Thursday, October 18, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Image credit: Kristina Gill via Design Sponge

I loved this recipe found on Design Sponge via Pinterest! (I would recommend clicking on the original recipe to see more of their beautiful photos of the process.) One of my favorite things to pick up at Farmer's Markets is Butternut Squash. I made soup with it last time I got it, and this time I was dying to try this new recipe, and it did not disappoint. I figured since I already had fresh mozzarella and a block of Parm cheese, it was the perfect time to make it. It was a bit time-consuming, but well worth all of the effort. It would be a lovely dish to serve to company. 

Butternut Squash Lasagna 

1 Large Butternut squash – Peeled, cored and sliced thin 1/4 inch
1 stick Butter, separated
¼ Cup Flour
3 ½ Cups Whole Milk
6 cloves Garlic
1 handful Spinach
1 bunch Italian Parsley
10 to 14 Pasta Sheets (I bought "no boil" noodles to avoid cooking noodles separately. I was tempted to buy fresh pasta sheets from local Italian Deli, but decided to stay on-budget :-)
3 Cups Shredded Mozzarella (I used thinly sliced fresh mozzarella from Costco)
½ Cup Parmesan (freshly grated is my fave - we usually have this on hand in fridge.)
10 each Sage Leaves – Sliced Thin
1 Lemon – Zest
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

1) Roast butternut squash:
Pre-heat oven to 375F. I used a large baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil and placed the squash slices on it, seasoned with salt and pepper, repeated another layer until all the butternut is layered. Covered with foil and baked for about 10- 15 minutes until the squash is cooked yet still firm enough to break apart.

2) Make cream sauce:
While squash is roasting, start on your roux: ½ stick of butter in the pot and melt until almost browned, whisk in the flour and continue to cook for about 30 seconds, slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, Add the garlic and continue to cook at a medium heat until mixture thickens (took me about 30 minutes total, I think.) Transfer the mixture to the food processor (or blender) and blend in the Spinach/parsley. Season with salt and Pepper.

3) Assemble and bake lasagna:
Rub the Baking dish with a little butter and begin the layers: Cream Sauce, pasta sheets, Mozza, Parma, butternut – Repeat. Make sure the top layer has cheese on top. Cover with Foil and Bake for 40 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 15 or until the top is crispy golden brown.

4) Serve with Sage/Lemon Brown Butter:
While lasagna rests for 10 minutes before serving, make your Sage/Lemon Brown Butter: In small saut̩ pan bring the remaining 1/2 stick butter to a light brown color РVery hot and bubbling add sage, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Spoon over a little on each piece.

Voila, truly delicious and full of winning combination flavors. And yes, men like it, too.  :-)
Image credit: Kristina Gill via Design Sponge

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lasagna Soup

My sister Jessica told me about this dinner a little while ago, and I forgot about it until I saw it on Pinterest recently. To save a few bucks, I didn't add the Ricotta cheese or fresh basil at the end. But I did use fresh mozzarella cheese, which melted perfectly in the soup after serving, which I think I'd like better than Ricotta cheese anyways.

I adapted the recipe from A Farm Girl's Dabble. (Check out her photo, it is much more appetizing than mine.)

Lasagna Soup (Yield: 8 servings)

  • 2 tsp. olive oil 
  • 1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage 
  • 3 c. chopped onions (I used one large sweet onion)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 1/4 - 1/2  tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (depends if you want it with a kick or not)
  • 3 T. tomato paste 
  • 28-oz. can diced tomatoes 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 6 c. chicken stock 
  • 8 oz. mafalda or fusilli pasta 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1- 2 c. shredded FRESH mozzarella cheese 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. 
  2. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. 
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy and absorb all the soup broth. 
  5. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 
  6. While the pasta is cooking, grate your parmesan and mozzarella cheese. 
  7. Serve soup with Sprinkled cheese on top and mix individually so it melts in the soup. YUM!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blue Cheese Chicken Wing Dip

I made this for our housewarming party this weekend and it was the BOMB! Big hit at the party.
Our realtor Mel is a fabulous cook and also does cooking classes on the side gave me a cookbook with some appetizer recipes, and this recipe was on the first page. After reading it, I thought it sounded so tasty, and I knew Jeremy would love it.

