Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

I did make a new years resolution, and I think I may actually be keeping it. I pledged to cook one vegetarian meal a week. Perhaps there was a week or two when this didn’t happen, but I thought about it and I researched vegetarian meals. In my opinion that counts.
I love Mexican food. I love sweet potatoes. What could be better than a recipe that combines both?
This is a multi-step recipe, however some of it can be made ahead of time. This way, you won’t feel as though you are spending hours in the kitchen. When you want to pull the recipe together, it doesn’t take very long and baking time is short.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Ingredients:
  • 1 15-ounce can pureed tomatoes (I used a brand called Pomi)
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

for the filling:

  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (3 cups)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 16-ounce jar prepared medium salsa
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 12-ounce round queso fresco, divided

for the enchiladas:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 packages (about 12 to 16) corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • sour cream

How To:

To make the sauce, bring all ingredients to a simmer in a  medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine, then remove from heat.

To make the filling, heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add sweet potatoes and sauté for a few additional minutes. Add tomatoes, salsa, garlic, chipotle chile, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft. Mash filling with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon until combined. Add black beans and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in half of the queso fresco and remove from heat. You can set this mixture and the sauce aside or in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble enchiladas.

To assemble enchiladas, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13″ by 9″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of the dish. Fill tortillas with the sweet potato-bean mixture. Roll and set seam side down very close together in the baking dish. Top with remaining Sauce and queso fresco. Bake for 15 minutes. Set oven to broil and leave enchiladas in for 5 minutes, or until cheese is browned. Remove and let enchiladas rest for about 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and avocado slices.

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Chicken Tacos

I’d like to discuss taco night and why it is such a good idea. It’s end of February, the weather is less than desirable where I am (Chicago), and just the idea of margaritas gets a smile of my face. What makes me giggle with joy? A little fiesta with said margaritas, chips and guacamole, tacos, and a wide array of fixins’. Now we have a party and an oasis from snow and sludge.

When I was 5 my family went on a vacation to Cancun. This was back in the 80’s when Cancun was just starting its rise to teenage vacation stardom, so it was an authentic gem. Apparently each evening I would abruptly fall asleep at the table, before dinner came out. I was so exhausted from days in the sun, I quite literally passed out (clearly I didn’t have the typical Cancun experience on that vacation but somehow ended up in the same boat at the end of the night as so many other vacationers). I really have to wonder how it was possible when I have always had a real adoration for mexican food. I can’t bear to think of the many tacos I left untouched, sitting just a few inches in front of my sleepy self.

But I digress and need to get back on point – tacos are an amazing treat sure to change winter blues into happy moments. Turn your thermostat up to 80, put on some shorts, sip a margarita, and serve up a batch of tacos when you can’t count on the weather outside. Silly? Yes. Will it make you feel better? Yes, and that’s all that matters.

Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken (I used ground chicken breast but you can use gound thigh or a mixture)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 tortillas of your choice – flour or corn
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • fresh salsa
  • guacamole or diced avocado
  • taco spice mix (below)

Taco Spice Mix: can be made ahead and stored with your spices

  •  1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

How To:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan. Add ground chicken and diced onion. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add seasoning mix and 1/4 cup water. Continue to stir until seasoning over all of chicken and onions. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Serve in tortillas with toppings on the side…with chips and guacamole…with margaritas.