Butternut Squash Kale Lasagna

Lasagna 2 The Curvy Carrot

 

Hearty. Filling.  Cheesy.  Satisfying.

I’m describing this lasagna.

It’s a good one.  A keeper of a recipe, in fact.

There’s lots of different types of lasagnas out there.  Spinach, mushroom, veggie.  But I liked adapting this recipe because I hadn’t really tried a squash variant yet (which I know is pretty common.)  So here’s what I did:  I added in some onion and some extra mozzarella (really, I know this is supposed to be a “light” recipe, but I cannot eat lasagna without a few pieces of glorious melted mozzarella on top.)  And I loved the idea of a cheesy béchamel sauce instead of a tomato-based sauce (again…maybe not so much in the way of being “light”, but it was heavenly.)  I made a giant pan of this and then promptly froze half of it for random weeknights when I don’t feel like cooking (which might be tonight.)  It reheats nicely as leftovers, too, which is always a positive thing.

Add in extra vegetables here if you want.   Some shredded carrots or mushrooms would be great.  And play around with the cheese as well.  I know Gruyere isn’t the cheapest option out there, but I splurged and it was worth it. (Well, really, any cheese is worth it to me, so there you go.)  Enjoy.

 

Lasagna 3 The Curvy Carrot

 

 

Butternut Squash Kale Lasagna

Servings:  6-8

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

One 1 to 1.5 pound butternut squash, roasted and cooled, peeled, and cut into cubes

One head kale (doesn’t matter which type), leaves torn and stems discarded

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 and 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic, plus an additional 1 teaspoon

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 and 3/4 cups milk, divided (I used skim.)

2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided

1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

One package (9 ounces) whole wheat no-boil lasagna noodles

1 cup Mozzarella, shredded  (or more, if you are heavy-handed like me)

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. For the filling: In a large saute pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and heat until shimmering.

3. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Add 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

5. Carefully add the cooked cubed squash and cook, mashing the squash gently, until it is heated through, about 1-2 minutes.

6. In batches, add the kale until it is wilted and softened, stirring frequently.

7. Add the oregano and the red pepper flakes, stirring to combine.  Remove the mixture from the heat to cool.

8. For the béchamel: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.

9. Add the remaining 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic; cook for about 2 minutes or until the garlic begins to brown, stirring occasionally.

10. Whisk the flour and 1/2 cup of the milk in a small bowl until smooth.

11. Add the milk mixture and the remaining 2 1/4 cups milk to the saucepan; increase heat to medium-high.

12. Bring the mixture to a boil; cook for about 1 minute or until thickened, stirring frequently; remove from heat.

13. Stir in 1 ounce Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper; stir until cheese melts.

14.  Coat baking dish  or lasagna pan with cooking spray.

15. Spread 1/3 cup milk mixture in the bottom of dish. Arrange the lasagna noodles over the milk mixture; top with half of squash mixture and 2/3 cup milk mixture, followed by a thin layer of mozzarella.

16. Repeat the layers once, ending with remaining noodles and remaining milk mixture.  Sprinkle the top with any remaining mozzarella cheese.

17. Cover the with foil; bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

18. Remove the foil; sprinkle remaining Gruyère on top. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.

 

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

March 6, 2014 - 10:52 am

Katrina @ WVS - I like all kinds of lasagna! This one looks awesome – thanks for sharing! xx

March 7, 2014 - 11:53 am

Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice - I love butternut squash lasagna! Adding kale sounds great. Well done!

March 8, 2014 - 7:45 am

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - I think it’s worth splurging on the cheese as lasagna usually goes a long way. Your photos have really sold this to me … pinning it!

March 8, 2014 - 7:28 pm

Joanne - I take LOTS OF CHEESE over “light” anyday! This looks like one glorious plate of comfort!

March 10, 2014 - 12:46 pm

Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate - In my opinion white lasagna is the only way to go, I love that this does not contain tomato sauce!

March 12, 2014 - 5:04 pm

Carol at Wild Goose Tea - I with Joanne with heavy on the cheese. It is amazing to me the spectrum of lasagna recipes! It’s like the world woke up one day and said, “Hey I have an idea! Let’s get down right Wild Wild Wild with lasagna!” Apparently it was pretty easy to get others to sign that petition. I would.

March 16, 2014 - 11:36 pm

Amber Freitas - My favorite veggie (and my 6 year o.d’s too!) is the sweet potato, or yam, I can never remember which is which :) I like the ones with the deep red/orange flesh. They are so delicious as a side dish, baked with just a pat of butter and salt/pepper. Or even as a main dish with some black beans, grated cheese, baked again to melt it then add green onions and sour cream. Yum!

