Happy Cinco de Mayo! Contrary to popular belief, unlike July 4th, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of independence, but rather a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride here in the United States. And of course, there is nothing that better illustrates the pride of Mexico than great tasting Mexican food! Unfortunately, when it comes to a cuisine that many of us regret eating when it comes our waistlines, cheesy, greasy, Mexican food is hard to beat.
Personally I love going out for Mexican food, and like many of you perhaps, I figured that fajitas, with it’s grilled meat and vegetables, would at least be a better bet than many of the other items on the menu. A quick glance at the nutrition information for fajitas at the ever popular Chili’s restaurant, however reveals, that a single beef fajita skillet actually carries half my total daily caloric needs – and that’s before the tortillas, sides, and tempting toppings. (Check out the Dare To Compare below!)
So, to celebrate all that I love about Mexico (and Mexican cuisine), I am highlighting two wonderful recipes from my book Eat What You Love that are terrific not only for Cinco de Mayo, but all summer long. The first is my Chili’s-Style Grilled Fajitas. If you have never made them before, you are in for a treat. Can you use chicken or shrimp? Absolutely! The second recipe is for my Simple Southwest Black Beans. How simple? They take less than 10 minutes (and as a bonus serve up 6 grams of fat fighting fiber). Feel free to add your favorite guacamole (like my Creamy Guacamole on page 128 of EWYL), salsa, and sides to complete the feast. For dessert Key Lime Cheesecake Cupcakes are hard to beat!! OLE!
Chili’s-Style Grilled Beef Fajitas
I have not included the tortillas in the nutritional information because there are so many varieties. I highly recommend you choose either corn tortillas or a high fiber flour tortilla like Mission Carb Balance.
Makes 6 servings
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, skirt steak (or top sirloin)
1 large onion, sliced
3 medium green or assorted bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 tablespoons sweet vermouth (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup salsa
1. Whisk together the lime juice, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, soy sauce, liquid smoke, cumin, cayenne, and chili powder. Place the steak in a large pour the marinade on top, and cover. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
2. Heat the grill to medium high. Grill the steak for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (or 150°F with a meat thermometer).
3. While the steak is cooking heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high. Add the remaining garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the onion and peppers and continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes, or until crisp tender.
4. Add 2 tablespoons water, the sweet vermouth, if desired, and salt. Continue cooking until the onions and peppers are soft and slightly carmelized.
5. Tuck meat into tortillas with onions and peppers, and serve with salsa.
Dare to Compare: A single skillet of Classic Steak Fajitas at Chili’s has 790 calories, 49 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbohydrate and 3,240 milligrams of sodium. Guacamole, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and tortillas are all “extra,” for a grand total of over 1,500 calories and 90 grams of fat!
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Calories 230 | Carbohydrate 8g (Sugars 4g) | Total Fat 9g (Sat Fat 4.5g)
Protein 26g | Fiber 2g | Cholesterol 75mg |Sodium 380mg
Food Exchanges: 3 1/2 Lean Meat, 1 Vegetable |Carbohydrate Choices: 1/2
Weight Watchers Plus Point Comparison: 5
Simple Southwest Black Beans
Makes 4 servings
These simple black beans are exactly that, simple. Using canned beans and prepared salsa, it only takes minutes to create a fresh-tasting, versatile, and highly nutritious side dish that has all but kicked refried beans to the curb in my house.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beans and salsa. Stir to warm the beans thoroughly. Add the cumin and continue to stir until hot.
2. Before serving, sprinkle with cilantro.
Nutrition Information Per Serving (1/2 cup)
Calories 90 | Carbohydrate 18g (Sugars 3g) | Total Fat 1.5g (Sat Fat 0g)
Protein 5g | Fiber 6 g | Cholesterol 0mg | Sodium 310mg
Food Exchanges: 1 Starch Carbohydrate Choices: 1
Weight Watcher Plus Point Comparison: 2
Tags: beef Fajitas, black beans, Chili's Beef Fajitas, healthy beef fajitas, weight watchers fajitas