Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Welcome to the enchilada casserole – the perfect busy girl’s Mexican comfort meal. By turning the enchiladas into a casserole, you save tons of time that you would have spent rolling each enchilada individually and can better use that time to do homework, do your hair, vacuum the living room….all those things I wish I had more time to do. Basically you take all the ingredients, layer them in a baking dish, and throw it in the oven. So easy and relatively mess-free. This is also a great vegetarian meal; since it’s so hearty and filling, you won’t even miss the meat! But don’t worry, there’s plenty of cheese. You always need cheese. 🙂

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Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz enchilada sauce
  • 18 small corn tortillas
  • 1 1/4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and sliced into small cubes
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can green chilis, diced (not drained)
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Salsa, hot sauce, and sour cream for toppings, if desired

Directions:

1.) Heat oven to 375 F. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and top with 6 tortillas, evenly spaced (might overlap). Top with one more cup of the sauce, a third of the squash, a third of the beans, and 1 cup of the cheese, spreading all evenly. Repeat this layering two more times, saving the final cup of cheese. The baking dish might be full but that’s ok!

2.) Cover with foil and bake for one hour or until squash is tender. Then uncover, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving, then top with desired toppings.

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Cranberry and Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

After a lengthy absence…I’m back! Between school and a new job I was so busy I barely had time to breathe, let alone blog. This semester I will try to balance a little better so I can blog at least more than one every few months…I promise 🙂

Despite the lack of posts, I was still whipping up some new recipes! This one was a favorite of mine – the combination of flavors is delicious and it is super filling. It can either be served warm (heat the quinoa and squash before putting all ingredients together) or as a cold salad. Top with your favorite salad dressing (I used balsamic vinegar and olive oil) and enjoy!

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Cranberry and Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2.5 cups raw spinach
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 20 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F. Lay out cubed squash on a greased baking pan or cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and any other seasonings desired. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until squash is soft.

2.) While squash is baking, cook quinoa according to package instructions.

3.) In each bowl layer quinoa, spinach, and squash and top with cranberries, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and feta. Drizzle with your favorite dressing!

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Spinach, and Creamy Butternut Sauce

Happy Friday! This has been quite a week here in New England with the “Blizzard of 2015″…we got about 2 feet of snow! However, we ended up having a lot of fun during the storm playing charades, making a big breakfast, watching some movies, and playing football in the snow. I also got to do a good amount of cooking and baking!

The night before the storm, I headed to the grocery store to make sure I had everything I needed to cook some stuff while I was snowed in. This ended up being the perfect dish for a cold and snowy night! I also appreciated not having to rush through cooking it, and having the time to experiment a bit, since I had a much-needed rest from my busy schedule this week. I also made some yummy no-bake bars – that recipe will be up soon (have to eat dinner before dessert, right?) Enjoy! 🙂

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Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Spinach, and Creamy Butternut Sauce

Adapted From: Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 4 links Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced (or pre-cooked cubes, I found them at Walmart!)
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance or other buttery spread
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus 1/4 tbsp for brushing/spraying onto squash before baking)
  • 6 cups cooked spaghetti squash (about 4.5-5 lb raw squash)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt, black pepper, and chili powder, to taste

Directions:

1.) Cook spaghetti squash (instructions here). Scrape into a large bowl/strainer lined with paper towels and set aside.

2.) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add raw butternut squash and cook until soft. Or heat pre-cooked cubes in microwave for about a minute to soften them. Then add squash to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add milk and blend again until creamy, adding salt and pepper (if desired).

3.) In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add in the chicken sausage and brown. Add in spinach, one handful at a time, until it fully wilts.

4.) Add creamy butternut sauce to the skillet and mix everything together. Add in cheddar cheese and stir, then season with salt, pepper, and chili powder, if desired.

5.) Divide spaghetti squash among 5 bowls/containers and then top each with sauce mixture until it’s evenly divided.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 311
Fat 15 g (4 g saturated)
Fiber 5 g
Carbs 33 g
Sodium 548 mg
Protein 17 g