CHICKEN FAJITA CORNBREAD BAKE

Mine is a family of foodies. We eat real food meals ninety-nine percent of the time, with the occasional quick dinner of crackers and cheese thrown in every once in awhile for good measure. We also tend to eat with the seasons, opting for grilled meals most summer nights and baked casseroles or soups in the winter. Transitional seasons give us the chance to do a little of both. The meal I’m sharing today is the result of some recipe experimentation to include the flavors of summer wrapped up in a hearty dinner. If you’re a fan of Mexican food, you’re going to love our chicken fajita cornbread bake.

red and orange bell pepper strips topped with cornbread, sour cream and chopped cilantro

So, how do you feel about fajitas? In our house, both fajitas and tacos are a staple. We eat one or the other (if not both) most every week of the summer. If I had to choose, though, fajitas would definitely win as my favorite. Tender grilled strips of chicken and fresh peppers seasoned with cumin and tomatillo salsa are tough to beat. Both of those traditional fajita features can be found in this recipe. But then I spice things up by topping the meat and veggies with a delicious cornbread crust. Of course I can only speak for myself here but it’s tough to go wrong when cornbread is involved.

cornbread in a cast iron skillet topped with chopped cilantro

You will need a bowl to mix your cornbread but other than that, this is a one skillet meal. You get it nice and sizzling hot before tossing in your chicken and veggies just like you would if you were making traditional fajitas. From there, you add a bit of sauce for simmering and then comes the cornbread topping. This meal goes from zero to table in about forty minutes so it’s a nice choice for weeknight dinners.

red and orange bell pepper strips topped with cornbread, sour cream and chopped cilantro

Just after plating, you’re going to want to do yourself a favor and top the chicken fajita cornbread bake with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of freshly-chopped cilantro. Diced avocado would be a welcome garnish as well.

cornbread in a cast iron skillet topped with chopped cilantro

CHICKEN FAJITA CORNBREAD BAKE

Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 40 mins
Serves 6     adjust servings


Ingredients

For the Fajita Filling

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3-4 small bell peppers of varying colors
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 2/3 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For the Cornbread

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

Instructions

To make the fajita filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425º.
  2. Cut the chicken breast into long strips. Set aside.
  3. Rinse and thinly slice the bell peppers, discarding seeds and ribbing. 
  4. Thinly slice red onion.
  5. Place an oven-safe skillet over high heat and allow the pan to get hot (two to three minutes). When the pan is hot, add two tablespoons cooking oil and swirl the pan to coat. 
  6. Add the chicken breast strips to the pan and allow them to cook completely on one side before stirring to flip. Once one side of the chicken has completely cooked, flip the chicken to cook the other side. This should result in nicely browned pieces of chicken.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, combine the cumin, chili powder and cayenne with the salsa verde, whisking to mix thoroughly.
  8. When chicken is cooked through, add peppers and onion to the pan and continue cooking over high heat for two to three minutes, until veggies are bite tender. Lower the heat and add two cloves of minced garlic to the center of the pan. Cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about thirty seconds.
  9. Pour the salsa and spice mixture into the pan and allow it to come to a simmer. Cover the pan and allow it to simmer for five minutes.

To make the cornbread: 

  1. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Whisk with a fork to combine. Stir in the frozen corn and pepper jack cheese. 
  2. Crack the egg into a liquid measuring cup and stir lightly. Add the buttermilk, milk and melted butter. Stir just briefly to barely combine.
  3. Make a well in the center of the cornmeal mixture and gently pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir again briefly just to combine, allowing lumps to remain.
  4. Turn off the heat to the skillet. Pour cornbread batter over the fajita filling. Place skillet on the middle rack of a preheated oven. 
  5. Bake for about twenty minutes, or until the cornbread is set and lightly golden brown.
  6. Top each portion with sour cream, chopped cilantro and diced avocado if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 299kcal Calories from fat 121
% Daily Value
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 69mg 23%
Sodium 649mg 27%
Carbohydrate 30g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 8g
Protein 15g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g

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