I wish my tastebuds were more sophisticated. That’s one of the most frustrating parts of adulthood, it’s difficult to break old food habits, no matter how hard we try. Be it a texture issue with mayonnaise, disliking pickles touching your tomatoes on your burger or foregoing trying new foods as you just didn’t like them when you were five years old. It’s interesting to look at the die-hard habits we stick to when it comes to our food, oftentimes without much reason. I’m not the pickiest eater in the world but I haven’t warmed up to corn or peas after all these years. That and despite how wonderful they smell I haven’t been able to like my mother’s sweet potatoes (she’s an amazing cook so it pains me to write that).
But I’ve been trying to wear down some of my habits and trepidations about certain foods. This year I’m making a more concerted effort to expose myself to new fruits and vegetables I normally don’t buy or never tried while growing up. Wegman’s (a.k.a the most glorious grocery store I’ve ever been to) has these nifty pre-sliced, pre-washed packages of vegetables in their produce section which I’ve been making diligent bee lines toward during each of my trips. My thinking is even if I don’t like the vegetable, I can at least say I tried it and I can also try experimenting with seasonings and other food pairings to make it work. My other philosophy is if I really don’t like what I bought then I only lost $3 in the process, a small price to pay for trying new things and not limiting myself. I’m also making it a food goal for myself to not short myself on meals. It means a bit more organized labor on my part to make sure I don’t try to take short cuts during the week by making something quick (and sometimes unhealthy). It also means really putting effort into every meal I make. I already do this for the most part but I want to get better about this, including challenging myself to make things I may be more tempted to purchase from the frozen food section (those DiGiorno pizzas always call my name when I walk past them). Besides this, I cook almost everyday and I don’t think the blog fully reflects the variety of things I do eat (but oftentimes haven’t planned to put on the blog). I may not be the lightest person on the planet but I care about what’s going into my body. It’s been exciting to try new things (be it vegetables or using garbanzo bean flour (saving this wonderfulness for a future post).
These enchiladas are something of a first step in creating better habits for myself (and posts on the blog). I’ve been subscribed to Laura of The First Mess and Sara of Sprouted Kitchen blogs for more than a year now. Both take amazing photos and develop the most creative recipes. Both of their blogs have piqued my curiosity enough to try new vegetables (beyond my standard kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.). What’s interesting about this recipe is both of them made similar recipes in the same week (one popping into my inbox just a day after the other). I didn’t quite have all of the pretty fixings like theirs but I tried to emulate as much as possible and I was decently impressed with the squash and am planning to buy more soon. I was also far too excited about the pretty designs the tortillas had after placing them directly on the stove burner (do you see those charred ripples below?). I usually microwave my tortillas but I plan to use this tactic anytime I’m using tortillas. I stuffed cilantro, spinach and sliced jalapeños alongside the black beans and kept my enchilada sauce very simple, though I plan to try Laura’s enchilada sauce next time. These also make excellent leftovers (and are great when topped with fontina cheese when reheated).
BLACK BEAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH ENCHILADAS
Inspired and adapted from both Laura of The First Mess + Sara of Sprouted Kitchen
For the enchilada filling:
10 small tortillas (corn or flour work)
1 16oz. can of black beans
1 butternut squash (chopped)
1/2 c chopped spinach
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/4 c jalapeños (sliced)
2 c Queso blanco (shredded)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 c milk
Olive oil cooking spray
For the enchilada sauce:
1 can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread butternut squash on the pan. Season squash with Adobo seasoning, chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika adjusting to taste/seasoning preferences. Spray olive oil cooking spray over them. Place in the oven and let cook for 30-40 minutes. Check at the 30 minute mark to see if they’re soft and if not soft enough allow to cook the full 40 minutes.
3) Remove squash from oven and place into mixing bowl. Pour milk in and using either hand mixer or back of spoon begin to mash. Add more milk as needed. Add in minced garlic and black pepper and continue mashing until fully incorporated. Set aside.
4) Taking tortillas one at a time place on stove top grill with temperature turned up to medium heat and heat tortillas, being sure to flip every 10 seconds. Aim to have brown/black marks on both sides of tortilla.
5) Taking 13×9 baking pan, line with parchment paper and start rolling the enchiladas. Spoon in mashed squashed, a small trail of black beans, chopped spinach, cilantro, jalapeños and shredded cheese into tortillas. Roll carefully as softness of ingredients will make them more pliable. Place and adjust one comfortably into pan.
6) Make the enchilada sauce. Pour tomato sauce into microwaveable bowl and stir in cumin and chili powder. Microwave for 30-45 seconds. Pour sauce over rolled enchiladas in pan.
7) Sprinkle unused cheese over sauce-topped enchiladas. Place enchiladas into oven and allow to bake for 25 minutes (I like my enchiladas with crispy edges).