1 ½poundsboneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips or pieces
Salt and pepper
2medium bell peppers, whichever colors you prefer, cored and diced
½cupchopped onion, white or yellow
2 ½cupschicken broth, I use low-sodium
2 ½cupsmilk, preferably not skim
1 (15-ounce)candiced or petite-diced tomatoes, undrained
16ouncestube-shaped pasta (see note)
1 to 2cupsshredded Monterey Jack cheese
Fresh limes, chopped chives, avocados, for serving (optional)
Combine all of the fajita seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
In a pot or deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until rippling and hot. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, season lightly with salt and pepper and add in a single layer to the pot. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the fajita seasoning mixture and cook, stirring often, until no longer pink in the center, 3-4 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate/dish and set aside.
To the pot, add the peppers, onions, and 1 teaspoon of the fajita seasoning mixture. Add another teaspoon or so of oil if the pot is really dry so the veggies don't burn. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the peppers are crisp-tender. Scrape the mixture onto the plate with the chicken.
Return the pot to the heat and add the broth, milk and diced tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the pasta, 1 teaspoon salt, and the remaining fajita seasoning. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally to make sure the pasta isn't sticking, until the pasta is tender, 12-15 minutes (depending on the brand/type/shape of pasta). It's ok if there is a bit of liquid remaining, it will absorb as the pasta cools and sets up a bit.
Stir in the chicken and veggies and heat through. Add the cheese and stir until creamy and combined. Squeeze half (or two halves) of a fresh lime over the pasta and stir (optional, but so very delicious). Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve with chopped fresh chives, lime wedges and sliced avocados, if desired. The pasta will thicken as it cools.
Pasta: This recipe is tested with thin tube-shaped pasta that has an al dente cooking time of 11 minutes on the package. Adjust the cooking time accordingly if needed. Additionally since different brands of pasta may differ in texture and liquid absorption, keep an eye on the pasta as it cooks and add additional broth, if needed. I have not tried this recipe with gluten-free pasta.Bell Peppers: I prefer using sweeter bell peppers, like red and orange, in this recipe. But any color bell pepper of your preference will work.