Memorial Day grilling is almost a must. For a change, grill fajitas. Gather necessary ingredients before hand. Preparation and an extra hand or two is key to enjoying this cookout. Children are willing hands. They like Fajitas. Make Chunky Guacamole a day ahead

(makes about 4 cups)

5 ripe avocados (Haas preferred)

1 fresh jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves

2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (not peeled)

1/2 cup of diced onion

1 garlic clove minced

3 drops of hot pepper sauce or to taste

1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)

Juice of 1 lime (for taste and color retention)

Kosher salt to taste

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Peel avocado. Mash avocados. Potato masher works well or use a fork. Do not make smooth. Chunky is better for Fajitas. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Refrigerate overnight, tightly covered.

Steak Fajitas

For Steak Marinade:

Flat iron (Kroger's), flank, skirt steak or any flat steak 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick (1/4 to 1/2 pound per person) (flat iron steak is cheapest)

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 diced onion

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Red pepper flakes to taste

1 teaspoon cumin (optional)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

5 teaspoons McCormick's Fajitas seasoning (optional)

3 teaspoons minced oregano leaves (optional)

(use cumin and chili powder or Fajitas seasoning and oregano)

Whisk together until mixed. Pour marinade over raw steak or steaks in plastic freezer bag or large non-reactive dish. 9 X 13 inch Pyrex baking dish is fine. Turn steaks after 2 hours so marinade reaches all surfaces. Four hours is plenty time to marinade steaks but overnight is just fine.

For grilling steaks:

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Turn gas grill to high or have charcoal grill hot.

Remove steaks from marinade. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper and salt.

Grill on one side for 5 minutes. Turn and grill on other side for 6 minutes or less.

Remove from grill. Place on platter. Tent with foil to keep warm and allow juices to redistribute. Steaks will continue to cook for a few minutes.

When ready to fill tortillas, slice steaks on the diagonal (across grain) in 1/2 inch or thinner strips.

For roasted vegetables:

2 very large green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

2 very large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

2 very large onions, cut into 1/2 inch strips lengthwise

Toss onion strips and pepper chunks in olive oil. Make a packet of heavy duty foil. Place vegetables in foil packet. Place foil packet on grill with steaks. Turn once. Grill for 10 minutes or more. Open foil before removing vegetables from grill to see if they are roasted. If not return to grill.

Place on platter when ready to fill tortillas.

Warm tortillas on coolest section of grill for 1/2 minute on each side. Tortillas should be pliable. Remove from grill to individual plates.

For Fajitas:

10-12 inch flour tortillas

Salsa, store bought is fine

1 large carton sour cream

Chunky guacamole

1/2 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese or a package of Mexican shredded cheese

Fill tortillas with strips of steak, peppers and onions. Top with salsa, guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheese. Roll up tortilla. Serve immediately with lime a lime wedge.

Chicken Fajitas

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

4 teaspoons McCormick's Fajitas Seasoning or other Mexican spice mix

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Bell peppers as for Steak Fajitas

Onion as for Steak Fajitas

10-12 inch flour tortillas

Rub chicken breasts in olive oil. Rub with Fajitas seasoning.

Grill 4 minutes on one side and 4 minutes on opposite side or until juices run clear.

Place on platter, tented with foil, until ready to fill tortillas.

Roast vegetables as for steak fajitas.

Fill tortillas with thin, warm slices of chicken.

Proceed to finish Chicken Fajitas with same ingredients as Steak Fajitas.

Cold beer, Sangria or lemonade go well with Fajitas. Enjoy.

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