March 16, 2014 - 11:39 pm

Amber Freitas - I also LOVE butternut squash, and have been getting into Kale more lately, so will def have to try this recipe, it sounds declicious (with you all on the heavy handed cheese).

Raspberry Apricot Scones

Scones 2 The Curvy Carrot

 

I made some “proper” British-style scones after I saw this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated.  As a devoted fan of Downton Abbey, I felt that this recipe might be a little more appropriate than some of the other “American-style” scones I’ve posted in the past.  I also didn’t realize that the season was wrapping up a couple of weeks ago.  I found it a little odd that I had taped two hours worth of Downton but just figured that it was a special or something like that.

I nestled in, cup of tea in one hand and one of these scones in the other.  Sweatpants, warm fuzzy socks, and a freshly clean blanket wrapped around me.  Somehow, as embarrassing as this seems (and yes, I am telling you this), I feel like a part of the cast in a way.  (Sidenote:  have you ever taken one of those “Who Are You?” quizzes that everyone was posting on Facebook a few weeks back?  I totally took the Downton Abbey one and got Anna.  Which made me happy because I love her.)  All I needed was a dress with some serious intricate beadwork and a beautiful long necklace (those costumes have got to be so beautiful in person.)

Anyways, these scones are incredible.  Not too dense, not too light.  Full of flavor…and perfect with any type of tea.  I had some dried raspberries and apricots on hand so I decided to use these here (the original recipe calls for currants.)  Use whatever kind of dried fruit you like here-and play around with different combinations.

When the last episode ended (with warm fuzzes, thankfully, as compared to last season’s traumatizing and tear-inducing finale), I suddenly realized that the season was over.  As bummed as I was about that, these scones made it a bit better.  And now the wait begins for the next season……

 

Scones 3 The Curvy Carrot

 

Raspberry Apricot Scones

Servings: 12 scones

 

Ingredients

 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened

1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dried raspberries

1 cup milk (I used skim.)

2 large eggs

 

 

Scones 4 The Curvy Carrot

 

Instructions

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined.

3. Add the butter and pulse until fully incorporated and the dough looks like coarse sand, about 20 pulses.

4. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and add in the apricots and raspberries, stirring until combined.

5.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs, setting aside 2 tablespoons of the milk mixture.

6. Add the remaining milk mixture to the flour mixture and, using rubber spatula, fold together until thoroughly combined.

7.  Transfer the dough to a clean, flat, and floured surface and gather the dough into a ball.

8. Knead the dough until the surface is smooth and free of cracks, 25 to 30 times, and press gently into a disk.

9. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough disk into a 9-inch round, about 1 inch thick.

10. Using a 2  and 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out rounds, pressing down directly without twisting the cutter.  Gather up the remaining dough and roll it out again, then cut out rounds.  Repeat until all the dough is used.

11. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet.

12. Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved milk mixture.

13. Bake the scones until risen and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

14. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.

 

Source:  Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. 

March 4, 2014 - 6:29 am

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody) - My hubby and I are hooked on Downton Abbey too. Coooome on next season! We make scones regularly (we’re Australian). You should try pumpkin scones. :)

March 4, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Katrina @ WVS - Proper scones like this are so good – I love the apricots in them :)

March 4, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Maria Tadic - If these scones are anything like those pumpkin chocolate chip ones, they’ll be amazing! And I’m so sad Downton Abbey is over the for the year – we have to wait til 2015!!! Craziness…

March 5, 2014 - 12:30 am

Joanne - I am TOTALLY in Downton withdrawal! Maybe if I make afternoon tea a daily thing it will help? Only one way to find out!

March 5, 2014 - 11:42 am

Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice - These have been on my list to make ever since I saw this in Cook’s Illustrated! I blogged about vanilla bean scones in January, so I think I’ll make these and do a post soon. :) Love Downton Abbey!

March 10, 2014 - 10:16 am

dina - they sound delightful. i love scones!

March 10, 2014 - 1:23 pm

Coleen @ The Redhead Baker - These sound delicious! But I’ve never seen dried raspberries. Where would I find them?

March 10, 2014 - 3:17 pm

srlacy - Hi Coleen-

How are you? I found them in the bulk dried fruit section of my local Whole Foods. Yum!

