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Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas

So, no, it’s not fall. But it is summer, which means lots and lots of Mexican food. For a white family living in Connecticut my house might win the ironic “most frequent Mexican cuisine per week” award, if there is such a thing. Guacamole is more regular than pasta at this point, and no one is complaining.

Naturally, there’s room for variations with predominately meat fajitas and enchiladas. Insert butternut squash and black beans: the best smoky-sweet texture and flavor combo in my eyes right now. This recipe is simple, and requires no raw meat preparation, which always makes my day better. But cutting the squash might replace the meat prep because that was not…easy.

Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas

One of my goals when I got home from college this year was to introduce more meatless but satisfying meals to my family’s repertoire. This recipe definitely fits into the “satisfying” category, not even the biggest meat lovers sitting at the table missed it. I will admit that Mexican food is done best with chicken or steak, but that doesn’t mean that these should not be on your table this week.

This recipe is inspired and adapted from Reluctant Entertainer!

Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubed butternut squash (16-ounces, or about 1 medium peeled, seeded squash)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup zucchini, cubed
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro, plus more cilantro for garnish
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • 12 ounces enchilada sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 6 whole grain wheat tortillas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place cubed butternut squash and chopped onion on a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender, the last 10 minutes adding the zucchini and corn to the mixture for an additional 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F.In a medium bowl, stir together the roasted butternut mixture and add in freshly chopped cilantro, spices and beans.
  2. Pour a thin layer of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of 13" x 9" casserole dish. Place 1/3 cup of the squash and bean mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese before rolling. Place seam-side-down in the baking dish.
  3. Continue until the pan is full of enchiladas. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of enchiladas. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese has thoroughly melted and is beginning to bubble around the edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with guacamole and sour cream.

 

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

I’m home again!

It has been a little too long since “chocolate chip cookies” aired on Sweet Spree. It has also been a busy semester with limited kitchen use!

But I’m back, with sweet potato fries!

In light of previous (kind of wimpy floppy) sweet potato fries, I did my research this time. Crispness is crucial or else you’re serving up uncomfortable sticks of a Thanksgiving side dish.

Just kidding sweet potatoes, you’re my favorite.

The lessons I learned from the web:

  1. Coat fries with cornstarch first in order to develop a crisper coating/exterior.
  2. Canola, not olive (high temps, ya know).
  3. All the Spices.

Sweet Potato Fries Baked
While making these it occurred to me that I could technically make sweet potato chips and cover them in chocolate (perfection). So, keep your eyes peeled this summer for that experiment. (Yes, a potato pun, big lol).

Meanwhile I’ll be mostly living in my kitchen after our long time apart, and I guess doing a liiiitle life elsewhere as well. Enjoy the tater’ fries!

Some flavor combos to try: cumin and garlic, paprika and chili, & cinnamon and nutmeg.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbs Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Spices of Choice! (see post)

Instructions

  1. Begin by chopping ends off of potatoes, peel or leave skins on (I peeled).
  2. Slice Potatoes in half then into smaller fry-chunks
  3. Toss fries in a freezer bag (or a large bag) with cornstarch
  4. Add in olive oil, then salt, pepper and spice. Toss again.
  5. Bake at 420 degrees for about 30 minutes. Flip halfway. Use a non-stick pan or a cookie sheet with oil and foil (heh).

Sweet Potato Fries Baked

Pumpkin Apple Soup

Pumpkin Apple Soup

Hmmm. Sweet Spree, what was that? Some kind of candy shop? I can’t seem to remember because the chocolate peanut butter bar recipe has been lingering a little too long on the RSS feed.
After a short hiatus, I’m happy to be back posting recipes again! (And maybe more.)
Now that the Christmas cookie and cheeseball part of winter has come to an end, (although those that I follow on Pinterest seem to think January is all about gingerbread truffles,) I can focus on the realities of winter food. Soup, tea and heavy cream. If you haven’t consumed at least one of those things during the past week I may suggest that you are doing winter all wrong.
This particular recipe actually leans a little bit towards fall, but it is still perfectly warming and delicious. This soup is the perfect thing to use up an extra can of pumpkin hanging around.
First I shun Christmas treats after New Years, then I present a pumpkin apple soup. Yes, I am sane. When I made this meal I served it with tiny baguette grilled cheeses with apple and gouda. And I suggest you do the same, because consuming delicious food should be at the top of your resolution list. Happy New Year!

Pumpkin Apple Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, chopped fine
  • 1 large White Onion
  • 5 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 can Coconut Cream
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbs Curry
  • 1 tbs Allspice
  • 1 tps salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tps butter
  • Small bunch of sage

Instructions

  1. In a large pot cook onions and oil over medium heat until translucent.
  2. In another saucepan sauté pumpkin over medium heat stirring quickly to caramelize, place mixture in with onions
  3. In the same saucepan, sauté apples in maple syrup and butter, when soft, transfer to large pot
  4. Add vegetable broth, sage leaves, spices and salt. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. While mixture is hot, use a hand blender or transfer to a blender until pureed smooth.
  6. Add in chilled coconut cream to taste, and adjust spices if desired. Serve Hot.

