Posted by: bunnyterry | July 6, 2010

Calabacitas for the California Nieces

We’ve had two great events this past week – my nieces Calandra and Mendy have been here from Sacramento, and I harvested my first zucchinis from my garden.  Not that I compare zucchinis to seeing the girls and their adorable little boys, but when you have to put together the nieces’ final dinner in New Mexico and you have zucchinis, there’s no choice but to make calabacitas. 

It’s that time of year when summer squash will begin appearing in all sorts of potluck dishes.  My cousin Sandra (who has the biggest garden in Quay County) creates a version that is primarily squash with chile con queso – very cheesy and very yummy.  Dave makes something he calls “junk”, which is squash and onions and lots of garlic and jalepenos baked in their own juices for an hour.  

I prefer cooking what I consider traditional calabacitas –  until I check out the Pink Adobe and the Simply Simpatico cookbooks and discover more than one “traditional” calabacitas recipe.  There appear to be about 15, which is the nice thing about New Mexican cooking.  It’s simple, delicious, and versatile.

Here’s mine.  Sometimes the ingredients change based on what I have on hand.  Tonight the squash and the onions were picked moments before preparation.  I wish I could just recall where I planted the garlic!

3 – 4 zucchini and yellow squash, chopped (use all of one kind if that’s all you have)

1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic salt or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

4 or 5 chopped roasted green chiles (depending on the heat you want – you can also use a 4 ounce can of chopped green chile, or a can of Ro-tel)

1 can whole kernel corn

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil on medium heat and then add the squash.  While squash is getting tender, stir in the green chile and corn.  I then add the cheese at the end, heating everything just long enough for the cheese to melt. 

Some people put the entire dish in the oven and let it bake.  Some recipes call for an addition of milk at the end.  Regardless of how you choose to combine your ingredients, calabacitas are fresh, delicious, spicy and the perfect dish for the California nieces.  And it’s definitely one of my favorite New Mexico dishes.



  1. try adding cummin to your calavacitas recipe!

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