Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

1 T olive oil
1 butternut squash (1½ lb.), halved and seeded
1 medium sweet onion, diced (1 cup)
1 4.5 ounce can diced green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp. )
3 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Enchilada sauce (homemade or canned)
8-12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool, scoop into a bowl and mash.

2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté until soft. Add chiles and garlic. Cook 1 minute.

3. Stir in mashed squash, cream cheese, cumin, and nutmeg. Turn the heat off and mix well.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce over bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Layer tortillas followed by the squash mixture, then cheddar cheese. Repeat, ending with cheddar cheese as your final layer on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the sides start bubbling and the cheese is melted and gooey.

5. Serve with your usual Tex-Mex sides and condiments. Extra cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, green onions, jalepeno peppers, salsa, chips, beans, rice. Or a side salad works too but not as satisfying.

I sometimes forget this blog is about recipes.  I get off on a tangent like mislabeled seafood or nasty who knows what’s in them chicken nuggets from China.  FOCUS!  It’s about the food, the recipes, and the memories.  A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to make a squash enchilada  casserole when fall rolled around and the hard squashes started appearing in the market.  I was always amazed at how tasty this dish was without any meat in it.  Like all great family recipes this one exhibits the following classic characteristics.

The kids didn’t like it when they were little and I never wrote the recipe down.  I’m sure if I wanted to waste an hour or two I could find the original recipe yellowed and faded, taped to a 3 x 5 card somewhere.  I also know that when I find the original recipe it won’t be how I make it now.  Why bother looking? I do recall the original recipe called for some cooked potato added to the squash mixture.  I also recall the original did not have green chilies in it.  So here you go. This recipe is from memory.  I hope it tastes good.

I can’t believe this is my 100th post.

TIPS

 If you like (or need) an extra kick, sub a heartier pepper for the green chilies.  Need protein?  Add a can of black beans, rinsed and drained, to the middle layer of the casserole.  Monterrey Jack would be a nice sub for the cheddar.  Or Smokey Chipotle Cheddar might work too.  (I have a chunk of this in the fridge and it’s looking for a recipe).  But most of all, have some fun with this recipe.

Update 11.17.14

I know, two days after posting and I’m making changes already.  Step 4 –  for the middle layers, tortillas, squash mixture, cheddar cheese, repeat.  No enchilada sauce.  The red sauce goes only on the bottom of the pan and on the top layer of tortillas.  The final layer is tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded Monterrey jack cheese.  Yellow corn tortillas are fine but I used white corn tortillas.  I only needed ten tortillas.  You’ll get eight generous servings from this casserole.  I made some quick enchilada sauce with a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and some chicken stock.  You can leave out the chicken stock if you’re a picky vegetarian.  You can leave the cheese off too but I won’t take any responsibility for how your casserole turns out.

White Chicken Chili

“I’m not dressed.  Could you water the front patio plants?”

“Yes dear.”

It was rather cool outside this morning.  Fall is definitely in the air and the morning chill made me think of chili.  Since I had just finished breakfast, chili was not an option this morning.  We were leaving on a short road trip in about an hour.  No time to make chili.

I decided to add another chili recipe to the blog!  For years I’ve made a white chili culled from two different recipes.  One recipe definitely came from the NY Times while the source of the second is unknown.  One recipe called for tomatoes; the other recipe didn’t.  So in my grand tradition of never following recipes exactly I have had to pull out two separate recipes to make this chili.  Fading memories instruct me on what to put in and what to leave out.  Fearing the worst, I figured I better write this down before I forget.

Tips:

This chili tastes better without tomatoes but if you like tomatoes in your chili, add a can of diced tomatoes.  It won’t be white anymore.  It will be pink.  Pink chili???

I prefer boneless thighs to boneless breasts but either works well.  If you’re using fresh cilantro, add it as a condiment at serving time.

This chili, like most chili dishes, tastes better the second day.

This chili also tastes better when you drink a good craft beer while cooking it.

I’m serious.

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs boneless chicken cubed
  • 1/4 C seasoned flour (salt pepper)
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1 green pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 Tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • red pepper flakes, dash
  • Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 1 16 oz can organic white kidney or Great Northern beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine flour and salt, and pepper in a gallon size plastic baggie.  Add the chicken, close the bag, and shake well until all of the chicken pieces are well coated with the flour mixture.
  2. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large stock pot over high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.  Lower the heat to medium high to avoid burning the chicken.  You will get pieces of flour and chicken stuck on the bottom of the pan.  This is OK.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add 1 T olive oil, onion, garlic green pepper, cilantro, cumin, and oregano.  Saute 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth and scrape the brown pieces from the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add chicken, green chilies and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.  If the mixture starts to get too thick, thin out with more chicken stock.
  6. Five minutes prior to serving, add the beans.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the beans are warmed through.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, peppers, grated cheese, etc.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – (NOT) Bon Appétit

via Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – Bon Appétit.

