoning mix – the smoked paprika is a great touch. But your photos – oh, my. My eye was drawn immediately to those corn tortillas! There is a good recipe on Lisa Fain’s blog, have you seen it?: I don’t really have a specific dream dish, but I recall watching Julia Child on one of her Master Chef shows. There was one dish made by a guest chef – if only I could remember – Julia took one bite and actually teared up, saying it was the best thing she’d ever eaten. That is what I aspire to, to make someone sublimely happy through cooking.

  89. msue

    p.s. In these parts, this would be called tacos, not fajitas, because of the corn tortillas. Fajitas are usually served with flour tortillas. It doesn’t matter much because the food is delicious, but thought I’d share the distinction. Could be just a regional thing. My neighbors from Mexico are really specific about it.

  90. Leigh

    We eat fajitas all the time. My 6 year old son loves them. We were in Mexico a couple years ago and we watched a man make a pork marinade for a sandwich and I use that marinade all the time for fajitas. He add a small amount of fresh orange juice, worcestershire sauce and vinegar.

    So many dream recipes. Making a lot more breads would be tops and a beautiful layer cake like you make. Mine always taste nice, but look terrible.

  91. Personally I love chicken with beans fajitas even though steak is traditional. My favorite toppings include avocado, salsa, sour cream and diced white onion. However my boyfriend isn’t a huge bean fan, so lots of times I’ll do refried beans on the side which are equally fabulous.

  92. Jenn

    I find you recipe for “slacker” pico de gallo interesting. For me,in California, that’s what pico de gallo is. I wonder what your take would be on a non-slacker pico de gallo.

    1. deb

      Jenn — Ha! I meant more about the lack of measurements. When I’m not slacking, I try to give you guys solid amounts in recipes. :)

      Ellen — That’s great — thank you! And Peking Duck has been on my list forever. (I’ve watched dozens of YouTube videos in Chinese about it! I’m almost ready…) But if I were confessing, I’d admit that I’d even more like to make Peking Chicken, something I have yet to invent.

      msue — Very interesting. We actually agreed we might have liked it more with flour tortillas, so I guess we were onto something. I’ve just been itching to make corn tortillas for a while and this seemed the perfect excuse. Thanks for sharing.

      Rani — They’re not gone so much as on pause until April. Things just got out of sync. I’m updating more now than I did in the last two years, but less than 3-7 years ago, hence the multiple links for the same date span those years while I had gotten so far ahead on the One Year and Two Year Ago that I was already in April. Okay, I realize that probably didn’t make any sense outside my head. In short: they’ll be back. The system is imperfect.

      Emily — I, too, fear that it’s the 900 degree clay ovens that we’re lacking, because I’ve tried too and I just can’t get char on it before it turns into a hard cracker. :(

  93. Rachel

    I’d love to properly feed and maintain a sourdough starter. I’ve had starters before, and I’ve been able to keep them going for a little while, and the bread has been delicious. Unfortunately, my irregular schedule and the fact the that I live alone and so really only need a loaf of bread per week meant that it was just too much trouble.

  94. Carrie

    My favorite traditional recipe for ravioli/tortellini filling is from the Williams Sonoma Pasta Book. It is a meat filling with ground pork and beef and celery, onions, carrot that are cooked down and then pureed. They have so many good recipes in that book, it is my fallback cookbook for so many pasta recipes in an age where I’d rather go to your blog or find other recipes online than look in a book. I usually do a cheese and a meet filling and either have different shapes or put them inside different colored/flavored pastas so you can tell the difference. I won a chili cook-off one year by bringing in a chorizo and queso fresco stuffed tortellini to go with my otherwise standard pot of chili.

  95. lorie

    I read up (on line) about corn tortillas before tackling them and the best hint I found was to cut open both sides of a good-sized FREEZER storage bag. Open it out, then press each tortilla between the two halves. Worked like a charm! Apparently this unique material prevents a lot of the sticking/breaking that discourages people. Isn’t the internet wonderful?!

  96. SarahRaz

    Thanks for this amazing recipe once again! Your prompt above just was too tempting and I had to comment: I dream of making ECLAIRS! (Actually I dream that you’ll make them and I can drool over the recipe photos and cool story lol). I’ve found some recipes but am always reluctant to try anything until its been tried-and-true in the Smitten Kitchen. (…I totally second #92 Truc-Ha D’s comment above too, about the canning/pickling — especially the kinds of things used in Lebanese mezze, such as “makdous” or baby aubergines — but got scared away by all the internet warnings.)

  97. kelly

    I dream of making an amazing tikka masala. We are huge indian food fans, but always disappointed with the recipes we try compared to our local joint. Also: slow cooker recipes. We just got one and have tried several, but (with the exception of pulled pork) disappointed with the lack of complex flavors. There may be no way around that though.

  98. Lauren

    This post made me so happy! Chicken fajitas were my favorite homemade dinner growing up, though back then my mom added very few spices (actually, none). In my adult life, I have tinkered with my own version, but so far the best I could come up with only involved adding a little bit of the adobo sauce that comes with chipotle peppers to the chicken. I am absolutely going to try this recipe next. Also, in general I am obsessed with corn tortillas and would love to make my own someday, but have to go with flour for fajitas. Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing? Also, I tend to pack my fajitas with a bit more filling than my tacos and I feel like flour can stand up to that better.

  99. linda

    home made corn tortillas are the bomb!!! we’re on a total street taco fix too! We braise some meat (tritip, pork shoulder etc..) then just whip up some simple corn tortillas – they taste a hundred times better than the store bought ones, and then just eat over the stove. the perfect fast-fast food. will totally make your cole slaw and the chicken! we also make some quick-pickled red onions (takes another 15 minutes tops!) and then we have some left over canned pickled jalapeños from last summer… mmmmm….

  100. rebecca sacchetti

    Please, please give us instructions for making homemade flour tortillas; store bought do not come near. Sometimes what seems the simplest recipe can be the hardest to achieve… which includes flour tortillas. I want the chewy ones (lard) that puff up into pillows just begging for butter!

  101. Nancy

    What a great question! I’d love to make Chinese dumplings, weekly, but I would likely be the only person eating them. Now that I write it, it doesn’t sound like a huge problem. Also, cabbage – any & everything with cabbage. I can’t WAIT for my three young sons to be teenage garbage disposals; I will fill their mouths full of all the foods they rejected during years 1-12.

  102. Janna

    I dream of learning to make real Ethiopian injera, from straight teff, including the fermenting period and having a pan and stove that could handle those big, soft sheets of sour goodness.