Falafel

Falafel

How very cultured of me to make falafel, right? Right? Please confirm my deep white Connecticut roots and tell me how cultured I am.
But to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had falafel. Yes, I smell it cooking pretty often where I work, but I wasn’t even sure of the ingredients before seeing this recipe. She also has a fantastic and simple tahini sauce recipe on the same page. So yes, Just a Taste totally inspired me to make falafel.
And I’ll tell, you it was totally worth it. Admittedly I didn’t have a huge knowledge of this food, but I kind of figured out that it’s a little difficult to mess up. I mean how much can you really mess up something you’re about to fry in a skillet?
Falafel Tahini Sauce Tabbouleh Hands
These fried patties are so delicious, and the whole meal was really perfected by some baba ghanoush and and tabbouleh from a local Middle Eastern style market. Those sides with falafel and the tahini sauce in a pita=#blessed. The entire meal has a lot of flavors that you don’t get to experience very often.

So to you, reader. Try your hand at falafel and wow your family and friends. You can even use this meal for #meatlessmonday! Or um, #friedfriday because both those “days” are only healthy…if you make them healthy.

Recipe adapted from Just a Taste

Falafel

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roughly chopped white onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (1 can)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil, for sauteing
  • Pita bread, for serving

Instructions

  1. Mince garlic in food processor, adding roughly chopped onion, set aside mixture.
  2. In food processor combine chickpeas, herbs, spices and lemon juice. Pulse until just combined.
  3. Add in the onion mixture to food processor and add baking soda. Slowly add flour until a sticky dough is formed. It just has to be sticky enough to not turn into a pancake when fried!
  4. Cover and refrigerate the falafel mixture for 1 hour
  5. When Mixture is ready heat a large skillet on medium heat generously doused with canola oil. Use an ice-cream scoop to create equal balls of dough and place on the hot skillet to fry. I covered the skillet to evenly cook the insides but you don't need to.
  6. Dab falafel with a paper towel if they have excess oil on them and serve warm with tahini sauce, pita and tabbouleh!

Falafel Tahini Sauce Tabbouleh Plate

Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese

Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is a beautiful thing. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around people that don’t like it, even though there seem to be plenty. While I could literally eat it plain, (and sometimes do) it also goes well with #somanyflavors. One of my favorites being balsamic. In spite of the craziness that the past few days have been, this is an easy summer meal and not too bad for you either. Of course it could benefit from a little more green and in my case a little less cheese, but can’t everything? Let’s just go with the assumption that there was a side salad. Definitely.

In other news, it’s finally okay to use to term “summer” without some snark muttering “well actually…summer solstice is…” Please, don’t be that person. It’s the same person that cruely reminds you to count the current day when mentioning the days till Christmas, or the person that includes weekends in their school-end countdown. Just stop. Let me have my fun. But, to please all the haters now it’s finally summer, so let’s enjoy it. Make some goat cheese veggie pasta.

 Also, for this recipe I used the pre-crumbled goat cheese which is really easy and perfect for pasta. I used a lot. It was delicious.

Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 box whole wheat pasta
  • 2 zucchini sqush
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tb better than broth, or substitute
  • 2 tbs honey mustard
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Begin by chopping squash and eggplant to be about the same size so they cook at the same rate. Meanwhile boil water for pasta, adding oil and salt and cook the pasta as directed.
  2. After vegetables have been cut place in a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of oil on medium heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sautee until almost transperant and soft. Set aside.
  3. In the same skillet combine balsamic, broth, oil, honey mustard and water. Heat on low until bubbling and all ingredients have been dissolved. Toss in the garlic and continue to heat lightly till cooked.
  4. After the pasta has been drained combine vegetables, sauce and pasta in the skillet. Stir and make sure that the sauce coats all.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. At this point you can mix in some of the goat cheese and it will melt with the pasta.
  6. When ready to serve sprinkle the rest of the goat cheese over the top or mix it in, serve warm. Enjoy!

Spicy Black Bean Sweet Potatoes

Spicy Black Bean Sweet Potatoes

I greet you once again with a Mexican influenced dish. Being summertime we’re growing cilantro in the garden, and it’s a great pairing with so many flavors. Aka spicy flavorful food…as much as possible.

It’s no secret that black beans and sweet squash are one of my favorite combinations. After I made some black bean butternut squash enchiladas I kept working with the flavors. I think sweet potatoes can be prepared a little plainly sometimes, when they actually have a lot of options for enhancement. Of course, normal twice baked potatoes are delicious with melted cheese, but these are spicy and amazing. We had them alongside steak and in addition to tasting good they boast no fork labor! (Releasing you from the self-mashing prophecy).

Spicy Black Bean Sweet Potatoes

In other news the lemon cake I wrote about a little while ago has been a real crowd pleaser lately and is was just made for a second time by my mom. Once again, no one expects to like the lemon cake, then they love it.

But, be healthy-ish and enjoy these sweet potatoes on a nice evening. Maybe even grill them? And everything else under the sun? I’m not kidding?

Spicy Black Bean Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • ½ can black beans
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • ½ tomato, diced into small pieces
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp red cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp spicy black bean salsa
  • ½ cup Mexican cheese
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Begin by cooking sweet potatoes in a pan in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until tender
  2. Meanwhile in a bowl combine onion, black beans, tomato, salsa and spices. Add most of the cilantro but leave some out for garnish. Let the mixture marinate.
  3. When potatoes are done slice them in half and scoop out insides into a bowl. Mash mixture with oil until smooth with a potato masher or hand mixer.
  4. Add in about ¾ of the black bean mixture and stir. Now is the time to adjust the seasonings to your liking.
  5. Using a spoon place potato mixture back into the potato skins on a cookie sheet. Top the potatoes with the extra bean mixture and a sprinkle of Mexican cheese. Place back in oven for a few minutes to rewarm and melt cheese.
  6. When ready to serve take out and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!