Fill Two Needs with one Deed

For most of us, the beginning of the school year is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. You might feel relieved that your kids are back in school and away from the computer. You probably feel a twinge of regret at seeing them grow so fast and go up yet another grade.

And you most certainly feel rushed as you run around collecting school supplies, new clothes and all the other activities triggered by their return to school. In the midst of this roller-coaster ride, let me propose a menu item that takes no time to cook, pleases everyone and spares you the additional chore of preparing lunches for the next day: Turkey, orange and Canadian Monterey Jack fajitas paired with Chardonnay and Valpolicella Ripasso.

The turkey fajitas are easy to make and delicious, making them a delicious weeknight meal. Best of all, by adding a few extra ingredients you get a tasty and healthy Turkey and Canadian Monterey Jack salad to put in the kids’ lunchboxes.

Since children shouldn’t drink wine, I’m only going to pair wines with the fajitas, which should turn the adults’ midweek dinner into something special. If you like a glass of red, I would recommend a medium- to full-bodied Valpolicella Ripasso, such as a smooth and supple Enzo Vincenzo. If you would rather have white, go for a warm weather Chardonnay such as a surprisingly complex Sol de Andes Reserva 2009.

Here’s to the new school year!

Turkey, Orange and Monterey Jack Fajitas

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
1 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bell pepper (your choice), cut into strips
1 tsp (5 ml) chili powder
pinch of ground cumin
¾ cup (180 ml) orange juice
½ cup (125 ml) salsa
2 tbsp (30 ml) barbecue sauce
2 cups (500 ml) cooked turkey breast, minced or shredded
4 large or 8 small 9-grain tortillas
1 ½ cups (375 ml) lettuce, shredded
1 ¼ cups (310 ml) Canadian Monterey Jack, grated
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Instructions:

In a large skillet, melt butter and brown onion, garlic and peppers for 3–4 minutes.

Add spices. Cook 2 minutes.
Mix orange juice, salsa and barbecue sauce. Pour into skillet and let simmer for 3–4 minutes.
Add cooked turkey and cook until hot.
Place skillet on table and serve with reheated tortillas so that everyone can prepare their own fajita using the hot turkey mixture, lettuce and grated Monterey Jack.
Garnish with cilantro.

Variations:
Canadian Cheddar, Gouda, Havarti.

Turkey and Monterey Jack Salad

Turkey and Monterey Jack Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
1 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bell pepper (your choice), cut into strips
1 tsp (5 ml) chili powder
pinch of ground cumin
¾ cup (180 ml) orange juice
¼ cup (125 ml) salsa
2 tbsp (30 ml) barbecue sauce
2 cups (500 ml) cooked turkey breast, minced or shredded
2 cups (500 ml) lettuce, shredded
2 cups (500 ml) baby spinach
2 cups (500 ml) red cabbage, shredded or grated
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) Canadian Monterey Jack, diced

Instructions:

In a large skillet, melt butter and brown onion, garlic and peppers for 3–4 minutes.

Add spices. Cook 2 minutes.

Mix orange juice, salsa and barbecue sauce. Pour into skillet and let simmer for 3–4 minutes. Add cooked turkey and mix well, then let cool.

Mix lettuce, spinach and red cabbage. Add cilantro. Divide into containers suitable for a lunch box. Add diced Monterey Jack.

Into other containers, divide the turkey mixture (the sauce will serve as the dressing). Come mealtime, add the turkey mixture to the salad. Toss and savour.

Variations:
Canadian Cheddar, Gouda, Havarti.