  103. I love a good weeknight meal that’s quick, super delicious and pretty healthy. I can’t wait to try this out! Also, homemade corn tortillas?! Get your head on straight, Deb…or at least share the recipe. ;)


  104. Hi, Deb! I’d tackle croissants, danishes, possibly doughnuts, would love to possess the perfect french bread recipe, WILL make the challah from your cookbook *someday*, funky risotto combos, homemade fresh mozz balls, kefir & kombucha, homemade sauerkraut, need a recipe for the cow heart in my freezer, Momofuku’s ribeye steak recipe from the cookbook and more Momofuku cookies…I could go on for days. How much time do you have? :))

  105. alexis

    Wish I could make:
    -pad thai (that is actually tasty)
    – pad see-ew (ditto)
    -seconding the dreams of ethiopian food (including injera) and peking chicken/duck

  106. Alicia

    I second the freezer bag trick, it’s great. I’ve also found that you can freeze the pressed-but-not-cooked tortillas between pieces of waxed paper/parchment and cook them straight from the freezer. I’m lucky to live in an area where I can get fresh masa (from whole corn as opposed to maseca), so I do this regularly.

    My best friend’s mom is Greek and when they visit her family she spends all day slowly chopping/grilling/roasting and gossiping outside with her sisters, serving a fabulous meal at night. That’s my dream, not a specific dish but just to live that life.

  107. I have high/secret aspirations of making my own cheese. And while I’m at it, making all the bread we eat at home (I’m about 1/3 of the way there). Once I’m there, condiments are the next logical choice – mayonnaise, ketchup, chutneys and pickles and relishes and jams…

  108. These fajitas look fantastic. Homemade tortillas are one recipe I keep meaning to tackle! I also dream of making macarons and marshmallows — but I’m afraid of failing. Need to stop putting it off…

  109. Aleta

    Mainly I dream about anything with shrimp. I live in a house of red meat eaters! and forget about having a meat free dinner. So that’s what I fantasize about while we eat steak.

  110. Nicole

    I’d bake myself into oblivion. I’m fine with a quick shortcrust for pie but if I had the time, I’d learn to make pastries. Oh and obviously, doughnuts. I would not compromise on the doughnuts.

  111. Megan

    I have a serious thing for fancy French cooking, the kind they serve at the CIA’s French restaurant. Veal cheeks and so forth, always with beautiful garnish. Courses. Things made in multiple pots that I planned for months in advance.
    Also, sourdough. I had to choose between my human child and my wild-yeast child, and the the latter was easier to compost.

  112. Liz

    Ok fast- stir fry that uses up whatever I have while I use my Kuckoo Korean rice cooker to make perfect brown rice. Love that thing, my Korean friend talked me into it. Soups. True confessions as I am a very accomplished cook, this week I made a variation of one of your brussel sprout recipes, had some pre-baked squash on hand and served it with high quality hot dogs.

    Don’t be fooled by croissants/Danish.puff pastry. They are time consuming, but not difficult. The directions in Art of French Cooking are pretty foolproof. Do not try to rush the process.

    Aspirational, the Desem bread in Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. I also aspire to get sourdough going again, I have int he past, but then something happens and it gets neglected.

  113. Gail

    Re: going down the rabbit hole of weird internet research into a recipe… I get that! though I’ve never wound up watching youtube videos in a language I don’t know… too funny! Yesterday I spent way too much time researching Indian Corn Pudding, a request by my Yankee husband. Cornmeal and milk heated on the stove top, stirred in molasses, maple syrup, butter, pumpkin pie type spices then baked at a low temp for a long while… It was pretty good, if you are a pudding kind of dessert person. Which I am not. It’s actually better, though, when I make desserts I am not likely to inhale, quietly, alone in my kitchen. :)

  114. Evalyn

    What I’d make if I had time? I’d remake a chocolate napoleon that I made once for my own birthday years ago (chocolate puff pastry, chocolate cream, chocolate shavings on top) – it took three days and was worth every minute. And what I’d love for someone (help please) to figure out is a good replacement for tahini and/oil sesame oil since I developed an allergy to sesame. (I’ve made my own hummus every since, but it lacks a certain something.)

  115. Rachel

    homemade corn tortillas sound great – and look good too based on the pictures.

    I’d love to be able to make pad thai. I attempted it once and it was alright, but I was mildly confused by tamarind paste (mine was chunky and had large seeds? in it – was I supposed to pick the seeds out? blend the sauce to make it smoother? I took the lazy man’s route and did neither, but chunky, seedy sauce was a little distracting and did not help the flavor).

  116. Amanda

    For those of you intimidated by yeast baking, try the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day method. You make up one big batch of dough, leave it in the fridge, and then you can bake with it for up to two weeks. His newest book also has gluten free recipies.

    My husband is allergic to garlic, so that puts some limitations on what I can cook.When he’s away on business trips, I make a lot of scampi and roasted garlic. He is also a picky but simple eater. I like to try new dishes, so if it’s something I don’t think he’ll like, I make a plain version of the protein in the meal- poached chicken while I’m making fajitas, for example. This is not that much more work, and it lets me get out of a rut (he loves cooking ruts lol).

  117. Kathy

    We have an easy version of chicken fajitas that’s been in the weeknight meal rotation for years. Years and years.

    If I had all the time in the world, I’d always make fresh pasta. It’s one of those things that’s so very good, and even buying fresh or frozen pasta is not quite as good as making it in the afternoon and eating it for dinner. But the last time I made it, I felt like it took forever. (Partly because I don’t make it often enough, I’m pretty slow and clumsy.)

  118. AMS

    If I had the time, I’d love to spend days making a traditional cassoulet… that and a ridiculously complicated labor-intensive baked good (have you seen the Great British Bake-off? LOVE).

  119. Fajitas are one of my favorite meals to make! I use a similar recipe to Deb’s, but cook everything on the grill and then cut into strips. It’s easier to get a char on everything.

    I want to make some absurdly elaborate wedding cake.

  120. Amy

    Yum! These fajitas look like just the thing, perhaps I’ll make them instead of the burritos I was planning for later in the week.

    One dish I would love to master if I had the time is Ramen. With a full-flavored sauce and homemade noodles, I feel like it could either be a disappointing disaster or a fabulous hit. And I’m not willing to waste a few days on a disappointing disaster right now. But maybe one day…

  121. Amy

    Oh, and the fabulous artisan eclairs we had in Paris last summer. To some of the other posters – I tried macarons and they were pretty good. Got the pretty frilled feet and everything. The eclairs I made when we got home from our trip were tasty but not pretty.

