Whole Baked Cauliflower with Béchamel

At this point in our lives with our busy jobs, small apartment, and the amount that we travel we’re not at a place to get a dog. We watch instagram videos all the time of cute puppies playing and I will literally be on the verge of tears from all the cuteness, but still, we want to be settled and have a house before we have any sort of pet. That’s why this past weekend was THE BEST, because we got to dog/house sit for our two friends who are on their honeymoon! They have the cutest golden retriever, Cooper, who is the chillest pup of all time. I swear he sleeps 18 hours a day at least and loves to be cuddled non-stop. It’s been so nice to get a glimpse of dog life, as well as use a big kitchen for once! With the Fall weather already here, we spent the weekend making cozy dishes like my favorite lamb & butternut squash curry, apple pie, and this whole baked cauliflower with béchamel!

At first I was skeptical just eating cauliflower for dinner. Your girl here has an appetite and I wasn’t sure this would be satisfying. I was so wrong. This is seriously one of the best veggie dishes we’ve ever made. Super tender cauliflower covered in a garlicky cheesy béchamel sauce and topped with crispy prosciutto, pesto and roasted tomatoes. Such a cozy meal for Fall and Winter!

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Whole Baked Cauliflower with Béchamel

Ingredients

-1 head of cauliflower
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese for the cauliflower
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese for the béchamel
- cherry tomatoes for roasting
- basil pesto for topping
- prosciutto

what to do

  1. To make the cauliflower, use a paring knife to cut the core out of the cauliflower: Flip the cauliflower over so the stalk is facing up. Insert the paring knife about 2 inches into the cauliflower, as close to the stalk as possible, and cut around the stalk. The goal is to leave the cauliflower intact while removing the stalk and creating a small hole where it once was.

  2. Heat a large pot of water to a boil, and boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes or so until it’s starting to get tender.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the cauliflower in a large oven-proof skillet and drizzle all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower for a remaining 30 minutes or until the top starts to brown and a knife can easily slice into the cauliflower flesh. About halfway, sprinkle the cauliflower with grated parmesan and let it get golden brown.

  4. Halve the cherry tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast in the oven with the cauliflower.

  5. While the cauliflower and tomatoes are roasting, make the béchamel sauce. Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until steaming but not boiling. Turn the heat down and keep warm over very low heat.

  6. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over low heat. When it's bubbling, add the flour and whisk until it forms a golden paste, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the hot milk in a steady stream. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg and the cheese.

  7. Fry the prosciutto slices in a skillet, transfer to a paper towel to dry, and chop into bite size pieces.

  8. Top cauliflower with pesto, roasted tomatoes, béchamel, and prosciutto! Enjoy!

Stuffed Poblanos with Cashew "Queso"

One of my favorite junk foods and the ultimate football Sunday indulgence is "creamy tacos". It's what we would make in our house growing up anytime there was a party happening or when we needed a little junk food fix. What is it you may ask? It's a glorious, bubbling vat of velveeta cheese, ground beef, Hormel Chili, and spicy Rotel tomatoes. You crunch up Doritos on your plate and pour the "creamy taco" all over the Doritos. IT IS MONUMENTAL. I am telling you this because I am definitely not beneath shoveling Doritos covered in Velveeta into my mouth - However it's simply not good for you to eat whatsoever, so that's why I try to keep "Queso" in my life as much as possible but in healthier ways! 

ENTER CASHEW QUESO. 

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I was very skeptical of this at first, but with our new Vitamix I knew we could definitely get the creaminess factor going on. Now I will say this, nothing will replace the amazingness of gooey cheesy queso, so you have to think of this as more of an alternative. But for me, something that resembles queso, is creamy like queso, has a rich delicious taste, and is actually nutritious for you is an A+ in my book!

One of my favorite go-to meals is stuffed poblano peppers. A lot of times we make my old stuffed poblanos with chicken recipe, but lately I love tossing roasted sweet potato, corn, black beans, cilantro, and spices to make it meatless. Top with creamy cashew queso and you've got the golden ticket! 

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Stuffed Poblanos with Cashew "Queso" 

Ingredients

Poblanos
- 4 poblano peppers
- 2 sweet potatoes cubed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic gloves, minced
- 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can of sweet corn, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- salt and pepper to taste

Queso
- 1 cup raw cashews , soaked for up to 4 hours and drained
- 1/4 cup water (plus more, if needed)
- 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- 1 lemon juiced
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional) provides more coloring
- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles

What to do

  1. Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit lengthwise along one side of each poblano pepper, then make a small crosswise slit along the top to create a T-shape, being careful not to cut off the stem. Carefully cut out and remove the core and scoop out the seeds. On a baking sheet, roast the poblanos and jalapeños under the broiler in the oven turning often until the skin is completely blistered. Transfer to a paper bag (or place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap) and let steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. To make the filling, preheat the over to 350 degrees. Toss cubed sweet potato with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast until sweet potato is golden brown and cooked through, stirring occasionally. 
  3. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and saute onion until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic cloves and cook another minute or two. Then mix in chili powder, cumin, a big pinch of salt and grind of black pepper. Mix in black beans, corn, and lime juice and cook another minute before turning off the heat and mixing in cilantro and roasted sweet potato. 
  4. To make the Queso, In a high-speed blender, or food processor, combine the cashews, water, salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and the liquid from the can of diced tomatoes and green chiles. (I was able to get about 1/4 cup of liquid from the can.) 
  5. Blend until a smooth and creamy cheese sauce is made, adding a little more water, if needed for blending. Transfer the cheese mixture to a small pot and heat over the stove until warm. I love serving it in a little cast iron skillet!

