Cheater Fajitas


Pronounced "cheetah fajitas", these are both delicious, and as the name implies, quick to make. This is another one of my recipes where I let someone else do the hard work for me. Of course, I end up paying a little extra, but, for dinner for 3, on the table in 15 minutes, and about $10, I'm not very displeased with the price tag. Now, follow the instructions, even though they may seem "backwards" from tradition cooking. What we're doing is adding ingredients that need to cook the longest and need to be seared to change certain properties, and lowering the pan temperature later in the process for items that don't actually need that much heat or that long on the fire.


Prep time
Cooking time
15 minutes
Total time
15 minutes


1 pk
Flour Tortillas (Look at the "latino grocery stores" - I get mine 20 for a dollar.)
1 1⁄2 lb
Sliced Flank Steak (About $5)
1 pk
Pre-Sliced Fajita Mix (About $2.50)
1 pk
Frozen "Southwestern Style Rice" (About $3.00)
1 T
Vegetable Oil


  • Add Vegetable Oil to frying pan.
  • Heat frying pan on "High" until vegetable oil becomes shimmery and begins to smoke.
  • Reduce heat to "Medium High" (I call it "three quarters") and immediately add Sliced Flank Steak to pan (watch for oil spatter!!)
  • Cook steak until seared evenly (7-10 minutes - watch carefully, your stove probably works differently than mine).
  • Reduce heat to "Medium" and add Pre-Sliced Fajita Mix (3-5 minutes, depending on preference)
  • Put Frozen "Southwestern Style Rice" in microwave (follow packaging instructions)
  • Remove peppers, onions and meat from stove, serve with Flour Tortillas and rice on the side.


This is another occasion where I generally opt to purchase the pre-sliced peppers and onions. I also look for the ones that are about to expire. There is a very noticeable difference, particularly, that the peppers and onions have had a few extra days to marinate with one another and develop a new, really amazing flavor. You can achieve this on your own by thinly slicing a red bell pepper and a half of a white onion and putting them in a zipper bag in the fridge for 4-5 days prior to use. Drain excess liquid before use. Don't freeze this mixture: it won't thaw into something that I recommend using. 

You can substitute equal amounts of pork or chicken, and preparation is essentially the same.

If you substitute fish, I suggest white pollack or flounder and substantially more oil. Remove the fish from the pan and drain off most of the oil and add the fajita mixture to the same pan. These fish don't generally have that "super fishy" taste that, say, salmon does, so cooking in the same pan doesn't usually result in the onions and peppers tasting like the fish.

This dish has a substantial amount of flavor on its own. Letting the veggies "marinate" together in advance is the key. This isn't one of those "Mexican Inspired Dishes" that needs to be covered up with salsa afterwards to give it flavor, but if you're going to add a salsa to it, I'd suggest a Chile Verde or Tomatillio salsa, rather than a "traditional" red salsa. This dish can be a little "thin on the fat" ... meaning that a dollop of sour cream or a bit of cheese melted in the tortilla might help wake up the flavors.

If you have access to it, I always suggest cilantro and lime for this dish regardless of the meat you use, but if the budget doesn't allow, don't stress to much, the simple flavors in the dish are still amazing.

Also, please note that I don't use a "Fajita Mix" from the spice aisle. Besides adding a significant amount of sodium (some of them even have MSG as the main ingredient), they don't really add that much flavor that couldn't be added with a good salsa or a squeeze of citrus. They also drive up the cooking time significantly by having to cook off up to a cup of water. 

I will often have leftovers from this recipe (just too large for two people to eat all of it), and it's just as good cold as it is warm. I slice some avacodo, shred a bit of lettuce and chop up a few tomatoes and add to the fajitas the next day and have a "fajita salad" with lime juice and olive oil dressing. The up-side to this recipe is that it's dinner one night, and a "free lunch" the next day!