  122. I would really love to master stollen and hot cross buns. I’ve tried making both at home but they never come close to their store bought counter parts.

    Deb, have you ever come across the Bourke St Bakery cookbook? The Bourke St Bakery is a beautiful bakery here in Sydney and their book is intimidating but amazing. Their sour cream, pear and raspberry cake is heaven on earth and one summer, when I had lots of time, I made their croissants. They were a fair amount of work (and required sooo much butter) but the end result was incredible – just like you’d get at the bakery/Paris. They really were perfection!

  123. Aarthi

    Rachel- I make a vegan version of pad Thai from chezpim. I think you uses tamarind whole and you should use tamarind paste( easier :)). Good luck.

    Deb I would love to learn to make macarons. If only so I can stop dreaming about macarons from Laudree.

  124. Elana

    Kelly – #125 here’s a chicken tikka masala recipe that’s good. My partner at work is Indian and said it tastes authentic.

    My fear is making any dish w duck. Peking duck would be the pinnacle.. But I’m scared of any duck recipe. And where do you get it? How do you know it’s a good one? All the fat you have to render…yikes

    Also I LOVE rice noodles- so pad see eu and chow fun. And I’ve found some good recipes, but have yet to find ones that are as good as at my favorite Thai or Chinese restaurants. If anyone has a pad see eu recipe they swear by, I’d love to try it. Thanks

  125. Allie

    I, too, love fajitas… might have to try out the slaw the next time, it sounds like it would make a fantastic complement to the fajitas! (And any pickled veggie is a friend of mine! I have a couple jars of your sandwich slaw in the fridge now!)

    Hopefully soon, I’m going to try my hand at the rabbit confit in Thomas Keller’s Buchon cookbook (and the rabbit rillettes with prunes, of which rabbit confit is the star ingredient), so that’s among my cooking “goals.”

    As for my cooking “dream” I’d LOVE to make a proper, from-scratch bouillabaisse, but the ingredient list is LONG, diverse, and expensive. It falls into the no-man’s-land between being a dish you can’t cut down and make for just two people, and being too expensive and risky (i.e. untested, complicated, time-consuming) to do for a group/party. So I just order it when I find myself in a nice-ish French restaurant… but I still dream about it… just a little… :)

  126. Gry

    Well, I almost never cook fajitas anymore, because I want to make meals that everyone can eat together and my daughter is not into spicy food:-(. So basically, that’s what I crave if/when I go out: thai, mexican, indian are my favourites. My daughter doesn’t care much for salads either, so that’s on my list, too….. good to see that I’m not the only one who plans around a picky eater, though…
    In any case, this looks like a great recipe, I might try to make it less spicy, maybe, just maybe everyone in my house will eat it (or there will be more for me and the rest will have cereals….)

  127. truus joosten

    Hi Deb, as the 162nd comment on your question what I dream of tackling in the kitchen one day: a very very good chili, chockfull of beans and peppers and all the other vegetables my kids refuse to eat, accompanied by a real good green salad, again full of all sorts of veggies my kids refuse to eat…
    And on the other side of my cooking-spectrum I envision a fabulous red-velvet-cheesecake, like I ate in the States one time and which you cannot eat in Europe anywhere. I already bought some red colouring that is nog making my youngest a freak after eating it. So I can start with your recipe…why don’t I? Love from Amsterdam across the great pond…

  128. I dream about making the Julia Child classics: coq a vin, boeuf bourguignon…really just cracking into mastering the art of french cooking once and for all.

    I also would love the time and tools to make my own ground meat and cured meats–it seems like a really fun process and I would love to try it someday. Someday when I have a giant budget, kitchen and all the time in the world :)

  129. JP

    A really good hamantaschen recipe that does not come apart in the oven. There just must be a way not to have to buy them in the store for Purim. Prune filling too :)

  130. Long time reader, first time commenter. I love love love your blog! And, your cookbook is one of my favorites! I made these sizzling chicken fajitas with all the fixings (pickled onions rocked my world) for dinner on Friday night. So good. Such a bright, flavorful and fun meal. This recipe definitely got me excited for warmer weather and lots more guac in my life. Thank you for this and all your other delicious recipes!

  131. Sue

    I apologize for the slightly off topic question, but I just made your chocolate brioche pretzels from your cookbook. The recipe says to let the dough rise 2 hours, but I let it rise in a warm oven for 3 hours–the chocolate chips were melted and the dough was gloppy when I tried to roll out the pretzels. I put it in the fridge to let it firm up, but now when I roll it, it begins to tear. What should I do?

  132. Now that’s what I’m talking about “sizzling chicken fajitas” I love hot foods. I would love to be able to pluck this from the screen and eat them right now lol

  133. Mary Moss

    Red Licorice and the very best gluten free flour mix. I have no time to suss these out. I was just thinking two days ago, that i should ask you, if there was any interest in this!

  134. Kathleen

    I made Tunisian Lamb Stew with Quince once. The spices (caraway and fennel seeds that you put in a plastic bag and crush by rolling a rolling pin over) were amazing. I don’t have the time or the quince but I do have the wish!

  135. Laura P.

    I dream of making perfect whole wheat (or at least mostly whole wheat) sourdough bread and pizza dough! Alas, I don’t think I’d use enough dough for a starter to really be a viable thing for me–it would take over my kitchen!

  136. Lauren

    I made these this weekend–we had people over for dinner and everyone LOVED it! My husband said “best chicken ever”–definitely a win in our book. Thanks! :)

  137. Susan

    I have actually made corn tortillas and they are so simple and quite good when freshly made. I bought the Masa flour for tortillas (there is a special masa for tamales) and just followed the instructions on the package and found the demo on Youtube. I used a heavy, flat bottomed sauce pan to press them out and it worked well.
    I’ve made so many things that I’d never heard of or thought I’d ever be able to make since I’ve started coming here that I don’t really have a list anymore. It’s true! So, I guess I’ll know it when I see it…or try it in a restaurant!

  138. Jasmine

    The things a lot of people mention I have spent years tackling and now feel confident with–namely bread and Indian curries.

    There are many things that intimidate me in terms of expense or serving to picky palates, but I usually find occasions to spend the money or serve to the right crowd. The one dish I would love to make if calories were no object (or if I could just ignore them) is a really mind-blowing potato gratin such as dauphinoise. I never liked this type of thing until I had it in a french restaurant and I realized how much butter, cream and cheese potatoes can actually hold. I don’t know if Julia’s recipe would reproduce this, or whether the one I tasted was even wickeder, but his is my dream recipe.

