In south Texas, big holiday weekend meals often mean straying from traditional holiday fare and firing up the barbecue pit. At least at my house, this is normal.
Spicy, seasoned fajitas are popular and a convenient way to feed a crowd. “Fajita” is a Tex-Mex term that was originally used by cowboys along the Texas-Mexico border in the 1930’s to describe beef skirt steak. Nowadays, the term “fajita” is typically used to describe any type of meat that is spiced up, grilled and served wrapped in a warm tortilla.
Fajita meats are commonly prepackaged for family-sized meals and it is easy to grill up too much for one sitting. Since one can only eat so many tacos, sometimes leftovers from a delicious day of grilling are better when they are presented in a slightly different form.
This is an adapted version of a Mexican casserole I picked up from Betty Crocker some years ago and it’s a perfect way to makeover leftover fajita meat.
- 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ red (or other) onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 flour tortillas
- 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
- 1 can (15 oz) Rotel (or other) tomatoes and green chilies, drained
- ½ tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Few dashes black pepper
- 2 cups cubed, cooked, and seasoned fajita meat (beef, pork, or chicken will work)
- ½ cup coarsely chopped, fresh cilantro
- 2 cups of shredded, Mexican-style or cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of your favorite jar or homemade salsa
1) Pre-heat oven to 375°
2) In a skillet, sauté the peppers and onions with olive oil until tender and set aside.
3) In a small bowl, mix beans and spices. Add the rotel tomatoes to bean mixture and stir well. Mix the chicken pieces in to the bean mixture and set aside.
4) Place 8 flour tortillas on a large baking sheet. If they overlap, it’s okay. Place in the warm oven and leave until they become crisp. About 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven.
5) Smear a little of the bean mixture into the bottom of a 11.5 x 8 sized baking dish. (A 13 x 9 size baking dish will work to if that is what you have handy.)
6) Place 4 of the crisp tortillas in the pan. They will overlap. Top with half of the bean mixture. Top beans with half of the peppers and onions and then sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Top with half of the shredded cheese.
7) Repeat layer, but after you sprinkle the second layer with cilantro, spread 1 cup of salsa over the top evenly. Top with the last of the cheese.
8) Bake for 30 minutes or until casserole is heated through.
** Excellent served with some sour cream and avocado slices for garnish!
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