Monday, October 29, 2012


*Just a note; as I wrote this blog this afternoon, I did not know the magnitude of Tropical (Super) Storm Sandy would be when she hit the North East.  My prayers are with those in the path of the storm.

Tropical storm Sandy blew past South Florida; leaving in her wake cool weather!!!!  We get so excited in South FLA when a cold front comes through cuz we get to put on our cute sweaters, fun scarves, and tall boots.  Really, I have more scarves than any one who lives in this climate has any business having. 

As I sit here writing this blog my windows are open, I’ve donned a sweater, and these adorable slippers I got at Target. 

My pants look short, because I bent over to take the picture. 

Tonight we will sleep with the windows open; no AC…woo hoo (I’m really not that hard to please)!

To me squash is so comforting to eat when the weather is cool; even the vibrant orange hue is just so warm.  Put in an enchilada with chicken, salsa verde and top it with ooey gooey cheese…are ya kiddin’ me!?!

I actually came up with this recipe as I was flipping through a magazine and saw a Mexican recipe made with pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin & chicken enchiladas popped into my head, and I figured it would be great with tomatillos and green chilies.  

When I got to the super market, my initial plan went out the window.  The pumpkins were way more expensive than the buttercup squash.  So I went for the buttercup squash (buttercup squash is like a small green pumpkin).  Oaxaca cheese was $12 so I grabbed the $4 mozzarella.  Feeling clever/lazy I put a jar of tomatillo salsa for the Enchilada Verde Sauce in my cart.  Why should I roast and peel all those tomatillos and peppers when there are thoughtful salsa makers willing to do it for me.  I already had some chicken thighs I intended to roast, but you could buy a rotisserie chicken.

The Buttercup Squash & Chicken Enchiladas Verde were super simple to put together, and sooo yummy!  Billy took one bite and exclaimed “Holy Moly, these are good!”  Then we proceeded to ooh and aah after every bite we took.

Here’s what you do.

Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees.

This is a buttercup squash.  If you can't find buttercup squash, then go ahead and use butternut squash or pumpkin.


 Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.


 Put the squash cut side up on a sheet pan. 

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  

Put a cup of water in the bottom of the sheet pan.   

Roast for 30 to 40 minutes. 

 If you’re roasting chicken thighs, do that now too, you will need about four chicken thighs.


In the meantime put the salsa, sour cream and cilantro into a blender...

 I had planned on using heavy cream in the sauce, but had a change of heart.  Just pretend it's not in the photo.


...blend until smooth.   

Do not use low fat sour cream because the acid from the salsa will cause it to curdle.


Cut the peel from the roasted squash and cut the squash into about one inch cubes.


In a medium bowl add the shredded chicken, cubed roasted squash and one cup of the Enchilada Verde Sauce. 

Stir gently to mix, as to not break up the squash.


Spray both sides of the corn tortillas with cooking spray. 

Lay the tortillas on a sheet pan and bake for about 5 minutes; just until the tortillas are pliable.

 Pour about one cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. 


Work fairly quickly.  Put the filling on the tortillas…

… And roll them up.

Put the enchiladas seam side down in the pan, in a single row.   

I wanted to use my pretty dish which wasn’t long enough to put the enchiladas in a single row.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.


Top with grated cheese…


  …and bake for about 25 minutes; until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Let the enchiladas rest in the pan for a few minutes before serving. 


 If you like, sprinkle some chopped pecans or pumpkin seeds over the top.

Makes 8 enchiladas

2              cups       Cooked chicken, shredded
2              cups       Roasted Buttercup squash, cut into about 1 inch cubes (Recipe follows)
3              cups       Enchilada Verde sauce, divided (Recipe follows)
8                              Corn Tortillas
                                Cooking spray
¼             cup         Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2/3           cup         Mozzarella cheese, grated
3              Tbsp.     Chopped pecans, toasted; or pumpkin seeds*optional

1.        Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.       Make the filling in a medium bowl; gently mix together the shredded chicken, roasted buttercup squash and 1 cup of the Enchilada Verde sauce.  Try not to break the squash up too much.
3.       Spray both sides of the corn tortillas with cooking spray (if you have an oil mister, use that instead).  Lay the tortillas on a sheet pan, it’s fine if they overlap.  Put the tortillas in the oven just to warm up and make the tortillas pliable; about 5 minutes.
4.       Pour 1 cup of the Enchilada Verde sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
5.       Divide the filling among the 8 corn tortillas.  Roll the tortillas around the filling (like a tube), and place them seam side down in the baking dish.  Lay the tortillas in a single row.
6.       Pour the remaining Enchilada Verde sauce over the enchiladas and top with the grated cheeses.
7.       Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and golden; about 25 minutes.
8.       Allow the cooked enchiladas to set for a few minutes before serving.
9.       Sprinkle chopped pecans or pumpkin seeds over the top *optional.

2              lbs.         Buttercup squash, Butternut squash or pumkin
1 ½         Tbsp.     Olive oil
1              cup         Water
                                Salt and pepper
1.        Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.       Cut the buttercup squash in half; scoop the seeds out and discard the seeds.
3.       Place the squash cut side up on a sheet pan.
4.       Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the squash, season with salt and pepper. 
5.       Pour a cup of water in the bottom of the sheet pan.
6.       Roast the squash for 30 to 40 minutes, until the flesh is soft.
7.       Cut the squash into wedges, and then cut the peel off of the squash.  Discard the peel. 