  139. Claire Miller

    It looks beautiful! However, seeing fresh “tomatoes” in March gives me the fits. They’re not even food until at least late July.

  140. WifeToAnAmazingCook

    These fajitas look so good – reminding me that spring is around the corner (despite temps in the single digits here today…..).

    As for intimidating foods/recipes, your blog has helped me knock off that list (lasagne bolognese, celebration cakes, brisket, stuffed cabbage and many more!). The things I’d love to spend time/money/calories with are Pierogi, brazoile and ethnic foods from central/eastern Europe and the entire African continent. For now, though, I am content to cook my way through your archives!

  141. Sarah

    I would love to have a recipe to make crispy pork belly with some kind of delicious, sticky sauce. I doubt it’s very expensive, but I’m sure it is tricky, and if anyone could make it approachable, it’s you!

  142. Brian

    I made this last night and it was delicious. And the best part is there are enough leftovers for a second helping later this week!

  143. HyeKeen

    Love your site and love your food, Deb!

    The food of my dreams to make at home is croissants. I love them!!! I like to cook from scratch but this one with its layers of butters and tons of rolling out just sounds kind of like a nightmare. Maybe it’s not really? :)

  144. K Bryan

    I have yet to be successful at homemade corn tortillas so I am looking forward to that post soon. I wish I could prepare easy and beautiful breakfast muffins. My children would love for me to be able to make really good egg rolls and sweet and sour sauce. I need some amazing side dishes to make everyday dinners even better by livening up the mix. I’d like to find a spice cake like the delicious one served at our wedding reception.

  145. Anna

    Re: Naan – Perhaps a baking steel ( would work? My husband and I both love naan, so I will have to try it. The baking steel has improved my pizza tremendously. Yes, it’s really freaking heavy, but I just leave it in the oven most of the time.

    Also, while I have made tortillas a number of times, I can’t believe that I’m a Texan without a tortilla press. I think it would change my tortilla game.

  146. January

    Bread. It’s so silly but bread. Bread in all its crunchy crusted, chewy inside glory. Although I’ve baked most things, the idea of yeast and starters scare me. Something to tackle at some point…

  147. Rachel

    What the what! I made these last night thinking “ok, these will make a great meal for the week, should last me a few days”. Ha! Silly Rachel! If we are lucky they will last through tonight they are so good and I didn’t even bother making any of the side dishes for them. Just tortilla, chicken, peppers, and onions. Home run Deb! Must run, off to make another batch to have in the house for when it runs out.

  148. Fajitas! Of course! Thank you for the reminder. I’ve been sitting here at work planning dinner (was going to be stir fry w/rice and chicken thighs) but I do believe I have everything to switch to fajitas instead. My hubby has a weird aversion to corn tortillas though homemade may sway that opinion – bring it on Deb.

    As for fantasy dinner/cooking aspirations… from-scratch pie, fresh salad rolls more often (can’t seem to make all the chopping and assembling happen in a timely fashion without being pissed off at the world because it’s now 9:00pm and I was hungry 2 hours ago…), and exploring ethnic flavors and cooking styles because in my fantasy I have the time, money, and access to any possible ingredient I would want. = )

  149. JanieDee

    Would love to see Kouign Amann. If you do the Croissants you’ll be half way there! Thanks as always for sharing. God Bless You and Yours

  150. Heather

    I’m casting my vote for sourdough; I’ve tried the Joy of Cooking recipe a few times, and it’s good but not delicious, and the feeding schedule for the starter tested my marriage and confirmed for me once and for all that I’m not cut out for parenthood. Also, I made your samosas, Deb, and they were great, but with making the dough, cooking of the potatoes and lentils, making the filling, rolling and cutting out the dough, shaping and filling, and then cooking them, it took practically the whole day and made the $12 the nice Indian man at my local Farmer’s market charges for a bag of them look like a steal!

    1. deb

      Heather — “the feeding schedule for the starter tested my marriage and confirmed for me once and for all that I’m not cut out for parenthood.” might be my current new favorite comment, bumping one on FB two months ago that “my kids have requested that I no longer put kale in anything.”

      Re, the samosa thing is the problem I have with most dumpling-type things (empanadas, ravioli, potstickers). I love them all, but they’re all Projects. They’re only fun if you knew what you were getting into before you started.

      Anna — Funny, I’ve been hearing so much about the Baking Steel recently. I would love to know how it compares to my Lodge cast-iron pizza pan/bread pan.

  151. Meghan

    I dream of making really delicious croissants. They’re my favorite pastry and I’m obsessed with the perfect ham and cheese croissants at Tartine. The process however is so labor intensive (the laminated dough) and then there’s the pound of butter-unhealthy issue which always keeps me from making them!

  152. bea

    what i’d really love to be able to make….. spring rolls. The frying scares me.
    And gelato.
    And a very very good roasted chicken (but I have my eye on Lousa’s – The wednesday chef’s – recipe…., and on Rachel’s from Rachel eats)

  153. bob

    Deb! Has it REALLY been over 7 years?! I got to the bottom of your post and did a double take at the link to Eggplant and Barley Salad. I remember that salad from when I was a poor community development worker living overseas and reading your blog like there’s no tomorrow. Thanks for bringing so much joy to the Universe!

    Anyhow, someone else’s comment about croissants got me thinking about madeleine cookies. Really good ones. And that incredibly yummy spice paste from North Africa called Harissa. And if I had the opportunity, I’d for sure try making ratatouille again. All three of those things exist in how-to form out there on the internet, but the recipes I’ve found don’t seem to really nail it.

  154. Jill

    Clearly I’m late to the game so I didn’t read all the comments, but fajitas (mostly with skirt steak) are a family favorite. I add a bit of oil, cilantro, and a splash of tequila to my marinade for some extra flavor. And my new favorite method is to cook them on a super hot griddle. We have a big family so I found that to make enough for all of us I was over-crowding the pan or having to cook in batches and that was kind of killing the ‘freshly-charred’ fajita aspect of it all. So I turn the griddle on high and then have enough space to make a whole dinner.
    Lately I have become obsessed with making layer cakes and I think if I had enough time in the day that would be my goal: to perfect cake decorating.

  155. Rachel

    This looks delicious and easy for a weeknight or anytime really.
    I would love to make my own corned beef, pastrami and bacon from scratch. I even have the pink salt waiting in the cabinet for that magical time when I have the space in the fridge and opportunity to work on it.

