sweet potato and black bean enchilada casserole

Good news: I’m feeling better!  After a round of antibiotics, some sleep, and lots of rehydration, I was feeling back to my normal self by Friday and able to spend the weekend hiking, relaxing by the pool, and repelling down waterfalls.  It was a pretty epic weekend.  But I think I’ve talked enough about the fun I’ve been having (minus the sickness) and not enough about the actual work I’ve been doing.  

Monday through Friday mornings I, along with two other classmates, have been working at El Hospital de los Ninos as physical therapists.  The catch with our clinical site is that it is not your typical physical therapy work in a hospital setting.  First of all, the hospital is incredibly different than any hospital you would find in the United States.  We have observed nurses taking blood without using gloves, dirty diapers left on the floors, and general uncleanliness all throughout the hospital.  While it is definitely not up to U.S. standards, it’s the best care a child can receive in the area.  

In addition to the conditions of the hospital, there is a complete absence of physical therapy in the hospital.  There is not one physical therapist employed by the hospital, so we have spent the last two and a half weeks promoting physical therapy, educating doctors and nurses about physical therapy, and doing physical therapy with children at the hospital.  The work has been challenging, frustrating, and at times very slow, but also very rewarding and progressive.  Since pictures always tend to tell stories better than my words, I’ve included a few pictures of some of the work we’ve done.  

This first little guy was abandoned by his mother at the hospital and has a condition called hydrocephaly.  Here, we’re working on his sitting tolerance since we were told he had never been properly sat up. 
The next boy has spina bifida and we were able to provide him with a pair of loftstrand crutches so he can walk without having to grab onto walls.  While he’s excited about his new equipment, he’s a typical boy and is more interested in playing games than working on walking.
And this little girl was just too cute not to work with.  She was begging for a little TLC and I had to give in.
This casserole recipe comes from the Ungourmet and I can’t wait to make it again when I get home.  The filling is made of mashed sweet potatoes, black beans, and spices, and is sandwiched between tortillas spread with cream cheese and a homemade green enchilada sauce.  Topped with cheese and baked until golden brown and bubbly, it made for a delicious and light yet filling vegetarian dinner.  

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
adapted from theUngourmet
serves 4-6

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
1/2 cup diced green chiles
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
9 small corn tortillas
8 oz package cream cheese (I used light)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

green chile sauce:
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp corn starch
1 cup diced green chiles
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, combine the beans, garlic, lime sweet potato, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In small saucepan, dissolve the corn starch in 1 tbsp of vegetable broth.  Add rest of vegetable broth, green chiles, garlic, and chili powder.  Heat over medium high heat and simmer until thickened, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To assemble the casserole, coat the bottom of a 9″ round casserole dish with a small amount of the green chile sauce.  Spread 1 tbsp of cream cheese onto each tortilla.  Arrange 3 of the tortillas to cover the sauce.  Add 1/3 of the sweet potato filling and top with 1/3 of the green chile sauce.  Repeat to make three layers and top with cheese.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Cut into slices and enjoy!

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  1. says

    You’ve combined two of my favorite foods in one place — sweet potatoes and black beans.

    I’m glad to hear that you are feeling better too.

  2. says

    this looks fantastic! as soon as i’m off this low oxalate diet, i will be making and devouring this.

    Glad your feeling better, trust me, I know how horrible it is to have GI issues. I’m just glad your’s aren’t chronic.

    hope your able to enjoy some sun and sand.

  3. says

    What a awesome thing you are doing, I do hope you can share more! So glad you can help pass on your knowledge to help these children!

    You must have made their days.

  4. says

    I would love to see some of the local food you get to eat in the DR. I hope you are enjoying your experience there! I’m a new follower and look forward to future posts!

  5. says

    glad your feeling better…i cannot beleive those conditions, but am so happy you are there to help..the pics are too cute!! a great recipe…have a great weekend!!


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