Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

By Stacie Morgan, April 28, 2016, Recipes

Welcome to Cooking with Less Kilowatts! There is nothing better than sitting down in the evening to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. But did you know that changing what you do in the kitchen can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill? Each week, I will help you find ways to cook using less energy while still getting a satisfying, flavorful meal. Trust me – I won’t just tell you to do everything in the microwave. I’ll help you cut down on your energy consumption.

This week’s recipe features one of my favorite energy saving cooking techniques – the backyard grill! With just a little propane from the tank connected to the grill, I don’t heat up my house cooking on a stove-top grill, and I don’t fill my kitchen with smoke from the meat being cooked.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Grilling fajitas on the grill is a lovely recipe for spring!

I’m also going to show you how to make a simple and fantastic cilantro and citrus marinade.  The flavor of this marinade is well-balanced, so you can use it on chicken or seafood without it overpowering the dish.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Enjoy color and flavor with these grilled veggies.

I introduced the “foil bowl” technique in my Build Your Own Cheeseburger recipe from September 2015. I love using foil bowls for cooking peppers, onions, and other sliced vegetables on the grill because it keeps them from falling between the grates, prevents burning, and makes clean up a lot easier!

This feast is easy on energy use, doesn’t heat the house up, gets you outside to enjoy the gorgeous spring weather, and is so flavorful you are sure to make it time and time again! Follow the directions below to make some delicious and zesty fajitas!

Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Cilantro Marinade Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

It all starts with the ingredients for a good marinade.

  • 2 Large handfuls of fresh cilantro (approx. ½ c.)
  • ¼ c. Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ c. Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ c. Canola oil
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • ½ tbsp. Turbinado sugar
  • ½ tsp. Sea salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. Black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Paprika
  • ¼ tsp. Orange zest

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Ready to start blending?

1) Add the ingredients to the food processor.

2) Blend the mixture for 20 to 30 seconds.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

This marinade works well with all sorts of proteins.

3) Open lid and check for consistency and taste. Add up to one (1) extra tablespoon of canola oil or a little extra cilantro and pulse again if the consistency is too thin.

You can see the ideal consistency in the photos – thin but not runny. You can also use agave nectar in place of the Turbinado sugar for extra sweetness to balance the lime juice, cilantro, and spices. And it really brings out a great flavor in the meat and the peppers.

Fajita Ingredients:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Peppers come in such bright shades and hues.

  • 2 lb. Skirt steak
  • 1 Large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 Large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 Large yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
  • Marinade from above
  • 2 tbsp. Butter
  • ¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Crumbled queso fresco for topping
  • Avocado slices, jalapeno slices, and fresh chopped cilantro for topping

Directions:

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Skirt steak’s fat content makes it an excellent candidate for fajitas.

1) Use a fork to evenly poke approximately 12 holes per pound of meat in the skirt steak. This helps the marinade seep into the meat.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

The longer you soak the steak in the marinade, the more flavorful it will become.

2) Pour the entire marinade over the skirt steak and let it marinate for 45 minutes.

3) Take three (3) large sheets of aluminum foil and lay them on top of each other in opposite directions. Place the sliced bell peppers and onions on the foil and fold up the edges to make a bowl out of the foil. Place the  slices of the butter over the vegetables.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Butter makes nearly everything better.

4) Once the meat is done marinating, pour any excess marinade not stuck to the meat over the vegetables. Sprinkle the optional cayenne pepper over the onions and peppers as well for added heat.

5) Heat grill to 400°F.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Round One is complete!

6) Add the marinated skirt steak and vegetable foil packet onto the grill and close the lid. Let the skirt steak cook for approximately five (5) minutes on the first side over this high heat.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Round Two looks delicious!

7) Open the lid, turn the meat over, mix the vegetables, and close the lid for four (4) to 5 more minutes.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Round Three means it’s almost time to eat!

8) Open the lid and turn the heat to medium-low. Optionally, you can move the meat to a higher rack inside the grill to continue cooking until it reaches your preferred doneness. Mix the vegetables again. Close the lid for 5 more minutes.

9) Keep the lid closed and turn the heat off to allow the residual heat from the grill finish cooking everything.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Letting the meat rest is VERY important. You want to keep the flavors and juices inside the steak, so don’t rush to start slicing the steak once it leaves the grill.

10) Let your skirt steak rest outside the grill for 5 more minutes before slicing it against the grain.

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Mmm… It’s almost ready…

This method cooked my fajitas to “medium” level of doneness, and the entire cooking time was just under 20 minutes (as the last 5 used residual heat)!

Cooking with Less Kilowatts: Cilantro and Citrus Grilled Spring Fajitas

Fajita Time!

Load up your tortillas with the steak, peppers, onions, and any of the toppings above. I went all out with my plate and opted for corn tortillas, meat, peppers, onions, avocado slices, jalapeno slices, queso fresco crumbles, and chopped cilantro!

Now if you don’t happen to own an outdoor grill (or you aren’t big into grilling), you can make this recipe in your slow cooker and still lower your energy use.

1) Make the marinade as directed above.

2) Place the steak, peppers, and onions in the slow cooker.

3) Sprinkle the cayenne pepper over everything, add the butter slices, and pour in the marinade.

4) Cook on “Low” for 5 to 6 hours for slow cooker fajitas that are just as delicious as the grilled ones!

Enjoy!

Check in next week for another Cooking with Less Kilowatts series entry ready to help you create delicious, homemade recipes while keeping energy use and effort to a minimum!

 

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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About 

Stacie is a Texas A&M graduate using her animal science education and passion for food to get creative in the kitchen. She previously worked in business before becoming a mom to a special little boy. She's excited to share recipes her family enjoys at home - and they may even help you save energy and be more green in the kitchen.

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