  156. Anne

    Perfect timing. This is just what I need! About to go through a super busy time at work and was wondering what to stock up on. Fajitas are endlessly adaptable AND fast for when I’m home late and ravenous. My picks for intimidating
    –duck. Love it, but it would kill me to screw it up.
    –indian/asian food that is quick/flavorful but doesn’t require a gazillion new spices.

    ps, made your old school chocolate mousse for a dinner party. huge hit.

  157. I cook and bake a lot but I’ve never made chicken soup. For some reason it scares me. I’m worried it will end up kind of flavorless. Also, (beef) short ribs. We keep kosher at home and kosher meat is SO expensive that is a big commitment to make something like that. Non-spicy samosas. My kids (and I) love samosas but have no tolerance for spice and all the restaurants in our neighborhood (Morningside Heights) are too authentic to make them mild. Too authentic – what a complaint, right?

  158. Vicki B

    Can I change mine to real authentic Belgian waffles? The kind they sell on the street and people like a cookie with caramelized pearl sugar?

  159. As far as things I’d like to see, I think some of the more time-consuming sauces would be interesting…like a homemade mayonnaise. Also demystifying other proteins, like seafood or duck would be really interesting as well. I cooked fresh mussels all by myself last summer for the first time and had some trials because there was a lot of conflicting information on the internet.

  160. I’m an assistant pastry chef, so I spend my days making things I thought I’d never have the skill set or courage for – croissants, puff pastry, pate a choux, eclairs, macarons, italian meringue buttercream – and it is GLORIOUS. But maybe because I’m elbow-deep in sugar all day, I dream about mostly savory dishes at home. Recreating a perfect Moroccan lamb meatball tagine I had once in Paris, with cous cous, toasted almonds, and golden raisins; wonton soup with meltingly rich broth and paper-thin, succulent wontons with barely wilted bok choy. Dishes with so many components that they are like little locked trunks of delight. Hope I can find the key one day!

  161. Cat

    Paella, cassoulet, gnocchi are all things I have tried, but have not gotten right. I love baba ganoush, but can’t seem to find a recipe that I love. Peking chicken! I would try that today!

  162. Hi,
    I feel so foolish but I cannot find your other food sites you used to promote or share with us, the readers.
    Every since you redecorated your web site I have not been able to find those other people you read.
    I know this is long overdue but I kept thinking it is me but I think it is you. Which is fine because this is your space but just to let you know I truly enjoyed visiting your other friends.

    ps. Your fajitas look lovely, a bit of chopped parsley, cilantro, chives, dill with a snippet of lemon zest and sea salt also create another level.

    1. deb

      Hi Peggy — I used a program to generation the Good Reads/Links page but the program shut down last summer and I haven’t found another solution. I’d love to. I’m working on it. [Updated to add: After re-reading this comment, I rolled my eyes at myself and started manually rebuilding the page; it’s not as great because it doesn’t auto-refresh with what I’m reading but it’s better than nothing. I’ll have it back up soon.]

      1. Mel

        Deb we love these-perfect efficient and delicious meal! One question-my SO says he feels like the chicken is gritty sometimes-have you experienced this? Any thoughts? I’m thinking it’s my spices? Or I need more liquid in the marinade? Thank you!

  163. Charlotte

    Hiya, I was just wondering how Jacob (or any other readers’ kids who have tried this) got on with the spices in the chicken? I have recently acquired a 5 year old stepkid and tend to be pretty bad at guessing what he will or won’t eat. He likes chicken though so even if he just ate chicken and some tomatoes or cheese this might work well as a meal for all of us – but he doesn’t like spicy food so not sure if I should dial down the spices or not. any guidance welcome!

  164. Maybe it’s because I live in the middle of the country, but I had no idea that fajitas were a ’90s throwback! I make them all the time, and mine look much like these, but with one important difference. My secret recipe: caramelized onions. For a recipe this size, I’ll use as many as 4 large onions, and I caramelize them the slow way in a little olive oil. Then, when I have just a little golden-brown pile of sweetness left, I add the peppers. To be fair, caramelized onions are one of my three very pedestrian secret ingredients, but wow do they make a difference in fajitas!

  165. Savanarola

    Deb, let me assure you, that’s not “slacker” pico, that IS pico. I’ve been eating pico since I was tiny: I grew up on the border. In northern Mexico, that is all we put in Pico. There is very little oil – some people put none, some people add a couple of drops. But you must include lime and also salt. We also don’t put anything more than avocado, a touch of onion, lime, and salt in guacomole. To me, this is the regional accuracy, not slacking. :)

    1. deb

      Savanorola — Thank you. I am happy to hear that it’s not just me that considers anything other than onion, lime and salt in guacamole heresy. #nogarlic! #notomatoes!

  166. Clara

    Since my husband won’t eat any of these things, Liver and Onions (no bacon), Beets, preferably Beet Salad, and rutabaga (yellow turnip).

  167. Diane G

    Deb, love your recipes (have made several) and love your writing – but thank you so much for the New Yorker link. I haven’t laughed that hard in weeks!

  168. BCE

    Broccoli slaw is another great short-cut to add veggies. I love the TJ brand since it is also organic. I have a couple of things I would like to perfect in my cooking and try. One is the perfect matzo ball, I just can’t make them which is hysterical to my family since I can cook way more complicated things and I would also like to someday take a class in Italy and learn to make perfect pasta, especially stuffed pasta like tortellini or raviolis. I cook Italian-Jewish so it is funny that these are my two food items I want to learn to cook.

  169. Jillian L

    5 years ago, my ‘to-do’ list would have included homemade granola, pho, hearty bread, lobster rolls, brioche, incredible french onion soup, but your recipes have already taken care of those! In fact, your recipes are so useful that I make all those pretty often now. And my friends love the homemade goldfish crackers. So, I have not had a lot of peking duck before, but that certainly seems like a great option from all the readers comments (and I do love duck, I confit duck a lot and use the stock from the carcass to make your french onion soup.). And maybe a rack of lamb, that intimidates me!

  170. Erika

    I made these last night for a group of friends— absolutely DELICIOUS! My only change was to use a bit less salt in the spices for the chicken.

  171. Katie

    I’d love to master bread–like that crusty crust bread with a perfectly soft inside. I’ve tried a few times, but the results were nothing spectacular.

  172. Right now I’m dreaming about making a Moroccan-style bastilla, but it sounds time-consuming and complicated (and I’m a little scared of working with phyllo dough).