  6. To assemble the poblanos, fill them to the brim with the filling! You can either pop them in the oven to bake a little longer or leave them as is since everything is still warm! Cover in Queso :) 

Enjoy! 

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

It's October and I can hardly contain my excitement! My favorite month of the year by far. The combination of changing leaves, dropping temperatures, hearty soups, pumpkin beers, and Bette Midler's witchy self makes my heart oh-so-happy. My cooking agenda this month is filled with so many pumpkin recipes that it's going to be coming out of my ears. Another thing I love in the fall is butternut squash and these enchiladas are going to be on repeat in our household let me tell ya. 

These enchiladas are the ultimate fall comfort food that are quick enough to make on a Monday night, or perfect for Friday nights with a pitcher of sangria! I love the squash and black bean combo in these guys. And then drenching in homemade enchilada sauce? SO. MUCH. YES. 

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Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas 

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen


Ingredients
Enchiladas
- olive oil
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 jalapeno, diced ( leave the seeds if you want extra heat)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 - 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- salt & pepper to taste
- shredded cheese (Mexican blend, pepper jack, or whatever you prefer)
- corn tortillas
- homemade enchilada sauce (recipe below)
- cilantro and sour cream for serving 

Enchilada Sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth (Chicken broth is great too if you're not going vegetarian)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

What to do
1) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large oven-proof skillet. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeno and cook 2-3 minutes until onions become translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add cubed squash, cumin and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is slightly tender, 10-15 minutes. You want the squash to be fork tender, but not so tender that it starts to fall apart and become mush.  Add in black beans and adjust seasoning to your liking. (Once the enchilada sauce is made, mix in 1 cup of sauce into squash mixture)

2) While the squash is cooking, make the enchilada sauce. Heat the canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. 
3) Add- in the flour and chili powder and stir.
4) Cook until the bright red color turns a bit brown while stirring.
5) In a small bowl mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the ingredients until it is fully blended. Add to your saucepan and whisk until fully mixed. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until thickened.
6) Assemble the enchiladas: Grease a large baking dish. Warm the corn tortillas for 20 seconds or so in the microwave to make them pliable. Place a large spoonful of the squash mixture in the middle of each corn tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, roll-up, and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Once all the tortillas are rolled, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over top, shaking the baking dish to fill in all the spaces. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, and place under the broiler until the cheese is browned and bubbling. 

Top with cilantro, siracha, and sour cream! For this recipe, I blended sour cream, cilantro, avocado, salt and a little milk to make an avocado crema. 

Enjoy!

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Avocado Cilantro Yogurt

That's right folks - I'm back with another vegetarian meal. Who am I?! I'm usually the person who wants meat with every meal, but lately I've found a new appreciation for turning a somewhat "boring" meal into something that's worthy to stand up to it's slow-roasted-meat contenders. 

Thomas and I are trying to eat hardly any meat through out the week and on the weekends we'll splurge a little. Last Saturday we made braised lamb ragu pasta - literally the mack daddy of all Fall/Winter comfort food.  Sorry for the meat tangent, that dish is coming to the blog soon - Right now we're talking SWEET POTATOES. 

I know, this could teeter on the boring side right? Not these babies! I was shocked how tasty they turned out! You know me, I love anything with curry and coconut milk. This meal is so easy, cheap, extremely filling, and mind-blowingly delicious for his simple it is. 

Honestly, you could be super lazy like me sometimes and pop your sweet potatoes in the microwave. Then it's literally done in less than 15 minutes or however long it takes your quinoa to cook. Weeknight meal certified 👌🏻

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Curried Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
+ Avocado cilantro Yogurt

Ingredients

- 4 sweet potatoes
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small jalapeño, deseeded and minced (for optional heat)
- 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 can coconut milk (1/4 cup reserved)
- 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Avocado Cilantro Yogurt
- 1 ripe avocado
- 5.3 oz (150g) container of plain greek yogurt
-1/4 cup coconut milk
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro
- olive oil for blending
- 1 teaspoon of salt - more to taste
 

What to do

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F (190°C) OR use the microwave!

2) Rinse and dry the sweet potatoes. With a fork, pierce the sweet potatoes all over; place on foil and bake until tender, 45-60 minutes. If you're going the microwave route (while is a lot quicker), pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, turning once halfway through. 

3) While the potatoes are baking, prep the filling.

4) Heat olive oil over medium heat in a sauce pot then add the jalapeño . Saute for one minute then add the minced garlic and the quinoa. Toast the quinoa for a minute or two and then add the curry powder and stir to coat.
5) Add the coconut milk keeping 1/4 reserved, and then add 1/4 cup of water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer covered for 15 minutes.
6) Stir in the chickpeas and remove from heat. 
7) Once the potatoes are out of the oven and cooled enough to handle, gently scoop out the soft  flesh of the sweet potatoes, trying to keep the skin intact. It’s ok if you don’t get it all out.
8) Add the potato flesh to the quinoa mixture and stir well to combined.
9) Spoon the quinoa mixture back into the potato skins until well stuffed and place back in the oven at 400 F for 10 minutes. You may have some filling left over, so either pile it high or save it for later!
10) In a small blender, blend together half the avocado, yogurt, 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup cilantro, juice of 1/2 a lime, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest and a good pinch of salt. If the mixture is too thick, add in a little olive oil or water. Adjust the seasonings, lime juice, salt, cilantro to your liking. 
11) Serve potatoes with avocado cilantro sauce, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges. 

Enjoy! xo