There are a bunch of clipped recipes in the cookbook holder by the stove.  This Bon Appétit recipe has been there since 2009, February 2009 to be exact.  We love this recipe for a quick and healthy meatless meal.  Earlier today I glanced at the recipe to make sure all ingredients were on hand because you always have at least one ingredient missing.  I just don’t want the missing ingredient to be missing after I start cooking.

Wait a minute!  This isn’t how I make this dish!  OK, full stop.  No more writing.  I will make my tacos tonight and then write the recipe down.

6:41 PM CST update

I’ve left the link to the original recipe.  I was right.  I make this dish differently than I did five years ago.  So here we go.  I also made some fresh guacamole and to be perfectly honest, the flavors are intense, the textures varied, and it…is…HEALTHY.

1 15-ounce can organic black beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (maybe more)
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons canola oil
1 whole lime juiced, 1/4 lemon juiced

1/4 cup diced red onion, 1 clove garlic minced

pinch oregano, dash celery salt (trust me on this one)

2 cups organic green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortilla shells, crispy
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Your favorite hot sauce or salsa

  1.  Drain and rinse the black beans, set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add oregano, cumin, and garlic. Saute until the spices are fragrant.
  3. Add the well drained black beans.  Add lemon juice. Heat until warmed through.  Mash the beans with a spoon but leave it chunky.  Season with celery salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and juice of one lime.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add a dash of sugar to cut the acidity if needed.
  5. Add the green onions, cilantro, and cabbage.  Mix well and set aside.

This recipe will make enough for 4-6 tacos.  If you need more servings, double the bean recipe and buy more taco shells. You will not need to double the cabbage slaw portion.  You’ll have plenty.

Construct your tacos.  Place some beans in the taco shell, followed by salsa, feta cheese, and slaw.  If you are using guacamole, put in on your taco last.

TIPS –

We recently discovered La Tiara authentic Mexican taco shells from Gladstone Missouri.  Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as you until I tried these shells.   Use fresh cabbage and not the bagged sliced slaw next to the bagged salads.  In a pinch, go ahead and use the bagged stuff.  But once you use fresh cabbage, you won’t go back to the bag version.  This taco recipe is perfect for a Meatless Monday.  May I suggest oven roasted sweet potatoes and corn for sides?

Pinto Beans with Turkey Kielbasa

Before I moved to Texas I didn’t know what a pinto bean was.  I haven’t lived in Texas for some time but I still have to have my pinto beans.  The other day I was in the grocery store meandering as I normally do and found turkey kielbasa on sale for 99 cents.  After checking the last sale date (still good) I tossed the sausage into my cart.

A couple of weeks pass and the kielbasa is still in the fridge.  I needed to do something with my bargain but what?  There was a lively discussion recently about the differences between Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, New Mexico-Mex, AZ-Mex, and the unfortunate stuff we have where I live…Okie-Mex.  I recalled the best bean soup ever from a restaurant in the DFW area.  The soup came complimentary with your meal.  So I figured I’d just make a pot of beans.  I always leave the spicy hot peppers out because some people don’t like their food too spicy.  But this pot of beans just needs a lot of jalapenos and Tabasco sauce.

 

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 pound turkey kielbasa, diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Rinse and sort the beans. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and soak the beans for one hour. Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside. Rinse the pot and return to the stovetop.

When the pot is dry, add the bacon and crisp up on medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and saute for several minutes until browned. Add the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the water, deglaze the pot, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up the bits of goodness.

Return the beans to the pot and add water to cover. Stir in the cilantro, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer partially covered for a minimum of 2 hours. Check the pot every now and then. Add more water if needed.

SAMSUNG

 

 

Update 06.13.14

Maybe it’s Friday the 13th or something, but I just tasted my beans.  Don’t get me wrong,  The beans are awesome tasty.  But it is not nearly close to Herrera’s out of this world bean soup!  Either I keep working on this recipe or just give up.  OK, I give up.

Dr. Lee, remember #13a double beans, no rice?  Go to Herrera’s.  Not even gonna attempt that one.

