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Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

So, I’m assuming you have all made your homemade batch of enchilada sauce from my post a couple days ago, right?  Now, what are you going to do with that bowl of deliciousness?  You could use it for regular ol’ enchiladas, but why not try something different– like this enchilada bake? An enchilada bake is kind of like an Italian lasagna but with a Mexican twist.  It’s a lot of layering of ingredients of your choosing separated by tortillas, cheese, and sauce.  And it’s wonderful.

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Of course, you can use any sort of filling that you want, but I chose to go with butternut squash because it’s in-season right now.   Shredded chicken probably isn’t necessary as the black beans give this dish protein and a nice Mexican vibe.  With that said, the chicken was perfect in this dish– and my husband probably would have rioted without it.  Plus, I had some in my refrigerator from making broth the other day.  I love the combination of the squash, black beans, and chicken– they compliment each other so well.  And the enchilada sauce ties everything together.

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

If you’re not entirely sure how to cut into that butternut squash, I took a few photos that should help you out.  It’s quite easy to dice.  And if you have extra squash, roast it and freeze it for later.  I love doing that this time of year, since they are so plentiful and inexpensive at the farmers markets.  Something to think about if you’re like me and stocking your freezer full of summer goodness to get you through the winter.  Be well, my friends.

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken | Relishing It

The Recipe: Enchilada Bake with Butternut Squash, Black Beans, and Shredded Chicken

(makes an 11 x 8 casserole)

1 butternut squash, cubed into small pieces (you’ll only use about 1 1/2 cups of it)

1 cup cooked black beans

1 1/2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

about 12 corn or flour tortillas, or more depending upon your pan size

1 cup shredded, cooked chicken ( *see note)

2 cups homemade enchilada sauce, plus more for serving

olive oil

salt and pepper

green onions, sour cream, and jalapeños, for garnish

*Note: If you don’t have any cooked chicken on hand, you can easily roast some.  You’ll need about 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts.  Place on a small baking sheet lined with foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches between 165-170°F when inserted with a thermometer. You can bake the chicken and squash at the same time, the chicken will just need to bake a bit longer.  Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before shredding it

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place the cubed squash on a large baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender.  Remove from oven.  You will not use all of the squash.  Store remaining squash in the refrigerator to use throughout the week, or freeze.

Next, begin layering the enchilada bake.  The amounts I listed were for a casserole dish that measures 11 x 8.  Use whatever dish you have, but just know that you may need to make adjustments to the amounts.  Start by putting 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom, followed by about 1 cup of roasted squash.  Then place about 4 tortillas on top of that, followed by 1/2 cup of black beans, 1/2 cup of shredded chicken and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. The next layer will be 4 more tortillas, 1/2 cup of black beans, 1/2 cup of shredded chicken, and 1/2 cup of roasted squash.  Then, the final layer is 4 tortillas, 1 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce topped with about 1 cup of monterey jack cheese. Slightly push down on the layers, as you go.

Bake uncovered at 375°F for about 40-45 minutes, or until the cheese is a beautiful golden brown.  Remove from oven and serve with extra enchilada sauce, sour cream, chopped green onions, and jalapeños.  Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator and are wonderful when served with a little extra enchilada sauce.  Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

 

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Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing ItWith the exception of this past warm weekend– a farewell gift from summer as it left– my mind has been drifting towards cool-weather comfort food.  You know, those meals that you can settle in to and cozy up with in the evening.  I’m ready for less running about, more family meals at the table, and that smell that you greets you at the door and permeates the house– when you know something delicious awaits you for dinner.  Yes, I’m ready for fall food.  I’m ready to eat hot soups and sip hot drinks.  I’m ready to braise things again.

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Enchiladas may seem like an odd place to start, but for me, it’s a perfect seasonal-transition meal.  It’s warm, substantial, and very much a comfort food.  I intended to share this really quick enchilada sauce with you last year, but didn’t get to it.  If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I’m a big proponent of making homemade sauces.  It takes just a little extra effort, and the results are almost always worth it.  They taste so much fresher than store-bought jars, and I like having control over exactly what goes into them.  This homemade enchilada sauce is no exception.  It tastes delicious and comes together in a matter of minutes.  This is a quick enchilada sauce, made from already ground spices, which works well for weeknight meals.  I have a fantastic recipe coming up later in the week for you that uses this sauce. It’s a perfect meal for those crisp, autumn nights.  Be well, everyone.

