Dragonfly Home Recipes

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Tag: butternut squash (page 1 of 2)

Autumn Rice, Two Ways

Rice is one of the most versatile of foods.  It takes on whatever flavors you are in the mood to add to it, and becomes a warm, steaming bowl of nourishment that really hits the spot on a cold evening.  In this post, I am sharing two autumn rice recipes, both similar in that they include diced butternut squash and walnuts, and different from each other in that one is a savory and one is subtly sweet. Both versions are full of flavor and comfort, and are great side dishes for an autumn meal.

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Butternut Squash-Black Bean Tacos

The bright, beautiful colors in this meal reflect the wide variety of  its nutrients and the vitality of its flavors.  Roasted butternut squash, lightly spiced black beans, red cabbage, spinach, and feta cheese make up these healthy, easy, and tasty tacos.  With this recipe, you can have a delicious lunch or dinner on the table in a little over a half an hour, and have all your nutritional bases covered.  And you get to use that squash that you’ve been meaning to use for a few days!

butternut bean tacosAt least that is how it often is with me when I bring home a squash.  Sometimes it sits on the counter for a few days before I decide what to do with it. (Good thing they keep well!)  But when I use it, I am always glad I did.  And that is definitely the case with these butternut squash and black bean tacos.  The delicately sweet flavor of the roasted squash goes so nicely with the black beans, cumin, and feta cheese, and the cabbage and spinach give it extra nutrition, color and texture.

What I also like about this recipe is that it is very simple and doesn’t require a big time commitment to make.  While the squash is roasting, you can prepare everything else. It is a light, yet extremely nourishing meal.  And if you want to add more filling elements, some shredded chicken or other meat would taste good in there, and some cooked rice would work too.  And of course, I always like my tacos with tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole on the side too!

butternut bean tacosIt seems like it has been winter for a long time now, and this brightly colored meal is just what I need to boost my energy levels.  This past week, I am finding it a challenge to find the balance between being informed about what is going on in the United States and not getting worn down from too much news.  It seems like every hour there is another news item to digest and try to understand.  Our country is going through a difficult and strange time, and sometimes I have to get my mind away from current events to focus on the duties, challenges, and joys of daily life.  And food!  We have to eat, no matter what is happening, and the better we eat, the better we are able to live our lives, act on what we believe in, and impact the world for the good.

So I hope you all have a great weekend, and stay warm!  It is cold out there today, but at least the sun is shining, and that is a very welcome sight!  I  will leave you with a quote I came across today–“Be as a bird, who, halting in her flight on a limb too slight, feels it give way beneath her, yet sings knowing she has wings.” ~by Victor Hugo.

I will be taking a plate of these tacos over to Angie’s virtual Fiesta Friday potluck, co-hosted this week by Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living. 

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos

  • Servings: about 4
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Ingredients:

  • one medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups when diced)
  • one 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • one teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 8 medium sized four tortilla shells
  • 2 cups of red cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • feta cheese for sprinkling on top
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional things for the side:

  • tortilla chips
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • cooked rice

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Carefully peel and dice the butternut squash.  (A good sharp knife is really helpful for this part, and be careful peeling!)  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the diced squash with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  When the squash pieces are lightly and evenly coated with the oil, roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until tender, opening the oven about halfway through to flip the pieces over.

While the squash is roasting, get out a large mixing bowl.  In the bowl, stir together the beans, one tablespoon of olive oil, and the cumin.  Wash and chop the cabbage and the spinach and crumble the Feta.  Wrap your tortilla shells in foil.  about 10 minutes before the squash is done, place the foil-wrapped tortillas in the oven to warm them.  Then about five minutes before the squash is done, pull out the baking sheet and add the bean mixture, stirring to combine.  Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the squash is tender and the beans are warmed through.  Adjust the seasonings to taste after squash is done.

When everything is done, place a tortilla on a plate.  Spoon the squash/bean mixture onto the tortilla.  Top with the chopped cabbage and spinach. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.  Enjoy!

