Pushing into October, the “why didn’t we move to Colorado when we had the chance” really kicks into overdrive. It doesn’t matter how hot it was in Texas last year, it is always hotter this year. All the pumpkin and apple recipes in the world doesn’t change the fact that I ran a 5K this morning in the same sauna that was there 2 weeks ago and will still be there in 2 weeks.
I try to focus on the positive. Like how we’re about to be overrun with Meyer lemons and Rio Star grapefruit from the dwarf citrus trees by the pool. That there is a pool. And that we get to enjoy summer favorites like my husband’s chicken fajitas for dinner 10 months out of the year.
My husband is the chicken fajita lover in the house. Me? Red meat all the way. When we order out, the servers always mix up our dinners and hand me his chicken fajitas. Because girls are dainty and always concerned about their figure and calorie intake. Those same girls probably didn’t pregame with a pitcher of margaritas before they left for dinner, though
At home, we usually make chicken fajitas. It’s almost always the least expensive option. And let’s face it. They’re really good. (Even if they are chicken.)
The citrusy, salty marinade that my husband uses for chicken fajitas has seen little change over the last 5 years. It’s tempting to constantly try to fix something that isn’t broken but I’ve circled time and time again back to the simplicity of citrus + salt + garlic and the wonderfully tender, juicy fajitas is produces. In 95 degree “fall” grilling weather.
Grilled Chicken Fajitas
A citrusy marinade that produces the most perfectly tender, juicy chicken fajitas.
4 chicken breasts
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 white or yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
Olive oil, for drizzling
Jalapeno or serrano peppers (left whole, optional)
Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness (not less than 1/4 inch).
Add the lime and orange juices, oil, cilantro, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper to a large ziptop bag and squeeze a few times to mix.
Add chicken breasts, turning to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour (longer is ideal but an hour will still do).
Remove from refrigerator while preheating grill to medium-high heat.
Drizzle oil over onions, sliced bell peppers, and whole peppers (if using) and place on a grill pan or a makeshift grill pan formed out of a large piece of foil folded to triple thickness.
Cook vegetables for 10 minutes, and then add the chicken to the grill.
Toss the vegetables to promote even cooking and remove when tender.
Cook chicken 6-8 minutes each side, until juices run clear.
Remove from heat, tent the chicken with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Divide chicken and peppers between tortillas and serve topped with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro.
This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge was selected by Emily of She Makes and Bakes. And it’s one of my very, very favorite recipes in the entire book: Kolache.
Kolache are czech breakfast pastries that are very popular in Texas. While traditionally topped with a cream cheese or fruit mixture, it was the savory versions that sold out day after day at my parents’ bakery. Sausage, ham and cheese, and jalapeno sausage & cheese were the most popular varieties.
There’s almost no better breakfast during the summer than a peach kolache but I chose to make a few changes to the recipe and make ham & cheese kolache this week:
– I let the dough rest in the fridge overnight. The recipe suggests at least 4 hours but the long overnight rise makes the dough more flavorful.
– I used 2 oz of dough per kolache (a little smaller than a golf ball), flattened the dough into a circle, and topped with a pinch of shredded cheddar and a spoonful of cubed ham.
– 1 lb of ham (I got two 1/2-inch slices from the deli counter) and 4 ounces of shredded cheddar will get you about 20 kolache from a half batch of kolache dough.
– Adding fresh jalapeno slices to the filling is optional. Recommended, but optional.
Aside from the Alamo, the Lone Star, and some binge-watching of Friday Night Lights, there might be nothing in this world that’s more Texas than a Frito Pie Hamburger on a Jalapeno Cheddar or a Shiner Bock bun.
And being from Texas, I can make such a claim
We spied the Frito Pie Burger on a “fancy” burger menu on a trip to Austin once – completely genius. We usually have Frito Pie Burgers the night after having Frito Pie. It’s the perfect way to use up that little bit of leftover chili we always seem to have. You know the dilemma – it’s too much to throw away but not enough to make another bowl.
Since the burger buns keep so well in the freezer, I always just grate a little extra cheese and slice an extra jalapeno so that burger night only involves grilling the burgers – which is only slightly more work than actually having Frito Pie.
Frito Pie Burgers
The Texas specialty on a burger topped with Fritos, chili, and cheddar.
1/3-lb ground beef patties, seasoned and cooked to your preference
Place the burger on the bottom bun and then layer the toppings: Fresh jalapeno slices, a small handful of Fritos, a pinch of chopped white onion, a large spoonful of chili, and a large handful of grated cheddar.
I really don’t always think about food. But as I was standing there watching the d-line do some light drill work on day 2 of camp, all I could think about was frito pie and beer. At 8:45 in the morning.
Shoulder pads and whistles. Conditioning drills and helmets. Fantasy football drafts and trash talking with a Cowboys fan. There really is no greater sound in this world than the helmet and shoulder pads of two linemen colliding. It’s… magical.
And there’s no sight more panic-inducing than seeing your star receiver watching the rest of the team practice with a towel on his head.
Can you believe it’s August already? School starts in about 3 weeks and there’s almost an end in sight to the oppressive heat and humidity… sort of. Almost. That usually comes in November.
But the best part of late summer in Texas? FOOTBALL. And after the most exciting Texans season ever, and most disappointing Colts off-season ever, we are seriously ready for some football in southeast Texas.
I’ve been a huge football fan for… as long as I can remember. My dad wouldn’t have it any other way. I think he had only two goals for me: 1) to make sure that I knew more about football by age 11 than most grown men; 2) go to college. He paraded his little girls around clad in Luv Ya Blue and I Still Luv Bum t-shirts.
I can only hope to be half as great a football mom as he was a dad