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Relishing It

The Recipe: Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce

(makes 3 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup diced onion

3 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 bay leaf

15 ounces organic tomato sauce (plain)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 dried bay leaf

kosher salt, to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the bay leaf and blend ingredients together with an immersion or regular blender. Season with more kosher salt, if necessary.  At this point, the sauce is ready to use.  Refrigerate it to use later in the week, or freeze for another time. Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by to say hello or just to peek around!

Laurie

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I’m sitting here at my desk on this blustery Minnesota morning, reading about blizzard warnings and drinking a hot coffee.  I’m also thinking about this wonderful, warming soup.  I really wish I had a bowl waiting for me downstairs.  Last week I shared with you how to make your own homemade chicken broth and I promised  that a few delicious soup recipes would follow, so here’s number one.  This Sopa De Lima (Mexican Chicken Lime Soup) has become one of our family favorites.  I love it because I’m partial to broth soups– they warm me up in such a perfect way.  I’m also a huge fan of citrus in my soups– I love to finish them with lemon, or in this case with lime.  It really brightens them up.  This soup comes together in no time at all if you’ve done a bit of prep work– i.e., made your broth ahead of time.

Sopa De Lima (Mexican Chicken Lime Soup) | Relishing It

Assuming you’ve made the broth ahead of time, make sure you reserved your chicken meat for this recipe.  This soup is so simple and doesn’t contain a lot of other major ingredients, so the broth really shines.  Honestly, the soup is basically just seasoned broth with chicken, a bit of tomato, puréed charred onion and a lot of fresh toppings.  And it’s amazing.  Traditionally, tortillas are deep-fried for the top of the soup, but even I take shortcuts sometimes.  I generally forego the deep-frying of the tortillas and instead opt to use good quality tortilla chips.  Having a large pot of hot oil on my stove is just a bit too much effort for me, with not enough reward– but, you can certainly choose to give it a go.

Sopa De Lima (Mexican Chicken Lime Soup) | Relishing It

I’ve found that I love the flavor of broiling the onions and garlic until they have a bit of char on them– not too much.  It really emphasizes the smokey flavor.  You’ll want to watch the garlic and most likely remove it from the oven before the onion is done.  Otherwise it may burn.  The toppings at the end are a personal choice, make it as spicy (with jalapeños and cayenne pepper) as you want.  Load it up with tortilla chips, aged white cheddar cheese, cilantro, more lime, and avocados.  I’m kicking myself for forgetting to put the avocados on the soup before I snapped the photos.  Rest assured I plopped some on it before I devoured the bowl.  They’re perfect here, so don’t forget the avocados.  Enjoy!

Sopa De Lima (Mexican Chicken Lime Soup)| Relishing It

The Recipe:  Sopa De Lima (Mexican Chicken Lime Soup)

(Serves 4)

2 quarts chicken broth (preferably homemade using this recipe)

About 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (use chicken from stock that you previously made OR boil or bake some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs– then shred)

1 medium white onion, sliced

about 1 1/2 garlic bulbs, peeled (not just the cloves– the entire bulb!)

1 cup puréed or crushed canned tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 4-inch cinnamon stick

1 dried bay leaf

freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste

zest from two organic limes

1/4 – 1/3 cup fresh lime juice

Toppings: tortilla chips, cilantro, jalapeños, ground cayenne pepper, lime slices, aged white cheddar cheese (or monterey jack), and avocados

Place the sliced onion and peeled garlic cloves on a baking sheet.  Place in the oven and broil until color begins to develop, flipping once.  You may need to remove the garlic before the onion is done, so it does not burn.  Keep a watchful eye while broiling.

Begin the broth.  In a large Dutch oven or kettle, add the chicken broth, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, cumin, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, bay leaf, lime zest, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and let cook for about 20-25  minutes.

Meanwhile, place the charred onion and garlic in a blender and add a bit of broth.  Blend until somewhat smooth.  Add the mixture to the soup.  Continue to cook the soup until you reach the 20-25 minute mark.  Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon.   Add the lime juice and taste.  Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.

You can choose to add the chicken directly into the soup, but I generally heat in up in the microwave and portion it out among the bowls and ladle the hot soup over it.  Then add the final toppings– the tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro, jalapeños, lime slice, cayenne, and avocados.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing it!

xo

Laurie

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Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

I’m now well into my sixth month of being obsessed with tacos.  Seriously, we’ve been eating them at least once a week for more than a half year, and I’m not even close to getting sick of them.  Tacos al pastor?  Sure.   Spicy shredded beef?  Yes.  And then there are these amazing carnitas tacos that we’ve been enjoying.  They’re perfect to prepare in advance (and I live for meals like this in the summer), they’re healthy (if you don’t go overboard), and they’re oh so tasty.