Spinach, Mushroom and Truffled Gouda Quiche

The Curvy Carrot-Quiche

Saying “no” can sometimes be a really hard thing for me.  For a really long time, I said “yes” to everyone and everything: over-committing, over-pleasing, and over-extending.  Which eventually would horrendously backfire, of course.  Because then, inevitably, I would grow resentful, not only of the person/obligation/duty that I had tried to please, but also of myself.

And resenting yourself is probably one of the worst feelings in the world.

And trying to find balance (or sanity) in this over-connected, over-stimulated, and sometimes over-involved world can be a really hard thing (I can simultaneously post to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter my random pictures to ensure that you have seen them at least twice!)  I cannot even imagine the busy lives of my friends who have children, have jobs, but also involve themselves in other activities.  I’m astonished and inspired by these people and wonder how they get enough sleep.   I honestly think I have a much lower threshold for being able to “do it all”.

So I’ve been cutting back on saying “yes” to some of the things that make me feel obligated to others.  At first it was really hard and I felt really guilty, especially if those people continued to want or ask for more committments, even after I had said “no, and this is why….”.  Sometimes even a valid healthy reason to someone isn’t enough, and that’s when it’s time to cut the strings.

I had felt this odd sense of pressure and unbalance for a while, and then I realized that I was letting things get out of control.  I need my days to clean my apartment, fold laundry, and vaccuum instead of feeling pressure to go out to dinner again.  As much as those are “my chores”, I need them-because if my apartment is cluttered and messy, I start feeling angry and pressured to clean it.  I need time to randomly take a bubble bath or maybe read a bit before going to bed each night instead of feeling obligated to run out the door again.  I need time to decompress each night after work before diving in to working on something else.  I need time to Facetime with my family members out of state or have long phone calls with friends from out of town.  In order to do all these things, I have to say “no” sometimes to other things.  And, I’m realizing that not only is it ok, but I feel way better when I do this.  It’s a good feeling.  I kind of have to wonder if this is why so many people are so angry all the time.  Because, believe me, I can totally relate to that sometimes.

One thing that I will say “yes” to, however, would be a quiche like this.  It’s relatively simple to make, freezes extremely well, and also reheats nicely for work week leftover lunches.  And, like all quiches, your creative liberty with ingredients is generous.  Add in what you like, omit what you don’t: it’s all good.   I used a gouda that I found on sale that was truffle-flavored, but you could use whatever kind of cheese you like. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner:  a quiche is a mighty good thing.

 Quiche1 The Curvy Carrot

 

Spinach, Mushroom, and Truffled Gouda Quiche

Servings: about 6-8

 

For the crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons milk (I used skim.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk

1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

For the filling:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas.)

One 5-ounce package of Earthbound Farm baby spinach

1 cup milk

3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gouda cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of grated nutmeg

3 large eggs

IMG_5700

Instructions

 

1. For the crust:  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer)  beat the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, salt, and egg yolk.

3.  Add the milk mixture to  the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour; beat just until combined.

5. Press the dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover. Chill for at least 1 hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7. Unwrap and place  the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 10-inch circle.

8.  Using your fingers, gently press the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, and freeze for about 15 minutes.

9. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

10. For the filling:  heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.

11.  Add the onion; sauté for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized.

12. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms lose some of their moisture, about 4-5 minutes.

13.  In batches, add the spinach;  cooking until the spinach wilts, another 5 minutes or so.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

14.  In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 cup milk, Gouda, salt, nutmeg, and eggs.

15. Add the egg mixture to the cooked spinach, stirring to thoroughly combine.

16. Pour filling into the prepare crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the custard is thoroughly set.

 

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light, as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

February 27, 2014 - 1:36 pm

Katrina @ WVS - Starting to say “no” is hands down the reason why I have any inch of sanity. It’s the piece of advice I would give to any girl in her late twenties!! Also, this quiche? I’m all over it!

February 27, 2014 - 11:24 pm

Shannon - Oh, goodness! I can totally relate to everything you just said. My “me” time is SO necessary to my sanity–even if it consists of not-so-fun household chores. Take the time to do these little things away from me, and I turn into a crazy person! Thanks for sharing this AND that amazing looking quiche :)

March 1, 2014 - 3:41 pm

Joanne - I am pretty bad at saying no also, even though I do need a pretty serious amount of alone time in order to feel balanced and okay…and then even when I DO say no, I’m often double guessing myself. I need to own my decisions! And not care so much whether other people will be disappointed.

I love a good quiche…you can always stuff so much cheese and veggies in, and know it will taste good!