Fajita Chicken and Enchilada Pasta
Here’s the thing. I had to make a decision.
We all know how much I hate decisions.
Honestly, I can’t make the littlest decision for the life of me. Big life decisions I am ok with. It’s the little decisions that really get me. Decisions like cookies or brownies, white background or black background for photos, this photo or that photo, fajita’s or enchiladas.
Yeah, I know. My life’s rough.
The other day I was not in the mood or the right frame of mind to be making any kind of decisions. I had little kids zooming around me in circles with their big Tonka trucks. Actually, one was a big yellow Tonka dump truck, another was a big red Tonka fire truck and the third was a pink Barbie convertible. I bet you can guess which one Asher was driving…
Sure it was cute and I love seeing kids have so much fun, but it was loud. The floor was actually rumbling. It sounded like real trucks were racing through the kitchen. My brain was having a hard time processing thought let alone trying to make decisions. So I kind of just said screw it. I am not deciding.
My brain wanted both, so I gave it both.
I mean really fajita’s and enchiladas, that’s a pretty good mexican combo right there.
You know what’s not the best combo in the world? Two feet of fresh snow, hiking and snow pants with holes on the bottom. Yes, I did say two feet and it is still coming down.
Crazy little me, and really guys I am little and crazy, not joking around here. I still went out for my daily hike. In the freshly fallen, deep, deep snow. Really this is nothing new to me, but this is the most snow we have gotten all year and I was huffing and puffing my way up that trail. Plus, it really doesn’t help that my snow pants are torn on the outside material, creating little pockets at the bottom of my pants. Therefore, the snow gets all stuffed in the pockets acting like five-pound ankle weights on each leg.
And you’re probably asking yourself why I did not stop and just remove the snow. Trust me I tried and not much came out. Plus, the snow just filled the pockets back up within in minutes. So wasting any time trying to remove the snow was just worthless.
But hey, I am crazy and I still plan on doing the same thing tomorrow morning. Hiking keeps me sane.
Basically this pasta is everything you love about fajita’s AND everything you love about enchiladas! It’s the best of both worlds (totally sing the Hannah Montana theme song now). It’s light, fresh, filled with crisp peppers and spicy like fajita’s, but it is also saucy, creamy and cheesy like enchiladas.
It is flavorful and anything but boring.
Fajita Chicken and Enchilada Pasta
- 1 pound penne pasta or other short cut pasta
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bit size pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika or paprika
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large red bell pepers sliced
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 ounce cans enchilada sauce 10
- 1/2 lime juiced
- 1 1/4 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado diced (optional)
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine the chipotle chili powder, cumin, paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, crushed red peper, salt and pepper. whisk to combine and set aside. Place the chicken in a medium size bowl and toss with one tablespoon olive oil and half of the spice mixture (reserve the remaining half).
- Heat a large (very large) sided skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken and cook until browned all over, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet add a drizzle more of olive oil (only if needed), then add the red peppers and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until the veggies start to soften. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for one to two minutes and add the enchilada sauce, lime juice and the reserved spice mixture. Stir back in the chicken and add the cheese. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt into the sauce (the cheese does not need to be fully melted). Add the pasta and avocado (if using), toss well. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.
Ok, now go make this!