Thursday, 14 January 2016

Lower Calorie Chicken Fajitas with Mexican Black Beans

I'd never cooked fajitas in this way before but on my journey to lose weight and manage a slightly healthier diet, I tried this alternative method, which eliminates the need for any oils, slashing both fat and calorie content straight away.

The full plate which includes the fajitas (in lettuce rather than wraps), a portion of black beans, the salad, salsa, jalapenos and feta cheese comes in at just under 600 calories per person. Removing the wraps alone slashes more than 200 calories.

Instead of serving with my usual couple of wraps, I used romaine lettuce leaves as a fantastic, healthy and low calorie holder for the filling and they also added a deliciously refreshing crunch to every bite.

Usually I would serve with homemade guacamole, perhaps sour cream and plenty of grated cheese - all the trimmings. Instead here, I had a tablespoon of salsa, 30g feta cheese and plenty of jalapenos and it was delicious, satisfying and moreish. I also prepared some delicious black beans for an added indulgence which we had alongside - but they were tasty enough that you could eat them alone with salad and some rice. I also served a 'shred salad', made entirely by using a vegetable peeler or spiraliser - using carrot, red cabbage and radish in this way, all of which are quite wet ingredients, creates a slaw-like consistency without the need for any mayonnaise or oil.

(My partner had the Weightwatcher's wraps instead of our usual brand, but to be honest the only difference I could make out was that they were smaller than usual - make your own choice.)

This served two of us with a portion leftover for lunch the next day. This has been my favourite healthy eating dinner so far.

Lower Calorie Chicken Fajitas with Mexican Black Beans

For the fajitas:

2 breasts of chicken
1 packet Old El Paso Smoky BBQ Fajita Seasoning
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 red chilli
2 red or green peppers
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp Chipotle paste
200g mushrooms
Black pepper
2-4 romaine lettuce leaves
For the black beans:

1 tin or carton of black beans
4 spring onions
1 garlic clove
1 red chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
Handful fresh coriander
Salt & Black Pepper
200 ml chicken stock
For the shred salad:

50g radish
50g red cabbage
50g carrot
50g cucumber - option to include in salad or as cooling sticks
For the fajitas, firstly pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Now peel and slice the onion, and do the same to the garlic and add to a casserole dish. Slice the red chilli, the peppers and the mushrooms and add to dish.

Add the tinned tomatoes and chipotle paste.

Now remove the chicken from its wrapper and cover on both sides with the seasoning then add to the casserole dish. Add a generous pinch of both salt and black pepper and give a good stir. Now place into the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 40 minutes. 

Lower Calorie Chicken Fajitas pre-cooking

Remove halfway through cooking just to stir, and ensure the chicken is immersed in the sauce. 

Lower Calorie Chicken Fajitas

Now for the black beans. Firstly gently heat in a small non-stick pan. Now finely chop the spring onions, crush the garlic and slice the chilli and add to the pan. Allow to slowly soften. Now add the cumin seeds and allow to pop, these will exude a wonderful flavour together with the other ingredients.

You're now ready to add the black beans, do so and then gently stir to allow the chilli, onion and garlic to coat the full portion. Now pour over the stock and cook until the liquid is completely cooked down. I like a slightly mushy texture to this dish so I press down whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. When this is ready, tear in the coriander leaves and stir through.

For the shred salad, simply peel the carrot then use a vegetable peeler or spiraliser to create small shards of the vegetable. Repeat the process (without the peeling) for the radish and red cabbage.

Once the chicken fajita mix is cooked, I remove from the oven and remove the chicken breasts from the pot to slice or shred into bite-sized pieces. Then return to the pan, stir and pop the lid back on to keep warm.

Serve with a couple of romaine lettuce leaves or wraps, if you wish, 1 tbsp salsa and a heap of jalapenos and if like me you need a bit of cheese with this dish, also add the 30g feta cheese. Enjoy!

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