Monday, August 28, 2006

Easy Calabacitas or Squash with Onions, Chiles, and Cheese

I've had a lot of comments from people who like the Easy South Beach Recipes I've been posting which have only five ingredients or less. I'm going to sneak this one in, but you'll need to use a bit of salt and pepper to go with the five main ingredients. Calabacitas is a traditional recipe of the American southwest, and this easy version is so good, I had it for lunch two days last week. Traditional recipes for Calabacitas sometimes include things like corn or tomatoes, which I didn't use. I purposely left out the corn to make the recipe more South Beach friendly, and didn't think it needed the tomatoes. You could use them if you like the sound of tomatoes in this. But do try making it; I think you'll be impressed at how much flavor you can get from just a few ingredients.

Easy Calabacitas or Squash with Onions, Chiles, and Cheese
(about 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from many sources)

4 medium zucchini or yellow squash
(or use two of each like I did)
1 onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles (also called Anaheim chiles, do not use jalapenos unless you like really spicy food)
1 cup plus 1/4 cup grated low fat Mexican cheese blend or grated cheddar cheese
1 T olive oil, (more or less depending on your pan)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Wash squash and cut lengthwise into fourths, then into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan. Add onion and saute 2-3 minutes, until starting to wilt. Add squash and saute about 4 minutes, or until squash seems not quite half cooked.

Add canned green chiles with juice to the pan and cook 6-8 minutes more, until squash is cooked but still slightly chewy. (This is a personal preference, but I prefer mine a little on the crisp side. Cook a little longer if you prefer a softer texture. More mature squash will take a bit longer to cook.)

Sprinkle one cup of cheese over and cook 1-2 minutes more, stirring until cheese is melted and squash is partly coated with cheese. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve immediately with a bit more cheese sprinkled over each serving.

About Ingredients:
I used Kraft Mexican Four Cheese Blend which is a mixture of reduced fat Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby, and Mozzarella cheese. If you buy the 2% milk cheese, there is about 6 grams of fat in a serving. If you can't find this cheese, use any reduced fat cheddar.

South Beach Suggestions:
The cheese I used is actually one of the foods with the new "South Beach Diet approved" logo, and this is a great dish for the South Beach Diet any phase. Calabacitas would taste great with Friday Night Salmon or Sauteed Tilapia with Parmesan Crust, which could qualify as an easy recipe too!
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Lydia said...

I was just wondering what to make with the zucchini and tomatoes I received from a gardening friend yesterday! This recipe looks great, and anything with green chiles works for me. Thanks, Kalyn.

gattina said...

I love sautee zucchini, your recipe definitely sounds great!

Cyndi said...

Oooh - I was going to grill the zucchini in my fridge, (well, it's stored in my fridge and I was going to grill it on the grill), but this looks much tastier. Maybe we'll give it a try tomorrow night. I"ll let you know if we try it.

Ellie said...

Ohhh, zucchini and cheese is such a winning combination, and I absolutely adore the flavours you've got working together in this dish! Num!

Karina said...

Hola Kalyn!

Just wanted to let you know that I'm linking to your post about calabasitas. I'm making a version tonight.

Yours looks yummy!

Kalyn said...

Thanks Karina. I noticed that someone googled "calabacitas Kalyn". That must have been you!

I will check out your version. I love these flavors.

Karina said...

Yup that was me! ;-) I just posted mine with a link back to you.

Clare W said...

Kalyn, I LOVE your blog!!! I stumbled upon it a few weeks ago when I was looking for some tasty South Beach recipes. I made calabacitas with fresh squash and zucchini from the famers' market and my husband and I are OBSESSED!!! The green chiles and cheese make it such a treat. Now I have also gotten my mom and sisters hooked on your recipe. Thank you so much! Kalyn's Kitchen has definitely become my number one source for recipes. In fact, I am looking for summer veggie recipes right now before heading off to the farmers' market again for some fresh produce!

Kalyn said...

Clare, thanks so much for taking time to let me know you're enjoying the blog. Have fun at the farmers market!

BettyCupcakes said...

Hi Kalyn- wanted to let you know I blogged about your delicious dish- Absolutely adored your take on calabacitas.

angie said...

I will make this tomorrow, as I have 2 summer squash and 2 zucchini and just bought a can of green chilies, I planned to make a veggie lasagna using the zucchini for a noodle replacement, but this sounds so quick and easy. My question is what do you serve with this? A protein? I am just starting on SB so I would be in Phase I.

Kalyn said...

Angie, this is a side dish, so I'd serve it with any kind of meat or fish.

Richard said...


Thanks so much for the great recipe. I just made this and already can't wait to try it again; this time a bit more spicy.

Kalyn said...

Richard, glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

My hubby and I tried this today, and I used Calabacita as the squash. I can't tell you how happy we were to find this - it really works well to curb the desire for carby Mexican fare! Thank you!

Kalyn said...

So glad you liked it!

Ashlie said...

Wow, another grand slam recipe from this blog! It's so simple, yet the flavor is amazing. The liquid from the green chiles blends with the cheese to make a delicious cheese sauce. I served it over brown basmati rice cooked in veggie stock. I'm vegetarian and always looking for easy and interesting veg dishes - this one made the permanent rotation!

Kalyn said...

Ashlie, I'm just waiting for my squash plants so I can make this myself!

Anne Bingham said...

Great recipe! I was given a large patty pan squash, didn't know what to do with it and found this recipe. A big hit with all ages :)

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