I made chicken parmesan the other night for my husband Longe, and HE DIDN’T LIKE IT. I usually take his slightly “particular” food preferences in stride, but with that one, I had to throw up my hands.
Thankfully fajitas (or really anything Mexican/Southwest inspired) are something we can both agree upon, so I’m happy to say that these are Longe approved. I usually have most of the ingredients on hand, so this is an easy go-to on busy nights.
The key to sheet pan cooking is all in the size of whatever you’re making. In this case, the whole pan bakes for 30 minutes, so I tailor the size of each ingredient accordingly.
Fajitas are usually made with skirt steak. It’s a very thin cut that I think cooks best on the grill since it just needs a quick sear on both sides. So for the fajitas, I opted for flank steak. It’s thicker and leaner than skirt steak, but can be cut into nice thin slices that mimic skirt steak.
The flank steak is about the same thickness as the boneless skinless chicken thighs (remember, size is key!). I leave the chicken thighs all curled up as they are in the packaging so they roast perfectly in 30 minutes.
For the veggies, I chose red and yellow bell peppers, but orange or green would be great too. Crunchy peppers are great when you’re eating them raw, but for fajitas we’re looking for soft, melt-in-your-mouth tender peppers. So I sliced them thinly in order to get them tender in 30 minutes. The red onion should be sliced to the same thickness. The onion tends to get done a little faster than the peppers, but a little extra time in the oven makes them even more tender.
After slicing everything, I grabbed a host of seasonings from my cupboard to transform the meat and veggies into fajitas. If keeping a stocked spice rack isn’t your thing, you could grab a packet of fajita seasoning mix at the grocery store. You can usually find them either near the spices or in the Mexican foods aisle. If you’re making the recipe as shown, don’t skip the sugar! It balances all of the seasonings nicely and creates a light caramelized crust on everything.
Here’s the best part about sheet pan meals: you stick the whole pan in the oven and walk away. However, I take out the steak mid-way through cooking for two reasons: 1) so it doesn’t overcook and 2) so it has time to rest before slicing. If you slice it as soon as it comes out of the oven, you’ll have steak juice all over the cutting board and the countertop.
I love serving these with flour tortillas, which are traditionally preferred over corn tortillas for fajitas. Pico de gallo is another must-have in my opinion. I usually opt to make my own though my grocery store makes a pretty good one. My simple recipe is 4 roma tomatoes, ½ of a red onion (use the other half from the fajitas!), ¼ cup chopped cilantro, the juice from half of a lime, and ½ teaspoon salt. I chop the tomatoes and red onion into a small dice and then mix everything together. I usually give it a quick drain before serving as the salt draws water out of the tomatoes and the bottom ends up looking like tomato juice.
Including slicing and dicing, these fajitas are done in just about 45 minutes. I’d highly recommend serving them with Chile Rubbed Corn on the Cob, especially in the summertime when the corn is in season. The recipe can also easily be adapted for special diets—they are already dairy-free and can be made gluten-free by serving them with corn tortillas.
You could also serve the fajita meat and veggies over a bed of lettuce and top them with pico for a lighter version.
Sheet Pan Steak and Chicken Fajitas
Yield 2 servings plus leftovers
This recipe makes enough for dinner for two, plus leftovers. We take them to work the next day for lunch!
- ¾ lb flank steak
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- ½ red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- To serve: pico de gallo, flour or corn tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the bell peppers and red onion into very thin strips. Place on a large sheet pan with the flank steak and chicken thighs. Drizzle everything with the olive oil.
- In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, brown sugar, oregano, onion powder, and kosher salt. Sprinkle evenly over the meat, peppers, and onion, flipping the meat so that it gets seasoned on both sides.
- Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the flank steak is done to your liking. I baked it for 17 minutes for medium. Remove the flank steak, place on a cutting board, and cover with foil. Place the sheet pan back into the oven for 10–15 more minutes (total cooking time should be 30 minutes), or until the chicken thighs are cooked through and the peppers are tender.
- Slice the chicken thighs and flank steak. Serve with pico de gallo and tortillas.
Tip: Buy a pre-made fajita seasoning packet instead of using the seasonings listed here. You can usually find them in the spice aisle or in the Mexican foods aisle.