Let’s Party…. Olé!!

It’s Graduation season and we are ready to host again! You don’t have to live along the southern border to make it a Mexican themed dinner. We might be the Montana State Bobcats, but who doesn’t like a little tequila and tortillas?

We are fortunate to have a Mexican market in town, so I plan to hit them up (the morning of) to pick up thier fresh made salsa, queso and guacamole, but the rest I was able to purchase at the neighborhood grocery store. Don’t forget an assortment of tortillas for your gluten free or vegetarian guests.

This was a super easy menu to compile because it started with a mainstay in our house… I have been making this burrito recipe for 30 years. Burritos Bellingham was a favorite of my husband’s from college. His mom would make large pans of the burritos and send them with the boys to college because they freeze beautifully. You can make two extra large pans at a time, serve one for dinner and freeze the second for a day when you don’t feel like cooking or have unexpected company. They are from a family favorite cookbook, Best of Friends, Etc. by Darlene Glantz Skees, which I’ve shared with you many times before, but of course, I am known to tweak for my own personal preferences.

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2021 Meal Planning… Menu 3

Most of us have experienced days that take on their own identity, their own schedule. That was Day 3 of our new meal plan, so leftover fish was the only option for dinner, pushing the promised Chicken Fajitas to day 4, but menu 3.

I think its safe to say, it was worth waiting for!

Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled, mixed with chunky chicken sausage, sautéed spinach, mushrooms and onions. Add some chopped avocado on the side and you will be full for hours! This can be cooked as a scramble or an omelet, your choice.
Decaf Tea

Lunch: Left over salmon and roasted cauliflower

The cravings were pretty strong today. I should win a gold medal for passing right by the Christmas caramels in the pantry! I tried to keep the urges at bay with extra water and some cashews for snacking. I have to admit, the touch of salty seemed to do the trick for an hour or two until I was again wishing for a little sweet treat. There is something about being told you can’t have something and therefore that’s all the mind wants.

Dinner: Chicken Fajitas with a sprouted corn tortilla shell
Smashed avocados, lettuce & vegan shredded Mozarella cheese

chicken fajitas
Low Carb Chicken Fajitas, Keto Approved
I made some tweaks to the fajita recipe, simply to keep them more mild for my personal preferences. I did not include any chili powder and maybe only a 1/4 tsp of cumin. Due to the fact we aren’t supposed to have any condiments right now, I elected for the ground mustard rather than the Dijon, and instead of chicken thighs I used breast meat. The meat was incredibly tender and flavorful – pretty much perfect with the adjustments. No cilantro – it’s one of the herbs this family does not eat at all, and only 1 pepper, 1/2 red and 1/2 orange. Gosh, I guess I made more changes than I thought… I also never use red onion because my husband doesn’t care for them, and my preference is vidalia sweet onions, but it was less than half. As a result of all these edits, I’ve provided my altered recipe below…

The fajita is layered with cheese on the bottom, topped with a dollop of smashed avocados (mixed with a bit of lime juice, salt & pepper), lettuce, chicken mixed with peppers and onions and topped with a tablespoon more cheese for color.

Low Carb Chicken Fajitas

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: fajitas, keto, low-carb, mexican
Servings: 4


Fajita Seasoning

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast, chopped (for stir fry)
  • 1/2 med bell pepper, red
  • 1/2 med bell pepper, yellow or orange
  • 1/2 med Vidalia sweet onion

For serving…

  • 1 1/2 small avocados, smashed
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Vegan (non-dairy) mozarella, shredded


  • Combine all the ingredients for the fajitas seasoning.
  • In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, mustard and fajita seasonings. Toss in chicken chunks until well coated. Let chicken marinate while you prepare the vegetables.
  • Slice the onions and peppers.
  • Heat 1 tbls. butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook another 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Melt the remaining 1 tbls. butter in the same skillet and brown the chicken. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Return the onion and pepper to the pan to heat.
  • Compile the fajitas in the corn tortillas; avocado, lettuce, cheese, chicken, onions and peppers.