  173. Anna

    I’ve never used cast iron for pizza, but I do love my baking steel. I’ve used it two ways: In the middle of the oven at 550, and pizzas take about 8-9 minutes to finish; and near the top of the oven with the broiler cranked up – they only take 4 minutes to bake! I recently baked eight(!) pies that way for a crowd. I was exhausted, but it was worth it :)

  174. dorothy hiebert

    I enjoy your blog, you keep it real! Scanning the comments, I noticed a few posts mentioning a fear of working with yeast. I am passionate about teaching others how to work with yeast. My most memorable student was a 70 year old lady, who had never moved past her fear of working with yeast. One lesson from me and my student tossed her old fear out the window. Knowledge is powerful.
    My contact card says “Yeast baking coach” and my students range in age from 6 years and up.

  175. Adrianne

    Your tortillas look like they turned out well!! I make them (more often flour as my family prefers that) just following the recipe on the bag. I think it was 2 cups masa to just over 1 cup water. Clearly how you measure the corn will make a difference. I think mixing it with a fork, of all things, matters, too. And use a thick plastic on your tortilla press. I like to cut open a freezer bag. Otherwise it sticks like crazy!!!

    And, I’ve been dreaming of the chocolate cherry bread recipe in “breads from La Brea Bakery”. One of these days I might attempt, or perhaps you can show us the way???

  176. Jess

    I really hope you’re preggo and that is the reason there hasn’t been another post in a week plus…it’s the only explanation I can cling to for happiness’s sake!

    1. deb

      Jess — Ha! No, just actually took a long time to get a recipe working correctly this week. The recipe I had planned for this week will be bumped to next; the one I’d intended for next week got moved up: ta-da!

  177. Andi

    I finally made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon at Christmas, which I’d been dreaming about for a year. Thankfully, I’ve had great opportunity to make lots of dishes that are productions (Pho, Bulgogi, Cannelloni from scratch, etc.). But I haven’t done much of that in the recent past since the kiddo and the grad school took over my life.

    I think for my dream, I’d like to make Thomas Keller’s Beef Stroganoff from his Ad Hoc book which requires you first make beef short ribs and pappardelle. I’d also like to try Momofuku’s Pulled Pork. That seems much more doable.

  178. Laceflower

    I’ve made tortillas, everyone raved but I don’t think they are worth the effort. I’m pretty fearless, I cook all our bread stuffs, cookies, cakes, pasta, ice cream, jams, pickles, even grind meat to make burgers and sausage, soap but we don’t eat the soap! Fact is I am kinda burned out with 3 meals a day of super cooking day in and day out and only want to make smoothies and bacon and eggs.

  179. Lulabelle91

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I quit trying to make fajitas at home because they were bland! Waiting is the key! I just made beef using Valentina sauce to marinate so they are only a reasonable facsimile and my 14″ Lodge is in a state of shock! Home alone so I don’t have to share!

  180. Jenna B.

    One thing that I love in restaurants but am afraid to tackle myself is pasta carbonara. It’s probably silly, but it just seems so complicated and fussy and intimidating to me with thw whole raw egg getting transformed subtly by the heat of the pasta.

  181. Kristin

    Made these tonight – instant hit. Tip on timing – the tortillas will take about as long to warm as the peppers/onions/chicken take to cook. If you forget (like I did), another option is to warm them two at a time in a dry skillet over medium heat.

  182. I know I’m a little late to the game on this one, but my “dream” dish is sauerbraten. I’ve always been too afraid to try because my Polish/German family has such great memories of my grandmother’s, but now that she (and her recipe) are gone, I’d love to figure it out!

  183. Elsie

    Deb! Maybe these fajitas are old news on the blog by now, BUT after making your chocolate banana bread two times in one week I made these fajitas last night. They were SO good and SO simple that I had to come back and comment so that other readers will know that they just have to make them! We have a new addition to the family making his appearance in July, so I have been looking for recipes that will be simple to make during the week but still delicious. This recipe is both of those things!

  184. Allison

    Plase do a post on a great go-to vegetable burger that does not crumble. I’ve tried many many recipes and non of them are as good as those made in (legit) restaurants.

  185. Margo

    We like to add a splash of soy sauce to our chicken fajita marinade! Here is my current list of dream dishes:
    -Pain au chocolat. Your chocolate brioche pretzels are the closest I’ve come. I made them for my birthday and now when someone asks my 2 1/2 year old what she wants for her birthday she says pretzels. We get funny looks but I just shrug my shoulders and say “there’s chocolate in them.”
    -Duck. Not along the lines of peking duck like several other commenters. More along the lines of French roasted duck. I had some amazing duck in Paris and would love to be able to recreate that at home.
    -Cochinita Pibil. Eventually I will find a Seville orange!
    -Vegetarian Indian food with Naan. I have a pita bread recipe I love but my attempts at naan have failed. I’ve recently had a few delicious Indian curries that I have yet to conquer at home.

  186. Sara

    I just Pinned this under my “Recipes That Worked” board with the caption “legit good.”

    I think that about sums it up. Thanks for another winner!

  187. Becky

    I made these tonight, but grilled the chicken (it was too nice out not to!) instead of cooking on the stove. With some fresh guac, corn tortillas for her, flour for him — a wonderful dish!

  188. DBF

    Made these last night. The technique is great and results in the desired textures for peppers and chicken. Also this comes together super-quick. I did think there was too much cumin, as that was the dominant flavor that came through. I would cut the cumin in half next time. Otherwise, this is a delicious dish.

  189. Sandra Vander Wal

    Just finished making these. They were supposed to be for dinner with a friend last night, but she ended up sick. I made them tonight because I already had the chicken marinating. Wow she my friend miss out! And my favorite was the slaw! I didn’t use the scallions (funny personality thing where I can cook a whole meal for myself but feel funny chopping up a bunch of green onion for just one person) and it was still amazing.
    So glad I tried this. :) Also, my place smells heavenly now.

  190. michelle

    These were absolutely delicious–thank you so much for sharing! I made the veg-only version: used ~1.5x more peppers and onions (added the spices toward the end of cooking so they wouldn’t burn). Next time, I might add some summer squash and mushrooms. For protein, I pan-fried some extra firm tofu in a skillet until golden brown. Fixings: pinto beans (simmered with bay leaves, chipotles, and garlic), rice, cilantro, lime, and crumbled cotija cheese. I ended up making my own corn tortillas and it was so worth it. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe:

  191. I decided to make chicken fajitas tonight from the bird I roasted last night, but I didn’t totally have a plan to do it. When your site showed up in the first few results, I knew if I just went here I’d have a winner! I shredded the breasts (no one ate much last night!) and put them in the pan as directed, then dumped what would have been the marinade on top and tossed to heat. It was deemed “really good” by the husband. He wrapped his in our usual cook-and-eat flour tortillas, I served mine over black beans. We both topped with sour cream and pico. Perfect recipe.

