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Old 08-08-2016, 06:23 PM   #1
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Following package instructions is not always good

I find if I follow package instructions, food sometimes doesn't come out as good as it could. I made fajitas last week, and the Ortega Fajita seasoning packet said to cook the chicken first and then add the onion, bell peppers, seasoning, water and then cook on medium for 6 minutes or so. They didn't come out very well in my opinion -- not nearly as good as the local Mexican place makes them.

So today I made them again (wife loves fajitas). But this time I had the cast iron really, really hot. And I threw in the veggie oil, chicken for only a couple of minutes before tossing in the goodies (red, green bell peppers, whole diced onion, fresh cracked pepper, sea salt). And I cooked it all for a nice long time to get some flavor in there. I got a little char action going, and then I put in the water and fajita seasoning and cooked it another 10 minutes.

I guess this super high heat is how pro chefs cook. Don't be afraid of going super hot with the pan. :) The fajitas were really yummy tonight. And instead of cooking the tortillas in the oven, I cooked them in a pan with a bit of butter.

I actually was going to buy some tequila at the store so I could dump a little in the cast iron skillet and set it on fire. Like the local Mexican place does it (I guess they use tequila?), but the grocery store doesn't sell tequila (only beer -- darn Ohio liquor laws).

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Old 08-08-2016, 06:43 PM   #2
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1 & 2/3 cups of water (according to instructions) is way too much for a packet of Rice A Roni's long grain & wild rice. I cut it down to 1.5 cups and the rice was still watery and almost too mushy for my taste. Next time I'll cut it down to 1.25 cups.
I've never used Rice A Roni until recently when I started taking them as part of my camp meal. They're cheap, and don't take up much space in my pack.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:20 AM   #3
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What I've enjoyed for Fajita seasoning is Goya's Mojo sauce. Get the meat and veg mostly cooked, then pour some in mix it around and boil off the sauce.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jd_1138 View Post
They didn't come out very well in my opinion -- not nearly as good as the local Mexican place makes them.
That is most likely because the local Mexican place doesn't use Ortega fajita seasoning packets. Try googling FAJITA SEASONINGS RECIPES and make your own seasoning.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:28 AM   #5
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That is most likely because the local Mexican place doesn't use Ortega fajita seasoning packets. Try googling FAJITA SEASONINGS RECIPES and make your own seasoning.
Unless its a family run hole in the wall then its some sort of prepackaged one. Just an off-list one you can get from Sysco or such.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:09 AM   #6
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Goya Mojo Crioll, specifically.
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:27 AM   #7
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Goya Mojo Crioll, specifically.
That would be Criollo. I prefer to lean more to SW seasonings than Cuban for fajitas. I marinade with lime juice, garlic, onion, Spanish olive oil, S&P. I might throw in some tequila, but not to flame. I have the veges prepped.

Next my CI pan that I use for blackening, goes on the jet cooker and gets heated to white hot. In goes the marinated, drained skirt steak which gets a minute or two on each side. After the steak is removed in go the veges for a quick stir fry with out additional oil. The usual sides and salsas are served with choice of tortillas and a selection of cheeses, cojita, oaxaca and chihuahua.
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
So today I made them again (wife loves fajitas). But this time I had the cast iron really, really hot. And I threw in the veggie oil, chicken for only a couple of minutes before tossing in the goodies (red, green bell peppers, whole diced onion, fresh cracked pepper, sea salt). And I cooked it all for a nice long time to get some flavor in there. I got a little char action going, and then I put in the water and fajita seasoning and cooked it another 10 minutes.
IMO you cooked the chicken pieces far too long!
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:00 PM   #9
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Now I want fajitas.
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:29 PM   #10
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Now I want fajitas.
You're welcome.... maybe. Depending on how you go about it! ;)
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:41 PM   #11
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Unless its a family run hole in the wall then its some sort of prepackaged one. Just an off-list one you can get from Sysco or such.
It is a really small family owned Mexican place. Very traditional old school recipes, so I wouldn't be surprised if they made their own seasonings. Their son and daughters work there. It's been there since the 1970's I think.

I'll have to try the Goya seasoning and also the other recommendations. Yeah the Ortega stuff is probably mostly salt and chemicals. :) Probably much better alternatives exist.

