Mexican Kabocha Squash Skillet

Who else has skin that hates the dry winter weather? For the past two years I have developed painfully dry hands, but the funny thing is, it only affects two of my fingertips. I’m not kidding! My left hand stays hydrated after numerous hand-washes at work and at home, but my right hand has two stubborn fingers that dry out quite badly and I find myself constantly applying lotion. It is annoying to say the least!

Since that is the case, I’m all about cooking things that require very little dishes to wash; to be honest, this is what I’m always all about! The less time my hands can spend under running water doing clean up the better. So, I’m relying on easy, one-bowl, or in this case one-skillet, recipes when meal prepping my lunches.

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This week I’ve come up with a hearty winter squash bake gone Mexican style! Kabocha squash is one of my favorite winter squashes because you can eat the skin no problem, and it’s not overly sweet like I find a delicata to be. To go with the squash, I decided to use dried black beans I had in the cupboard that were begging to be soaked and cooked up. Pairing squash and beans is quite typical in Mexican culture as these two foods, along with corn, have a beneficial relationship when grown side by side in the fields. They’re called the Three Sisters, and when paired together you end up with a complete protein, which goes to show that animal protein isn’t the only way to get all your protein building blocks! With the spirit of Mexico in mind, I was guided to flavors like chili and cumin to heat up the dish. Finally, I stuck with melty cow’s cheese for the finishing touch, but if you’re wanting to keep this recipe vegan I’d recommend trying out Siete Foods Cashew Queso.

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This quick skillet bake had the house smelling amazing and I’m excited to be digging in to it for lunch! And all that’s left to clean up is the skillet- maybe I should give my hands a break and have my husband take care of that, right?

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Mexican Kabocha Squash Skillet- serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 small-medium kabocha squash, or about 2 cups cubed squash

  • 1 small poblano pepper, chopped

  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 cups black beans

  • 1 can diced tomatoes

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese, mix of cheddar and monterey

  • To serve: 1 lime and avocado slices

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare kabocha squash by cutting in half width-wise, scoop out the seeds, and cut squash into half moon strips about 1/2 inch size. Then cut squash moons into small 1/2 inch cubes. Place two cups of cubed squash into a 8 inch cast iron skillet and add chopped poblano and bell pepper. Toss vegetables with a bit of avocado oil. Roast for about 15-20 minutes until squash is fork-tender. Remove skillet from oven.

  2. To the skillet, add black beans, canned tomatoes, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. Mix everything together so that spices are evenly mixed in. Create an even layer of the mixture in the skillet and top with shredded cheese. Return skillet to heated oven and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. If you’d like, slide it under the broiler for a few minutes for a crispy cheese crust on top.

  3. Serve with a squeeze of lime and a few avocado slices. This serves two hungry people for a dinner main course, or can be divided into 3 portions for lunch to be served with snacks.

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Ginger Soy Broccoli Bowl

Post-Thanksgiving, I wanted to nothing more than bursts of exotic flavors coming out of my kitchen. I craved spice, umami, and lots of fresh herbs and spices! So, the first dish to satisfy that hankering was an Asian-inspired buddah bowl. I incorporated one of my favorite vegetables- broccoli- because Danny was traveling for work and would typically not request this green cruciferous veggie in a bowl meal.

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In total, this recipe takes all of twenty-five minutes to pull off if you’re smart and do some multitasking in the kitchen. Whenever you plan to roast something in the oven, I recommend to always get that going first, so that another prep step can happen while that is cooking away. In this case, that’s the veggies, which only take twenty minutes, and is just enough time to get your other bowl bits together.

This bowl makes an excellent make-ahead lunch, or dinner for two, and is packed with whole grains, plant protein, and lots of gut-friendly fiber, which we could all use a bit more of during the holiday season!

Ginger Soy Broccoli Bowl- makes 2 bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks

  • 1 cup edamame- if using frozen, heat in microwave for 2 minutes

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas- from canned or fresh

  • 1 1/2 cups freekah- cooked accoridng to directions

  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil

  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

  • For garnish- sesame seeds, green onions, or cilantro

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place cut broccoli and bell pepper strips on a lined baking tray. Toss with sesame oil, avocado oil, soy sauce, and ginger until evenly coated. Slide tray in oven and roast for 20 minutes, turning once during cooking, until broccoli starts to crisp and brown. Remove from oven when finished.

  2. As vegetables are roasting, cook freekah accoridng to package instructions. While grain is cooking, measure out and set aside the warm edamame and chickpeas.

  3. Once all compnents are cooked and ready, you can begin assembling. Into two bowls, divide the freekah, edamame, and chickpeas evenly, then add in equal portions of the roasted vegetables. Mix everything together, drizzle roasting pan leftover sauce over everything, and garnish with sesame seeds, green onions, or cilantro, or a combination of the three.


Savory Rosemary Granola

We’ve all heard how sugary granola can be- some varities containing upwards of 15 grams per 1/2 cup (and let’s be real, no one is eating just a half cup), which is three-quarters of the way to the level recommended Americans consume in added sugars. So, when a friend of mine told me she had a savory granola at a restaurant, the wheels in my culinary brain started turning and I was determined to make my own!

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What resulted was a nutty-tasting, crispy yet crumbly, herb-packed topping that I have been adding to just about everything! This granola is nut free, gluten free, and could be made vegan by substituting more olive oil for the egg white. With so many diet preferences these days, I bet you’ll be cooking Thanksgiving for someone with an allergy or intolerance, so this granola is the perfect answer to everyone’s needs.

I have so far used this seed topper on my steamed green bean side dish, added it to last week’s potato and cauliflower soup for a bit of crunch, would even be so daring as to bring it in to breakfast and use it over eggs, and highly recommend it as a nosh for your holiday hors d’oeuvre hour. I hope you enjoy!

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Savory Rosemary Granola- makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup popped amaranth

  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup unsalted pepitas

  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds

  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary

  • 1 tbsp dried fennel seed

  • 1 egg white, beaten

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon to combine everything together, ensuring an even coating. Spread mixture in an even layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

  3. After 10 minutes, stir mixture by turning over with a spatula. Bake for 10 more minutes, keeping an eye on to not burn. Remove from oven once mixture looks lightly browned and toasted. With a spoon, gently break into shards for snacking, or crumble completely to use as a topping.

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