Butternut-Kale Lasagna

I’ve been scared of making lasagna for a long time.  It’s the thought of trying to measure up to my mom’s amazing recipe that held me back.

Fear, you have been conquered.

This recipe is from Cooking Light magazine, March 2013.

One substitution was made, noted below.

butternut-kale lasagna 1

Butternut-Kale Lasagna

1/4 c water
12 oz package prechopped fresh butternut squash
3 c pre-chopped kale – Trader Joes was out of kale when I was shopping, so I substituted fresh spinach
1 tblsp olive oil
1 1/2 tblsp minced garlic
1.1 oz all-purpose flour (approx 1/4 c)
2 3/4 c 1 % low fat milk, divided
2 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded and divided
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cooking Spray
6 no boil lasagna noodles
3 tblsp chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine 1/4 c water and squash in a 8 inch square baking dish.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap; pierce plastic wrap 2 to 3 times.  Microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until tender; drain.  Combine squash and kale in a large bowl.  Wipe baking dish dry. – The squash and spinach were great, but a little lumpy.  In the future, I would run this mixture through the food processor to create a more cohesive mixture.

butternut-kale lasagna 2

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring occasionally.  Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.  Combine flower and 1/2 c milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Add milk mixture and remaining 2 1/4c milk to pan; increase heat to med-high.  bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 1 oz Gruyere, Parm-Reggiano, salt and pepper; stir until cheese melts.

Coat baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread 1/3 c milk mixture in bottom of dish.  Arrange 2 noodles over milk mixture; top with half of squash mixture and 2/3 c milk mixture.  Repeat layers once, ending with remaining noodles and remaining milk mixture.  Cover with foil; bake at 450 for 15 minutes.  Remove foil; sprinkle remaining Gruyere and pecans over top.  Bake uncovered, at 450 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and sauce is bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

butternut-kale lasagna 3

cartoon-strawberry-9OH. MY. GOODNESS.  Stop everything you’re doing and make this right now.  I freaked out a bit at the amount of garlic, but somehow it is very subtle, not overwhelming at all.  The sweetness of the butternut squash, the bite from the Gruyere and the toasty flavor from the pecans; makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Next week will be a series of special recipes/posts from a new book – Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist.  Monday’s post will feature the Casear Salad pictured above.

Julie & Julia

Julie.n.JuliaOne of the girls I’ve been mentoring over the last couple of years asked if we could do a Julie & Julia night.  She wanted to learn how to cook something and then watch the movie, what better night could there be?

Our menu for the evening was:

Butternut Squash Risotto – recipe from Cooking Light, October 2011

Baked BBQ Chicken

Steamed Broccoli Rabe

Lemon Cake Pie (This one will get its own post…)

So it was up to me and these three girls to get a yummy dinner on the table.

JnJ night 1

Butternut Squash Risotto

3 c cubed peeled butternut squash, divided
3 1/2 c fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
2 c uncooked Arborio rice
2 tblsp chopped flat-leaf parsely (I skipped this)
5 oz applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine 2 cups squash and 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.  Place mixture in a food processor.  Process until smooth.  We used my immersion blender.

Return mixture to pan.  Stir in broth; bring to a simmer.  Remove and set aside 1/4 cup squash mixture.  Keep pan warm over low heat.

Heat a large Dutch oven over med-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in remaining 1 cup squash, 2 1/2 cup squash mixture and 1/8 tsp salt.  Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

Add remaining squash mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup is absorbed before adding the next cup (about 20 minutes).  Removed from heat, stir in reserved 1/4 c squash mixture.  Top with parsley and bacon when serving.

cartoon-strawberry-9This risotto was GOOD.  We didn’t coat the pan enough at the beginning and a little of the rice stuck to the bottom, but not much.  This was a great side dish for chicken, and would be just as good for beef or pork.

For the chicken, we lightly salted both sides with some seasoned salt, covered with BBQ sauce and baked in a 400 degree oven for about a half an hour.

We steamed the broccoli in a steamer for 15 minutes.

JnJ night 2

JnJ night 3

We cooked and laughed and ate.  A good time was had by all.  And then there was the Lemon Cake Pie…

P.S. – This is what happened when I wanted to get a shot of the girls cooking…

JnJ night 4

Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash

I am a fan of the butternut squash.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2011.

I did not alter the recipe in any way.

Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb beef shoulder roast or petite tender roast, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tblsp olive oil
4 shallots, quartered
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
3 c cubed peeled butternut squash (1 inch cubes)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro – I skipped this.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add beef; toss well to coat.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over med-high heat.  Add beef and shallots; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic; cook 1  minute, stirring frequently.

Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Cook 5 minutes.  Add squash; cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

I served this sans cilantro (I can not stand the stuff) with brown rice.  Husband and I both really liked this dish.  Spicy, sweet and a good hearty meal for a cold fall night.