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Grandma's Best Fajitas Or Nachos! Both Great As A Main Dish! Both Are Made With Leftovers!

Updated on November 27, 2010

Everyone Loves Fajitas And Nachos!

Who doesn't love fajitas or nachos? And who doesn't love a quick and easy dinner that uses leftover chicken, leftover beef, pork or shrimp? Add a few simple ingredients, spend less than 30 minutes and have your family raving about their meal! There is nothing better! Most of my budget recipes are not out of a book, so they may not be traditional. Above all else, when I cook, I am looking for flavor filled meals that are heavy on fresh foods and light on cost. These are two simple meals that use up the leftover proteins found in your fridge.

First The Fajitas!

I always make baked or grilled chicken breasts. I buy alot of them when they are on sale for 99 cents a pound, divide them up into meal-sized portions and put them into the freezer using plastic freezer bags. I also buy top sirloin when it is $1.99 a pound, but lately have had to use london broil (sale price $1.69 per pound), because top sirloin hasn't been under $3.00 a pound in months. I just can't bring myself to buy any meats that are over $2.00 per pound, unless it is for a special occasion or for a big holiday meal.

For fajitas, you can use any type of left over beef (not ground beef), pork, chicken or shrimp. The recipe is the same for all of them.

Fajitas For Dinner!

  1. 2 cups of leftover meat, chopped into bite-sized pieces (with chicken, remove any skin and take the meat off the bones)
  2. 2 red bell peppers (green or yellow can also be used - whichever are the cheapest that week at the produce store), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  3. 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced small, (especially if you have kids)
  4. 2 - 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces (roma are usually the least expensive; in the winter when they are too expensive, use a small can of diced tomatoes, just drain them well. To seed a tomato, just cut in half and with your fingers and scoop out the seeds from the middle.)
  5. 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  6. 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  7. salt, to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon)
  8. 1 can of diced Ortega green chiles (store brand are just as good), do not drain, optional. They may make it a little spicy for young children. But adults and teenagers like the spicy flavor they add.
  9. 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (you can use monterey jack, pepper jack or a mix of all of these), grated
  10. flour or corn tortillas (any size from soft taco to burrito, I use the burrito size flour most often)
  11. sour cream, for use at the table
  12. 3 -4 Tablespoons of olive oil
  13. 3 - 4 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish. I only use it if I have it on hand)

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the bell peppers, onions and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and the red pepper flakes. Saute until the onions are translucent. At this point the bell peppers will still be a little too crunchy for kids, but everything will continue to cook as the other ingredients are added. Add the tomatoes and combine well. As this continues to cook, add the diced green chile peppers, along with any liquid in the can. When the bell peppers are soft enough for your own individual tastes, add your meat and heat throroughly, making sure that everything is well combined.

If the vegetable mixture has too much liquid in it (mine often does), simply pour it into a colander and shake it to drain off the liquid or remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Warm the tortillas in the microwave. Bring those, the cheese, sour cream and any hot sauce you like to the table and have everyone make up their own servings. To make this stretch even further, you can shred up some lettuce and additional tomatoes. Our favorite is with leftover chicken, but then we love chicken!


Now For Some Dinner Worthy Nachos!

As with the fajitas, any leftover meat is perfect for these nachos. Our favorite is left over london broil or leftover roast, even chuck roast. The only thing I haven't tried with this are the shrimp. I don't know if shrimp nachos would be any good.

  1. 1- 2 cups of leftover meat, chopped into small pieces
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  5. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  6. 1 can of diced, green chiles, do not drain
  7. 2 - 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  8. 1 can of refried beans
  9. 4 - 6 ounces of Kraft Velveeta cheese, chopped into 1 inch squares
  10. 1/2 cup of milk
  11. 3 - 4 diced tomatoes
  12. sour cream for table use
  13. hot sauce, for table use
  14. 1 bag of tortilla chips (we like Tostitos), either round or triangular shaped

In a medium sized frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are tender. When they are transluscent, add the diced chiles and any liquid in the can. Add the meat and thoroughly stir all of the ingredients. Simmer together on low for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid to keep it warm.

If you are a multi-tasker, you can perform all of the steps at the same time. When I was first experimenting with these, I could kind not really do that, but now that I have been making them for awhile, I can coordinate so that everything is done at the same time. Place the can of refried beans in a pot and add in a couple of Tablespoons of milk. The milk will thin out the beans a little bit and make them creamier. Heat over a medium low heat, being careful to stir them every few minutes. Refried beans have a tendency to burn on the bottom if left unwatched. Combine the velveeta and the 1/2 cup of milk in a microwave safe bowl, with a lid. Heat the velveeta for a minute or two at a time, stirring in between. Continue heating until the velveeta and milk are melted together, making a nacho cheese sauce. When the beans, cheese sauce and meat are all done, now comes the fun part: assembling the nachos.

I am sure everyone has their favorite way of assembling a plate of nachos, but here is mine. Since these are for dinner, give everyone a dinner-sized plate. I start by putting a couple of spoonsful of the meat on the bottom of the plate. Then I spread some tortilla chips on top of the meat and spoon some beans evenly across the chips. I add a generous helping of chopped tomatoes, then some of the nacho cheese and top it all with sour cream and a few sprinkles of hot sauce. You will need plenty of napkins for this meal. They are a little messy! But so good! Alot of people like diced, raw onions with their nachos. I used to be able to add those, but with grandma age comes limitations! Raw onions are one of those limitations, now. But if you like, cut up some green onions and sprinkle those over the top, too!

I Hope You Find These Recipes Fun and Yummy!

These recipes are two of my favorites! I only hope that you love them as much as I do! Because I raised a family and liked to feed them well on a budget, most of my experiments came out of a desire to create different main course meals that my kids would gobble up! I also wanted those recipes to always have vegetables in them. The most used vegetables in my house are tomatoes, onions and greens of some sort.

Nothing makes me happier than hearing that someone likes what I have made. Let me know if you enjoy these. If you do, add them to your line up. These will help use up those leftovers that no one seems to want to eat. The best thing about these two dishes is that your family will never know they are eating what was left of last night's dinner! And they may like these even better than then last night's dinner!


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  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Sarahann,

    The nachos are awesome! My son, who lives with me, has been dieting (who knew that hockey players have to diet?), but I have been craving them lately...They are that good!

  • profile image

    Sarahann57 5 years ago

    I have not tried either recipe yet..But they both said Great!! I deff can not wait to make them nachos :)

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Tatara,

    You and me both! I also love chopped fresh tomatoes on them!

  • Tatara profile image

    Tatara 6 years ago from Asia

    I looove nachos, especially with greens and hot sauce!