I bought a rotisserie chicken from Costco and shredded the meat the day before, so 1/2 before the party started I dumped all the ingredients into a saucepan and cooked til bubbly. You can serve it with celery sticks (my favorite), carrot sticks, chips, or baguette slices.

Ingredients : 

  • 1 large rotisserie chicken, all meat shredded
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 bottle (depends on the heat you can handle!!) of Frank's "Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce"
  • 12-16 ounces (Lighthouse brand) blue cheese dressing

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan; heat over low heat until hot and bubbly. Stir constantly. Spoon into serving dish.

Friday, April 6, 2012

PW's Asian Hot "drumsticks"

Howdy. This was a fun and different dinner I made last night. I made a mental note while watching one of the Pioneer Woman's shows on the foodnetwork when she did Superbowl party food, including Asian Hot Wings. So the other day while at grocery I saw these beautiful big Chicken drumsticks on sale, and thought I'd love to make a dinner vs. appetizer with a similar recipe. Especially after I bought PW's newest cookbook, that has the Asian Hot Wings as well as Peach-whisky BBQ drumsticks. I used the "sauce" recipe from the wings, and the chicken cooking method from the drumsticks; served it with white rice and steamed zucchini --- and voila, a tasty meal, indeed. The drumsticks were cooked low and slow (300 degrees for 1.5 hours) and the result was a completely tender juicy meat. I will use this same method in future for drumsticks with just bbq sauce. The sauce was delicious, and I didn't have the guts to make it as spicy as hers. I used 1 tsp vs. 1 tbsp. of red pepper flakes. And I used 1/2 of jalepeno vs 3-4 whole hotter peppers. My sauce still had kick, but suitable for me and Pearce (our 2 yr. old).

I used half of the sauce and brushed it on the drumsticks before baking. By the end it had kind of melted all to the bottom of the pan. I saved the remaining sauce to spoon on top for serving.

Here is my adapted version of PW's Asian Hot Wings

10 plump chicken drumsticks
2-3 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup plum jelly (this was really hard to find. I called 3 grocery stores before finding it.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped red onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2-1 jalapeno, minced

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken in pan skin side down. Brown both sides, then move to large baking dish.
2.  Add the plum jelly to a bowl. Then stir in the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add the brown sugar, ginger, red onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and hot peppers. Stir to combine, and then pour it into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the sauce until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat.
3.  Brush/spoon the sauce over the top of each drumstick, reserving some sauce for serving.
4.  Cover and put dish in oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from oven.
5.  Serve chicken in dishes, and then spoon extra sauce over the top. Served with white rice and steamed zucchini.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Brown Sugar Pecan Salmon & Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Thyme and Garlic

almost shoulda coulda taken a pic of this tonight. i haven't even posted on this bloggie in forever, and i'm pretty sure the only people who have this on google reader is Elise and maybe Shannon. :-) So hello!!!

BUT -- this dinner was so flippin good, I was just gonna email the recipe to myself (which inevitably gets lost in my inbox) then I remember this blog, and thought this is a much better place to keep it to use for future. B/c this one will definitely get used again. Probably when we have company over for dinner and get a larger piece of salmon from Costco, vs 1 pound from local grocer.

Salmon Fillets With Brown Sugar Pecan Glaze
Adapted from

4 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon water
4 salmon fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

In a small nonstick pan, brown the pecans lightly over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add the brown sugar, butter, and water; heat until simmering (about 3-5 minutes). Set aside.

Heat oven to 425°. In an ovenproof skillet (I used an All-Clad pan, but I also read in the comments section that someone transfered salmon and olive oil from pan into glas baking dish) over medium-high heat; heat the olive oil. Once oil is hot, add salmon, skin side down and sear for about 2 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the fillets for 5 minutes. Spoon glaze over salmon fillets and continue roasting for about 5 minutes longer, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.  (We ended up cooking ours for about 15 minutes total, but it's because our fillets were pretty big and thick.) Turn the oven off and let salmon stand in the oven for 2 minutes.

Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Epicurious

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
Fresh thyme leaves from about 2-3 sprigs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (for just a tad bit of kick!)

Preheat oven to 450°F. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and toss. Arrange potato slices in single layer on heavyweight rimmed baking sheet or in 13x9-inch baking dish. Place on top rack of oven and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 30-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Also served plain white rice to round off the plate. :-) Those pecans with the brown sugar caramelized were seriously like candy. I wouldn't mind adding more of that topping.