Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chicken Fajitas with Jalapeno Cheese Sauce

I love taking a sizzling pan of fajitas to the table. This is an easy and delicious Tex-Mex dinner made with seared chicken, peppers, and onions served directly from your cast-iron skillet or grill pan.

For this recipe, I went with a warm, spicy, and creamy cheese sauce heated up with fresh jalapenos—think rich queso dip—to serve with the fajitas. Wrap it all up in warm, soft tortillas and enjoy.

For additional info on the cheese sauce, see Chicken and Black Bean Nachos with Cheddar Sauce.

Makes 8 fajita wraps


For the Jalapeno Cheese Sauce
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 large jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • sea salt
  • 6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Cheese Sauce Ingredients
For the Fajitas
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin, 1-inch strips
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, cut into thin, vertical strips
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin, 1-inch strips
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin, 1-inch strips
  • 8 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas, warmed
Chicken Ready to Cook 
Onion and Peppers Ready to Cook

For the Jalapeno Cheese Sauce
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat and melt the butter. Add the jalapenos and sauté 2 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of milk, whisking constantly to prevents lumping. Once the first 1/2 cup is blended in, add another 1/2 cup. Once blended, add the final 1/2 cup and season with salt.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce slowly, stirring a few times, until it is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/3 of the cheese. Once the cheese is blended, stir in the remaining cheese, 1/3 at a time. Keep warm over very low heat while the chicken and vegetables grill.
Jalapeno in Butter 
Whisk in the Flour 
Milk Mixture Ready 
Add the Cheese Slowly
Jalapeno Cheese Sauce
For the Fajitas
  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet (or grill pan) over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear, stirring several times, until just cooked through, 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out any accumulated liquid in the pan.
Chicken Beginning to Cook
Seared Chicken
  1. Brush the pan with more oil. Add the onion and bell peppers and season with salt and pepper. Sear, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 9-10 minutes.
  2. Return the chicken to the pan and cook until hot throughout, 3 minutes.
Vegetables Beginning to Cook 
Seared Vegetables 
Return the Chicken to the Pan
To serve, pour the warm cheese sauce into a heatproof serving bowl. Stack 2-3 heavy potholders in the middle of the dining table and set the skillet on top. Place the tortillas and cheese sauce (and any other desired accompaniments) alongside and let your guests make their own fajitas.

Chicken Fajitas with Jalapeno Cheese Sauce

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