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Fajita Pasta Salad

 

Using leftover marinated meat from fajitas makes this salad quick to prepare. I like to make fajitas of all sorts—beef, chicken, shrimp, even lamb and duck and freeze one person servings in freezer-weight bags, complete with the marinade. My favorite basic recipe, which can be used with any meat ,seafood or firm tofu follows in the * Note.

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

½ recipe Fajitas (recipe follows)

5 ounces dry, uncooked fusilli or rigatoni pasta

1 cup home-cooked or drained, canned pinto beans

4 scallions, white and tender green tops, thinly sliced

2 red, ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped

¼ cup spicy salad dressing—either the Hotter-Than-Fire or Jalapeno Lime Crème Dressing (shown with the Grilled Vegetable and Spinach salads)

Option: Serve on a bed of torn lettuces

1. Preferably, have the meat for the fajitas previously marinated, or prepare it and set aside. Preheat the outdoor grill or soak wood chips for the stovetop grill (preferably mesquite).

2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.

3. Grill the meat or pan-sear it in a heavy, seasoned skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side for beef or shrimp, 4 to 5 minutes per side for chicken. Slice the beef or chicken into ½ inch-wide strips. Leave the shrimp whole.

4. Combine the pasta with the beans, scallions, tomatoes and meat. Add the salad dressing and toss together. If desired, arrange each serving on a bed, of torn lettuces. Serve at room temperature.

Per Serving: Calories 351, Protein 26 g Carbohydrates 39 g, Fiber 6 g, Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 44 mg, Sodium 205 mg. (Analyzed with beef fajitas ahd Hotter-Than-Fire Dressing.)

Fajitas

Beef is the original fajita, always being made from skirt steak. Chicken breast, Shrimp, Lamb or Duck can be substituted in this traditional fajita marinade. I have always preferred the fresh pure flavors of lime and garlic to the “foreign flavors” such as soy sauce and monosodium glutamate. My favorite way to serve fajitas is with grilled rather than sauteed vegetables. Select large red onions and the biggest bell peppers you can find.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

2 pounds trimmed, skirt steak, lean boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shrimp, Lamb or Duck

Juice of 2 limes

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup vegetable oil (omit for beef or duck)

2 large red onions, halved crosswise

1 each large red, green and yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

Pico de Gallo,

Dairy sour cream

Guacamole, optional

6 inch diameter flour tortillas, warmed

1. Trim the skirt steak, or cut the chicken breast in half, following the natural division of the cartilage and removing any fat. Trim excess fat from the lamb or duck. Pound with a Jacquard tenderizer or between sheets of plastic wrap to uniform thickness.

2. To prepare the marinade: Combine lime juice, garlic, salt, black pepper, and oil in a bowl. Dip each side of the meat into the mixture and marinate 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 1 hour in the refrigerator.

3. Preheat the grill, allowing enough time to get hot. Use mesquite wood or chips to flavor the to give a real authentic flavor. Start vegetables 20 25 minutes before starting the chicken. When they are done, cut into ½ inch wide strips and mix together. Keep warm.

4. Grill chicken about 3 inches from coals for about 4 minutes to the side. Cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide when done.

5. Serve the meat over the grilled onions and peppers. Serve with bowl of Pico de gallo and sour cream and guacamole if desired. Pass napkin-lined basket of hot tortillas.

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Quick and Easy Southwestern Cookbook.

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