  192. nora1

    Made this for the family last night with skirt steak and homemade whole meal tortillas (because I forgot to buy them). I also made a simple bean version of the meat because because I prefer beans. It was easy, tasty, healthy, inexpensive..and a fun meal too. Winner. Thanks Deb you are awesome.

  193. Elana

    Made this tonight except it was literally 100 degrees in Pasadena, ca today so grilled rather than turn on the stove. I added a little extra olive oil to marinade made this morning then skewered the chicken with the peppers and onions (also lightly coated w olive oil, salt and pepper). Grilled the skewers on smoking hot grill and came out just like the fajitas in the cast iron skillet. Served with the lime/mayo slaw, picked onions and homemade guacamole. Choice of flour or corn tortillas. Absolutely fabulous. We’re in s. California so eat a lot of Mexican and tex/mex food. While this recipe is simple and straightforward, it’s the perfect blend of seasoning and comes out something special. A keeper I’ll make over and over.

  194. Margy

    Last weekend I had the pleasure of staying with two of my nieces (ages 14 & 17) while my brother and sister-in-law took a well deserved weekend for themselves. We looked through the ingredients and had almost everything to make this meal. We invited my two sisters and a brother-in-law to join us. One of my sisters and her husband don’t have a terribly adventurous palate but we decided to go ahead with this, rather than change the menu. We doubled the recipe, thinking we’d have a ton of leftovers. Boy, were we wrong! Everybody inhaled them, there wasn’t much conversation because we were all busy eating and then eating some more. We ended up with one small portion left! Everybody loved them. Thanks, Deb for helping me to get them to try something outside of their comfort zone. I think they’re a little more willing to try new things in the future.

  195. I’m sure it’s not too difficult to figure out, but the garlic isn’t actually mentioned in the recipe instructions, just the ingredients list. (I just threw it in with the onions, we’re about to chow down in mere moments and I can’t wait!)

  196. Rzh

    Really excellent marinade, even better with smoked salt. We grilled the chicken breasts (lightly pounded) and the sliced veggies to get a nice char, and then sliced the chicken for serving.

  197. Mollie

    I have made these no less than twice a month since you posted this recipe! We had them again tonight. They always are amazing. I need to try a steak version at some point too!

  198. Sonja

    The greatest thing I ever did was adding a sprinkle of sugar to the onions with the salt. It helps the onions to caramelize and brings out the flavors in the sauce.

  199. Lillian

    My husband loves to grill, so we make fajitas with skirt steak and chicken thighs, marinate, then put them on the Weber. It’s usually a huge amount, so we share with the neighbors. Then we use the leftovers to make taco salads! We take my favorite hot sauce – – and stir some into sour cream for a dressing. I also make a cilantro dressing similar to the one they serve at El Torito (but without the preservatives and way less salt) and the salad is so good, I just can’t get enough. My husband loves to take the salad to work for lunch time, too. So one night of grilling can provide lunches and dinners for few days.

  200. Greg

    A local grocery store I work at is featuring a chicken filling mix that is not even as good as this recipe sounds. I’ll be adjusting the recipe for sure.

  201. Jeff

    Winner! Thanks. I love your Facebook feed, it’s fun to remember old friends and be re-reminded of recipes I’d like to try, like this one.

    I’d love to to make more cakes, develop confidence and a sense of mastery, but it’s safe to have only so much of that stuff in the house.

    For those talking about Indian food, definitely check out Deb’s Chana Masala and Aloo Ghobi (cauliflower and potatos). With some rice and raita, with storebought naan and chutney, an absolute feast, great for entertaining vegetarian friends.

  202. Jennette

    I would love to find more make ahead and homey/kid-friendly dishes that didn’t involve creamy sauces and cheese (my daughter has an aversion to these). They are otherwise not too picky. I wousl especially like recipes that aren’t really meat- heavy. So often the “kid-friendly” recipes I see, especially vegetarian ones, are heavy on the cheese.

  203. Denise

    Thank you for the dinner party post (where you referenced this slaw & pickled onion recipe)! I’m hoping to do it all for New Years and I had one question.. Do you prefer these pickled onions or the ones you have in your book under the slow cooker black bean ragout? Thank you in advance!!!

  204. Barbara

    Dream: The perfect from scratch Lemon Meringue Pie, not too sweet, not too tart, with a flaky crust and billows of fluffy meringue toasted on the peaks. Reality: Weekly meal that always works, fresh fried potatoes with onion and bacon, then when they are almost done, push to the side, and crack 3-4 eggs in the middle, cover with lid and let the heat of the potatoes cook the eggs to perfection.

  205. Colleen Lutes

    Came home to a meal of Sizzling Chicken Fajitas after my first day at school. Wow! It’s definitely made it to our family favorites list. Thanks!

  206. Sarah

    I adapted this recipe for leftover charcoal grilled london broil. My husband told me I should tell you he liked it! Thanks for another recipe!

  207. Scargosun

    I love this recipe and this week I tweeked it a little for grilled Fajitas. I doubled the marinade, added a little olive oil and left the chicken thighs whole. Marinaded for two days. Grilled on charcoal grill – amazing!!!!

  208. Laura

    I’ve made the Lazy Taco Slaw with regular Daisy brand sour cream (the only ingredient is cultured cream) with no curdling issues whatsoever. It worked like a charm and was delicious!

  209. Caroline H

    I make these as is, no changes! These are the best chicken fajitas…and coming from someone that lives in Houston, TX —that’s something hard to beat!

  210. Jesse Childs

    You did it! These were magnificent! I have been struggling with bland fajitas for YEARS! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Xoxoxo

  211. Sue

    I’ve always wanted to make Rao’s Lemon Chicken. For some reason the process puts me off even though it sounds easy enough.

  212. I’ve been dreaming of building a pit bbq. Building an enormous fire and burning it to coals then covering it in dirt, layering damp burlap and slow roasting all the veggies and meat buried in the ground. One day it will happen and be glorious. Until then, thank you for the fantastic week night dinner idea!

  213. Brandi

    I would love to make homemade pasta! However, spending a lot of time on dinner is out of the question (sadly, because I love to cook) since I have a 5 month old. A beautiful, easy, versatile, homemade pasta recipe that doesn’t require fancy gadgets and a ton of hands-on prep time is my dream!

