Zesty Vegetable Enchiladas

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes.  It is so inexpensive, so healthy, but so tasty that I can’t get enough of it.   In fact, I love it so much that I always save myself a bowl of the filling to eat while the enchiladas cook in the oven.  It’s fabulous, I tell you.

Here goes…

Zesty Vegetable Enchiladas Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups dry lentils 4 cups water 1 Tb. vegetable oil 2 cups thinly sliced carrots 2 tsp. chili powder 2 tsp. ground cumin salt and pepper to taste 4 cups quartered, thinly sliced zucchini 2 cups chopped fresh tomato 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese  (I like to use a blend) 14-16 corn tortillas 1  can green enchilada sauce or try my homemade green enchilada sauce recipe In a small saucepan, add water to lentils.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender.  Drain, rinse in cold water.

Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add carrots, chili powder and cumin.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes.  Add zucchini and continue to cook and stir until veggies are crisp-tender.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lentils, tomato, and 1 cup cheese.   Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat corn tortillas.  Spoon veggie mixture down center of each tortilla, roll up and place in 9×13 inch pan.  Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake another 10-15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.  Serve with sour cream and salsa, if desired.  And, like I said, it’s amazing in a bowl all by itself!

Hopeful Homemaker

Dinner in a Pumpkin

This dish isn’t sweet, but it certainly spotlights pumpkin!

My Mom made this dinner for us when I was growing up, and I make it every fall for my own family.  Traditionally, we eat it around Halloween, but it’s a lot of fun to make it during November as well.

Dinner in a Pumpkin 1 small to medium pumpkin 1 onion, chopped 1 Tb. oil 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef 4 Tb. soy sauce 4 Tb. brown sugar 1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained 2 cans cream of mushroom soup 1 1/2 cups cooked rice 1 ( 8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained.

Cut off top of pumpkin and thoroughly clean out seeds and pulp.  Preheat oven to 350.

Note:  The recipe says that the pumpkin cooks in about an hour, but my experience has been that it always takes about twice as long as that for the pumpkin meat to be tender.  Therefore, when I clean out my pumpkin I lightly salt the inside, replace the lid, place the pumpkin on a baking sheet and bake it by itself while I prepare the meal.  This gives the squash a head start on cooking.

In a large skillet, saute onions in oil until tender.  Add meat and brown.  Drain drippings.  Add soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms and soup.  Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add cooked rice and water chestnuts.

Remove pumpkin from oven.  Spoon mixture into pumpkin and replace pumpkin top. Bake 1 hour or until inside meat of the pumpkin is tender.  Remove from oven and serve.  For a vegetable, scoop out pumpkin flesh and serve with salt and pepper.

I always enjoy seeing my children taste the pumpkin meat.  Several of them are usually wary of it, but I scoop them all a small spoonful of it, and almost invariably they request more.  It’s a fun way to help them try new things.

Enjoy!  And thanks, Mom, for making this all those years ago, and for passing it on.

Chicken & Zucchini Stuffed Shells

This is a great dish to prepare early in the day, then refrigerate and put in the oven later.

Chicken & Zucchini Stuffed Shells Ingredients:

2 cups cooked cubed chicken (I like to chop it into really small pieces) 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped (1/4 inch pieces) 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. rosemary 1/2 tsp. basil 1/2 tsp. parsley 1 cup ricotta cheese 1-2 cups cottage cheese (depending on how creamy you like the filling) 1 egg 2 cups mozzarella cheese 1 cup chopped fresh spinach (0ptional) 1 can or jar spaghetti sauce of your choice 1 box jumbo shell pasta, or manicotti pasta Cook pasta according to directions on pasta.  Drain and rinse in cold water.  Set aside.

In a microwaveable dish, combine chopped zucchini, 1 Tb. water and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Cover and cook on high for about 2 minutes, or just until zucchini is becoming tender.

Put cubed cooked chicken in a large bowl.  Add softened zucchini to the bowl and mix to combine.

Add spices, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese and egg.  Mix well.

Add mozzarella cheese.

Add spinach if you choose.  I like to use fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach.  Stir to combine.  Spoon mixture into shells and place in 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Pour spaghetti sauce over stuffed pasta.  Cover and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.  Garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.  Serve and enjoy.

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