Butternut Squash Lasagna
I’m not a fan of fall weather, even more so when it comes to the season after fall, but I am a fan of many of the vegetables that pop up during these chilly months. From the winter squashes, to the greens, to the delicious root vegetables – the fall is well stocked with delicious vegetables. Today’s treat features a number of those goodies, including some of the last of the produce from the Farmer’s Market at my office. Butternut Squash is a familiar vegetable in our house and it really seems to go with everything. In this case I added some swiss chard, baby kale, and some mashed pie pumpkin (thought the variety was called baby boy but that just resulted in lots of baby costumes) that was leftover from making the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Lasagna will never be a healthy dinner option, and it’s not always the most budget-friendly option, but it will always be something delicious and hearty and fantastic. I figured that if I only make it a few times a year it’s not that bad…right??? I’m sending this recipe over to November’s Secret and in Season, which is being hosted by Katie of FeedingBoys and was founded by the awesome Ren. There are so many delicious fall recipes being linked up over there, I can’t wait to give them a whirl!!!
Spicy Kale and Tomato Sauce
It seems the end of one growing season is already here as I look outside to see lots of wilted greens that weren’t picked in time. I’m hopeful that the farmer’s markets but have some for at least the next week or two – but soon I’ll be forced back to the grocery store in order to get one of the staples of my diet: kale. It wasn’t too long ago that I was living a kale-free existence, unaware of this amazingly healthy and tasty treat. Now that I know it’s there – I essentially add it to everything! It adds the perfect crunch with just a hint of bitter, which is perfect for me since I’m allergic to the more common acids (aka citrus). I also understand that kale is not for everyone but I firmly think that’s just because everyone hasn’t tried kale!
I served this sauce over some whole wheat pasta but spaghetti squash or polenta would also work well. What’s next? Kale cookies? Kale Cake?? Probably not, but I plan to continue this love affair as long as possible – unless I turn my skin green in which case I might back off.
Now for other gardening news: first red tomato has been picked! There is one more that’s on the verge of ready and another 3 dozen or so close behind. I’ve also jumped up to 8 fairy eggplants and 5 jalapenos 🙂 I have a feeling July is going to be a delicious month!!!
I totally blame Becca over at Amuse Your Bouche for today’s post – when I saw her cheesy toast variation the other week I got a total craving. I don’t remember the first time I had cheesy toast but I’m going to guess it was a case of my mom not having enough bread for grilled cheese sandwich and going with an open-faced variation. Also should note as this point that I’m a HUGE fan of open-face sandwiches so thanks mom 🙂 This extends as far as stripping my burgers which is why I tend to load up my cheesy toast with all sorts of goodies. I want the bread to just barely be hanging on so in part it does become a balancing act of figuring out how many toppings a piece can handle. I also used two different spreads (or smears) as I couldn’t decide which one would work best, one being vegan and one being not so vegan. That is of course assuming that vegan bread is being used, something I can assume since I made my own peasant bread using dairy-free stick “butter”.
The more I use Daiya, the more I’m starting to enjoy it in the melted form. The texture still drives me crazy when it’s raw but that all goes away once it melts. I’m also hoping to find some more varieties of cashew cheese as there are occasions where I can’t melt the cheese but would still like to have some, such as cold salads. I’m also sending this open faced cheese sandwich over to 52weeksofcooking for their historic foods challenge since this Depression Era treat has become a comfort classic over the past (almost) 100 years. Also cool to note that the original version was open-faced and it wasn’t until the 60s that the top piece was added. Important to note that the cheese on toast is historically different than an open faced cheese sandwich, something that has been around since the 15th century – the toasting makes all the difference!
In gardening news, I have a good dozen green cherry tomatoes growing and today my first little pepper joined the party. I’ve also got lots of purple flowers on my fairy eggplant but so far no lil eggplants, fingers crossed that will change. I’ve never done a container garden before so I’m looking forward to seeing how it does in comparison to my awesome box garden. I’m also hoping that the guy who bought my place appreciates the awesome box garden and is using it.
