roasted pepper hummus

Some of my favorite recipes, whether it’s an easy entree, delicious appetizer, or fabulous cocktail, oftentimes are the ones that I come up with on a whim. A dash of this, a pinch of that – no real measurements, just adding based on what I have in the fridge and stocked in the pantry. This is one of those recipes.

I was making a dish not long ago that contained lots of bell peppers {in this case, gorgeous yellow ones} and rather than letting the scraps from where I trimmed the stems off go to waste, I decided to save them for later use. I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted to prepare with them, but I knew that inspiration would strike. And sure enough, it did! I think I may have been driving home, or cleaning, or something else totally unrelated to cooking, but the thought popped in my mind – hummus! I ADORE hummus {see here and here, for example}. We were entertaining later on that weekend, and I knew that this would be the perfect dish to set out before the main course.

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And I’ll be honest, I’m going to humble brag because this dish turned out amazing. Roasting peppers brings out their natural sweetness and, if you choose to leave the skins on afterward, you’re treated with a slightly smoky flavor as well. We’re pairing the roasted peppers with lemon juice for a bright, tart pop. Chili powder helps highlight the roasted, charred flavor. Add garlic well….you always need garlic, in my opinion.

I could see the peppers easily being swapped out for other vegetables, too! Whatever you have on hand from an earlier dish, give it a whirl. Like I said, the best recipes are often the ones that come from nothing.

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Roasted Pepper Hummus

Gorgeously colored and packed full of flavor, you’ll instantly be hooked with your first dip! 

Ingredients:

3 bell peppers, cut into thick rings

1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced

2-4 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice

dashes {to taste} of chili powder

olive oil, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat oven t0 450 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with foil, and place atop it a baking rack. Spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

Cut peppers into large rings {if you prefer to remove the skin before processing, simply cut the peppers into quarters}. Place, flesh side up, on the baking rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for at 20 minutes, then under the ‘broil’ setting for an additional 10. Be sure to keep an eye on them! – you don’t want them to scorch too much, you’re just looking for a good, crisp outer layer. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

If removing the skin from the peppers, do so now.

Into the bowl of your food processor, add in the roasted peppers, beans, clove of garlic, lemon juice, and chili powder. Process until very smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Give it one final process to incorporate.

Dish into serving bowls and serve with your favorite dippers! We love toasted pita bread, carrot and celery sticks, and pretzels.

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To store: cover and keep in the refrigerator. Dip will last up to a week. 

butternut squash enchilada casserole

This is a rainbow of colors, flavors, and deliciousness…all layered up into one glorious casserole.

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For me, it’s simply impossible to not get excited about a dish when it has so many colors, flavors and textures. I happened upon a large stash of butternut squash not too long ago, and rather than going my usual course of roasting {for a side dish} or pureeing {soup style}, I knew I had to try something different. In the past, I’ve had great success incorporating it into mac-&-cheese recipes, but it just didn’t feel right. With unseasonably warm weather, I was craving something hearty but not heavy, light but full of flavor.

I set about searching for the perfect casserole, and when I stumbled upon the recipe for what I’m sharing today, I knew I had found a winner. This casserole is the perfect one to start for your season of autumnal flavors – you’re still using fresh produce {corn, tomatoes, peppers, and onions} but starting to introduce the flavors of fall; creamy beans, luscious squash and bolder spices.

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This dish is more or less a one-pot wonder; very little preparation is required, too! I like to roast the squash ahead of time {say, the night before I plan on making it} so that it is ready and waiting for me and not the other way around. Simply prep, assemble, bake and voila! – dinner is served.

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Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole {recipe adapted from Making Thyme for Health}

An unusual but delicious option to use up an overabundance of butternut squash, this casserole is a dream for any lover of Mexican-style cuisine! Not to mention, it’s a great way to pack in a vegetable punch.

Ingredients:

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 onion, sliced

1/2 a large red pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small can of diced green chilis

1 {15-ounce} can of black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups of corn

2 cups salsa

6 large tortillas, quartered

1-1/2 cups shredded cheese {optional}

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cumin powder

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the diced butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cumin until evenly distributed. Roast for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until squash is tender. Remove from oven and lower temperature to 350 degrees.

In a large non-stick skillet, drizzle in olive oil. Add in onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add in the corn and red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes, or until slightly tender. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder and oregano. Transfer to bowl and set aside, allowing to cool slightly.

Into the same bowl as your sauteed vegetables, add in the diced green chilis, drained black beans, and one cup of the salsa. Toss gently to combine.

Spray a glass baking dish, and begin to assemble the casserole. Spread 1/3 cup of the remaining salsa along the bottom, then cover with a layer of tortillas. Tops with 1/3 of the roasted vegetables and then 1/2 cup of cheese.

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Layer two more tortillas on top of the vegetables, then top with 1/3 cup of salsa, then another 1/3 of the roasted vegetables, then 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.

Lastly, layer two more tortillas, the last 1/3 cup of salsa and the last 1/3 of the vegetables on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve. Top with sliced avocado, plain Greek yogurt, or sour cream. Enjoy!

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**don’t feel limited to the ingredients listed out here – use what you have on hand! It doesn’t get much easier than that. I also think that, should it fancy you, a bit of seasoned taco meat {be it chicken, beef, bison, etc.} would make a wonderful addition**