 

 

Chili Chicken Fricassee

Chili Chicken Fricassee

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs boneless chicken cubed
  • 1/4 C seasoned flour (salt pepper cumin oregano)
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 C frozen corn
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1 16 oz can organic kidney beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine flour and a dash each of cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a gallon size plastic baggie.  Add the chicken, close the bag, and shake well until all of the chicken pieces are well coated with the flour mixture.
  2. Heat 3 T olive oil in a large stock pot over high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.  Lower the heat to medium high to avoid burning the chicken.  You will get pieces of flour and chicken stuck on the bottom of the pan.  This is OK.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add 1T olive oil, onion, garlic green pepper, chili powder, cumin, and oregano.  Saute 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth and scrape the brown pieces from the bottom of the pot.  Add tomatoes, bring up to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by one half.
  5. Add chicken and continue to simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.  If the mixture starts to get too thick, thin out with more chicken stock.
  6. Five minutes prior to serving, add the corn, peas, and beans.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the vegetables are warmed through.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve in soup bowls, chili bowls, or any bowl  of your choosing.

 

I seriously doubt this dish was a family favorite.  But the original recipe was preserved on an aging yellowed 3 x 5 and I’ve made this dish many times over.  But again, I find the same pattern.  The dish I make is not the dish on the recipe.  So, this recipe is how I make it now, the modifications long etched in my aging brain and definitely NOT the recipe on the card.  Let’s be honest here.  The family (to the best of my recollection) never requested this dish.  As best as I can recall, I started making this concoction during a “healthy” phase when I wanted chili but lighter, with more vegetables.

You will need rice and some nice crusty bread, salad on the side, and a tasty light red like Pinot Nowhere.  I’ve used both breast meat and thigh meat for this tasty meal.  Let your preference be your guide.

Ah the hell with it.  Drink whatever you want because this dish ROCKS!

This fricassee freezes well.  ROCK ON.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

Homemade Taco Seasoning (from Whole New Mom)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp paprika

1 Tbsp cumin

2 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly

via Homemade Taco Seasoning | Recipe Taco Seasoning.

Please follow the link above which takes you to http://wholenewmom.com/recipes/homemade-taco-seasoning/.   The creator of this wonderful taco seasoning recipe is Adrienne from Whole New Mom.  Please go check out her website.  Thanks Adrienne!

As I write this the temperature outside is 112 degrees F.  It’s really too hot to cook but for some strange reason I starting thinking tacos.  I’ve already been to the store (when it was only 100 degrees) and picked up some organic canned pinto beans, Colby jack cheese, lettuce and tortillas.  In the house we already have crispy taco shells, tomatoes, and salsa.  While at the store I also bought some boneless chicken and a small package of lean ground beef.  So as you can see, I can go one of several ways here.  Soft or crispy, ground beef, chicken, or vegetarian tacos.  Now you may ask, why homemade taco seasoning?

The last time I shopped for taco ingredients I forgot to buy one of those seasoning packets.

So I got online and found this recipe.

Tips – I don’t use as much salt as the recipe calls for.  Otherwise I’ve changed nothing else.

One Rotisserire Chicken, 50 Meals – #3 Sour Cream Chicken Enchillada Casserole

Updated 10.13.13

Son:  “Whenever I make one of your recipes it never quite turns out the same.”

Me:    “So?”

Recipes change with time and repeated preparations.  So when the usual crew showed up to to be fed this weekend I made a conscious effort to pay attention to what I was doing and the quantities while making this dish.  Sure enough, quite a few things were different from the original recipe.  The changes are in bold.  The original recipe is in the cookbook mentioned below.  But you don’t want the original recipe.  You want this one.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Casserole

1/4 C butter
2 T. flour
2 C. sour cream
3 C. chicken broth
1 small can mild green chiles
1 medium onion, chopped

Saute onions in butter, add flour then broth.  Cook over medium heat until thickened.  Add chiles and sour cream and heat.  Be careful to not let the sauce boil.  Set aside.

One rotisserie  chicken, meat taken off the bones, cubed
 8 oz cheddar cheese, 8 oz Monterrey Jack cheese grated
18 corn tortillas

1.  Butter  a 9 x 12 casserole dish.

2.  Put a little sauce in the bottom of the dish.

3.  Layer 3 corn tortillas.  Layer chicken.  Cover with jack cheese.  Sauce.  Repeat two more times.

4.  Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes covered until bubbly.  Remove cover, add cheddar cheese to the top.  Return to the oven to allow cheese to melt.

5.  After cheese has melted, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

And yet another recipe whose origin is kind of fuzzy.  I think this recipe kind of morphed from Delicioso! Cooking South Texas Style.  But when I go to the book, the recipe is different, calling for Monterrey jack cheese and jalapenos.  If this is the source of the recipe, then somewhere along the Path I subbed mild chiles and cheddar.  But pretty much the recipe is from this classic cookbook.

Tips – Cut up the chicken first.  If you use pre-shredded cheese make sure it the kind that will melt (if you know what I mean and I think you do).  Use more sour cream if you like a rich casserole.  Use more chicken stock if you like your casserole “juicy” as in fall apart and spread all over your plate “juicy”.  Go ahead and use the hot pepper of your choice if you don’t have kids.