The kids have now been in school for an entire month. This means we’re finally getting back into a routine with meals, going to bed earlyish (it’s still a struggle after summer), and waking up early.
Along with getting back into some basic routines, a new school year brings the need for a regular dinner rotation that includes lots of easy Instant Pot and sheet pan meals, like today’s sheet pan chicken fajitas.
When it comes to dinner, I find the easiest way to simplify this area of life, particularly during the school year, is to use themes. For each weekday, we have a different theme for dinner. Here are our current themes:
- Chicken, like a roasted whole chicken or chicken enchiladas
- Soup, like tomato soup or chicken noodle soup
- Stir-fry or fried rice
- Taco-style, like ground beef taquitos
- Instant Pot meal, like Instant Pot Fried Rice and Instant Pot Chicken and Yellow Rice
- Sheet pan meal, like Sheet Pan Baked Ranch Chicken and Potatoes and Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli
Themes provide a ton of structure to my weekly meal planning. When I sit down to plan out a week of meals, I’m not sitting in front of a blank calendar, scratching my head, trying to figure out what we should we eat that week. I have a list of our favorite recipes next to me and our current themes listed on paper. This means creating a plan for the week takes just minutes.
Now, I get it. Using the same themes over and over again (I usually go about a month with the same themes before changing things up slightly) may seem like dinner would start to feel boring and repetitive.
Within these themes there is a lot of room for variation. Sure, I could always make the same exact chicken dish each week, or I could make any meal with chicken. One week, I might make a spatchcock chicken with roasted veggies. Another week, I may go with a chicken and rice meal. Another week, I may just grill up some chicken and serve it with a big salad. So yes, chicken is served once a week, at least, but there is a lot of variety within this theme.
There are also many different ways to fill in a taco-style theme. We could do taco bowls, taco salad, quesadillas (okay, not a taco but it fits), enchiladas, or fajitas (sheet pan chicken fajitas, skillet chicken fajitas, or vegetarian fajitas).
Today’s recipe, Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas, is a new favorite meal that fits perfectly with a “taco-style” theme. This meal is easy to prepare and the flavor is 100% AMAZING. And the best part about this meal is everything from the veggies to the chicken to the homemade salsa is made on sheet pans. This mean you can have a complete, family-friendly fajita meal ready to serve in under 30 minutes with barely any mess to cleanup after dinner. Now that’s my kind of weeknight meal!
How to Make Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
To make this recipe, you’ll need two sheet pans. The first sheet pan, preferably a large half sheet pan, is for the chicken and veggies. The second sheet pan (which can be on the smaller side) is for the salsa ingredients. First, let’s talk about the actual fajitas. Next, we’ll talk about the salsa.
For the chicken fajitas, you’ll need a few key ingredients: bell peppers, onions, and chicken breasts. Cut the bell peppers and onions into sticks and wedges and slice the chicken. Next, whisk together a few seasonings to create a homemade fajita mix: chili powder, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, smoked paprika, ground cumin. Sprinkle the homemade fajita mix over the veggies and chicken and give everything a good toss. Finish off the fajitas with a drizzle of oil and then pop the sheet pan in the oven for 20 minutes.
Note: If you want, you could use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the chicken breasts.
Let’s Talk About the Salsa
The cool thing about this recipe is that you’re not just going to make chicken fajitas, you’re also going to use the oven to make homemade salsa.
To do this, add cherry tomatoes (or you can go with large tomatoes, but you’ll need to cut them up), a poblano pepper, and garlic to a sheet pan. Sprinkle the veggies with salt, pepper, ground cumin, and a drizzle of oil. Then roast the salsa ingredients in the oven for 20 minutes.
Once the tomatoes are soft, blend up the tomatoes with the pepper, garlic, some cilantro, and a squeeze of lime in a blender. The final salsa is so flavorful! It’s perfect to serve over the chicken and veggie fajitas, or you can make just the salsa and serve it up with some tortilla chips (Jackson’s Honest is my favorite brand) or quesadillas.
How to Prep Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas in Advance
The most time-consuming part of the recipe is cutting up the veggies and chicken and mixing together the fajita seasoning.
If you want to prep something in advance in order to reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen preparing this meal, I recommend cutting the veggies up to 3 days in advance. You can store the veggies in a bag or air-tight container in the fridge. You can also cut the chicken up to 2 days in advance, depending on the expiration date of the chicken. Store the chicken in a separate bag or air-tight container in the fridge. Finally, you can also whisk together the seasonings (chili powder, salt, black pepper, dried oregano, smoked paprika, cumin) in an air-tight container (store at room temperature).
Chicken Fajitas and Salsa for Dinner and Beyond
This recipe works well as a weeknight dinner but it also goes beyond that. Of course, you can serve the fajitas with corn or flour tortillas, cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, and the homemade salsa.
Or, make chicken fajitas on the weekend and serve the chicken and veggies in the lunchbox. Use a thermos to keep the mixture hot. You could add rice to the thermos or serve a tortilla on the side. Or, make a burrito with rice and the chicken and veggies. I’ve also used the chicken and veggies to make a quesadilla. Just add some cheese to one side of a tortilla, along with a few pieces of chicken and some veggies. Cook the quesadilla on each side in a well-oiled skillet.
The salsa is intended to be served with the chicken and veggie fajitas, but it’s so good that you may want to make the salsa again in the future even when you’re not planning to have fajitas. You have my full permission!
How to Reheat Chicken Fajitas
Whether you’re making the fajitas for dinner and plan to reuse some leftovers for lunch, or want to prep this meal in advance to enjoy throughout the week, you’ll need to know how to reheat this meal.
For this meal, I recommend reheating the chicken and veggies in a hot skillet with a drizzle of oil, or use the microwave.
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Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas With Homemade Salsa
Chicken and Veggie Fajitas
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. A half sheet pan is ideal for the chicken and veggies and a quarter sheet pan is ideal for the salsa.
- Slice the bell peppers into sticks and onion into wedges. Add the peppers and onions to one side of a prepared sheet pan.
- Slice chicken on the bias (see this video for help), about ½-inch thick. Add the chicken to the other half of the sheet pan.
- Combine the fajita seasonings in a small bowl: chili powder, salt, black pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, cumin. Rub the seasonings into the chicken on all sides and sprinkle over the vegetables. Drizzle a small amount of avocado or extra virgin olive oil on top of the chicken and veggies (just enough to lightly coat). Using your hands, mix the oil with the veggies and chicken. Make sure everything is in a single layer on the sheet pan.
- Combine all the salsa ingredients, except the cilantro and lime juice, on the second sheet pan.
- Bake the chicken and veggies and salsa ingredients for 20 minutes, rotating the sheet pans halfway through.
- Once cooked, carefully add the salsa ingredients to a blender, along with the juice from half of a lime and cilantro. Carefully pulse the ingredients, making sure to vent for steam. You can make this salsa as smooth or as a chunky as you desire.
- Squeeze the other half of the lime over the fajitas. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the fajitas (optional). Stir the lime juice and cilantro into the fajita mixture.
- Serve the fajita mixture with tortillas, sour cream, guacamole, etc. Or, serve in butter lettuce in place of the tortillas. Another alternative is to serve the chicken and veggies with rice to make fajita burrito bowls. Top with the homemade salsa. The salsa may also be made and served alone with tortilla chips–so good!