I can honestly say the meals are really superb – flavorful and filling – which is so important to keep me focused and on-target. I hope you’re finding the same success if you’re following along with us. We would love to hear how you’re doing!

Do you like what you read here? Shop Now for all the tools needed to make this awesome dinner on our sister site, La Cuisine, a French inspired kitchen store. We might be located in Bozeman, MT but we ship UPS nationwide.


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Copyright © 2020 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.

Mexican, Tonight, Anyone?

I have been making the same ‘freezer burrito’ recipe for nearly 30 years. It comes from one of my favorite and frequently quoted “Best of Friends” cookbooks gifted to me by my mother-in-law. She used to make the recipe for my husband and his twin when they were in college so they would have something hot and homemade in their freezer, whenever the hunger pains spoke loud and clear. Since I, too, enjoy having homemade meals on hand in the freezer, it was an easy one to adopt and the hearty portions which meant we could make several meals out of one pan and a second one was added to the freezer.

When I decided this summer to make burritos for one of our trips up to the lake, I got the urge to try a new recipe. “Let’s branch out,” I said! For those who know me well, they know this is not an unusual occurrence. In fact, what is more unusual is that I’ve been making the same burritos for 30 years. I LOVE to try new recipes and tweak them to make them my own. A quick Google search resulted in Loaded Smothered Beef Burritos by http://www.averiecooks.com and following a quick trip to the market, we were packed for an adventure to the lake.

The recipe was a huge hit with all the brothers and it was decided, we needed to make a change – or at least add this one to the repertoire. Once arriving home, I gathered up replacement ingredients and at the same time, decided a box of precooked Spanish Rice as the recipe indicated, was really not necessary because I had plenty of ingredients on hand to make my own homemade Spanish rice. Thus, an adapted recipe from http://www.eatingonadime.com was born and combined to make my own version of Smothered Beef Burritos.

Smothered Beef Burritos

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: bean, beef, burritos
Servings: 8


Spanish Rice

  • 2 tbsp garlic or shallot olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, garlic & herb
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin


  • 4 tbsp garlic or shallot olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning, reduced sodium
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 8 large flour tortillas (burrito size)
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 3 cups Mexican shredded cheese blend, divided
  • 1 can (20 oz) red enchilada sauce (you choose the heat)
  • sour cream
  • salsa & chips, for garnish


  • Saute 1/4 cup onion in 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix rice into skillet, stirring often. When rice begins to brown, add chicken broth, tomatoes, garlic salt & cumin. Bring to a low boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, and until liquid has been absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, add 2 tbsp oil and diced onion. Saute over medium heat before adding beef to cook for about 7 minutes, until cooked through and onions are soft; stir and crumble to ensure even cooking.
  • Add the taco seasoning and water; stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  • Drizzle the remaining olive oil in a 9×13 pan (or two 8" squares). Set aside.
  • Even smear each tortilla with about 2 tbls of refried beans down the center. Evenly distribute the rice, about 2-3 tbsp for each, top with the beef mixture, and evenly distribute 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
  • Roll up each burrito, tucking the sides in before rolling the long sides. Place in the pan(s), seam side down. Cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven to slowly and evenly drizzle the enchilada sauce over all the burritos, evenly sprinkling the remaining 1 1/2 cups grated cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling.
  • Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream, and chips and salsa on the side.
  • For a smaller portion, I bake in two 8 inch square pans, and when cool, cover tightly before freezing up to 4 months. Thaw fully before heating for 30 minutes.

Thinking of an entire Mexican dinner? Try adding sliced avocado, chopped lettuce and fresh tomatoes to your platters, and finish off with some fried ice cream or Tres Leche Cake. After all, who can resist something sweet following a spicy dinner? Certainly not me…


Copyright © 2020 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.