 

Butternut Squash Flatbread Pizza

With savory thyme, mellow butternut squash, and warm melted cheese, this flatbread pizza is perfect for lunch, or for dinner alongside a salad or a hearty bowl of soup. It only takes about a half hour to make, so it is a great option when you are short on time, but want something warm and satisfying.

butternut flatbread pizza with thymeI tend to go overboard in the late fall when buying squash.  The different colors and varieties all look so inviting, and I have so many plans and ideas for them.  Then when winter comes, I still have a couple of squash sitting elegantly on the counter in a pretty still-life, waiting to be used.  This flatbread pizza is a perfect way to use that squash before it’s too late, and it tastes so good, even the non-squash-lovers in your family will be surprised.  The health benefits of squash are well-known, and we can all use some extra potassium, fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

The key is to cut the pieces of the squash small enough so they roast to tenderness while they are on the flatbread, thereby saving yourself that extra step of pre-roasting the squash before baking the pizza.  The sliced onion and the thyme really add a beautiful flavor, and blend so well with the mildness of the squash.  I like to use naan flatbread for these pizzas, which you can easily find at the grocery store.  That makes them quick to make, because sometimes time is scarce.

butternut flatbread pizzas with thyme 2Because our winter has been unusually mild so far, I was able to go out and find some thyme in our garden for this pizza.  I am always pleasantly amazed at how good fresh herbs smell, and how each one has such a distinct flavor.  I did a little research on thyme, since I like to add meaning to my food.  According to many sources, thyme historically symbolizes courage.  Greek soldiers used to bathe in water infused with thyme before battles, and medieval maidens embroidered thyme leaves on their knights’ cloaks for courage.  Thyme was also placed under pillows at night to keep nightmares away.

Another prevalent theme regarding thyme is that according to northern European folklore, fairies were often found sleeping in beds of wild thyme.  In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oberon, king of the fairies, tells where to find the queen of the fairies:  “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,/ Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,/Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,/With sweet musk-roses and elegantine.” When my kids were younger, we used to go around the yard looking for fairy houses. Little did we know, there might have been one in our herb garden. 🙂

I hope you all have a great weekend, and happy holidays! And if you need a little extra courage one day, tuck a sprig of thyme in your pocket.butternut flatbread pizza with thyme 3butternut flatbread pizza with squashbutternut flatbread pizza piecesI am taking this recipe over to Angie’ Fiesta Friday today, co-hosted this week by Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere.

Butternut Squash Flatbread Pizza

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:

  • 4 flatbreads (I like to use naan)
  • 2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced thinly (yellow sweet or red onion)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I use mozzarella and Parmesan, but sharp cheddar would work too)
  • olive oil

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Peel and chop the butternut squash and slice the onion.  Lightly spread olive oil onto the pieces of flatbread.  Arrange the pieces of squash and slices of onion on the flatbreads.  Sprinkle with the thyme leaves.  Then sprinkle with the shredded cheese.  Place the pizzas on a baking sheet, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the cheese is melted. Serve alone as a light meal, or as a side dish with soup or salad. Enjoy!

 

 

Fall Harvest Soup

I love it when food captures the color and feeling of a season.  This fall harvest soup does just that.  It is warm and nourishing, and its color is a beautiful combination of deep orange and gold, much like the leaves that are falling off of the trees.  With butternut squash, potatoes, and carrots being the main ingredients, it if full of necessary vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to help us stay strong as the weather turns cold and damp.  Curry, ginger, and nutmeg give this soup a subtle flavor, along with a generous amount of ground peppercorns.  Because it is pureed in the blender or food processor, the texture is smooth and creamy, and you can serve it either in bowls or little glasses.  The garnish possibilities are endless, including chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream.

