Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Main Dishes (Page 4 of 11)

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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  • 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


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!


Kabocha Squash Galette

This savory galette is full of tender, roasted kabocha squash slices, sautéed spinach, and red onions.  Sage, garlic, and Parmesan cheese add to the flavor.  A tender simple pastry crust serves as the base for all this warm, comforting, and nutrition-packed deliciousness.

kabocha squash slicesKabocha squash (also known as Japanese pumpkin) has become my favorite squash.  Like its inner color, its flavor is very vibrant and deep–kind of a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin, and its texture is my favorite part–fluffy but at the same time rich and smooth.  Also, the skin is edible, so if you don’t want to peel it, you don’t need to.

kabocha squash galetteThe nutritional benefits are substantial too.  Kabocha squash is full of beta carotene, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium.  When paired with spinach, this squash galette delivers some good, positive energy!  The only challenge is that the kabocha squash is a bit tough to slice, so a good knife and careful attention are helpful.  This recipe only uses half of a small to medium sized kabocha squash, so save the other half in the refrigerator,  and then use it for something like squash soup or roast it and fill it with your favorite filling, as I did with an acorn squash a couple weeks ago.

kabocha squash on tray 2My fascination with galettes has not yet diminished.  I love the endless variations and versatility.  They can be sweet or savory, decadent or nutritious (sometimes both at the same time!), simple or more complicated, all depending on what you need or desire.  The pastry crust is like the blank canvas, and the filling can be whatever you want–your favorite flavor combinations or the ingredients you need to use up before they spoil, all spun together with herbs and spices.

For me, any kind of squash paired with red onions is a great combination, both flavor-wise and visually.  Adding bright green spinach makes it even more colorful and healthy. This kabocha squash galette is on the savory, nutritious side, and it makes a lovely fall or winter lunch, or with a salad or a bowl of soup, can be part of a hearty dinner.  It tastes best warm, fresh from the oven, but can be eaten at room temperature as well.

It is already December(!) and we are in the season when it is dark as we wake up and dark before dinner time.  Lights, coziness, and warm food are more important than ever now.  I took our dog out the other night, and noticed that our neighbors put Christmas lights on a tree way in the back of their property.  (They must have a really long extension cord!)  It looks so pretty to see a tree all lit up out in the middle of the darkness.  And then I looked up at all the stars.  I don’t know why, but stars look brighter to me on cold nights.  It is a truly beautiful time of year.  I hope you all have a great weekend! I am sharing this recipe over at Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Linda @ La Petite Paniere and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.kabocha squashkabocha squash sliced

Kabocha Squash Galette

  • Servings: 4
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For the pastry crust:

  • 2 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2/3 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons of cold water

For the filling:

  • 1/2 of a small to medium sized kabocha squash, unpeeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of red onion, sliced
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg (to spread around the edges of the dough, if desired)


For the pastry crust:

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and the salt.  With a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter and continue until the mixture resembles pieces about the size of small peas. Gradually add the water, a tablespoon at a time, gently mixing with a fork after each tablespoon.  Add water until the dough is moistened and holds together but is not slimy.  Form the dough into a ball.  If desired, cover the dough with plastic and let it chill in the refrigerator while you are preparing the filling. (This makes it a bit easier to roll out.)

For the filling: 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scrub the kabocha squash well, since you will be keeping the skin on. Then cut the squash in half.  Store one half in the refrigerator for future use.  With the other half, scoop out the seeds.  Then very carefully cut it into fourths, and then into thin slices.  It can be a kind of tough squash to cut, so use caution!  Toss the squash slices in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Place them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake in your 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender.  Pull it out of the oven and set it aside.

While the squash is roasting, slice your red onion, wash your spinach and pat it dry, wash and chop your sage, and mince your garlic.  In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion slices and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until tender.  Add the spinach, sage, and garlic, and continue to cook over medium heat until the spinach is just wilted, just about 3 more minutes or so.  Remove from the heat.


