Two of my favorite recipes to prepare are from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook: Black Bean Chilaquile and Blender Hot Sauce. I love the colorful freshness of the casserole, and it’s nice to eat a vegetarian meal and not get any complaints or questions about where the meat is–It’s so delicious that hubby doesn’t even notice that it’s meatless.

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The recipe for the Black Bean Chilaquile calls for layering the salsa into the casserole before going into the oven. I prefer to layer it without the salsa and spoon the salsa over the individual servings. We always have leftovers and it prevents the dish from becoming too soggy. I use regular cheese rather than low-fat. I also blanch the spinach first, set that aside, then after a quick rinse and dry, use the same pan for sautéing the onions and warming the other ingredients.

For the Blender Hot Sauce, depending on my mood, I will either include all three spices or only a little bit of oregano. I like the freshness of the salsa and I tend to not want to overpower that with too much spice. Since I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, I add a bit of water to get the blender in motion. It’s fun to watch the blended vegetables transform into what will become a nice salsa. The salsa does become smooth, but slightly thick. In between stirrings, I also skim off the excess foam until it eventually disappears allowing the sauce to shine through. The light tomato red that will simmer for 30 minutes becomes a burnished red that brightens up the casserole.

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As the salsa is simmering, I begin working on the casserole.

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I tend to forget, and think that this will be a quick meal to prepare, thinking I can have the whole meal done in 30 minutes flat, but it takes a little time with making the fresh salsa.

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40 minutes later, dinner is served. Delicious!

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I was really glad to find these recipes on the web at different spots, so that I could share:

Recipe for Black Bean Chilaquile
http://www.recipesource.com/fgv/beans-grains/02/rec0269.html

Recipe for Black Bean Chilaquile and Blender Hot Sauce
http://www.eatmedelicious.com/2008/11/black-bean-chilaquile.html

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