Ignoring the random snow we had yesterday (none of which stuck), I think it might be safe to say that spring is finally here! I am ready for the ground to thaw so that I can start clearing out all the old beds and start figuring out my plan for this year. As far as gardening goes this year is going to be a pot garden, since there is no established garden at our new place and I have no idea what areas of the yard will get the right amount sun – with the exception of the patio. The few flower beds in the front of the house are home to a few types of ivy, both poisonous and non, so odds are nothing new will get planted there until I know the nasty stuff is gone. However the first step is going at least a week without frozen precipitation. Today’s recipe is wishful thinking in that it features all the vegetables that I’m hoping to grow in my garden. From tomatoes to spinach to red onion – this cheesy treat is packing with the good stuff!
I’ll always be a fan of dishes that allow for easy seasonal switches. Garden overflowing with zucchini? Toss them in! Growing three types of tomatoes? Add them all! I decided to stick with the spring greens but look forward to trying a summer variety in the coming months. With that in mind I’m sending this over to the amazing Ren and her Simple and in Season April blog challenge, which is being hosted by Michelle who blogs over at Utterly Scrumptious I can’t wait to see all the early Spring treats everyone will be sending in!!!
Root Vegetable “Lasagna”
Another day, another delicious recipe! I was hoping to start prepping some delicious spring-themed treats but apparently mother nature is not quite ready for that. As I’m writing this the temperature is preparing to drop some 40 degrees, and with the forecasted wind chill we’ll be back in the single digits. So instead of thinking up ways to use the asparagus that will soon be arriving in the market, I’m back to my winter favorites: root vegetables (and mushrooms)! This dish doesn’t really have a name as it’s a bit of a hybrid between an au gratin and a vegetable lasagna. While lasagna noodles could be used I’m trying to think outside the pasta box – and so I decided to use pan fried potatoes as my “pasta” with various vegetables in between.
Once plated this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, lots of white with a bit of green and orange for color – but it’s delicious! I served it with some crusty sourdough, but anything with a good crust will do well when it comes to getting every last bit of the sauce. I’m sending this on over to the amazing Ren who hosts Simple and in Season, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that winter will soon be over. As much as I enjoy root vegetables, I’m ready for some fresh greens and spring onions!
White Bean, Kale, and “Sausage” Soup
Today is the first Monday of February which means it’s time for the first 2014 post for Group A of the Secret Recipe Club! I am so thrilled to be starting another year with these awesome food bloggers and can’t wait to see what blogs I get partnered with, and what incredible dishes I’ll get to try. This month I was assigned Edesia’s Notebook which is the creation of Lesa. Her blog is stuffed with quick and easy recipes that are great for the entire family, which means I had really hard time deciding what to make. For a while I debated making something for the Super Bowl, like her sweet potato fries or cowboy beans before realizing that making something the day before was probably not the best idea. So I started searching for something that would work great on a weeknight, leading me to debate between her chickpea meatballs and her white bean, kale, and sausage soup. In the end the winter weather decided for me, since there are few things as satisfying as a warm bowl of soup on a snowy day. I made a few substitutions in this dish, veggie stock for chicken and tofurkey sausage for sausage – so make sure to check out her original recipe if you are craving the non-vegan version.
We enjoyed this dish with a nice green salad (courtesy of my MiL who joined us) and some vegetable crackers, creating the perfect meal. I have a feeling this dish would also adapt well for use in slow cooker, either cooking the sausage the night before or the morning of – and I plan on testing this theory shortly since we have two more winter storms heading our direction. Thanks Lesa for such an awesome winter recipe!
Super Greens with Polenta
I’ll admit it, I was a strange child. From a rather young age I greatly enjoyed vegetables (especially greens) and was known to trade away my lunch time sweets for carrot sticks – which I’m sure my classmates enjoyed. That’s not to say I would always pick a healthy treat over something sweet, but it made the challenge for this week a bit more challenging than normal. For /52weeksofcooking this week we are to cook with an ingredient we didn’t enjoy as a child, and that doesn’t leave me with much. Many commonly avoided vegetables weren’t served in my house and the few things I remember avoiding as a kid I still don’t eat: cottage cheese, tapioca pudding, porridge, and meat. Luckily my hubby was more of a “normal” child and gave me a rather large list of foods: broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, and anything spicy. So essentially anything green, which gave me lots to work with. I decided to pick a variety of greens, toss in some chickpeas, and serve everything over some baked polenta.
While I’m not sure which of us any future children might take after, it’ll be interesting to see where they fall when it comes to green food. Tho worst case scenario I can always sneak it in…