1              jar           Tomatillo salsa, a jar is 16 ounces
1              cup         Sour cream, not low fat
2              Tbsp.     Chopped cilantro

1.       Put all of the ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth.

Check this recipe and more out at:

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Friday, October 26, 2012


I spell it hummus, you might spell it houmous. 
Some spell it humous, just don’t spell it humus. 
Just spell it how you like! (except humus, cuz in English humus essentially means dirt)

Hummus is a dip that is traditionally made of chick peas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), lemon and garlic.  Some say hummus originated in Turkey, and some say originated in Lebanon.  No matter where it originated, all of the Middle Eastern countries have adopted hummus into their own cuisine cuz it’s just so darned yummy; they should have called hummus, yummus!  (Sorry.  Cheesy, I know; I couldn’t help myself.)

This is a very traditional recipe. I had the wherewithal to soak my dried chick peas the night before.  I actually made this on the same day that I made Slow Cooker Winter Vegetable Stew, Vegan or with Chicken.  I used chick peas in both dishes, I’m efficient like that!  Dried chick peas give a better texture and almost nutty flavor that you can’t get from a can of beans.  I’m not opposed to canned beans, I use them most of the time because I’m not much of a planner; just not for this particular recipe (I will do a version with canned beans one day). 

I wanted the tahini to be the star of this recipe, so I scaled back on the garlic.  If you’re not sure that you like tahini, then start with only 2 tablespoons of tahini, you can always add more.  If you loooove garlic, then add more garlic; don’t be shy!  And if you are enamored with lemon, then grate in the lemon zest as well as using the juice.

I made Tahini Hummus for Billy to snack on while he watched the game.  He declared that “This hummus is way better than store bought.”  Well honey, that’s because I made it with love…and dried chickpeas.

Here’s how you make it.


The night before; first rinse the dried chick peas, and sort through them to check for stones.  Ya don’t wanna break a tooth.
Then put the dried chick peas into a bowl.  Cover the beans with a little bit more than twice as much water.


The chick peas will double in size.

After the chick peas have soaked overnight, drain the water from them.  


Add the chick peas to a 4 quart sauce pan along with 3 cloves of garlic and a bay leaf.  

Cover with water; I like to have the water come up about 3 inches over the beans.

Bring the pan to a boil, cover the pan partially with the lid and turn the heat down to simmer the chick peas for about an hour.  Taste a chick pea to see if they’re done, if the chick pea feels kinda sandy on your teeth, then cook them for a while longer.


Drain the water from the cooked chick peas.  Discard the bay leaf. 
Reserve about a 1/3 of a cup of the cooking liquid.

Add the chick peas to the bowl of a food processor.  Chop the remaining clove of garlic and add that to the bowl with…


… The juice of a lemon…


… Tahini paste, salt, and a couple of table spoons of the cooking liquid.


Blitz until smooth, add more cooking liquid until you like the consistency.  

I added 5 tablespoons of cooking liquid because I don’t like my hummus super thick.

In the past; when I didn't have a food processor, I used a hand held (stick) blender to blend the hummus.  I think that hummus is too thick to make in a regular blender.


I make a moat in the hummus, and flood the moat with extra virgin olive oil.

This is great to make for a party, because Tahini Hummus can be made days in advance.  It can be stored in the refrigerator and brought up to room temperature to serve. 

Tahini Hummus has lemon juice which is citric acid.  Citric acid is a preservative so the hummus will keep easily, for about a week in the refrigerator.


Left over Tahini Hummus makes great sandwiches!

Makes about 2 cups

¾             cup         Dried chick peas (aka garbanzo beans)
4             cloves     Garlic, peeled; divided
1                            Bay leaf 

1                            Lemon, juice of
3              Tbsp.     Tahini paste
¼             cup         Extra Virgin olive oil
¾             tsp.         Salt

1.        Rinse the chick peas, and sort through them to check for stones.
2.       In a medium bowl; soak the chick peas overnight in water.  The beans will double in size, so you need a little more than twice as much water to chick peas.
3.       The next day, drain the soaked chick peas and add them to a 4 quart sauce pan, along with 3 cloves of the garlic and the bay leaf; cover with water.  The water should be a couple of inches higher in the pan than the chick peas. 
4.       Bring the water up to a boil, then partially cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down to simmer the chick peas for about an hour.  Chick peas stay pretty firm even when they are cooked, so taste them to see if they’re done.  If the chick pea feels sandy on your teeth, cook them a while longer.
5.       Drain the cooked chick peas, but reserve about a 1/3 of a cup of the cooking liquid.  Discard the bay leaf.
6.       Add the drained, cooked chick peas to the bowl of a food processor.  Chop the remaining clove of garlic and add that to the food processor along with, the juice of a lemon, the tahini paste, olive oil, salt and a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid.  Puree until smooth; add more of the cooking liquid until the hummus is the consistency that you like.  (Note* the garlic is not prevalent in this recipe; you may want add more garlic for your taste.)

Garnish with more olive oil, and serve with pita, crackers, and/or carrot sticks.
Store in the refrigerator, the hummus will be good for a week or so.
Left over hummus makes a terrific sandwich spread!