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas, or “little meats”, can be served simply as a stand-alone dish, but I love it in these tacos even more.  It’s a new addition to my repetoire, which also includes these, and these— both of which are also favorites.  This carnitas version combines the lively flavors of lime and orange, which pair beautifully with pork, cumin, and garlic.  The recipe couldn’t be simpler–  you can make it on the stovetop.  Perfect for when firing up the oven in the summer heat doesn’t sound so tantalizing.  Put all of the ingredients into a pot, no sautéing required.  When cutting your pork shoulder up into cubes, don’t trim off any fat– you’re going to need that so the meat doesn’t get dry.  Let it cook down for about 2 hours and then sear the pork at the end.  That’s it.  Did I mention that it’s completely delicious?

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

The fresh tomatillo salsa is a fantastic compliment to the carnitas.  You may be tempted to buy a ready-made salsa from the store, but don’t.  The freshness of this topping cannot be bottled and you’ll end up spending more on a store-bought version that pales in comparison.  It only takes a minute to either chop or pulse the ingredients together– definitely worth your time.  And as far as toppings go, I’m stuck on queso fresco cheese, white onions, and cilantro.  The combination is sublime and it tastes so fresh.  Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.

Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa via Relishing It

The Recipe: Carnitas Tacos and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

For the Carnitas:

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes (do not trim the fat)

2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted then ground

2 teaspoons kosher salt

6-7 garlic cloves, chopped

Corn tortillas, queso fresco cheese, limes, cilantro, and white onions for toppings

For the Tomatillo Salsa:

4 tomatillos

1/2 medium white onion

4 garlic cloves

1 jalapeño

small handful of cilantro (around 1/3 cup)

juice of 1 lime

kosher salt

To make the Carnitas:  Place all of the ingredients into a large Dutch oven.  Add enough water to just cover the pork.  Bring to a boil, then simmer the pork uncovered for about 2 hours.  Do not touch the pork.  Let it do it’s thing.  After 2 hours, bring the heat up to medium/high and begin reducing the liquid for about the next 45 minutes.  When the liquid is mostly gone, sear all the sides of the pork pieces.  They will be tender and practically fall apart.  Keep a watchful eye at this point, as you don’t want them to burn.

To make the Tomatillo Salsa:  Rough chop the ingredients and place them into a food processor and give them a few pulses until the salsa is your desired consistency.  Alternatively, you can chop all of the ingredients by hand.  Make sure to season correctly with salt.

Source:  Carnitas recipe adapted from The Homesick Texan

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!

Laurie

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While we’re a few days closer to the holidays– and you’re probably expecting a sinfully decadent recipe– I’ve decided to shake things up a bit with this simple, wonderfully savory soup.  This winter warmer is one of my family’s favorites.  It’s modest, yet combines enough interesting flavors and textures to stand out.  For starters, can we talk about how fabulous smoked paprika is?!  I love the stuff.  And paired with the cumin in this soup, you get a real flavor explosion.  Add a little lime and cilantro, and you end up with a perfect, fresh complement to the spices.

The other key ingredient is hominy.  While I’ve been making this soup for a long time, I only recently switched from using the canned variety to dried hominy.  You’ve seen in previous posts that I always advocate using dried, rather than canned beans.  Well, I wondered if the same texture and flavor differences applied to hominy, so I had to give it a try.  Wow!  It really makes the soup that much better.  Dried hominy added a more ‘tooth-some’ (am I making up words again?) quality to the soup.  It’s firm (though not hard), and helps make the dish more substantial.  I won’t be going back to buying the canned version.

You may have to work to track down dried hominy.  I eventually found it in a local Mexican foods market.  The point is this– if you can find it, use it.  If not, the soup is still brilliant using canned hominy.  If you go the canned route, use about 3-4 cans, drained.  One thing to keep in mind, this soup will thicken more the day after it is made.  The hominy continues to soak up liquid, so you may want to add more broth on the following days if you have leftovers.  Make it– you’ll love it.  And as for those sweet recipes, I have a few up my sleeve for next week.  Have a great weekend!

The Recipe: Mexican Chicken and Hominy Soup

Serves about 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 white onion, chopped

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 quart canned crushed tomatoes

2 cups shredded roasted chicken

2 cups dried hominy, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

1  1/2 quarts chicken broth

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoon smoked paprika

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

juice of one lime

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the green bell pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeño in the olive oil until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, hominy, chicken broth, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until the hominy becomes tender, about 30-40 minutes.  In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, add the roasted chicken.  Doing so too early will cause the chicken to fall apart.  When the soup is done, stir in the lime juice and cilantro.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Serve with tortilla chips and queso fresco, if desired.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Laurie

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