My mom moved to small town in California, and there's a similar old school place near her house. The kitchen area is right behind the order counter, and there's a gas stove back there (pro quality), and there's always a massive stock pan with a red sauce of some kind simmering away. I think it's a mole sauce perhaps. Is that like a base for salsa and other sauces? But the food is awesome. I told my mom I'd be eating here like 3 times a week if I lived in that town.
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Old 08-09-2016, 01:44 PM   #12
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Originally, the term Fajita meant beef skirt steak. It was cut into strips and grilled or fried, placed in a flour, or corn tortilla, along with chopped onion and bell pepper that was fried until somewhat tender. Today, fajita generally means (at least in the U.S.) strips of meat cooked with bell peppers and onions, and placed into a soft tortilla.

If you are using fresh corn tortillas, traditionally they are softend by immersing in hot oil for about 15 seconds, then removing to drain excess oil onto paper towels. You then add the fillings for fajitas or tacos.


Chicken strips should be seasoned before cooking, and only cooked for a short time to cook through. Cook any veggies separately to avoid overcooking the meat.

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Old 08-09-2016, 01:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jd_1138 View Post
It is a really small family owned Mexican place. Very traditional old school recipes, so I wouldn't be surprised if they made their own seasonings. Their son and daughters work there. It's been there since the 1970's I think.

I'll have to try the Goya seasoning and also the other recommendations. Yeah the Ortega stuff is probably mostly salt and chemicals. :) Probably much better alternatives exist.

My mom moved to small town in California, and there's a similar old school place near her house. The kitchen area is right behind the order counter, and there's a gas stove back there (pro quality), and there's always a massive stock pan with a red sauce of some kind simmering away. I think it's a mole sauce perhaps. Is that like a base for salsa and other sauces? But the food is awesome. I told my mom I'd be eating here like 3 times a week if I lived in that town.
This is pretty much the recipe I use, although I don't use bouillon cubes anymore. When I add the liquid, I add about a half teaspoon of Better than Bouillon: Fajita Seasoning Mix Recipe - Mexican.Food.com

Mole is its own kind of sauce. Red chile sauce is different. There are various kinds of salsas, too. So they're not really related, except that they have some common ingredients, sometimes
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:55 PM   #14
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There is a hole in the wall style place here, hidden in the back of a mexican grocery store. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOD!
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Old 08-11-2016, 12:02 PM   #15
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If you follow Minute Rice's directions and use equal parts water to rice, you'll end up with excess water at the bottom of the sauce pan and soggy rice. I've learned to withhold some water.
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:00 PM   #16
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Unless its a family run hole in the wall then its some sort of prepackaged one. Just an off-list one you can get from Sysco or such.
Maybe in Wisconsin, but no Mexican cook worth his frijoles would use anything but homemade rubs and marinades in the states of California, Arizona or New Mexico.

As a gringo who loves to prepare Mexican food, I won't even use that taco seasoning that comes in little envelopes in the grocery store. I make my own with herbs and spices of my choosing, in the quantities I prefer.

My Salsas:

My Brunch Chimichangas:
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:57 AM   #17
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Different item, but i found the same thing with an instant mashed potato bx mix. Had to add more milk/water otherwise the stuff was thicker than cement. Can't imagine people liked it that way.
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:58 PM   #18
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Different item, but i found the same thing with an instant mashed potato bx mix. Had to add more milk/water otherwise the stuff was thicker than cement. Can't imagine people liked it that way.
And yet I've done some (don't remember the brand) that were the opposite, so runny that they were more of a thick soup. Had to cut way back on the liquid.

I rarely use instant anyway, unless my father-in-law is coming over for dinner. he likes mashed potatoes with no lumps, and that's the quickest way to ensure that.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:21 PM   #19
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And yet I've done some (don't remember the brand) that were the opposite, so runny that they were more of a thick soup. Had to cut way back on the liquid.

I rarely use instant anyway, unless my father-in-law is coming over for dinner. he likes mashed potatoes with no lumps, and that's the quickest way to ensure that.
Tip - Adding instant smashed spuds to your favorite bred recipe gives you a supremely light, moist, and tasty bred, as long as butter is used copiously as the fat..

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Old 08-16-2016, 04:22 PM   #20
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We buy a couple of different frozen flatbreads from TJs. I have to increase the oven temp by 25-50 degrees and extend the cooking time from 8-10 minutes up to 13-14 minutes to get them cooked through and browned.
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