fall harvest soup on purple benchThough I have made some changes, the recipe for this soup is based on one I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, simply called “Autumn,” by Susan Branch.  My cousin gave me this cookbook a few years ago, and I have enjoyed many of the recipes in it, along with beautiful illustrations and quotes.  This cousin is actually more like a sister to me, since she and I both grew up with three brothers and no sisters.  We are so different, yet so alike in many ways.  Food has the power to connect people, and every time I use a recipe from that cookbook she gave me, I think of her.  We live far apart now (the Atlantic Ocean is between us), yet we are able to stay connected.  She recently called me to wish me a happy birthday, and along with catching up about our families and our career accomplishments and aspirations, she told me about her latest favorite way to make butternut squash (which I want to try soon). The love of food is something we have shared for a long time, a love rooted in our shared past and our shared ancestors, and our shared favorite recipes.

fall harvest soup on railing 1No matter how much modern life seems to isolate us, or how much our busy schedules threaten to overtake our souls, food can bring us back to earth and connect us to those we love.  A humble vegetable like squash can make us feel like we have crossed continents.  Allowing time for washing, peeling, and chopping vegetables gives us time to think, to reminisce, or to talk with whomever is in the kitchen.  Homemade soup cannot be rushed.  Somehow soup that is not rushed tastes the best to me.  This soup is delicious–in its taste, in its color, and with all the associations it brings.  Wishing you all the beauty of fall.fall harvest soup on front porch 2 chopped vegetablesNick sniffing the walnutsfall grasses

Fall Harvest Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes or 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • about 5 cups of butternut squash (one medium-sized squash or about 2 and 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed, with seeds cut away
  • 6 cups of chicken broth or stock (I like the Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 teaspoon of curry
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream for garnish

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Over medium heat, saute the onion and carrot until soft, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the potatoes and squash.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 40 minutes.  Add the curry, nutmeg, and ginger.  Let the soup cool for a few minutes.  In a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches.  Return the soup to the pot and add salt and pepper to your taste.  Adjust the other seasonings if you wish.  Serve in bowls with spoons, or in little glasses to sip.  Enjoy!

Golden Potato Soup with Cabbage and Butternut Squash

chopped vegetables 3I guess I am in a bit of a soup mode right now.  What better way to cut the damp chill in the air than to make a pot of hot, steaming, vegetable-filled soup.  What better way to soothe a sore throat and nourish a loved one back to health.  A couple of us in my house had some kind of a mild illness last week, and homemade soups served us very well.  Even without a sore throat, my husband has benefited from the warmth and vitality of the vegetables.  At the risk of posting too many soups in a row (my daughter, who isn’t really a soup fan, warned me of this–I think she just wants me to make a dessert), I am sharing a delightful variation of the soup I posted a few days ago.  This particular soup has no meat, and it has a smooth, buttery taste, though it also has no butter.  The butternut squash gives it just the right creaminess.  This soup is chock-full of nutrients with the potatoes, cabbage,onions, and squash.  I added some Parmesan cheese to my bowl when I served it, and that gave it an extra amount of richness.  Aside from chopping some vegetables, this soup takes almost no effort to make, and can be done all in one pot.  You can serve it with some crusty bread, crackers and cheese, a green salad, or sandwiches. Or you can simply sip it on its own for a little comfort and revival of your energy. I’m going to take a couple of bowls over to the the Fiesta Friday link-up party at Angie’s blog, the novice gardener, where there are lots of other delicious dishes to check out! raw vegetableschopped squash and potatoesDSC_0566golden soup in bowl 2

Golden Potato Soup with Cabbage and Butternut Squash

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups potatoes, diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth–I love Better than Bouillon chicken base because it gives soups a rich texture (if you wish, you can use vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • dried or fresh dill for garnish
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Wash and chop the onion, cabbage, and potatoes.  Wash, peel, and chop the butternut squash.  In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion and the cabbage for about 5-7 minutes, until the onion is soft.  Add the potatoes and squash.  Then add the broth, a teaspoon of salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.  Bring the broth just to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer (medium-low).  Simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender.  Add the milk and more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Top with a teaspoon or so of dill, if desired.  When serving the soup, add some Parmesan cheese to the bowls, if you wish.  Serve with bread, cheese and crackers, a green salad, or sandwiches.  Enjoy!

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