    Now that I reread my request, it really sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

  214. PennyC

    Years later, I know, but I tried this last night, and YUM! I prepped the chicken the night before, and made the recipe precisely as written. Delicious! And it was fun to cook. My husband lived in New Mexico for a time, and developed a love of Tex-Mex, while as a New York Jewish type, it has never been my thing, but we both loved the dish. Only problem — and it’s actually not a problem — that seriously made a LOT. He’ll be partying out today at lunchtime with the leftovers. Thanks for a great dish!

  215. I tried this recipe yesterday and it was amazing. The only thing I changed was using avocado oil instead of olive oil, since it has a higher smoke point (my smoke alarms are very sensitive). I will be using this recipe again, thanks!

  216. Scott

    Very tasty, but I’m gonna need a bigger cast iron pan for next time. We’re gonna use more veggies, too. Now my whole apartment smells like a Chili’s. In a good way.

  217. Julia

    Have earmarked this recipe for ages but with snow in the forecast last night decided to finally make these fajitas. So good. Followed completely and lunch can not come fast enough so that I can have the leftovers. Thank you Deb for another great recipe.

  218. Mel

    With all the ingredients except two spices and the chicken, I decided this would be a perfect dinner for tonight after the heavy food of winter. Bought chicken, oregano, and chili powder and a short time later we had SUCH a delicious meal!! Deb this came together quickly, easily, and the two of us devoured it along with salsa, guacamole, a little shredded cheese, and fresh lime as well as some leftover quinoa and rice. Thanks for an amazing recipe!!!

    1. deb

      There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.

  219. Leah

    This is one of my absolute favorite recipes as-is, but I’m hoping to make it vegetarian for friends. How would you suggest I make it flavorful? Do I marinate the veggies? Add the spices and lime juice to the veggies while they’re sizzling?

  220. Jackie

    I just made this, following the recipe exactly. My husband had asked me to make something Tex Mex & this is what I chose. He couldn’t stop raving – saying it was beyond what he’d hoped for!

    Thank you Deb, once again you delivered!

  221. Hillary

    Oh my goodness. This is the best recipe I’ve made in a long time. Thank you so much! Perfection! I used a mix of chicken breast and thigh, let it sit in marinade for approximately 1 hour, forgot garlic clove, otherwise followed recipe exactly. The lazy slaw is amazing and perfect compliment. Thank you for the inspiration from your Instagram stories that gave me the idea to make this recipe!

    1. deb

      There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.

      1. phyllis

        I just made this and it is fabulous…. but just wondering, can I make it on the grill?
        I made quite a mess on the stove top range, with lots of steam heading to the ceiling, and I would love to avoid that next time but use the recipe…. the meat marinade is delish…
        thanks for any hints for outdoor grill cooking this.

  222. Lynn

    Moved to NE Wisconsin a couple of years ago where the local fajita game is lacking. Finally decided to try to make them at home and these were SO tasty and easy once you cut up the thighs. The browning went quickly with the cast iron and the smell alone was worth it! Didn’t have a chance to make sides other than black beans, but look forward to adding a few more next time around. Thanks!

  223. Jamie

    I’m obsessed with this recipe!! I made it with EMU meat that my husband bought a bunch of and it was delicious – will definitely make it again (with emu, but chicken and pork would of course be delicious as well).

  224. KatieK

    This is in my regular rotation; I’ve been on Weight Watchers for several weeks, made this with chicken breast and really watching the amount of oil used, this can be pretty low in points. The combination of spices and the slight charring of the veggies and chicken is what makes it work. The white meat is pretty moist because of the marinade.
    The pickled onions are a standard in my house; just made some up to have on hand. Love them on smoked salmon with light cream cheese on half English muffin. They also had a good punch to sandwiches. Of course, they are also great on these fajitas.
    Someone asked if this would work with shrimp; don’t know if anyone responded but I think it would be wonderful. Keep the marinating time to a minimum so they don’t “cook” in the sauce and keep an eye when cooking so they stay nice and pink and don’t dry out. Yum!

  225. Becca

    These are in our permanent rotation – just put a batch in to marinate tonight! Easy and so flavorful, and the topping choices make it fun to customize. Don’t skip the pickled onions – they’re the best part!

  226. Susan

    This was so good and easy! The key here is thigh meat instead of breast meat, so the chicken is not dry. This will definitely be part our rotation as well.

  227. phyllis

    I just made the one pan sizzling fajitas and they are GREAT!!! so if you do not want to mess up the range top, do try these…
    thanks DEB…

  228. Susan

    I just made these the other day. I didn’t have tortillas so we ate them stuffed in pita. I know I posted about these before. The key is that they are made with thigh meat and not breast meat and therefore not dry. always make more than enough, so there is over half a recipe left that I make a second meal with rice and all the fixings on top with crunchy tortilla strips. This is such a great recipe.

  229. Anne Marie Lewis

    Deb!! Once again, you don’t disappoint!! This was so good…reminded me of the working at TGIFridays in Covent Garden in the 1990’s where the British customers called them “fa-jee tas…stress on last syllable!

  230. AGAIN, delicious proof that just a few well-edited, simple ingredients usually make the best version of any preparation! Thank you another wonderful recipe and for bringing fajitas back into regular rotation.

  231. Victoria

    Made this tonight for the family. It was SO good. I feel like I accomplished restaurant quality fajitas at home. It was amazingly easy and the recipe as described was perfect. The key? Just….. wait. Wait for the veggies to get some char. Wait for the chicken to get browned (something I’m usually awful at doing).

    We’ll DEFINITELY be making again.

  232. Leah

    The answer to all my fajita cravings. I’ve made it with chicken breast and with thighs – both work great. An easy one to prep on a working from home lunch break. I always cook it in a wok (the biggest pan I have) and honestly think I’ll continue to do so even once I have a more appropriate skillet option.

  233. Barbara

    This recipe is a family favorite and has been in our regular rotation for years. A couple shortcuts I use …. I quadruple the spice mix so I have it ready made when I want fajitas (add 2T plus 1t per recipe). And I roast the veggies in the oven at 425. They still get that nice char with very little effort. The slaw and pickled onions are quick and delicious.

  234. I recently tried the Sizzling Chicken Fajitas recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it was absolutely delicious! The marinade for the chicken was so flavorful and the vegetables were perfectly cooked. I also appreciated that the recipe provided clear and easy-to-follow instructions. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try.
    For more delicious recipe ideas, be sure to check out this food blog Baba ganoush. It’s Have a variety of recipes for all types of cuisine, including many Mexican-inspired dishes. I think you’ll love it!