Build Your Children out of Stupid-Easy Homemade Fajitas

October 19, 2011 2:00 pm
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Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, MD is known as a “nutritional watchdog” for his advocacy efforts for improved public policies regarding nutrition and obesity. He is an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa and the founder and Medical Director of the Bariatric Medical Institute, dedicated to the (nonsurgical) treatment of overweight and obesity since 2004.  You can also find him on his blog Weighty Matters, and of course, on Twitter.

Homemade Chicken Fajitas with Whole Wheat Tortillas

When I first met my wife over a decade ago we weren’t even remotely interested in nutrition and her “cooking” was relegated to eggs and pasta sauce, mine to barbecue, and both of us to lots and lots of boxes.  We had boxes of chicken fingers, burritos, pizzas, hors d’oeuvres, fish filets, burgers, perogies and of course, treats.

Flash forward a decade and though there’s an occasional boxed treat in our home, I’d venture that over 80% of our cooking is from scratch.

Of course that didn’t happen overnight.  It was a slow and gradual process, and in part it was spurred by us deciding to make little humans.  Given that what goes into our childrens’ mouths literally make up the building blocks of their bodies, and given our mutual growing interest in living the lives we want our children to live, cooking healthful foods – quality building blocks – has become an important part of our family’s routine.

Looking at the rise of chronic disease in society, including obesity and diabetes, it’s difficult to believe that the rise of convenience foods hasn’t been a dramatic contributor.  Studies on caloric intake report that adults and kids are consuming virtually an additional meal worth of calories daily, and the quality of those calories?  Perhaps that’s the real tragedy.  Meals eaten outside of the home are one obvious target, but how about the meals cooked in our homes?  Are they any better in terms of nutrition?  Probably not if we’re discussing a home like the one we started out in – where we were kidding ourselves that reheating boxed foods, stirring together mixes and having jars of everything was “home cooking.”

So how to improve your family’s health?  Bringing back the family meal, teaching your children how to cook healthful, whole food meals, role modeling that cooking is something worth prioritizing (even over a night here and there of after school sports as far as I’m concerned) — those choices would go an exceedingly long way to not only improving your family’s health, but possibly your grandchildren’s as well.

But despite the pledge here to go October Unprocessed, I’d say all or nothing probably isn’t the way I’d recommend going.  Instead I’d recommend identifying the worst meal in your family’s repertoire, and swap it for a weekly family cooking night.  The internet’s filled with recipe resources and so long as your kids are old enough, have each family member take turns picking a recipe and more importantly, involve them in the actual cooking.

Live with the one swap until you find a dish the whole family loves (which may take a while), and then tackle the next worst dish, and so on, and so forth.

Build your kids out of quality construction material and teach them to pay their grocers and not their doctors.

For a family friendly, easy meal, how about try something you might not imagine being able to cook easily on your own – fajitas and even from-scratch, whole grain tortillas.

Dough for Whole Wheat TortillasHomemade Whole Wheat Tortillas

5.0 from 2 reviews

Stupid-Easy Chicken Fajitas, with 4-Ingredient Whole Grain Tortillas
Author: 
 

(October unprocessed cheat: I used Chili-Lime Cholula on mine.)
Ingredients
4-Ingredient Whole Grain Tortillas
  • 2 cups Whole Grain Whole Wheat Flour
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • ¼ cup Oil
  • ½ – ¾ cups Warm Water
Stupid-Easy Chicken Fajitas
  • 3 Tbs. Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 2 whole Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 medium Onion, sliced
  • 2 Peppers (green, yellow, red, whatever), sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese

Instructions
Tortillas
  1. Mix it all up, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Divide into 10 small balls.
  3. Take two large pieces of parchment paper and roll the dough out in between (or use a tortilla press)
  4. Oil a non-stick pan with a smidgen of a neutral-tasting oil. Heat the pan on high for 5 minutes.
  5. “Fry” the tortillas, flipping once. Cook 30 to 60 seconds per side.
  6. Keep finished tortillas warm in a toaster oven at a low temperature while frying the rest.
Fajitas
  1. In small bowl, mix first 4 ingredients.
  2. Add chicken and marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. In skillet, cook onion and chicken with marinade for 3 minutes.
  4. Add peppers, sauté for 3 minutes.
  5. Divide among tortillas.
  6. Top with cheese and/or salsa, and/or guacamole, and/or Cholula!
  7. Roll up and serve.

12 Comments on "Build Your Children out of Stupid-Easy Homemade Fajitas"
  1. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm
    Eileen H says:

    I have not been able to make satisfactory tortillas with whole wheat flour. They break rather than bend. I have been using freshly-milled whole wheat. What kind of flour do you use?
    We ate a lot of fajitas when our kids were growing up, with bowls of veggies, greens, guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro etc. standing by so everyone could have the fresh ingredients they liked. Many times we had beans and didn’t feel the need for meat or chicken.
    Thanks for the post–I follow Dr. Freedhoff on Twitter, too!

  2. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Eileen,

    We use “hard whole wheat” flour from our local Bulk Barn. They definitely bend well.

    Could it be a thickness issue? We roll ours quite thin.

    Other option may be hydration….maybe try a slightly moister dough?

    Best of luck,
    Yoni

  3. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm
    Betsy Kunz says:

    Mine roll out well too. I have used King Arthur flour or other brands.

  4. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm
    Betsy Kunz says:

    Sorry, I should have said they bend well and are not crumbly. (not roll out well)

  5. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm
    Christine K says:

    Love that you said this: “Instead I’d recommend identifying the worst meal in your family’s repertoire, and swap it for a weekly family cooking night.” Everyone can do that! Small steps in the right direction. Thanks Yoni!

  6. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Nice discussion and recipes. Thanks. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get my teens to join in on the tortilla-making. I think they’ll have fun with this.

  7. Comment left on:
    October 20, 2011 at 6:43 am
    jesser says:

    I think my kiddos would really get into this. My daughter (4) seems pretty amazed every time we make something that we’ve only previously bought at the store (and we don’t buy much in the way of processed food). We will def. have to try it!

    I like what you say about it not being an all or nothing prospect. The type A in me wants nothing but super awesome organic whole foods to enter our house but the realist realizes that there are times for cutting myself some slack. All in all, we’re way better than where we were 6+ years ago.

  8. .
    November 11, 2011 at 9:55 am

    [...] and eggs that steers clear of the store-bought white flour tortilla.  Of course you can always make your own tortillas from whole grain flour, but there are a million other ways to enjoy these breakfast staples!  Ever [...]

  9. Comment left on:
    October 19, 2012 at 11:37 am
    foodie says:

    Appreciated your whole article. “…role modeling that cooking is something worth prioritizing…” stood out to me as particularly powerful. Many say the issue is busy lives, too busy to grocery shop and cook, so it’s powerful in the context of improving your family’s health. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. .
    May 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    [...] over for dinner and set up a taco bar. I made homemade tortillas using my go-to recipe from Food Rules. It only calls for 4 ingredients and they are so easy to make! I also made the meat from organic, [...]

  11. .
    October 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    […] Due to my cookie mishap, I decided to make it up by cooking dinner. We make a lot of fajitas at our house, but usually with delicious super processed flour tortillas. So tonight I made tortillas from this recipe. […]

  12. .
    October 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    […] Due to my cookie mishap, I decided to make it up by cooking dinner. We make a lot of fajitas at our house, but usually with delicious super processed flour tortillas. So tonight I made tortillas from this recipe. […]

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