Raise your oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Lay a large piece of parchment paper on your counter.  Roll your ball of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.  Keep the dough on the parchment paper.  Carefully transfer the paper with dough on it to a baking sheet. Place the squash slices on the circle of dough, leaving a border of dough an inch or 1 and 1/2 inch around the edges. Spoon the spinach mixture onto the squash pieces, and then sprinkle grated Parmesan over the filling.  Gently fold and pleat the dough over the filling.  It doesn’t have to look perfect–that is the beauty of the galette.  It is elegant in a rustic way.  Crack an egg into a bowl and brush the edges of the dough with the egg with a pastry brush if you want it to look kind of glossy and golden.  Bake in your 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden.  Let the galette cool for about 10 minutes, and then slice and serve. Enjoy!





Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fill roasted acorn squash “bowls” with sautéed mushrooms, chopped walnuts, couscous, and fresh thyme, and you have a festive and nourishing meal.  A bit of melted butter and Parmesan cheese make it even better.  The tender squash goes beautifully with the savory flavors of the filling, and the protein-rich mushrooms and walnuts are satisfying without making you feel over-full.

stuffed acorn squashRoasted acorn squash halves make beautiful and tasty bowls for both sweet and savory fillings.  I love apple-filled roasted squash, but I was recently looking for a way to use my acorn squash more as a main dish.  Then I read a post titled Loaded Tofu, Basmati Rice & Apple Roasted Pumpkin on Amanda’s lovely blog, What’s Cooking.  The title meal itself sounds delicious, and in this post, Amanda goes on to write about the versatility of the fillings as well as the squashes that can be used for stuffing, and she mentions brown rice, mushrooms, and walnuts as a possible filling.  A little lightbulb went off in my head when I read this, because I had mushrooms, walnuts, and couscous on hand, and a pretty acorn squash sitting on my kitchen counter.

A suggestion turned into a delicious meal.  Thank you, Amanda!  The tender squash is a delicious, edible bowl for the savory mushrooms, couscous, walnuts, and thyme.  You can really mix and match your filling ingredients, and prepare them while the squash is roasting.  I happened to have leftover garlic-seasoned couscous in the refrigerator, but rice or quinoa would be good too.  And if you wanted to add more protein, you could add some cooked shredded chicken or other ingredients.  The possibilities are endless, so this recipe is merely one option, though a very delicious one!  The recipe below is for one squash, which feeds about two people, but it can easily be doubled or more, if you are feeding a few people, and the amounts are estimates, because some of it depends on the size of the squash you are filling.

stuffed acorn squashUsing a roasted squash for a bowl is fun and seasonal.  And if you are like me, sometimes you may need a little urging to use that squash.  I end up with them sitting on my counter with the best of intentions, and though they look decorative on the counter, they need to be used!  This is a relatively easy, lovely, healthy, and tasty way to use it.  Rustic elegance on your table in a little over an hour, and much of that is oven time.

The fall color here continues to amaze me with its beauty.  Everywhere I look there are beautiful trees.  I am really hoping to get out into the woods this weekend.  The natural luxury and bounty of this season is always inspiring to me.  Nature is so generous with its display of sumptuous colors and textures, and looking around, I can see every shade of yellow, brown, red, and green.  I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.stuffed acorn squash on whitered maple tree 2stuffed acorn squash

Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Servings: 2
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  • One small to medium sized acorn squash
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked couscous (rice or quinoa can also be used)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, sautéed
  • 1/4 cup of raw walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stems
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to base.  Spoon out the seeds.  Place the halves cut-sides down in a buttered baking dish.  Roast in your 375 degree oven for 35 to 50 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork or knife.  (The roasting time will depend on the size of the squash).

While the squash is roasting, prepare your filling.  Cook the couscous and sauté the mushrooms.  Chop the walnuts and remove the thyme leaves from the stems.  Mix the filling together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and anything else you like.

When the squash is tender, pull it out of the oven and flip it over.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and rub with a couple tablespoons or so of butter.  Spoon the filling into the squash “bowls”, packing the filling as high as you want it.  Put the filled squash back into the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the filling is warmed all the way through. In the last five minutes or so, top with Parmesan cheese.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

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