Parade Magazine: Roast Butternut Squash and Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Roast Butternut Squash and Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Growing up, tacos were filled with ground beef or shredded chicken, and they were topped with chopped tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and shredded mild cheddar cheese. Mom deep fried corn tortilla shells and asked everyone whether they want soft or hard taco shells. Back then, tacos were simple, and I still love my childhood version today for nostalgic reasons.

Today, an online search for tacos yields more than lettuce and tomatoes. Tacos are topped with pickled vegetables and authentic Mexican cheeses. They’re filled with meat slowly simmered in mole sauce, quinoa and spicy roast vegetables. And, some people buy tortilla presses to make their own corn tortillas. Personally, my taco shells aren’t deep-fried, instead a little oil is added to a hot skillet as a tortilla shell is flipped over several times for a few minutes.

In this autumnal taco, butternut squash is roasted with warm spices and toss with shredded chicken. The meat and squash filling is placed over a corn tortilla and before its folded in half to enclose it, pineapple salsa is spooned on top for a fresh and sweet taste. Of course, no taco is complete without cheese. In this version, only a mild flavored cheese is needed, such as Cotija (think of it as a Mexican version of the Italian Ricotta Salata cheese).

There’s memories surrounded by tacos. Since, Dad was ‘The Cook’ in our house, we were excited when Mom decided to make one of her few dishes, which were tacos. For the record, even though I strive to eat healthy most of the time, I always prefer her deep-fried taco shells.  Read more

Maple Butternut Squash Cornbread

Maple Butternut Squash Cornbread

Maple Butternut Squash Cornbread

Holiday menus usually include plenty of cornbread. Some cornbreads are actually cakes with higher sugar content and a soft buttery texture. This Maple Butternut Squash Cornbread version isn’t the usual corn cake mix.

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Butternut Squash and Kale with Red Quinoa with Ginger Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash and Kale with Red Quinoa with Ginger Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash and Kale with Red Quinoa with Ginger Vinaigrette

Is there a whole grain recipe in your holiday menu? Impress guests with this vegetarian and gluten-free salad of red quinoa tossed with dice butternut squash, lightly sauté dinosaur kale and ginger vinaigrette. Currently in season in the Northeast region of the United States, butternut squash taste similar and can be used interchangeably with pumpkin. Use one large butternut squash diced in vegetable soups, pureed in breads and roasted for salads. It’s mildly sweet flavor compliments red quinoa’s earthy and nutty taste. Adding a bit of savory flavor is thinly sliced sauté kale. The vinaigrette adds tiny bites of ginger throughout the salad. Include this beautiful and healthy salad in your traditional holiday meal. Read more