Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna

finished piece

I am so happy that Passover is over and I have my kitchen back to normal. I have a love/hate relationship with Passover, and I’m just ready for some more low-key time in the kitchen.

This fabulous lasagna brings two of my favorite ingredients together. I love butternut squash and kale in so many ways, be it a hash or a salad. For some reason, they just go together!

This squash was actually purchased for Passover and I had intended to turn it in to this fabulous kosher-for-passover lasagna from Joy of Kosher. It was a huge hit last year, but I just didn’t get the chance to make it this year. So this dish is somewhat inspired by that amazing lasagna.

I like to use the no-boil lasagna pasta sheets because I’m lazy it skips one long step and they seem to work well.

I started by cutting down the squash. I peel off the hard skin and then using my trusty OXO peeler, I peel long strips of squash, using the full length of the squash. For this lasagna, used around 3 cups of squash strips, but you can certainly use more or less.

peeling butternut.jpg

I then cooked my kale and white sauce simultaneously.

I lightly sautéed the chopped kale in olive oil with fresh garlic. I didn’t need it to wilt completely. I just wanted some of the raw edge off of the leaves.

kale

While  the kale cooked down, I tackled the white sauce.

I heated up some olive oil in a pan with garlic, sage, thyme and chopped onion. Once they were soft, I added some flour to the mix, cooked that a bit and then whisked in some milk. Once the mixture thickened, I added some freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt and some black pepper.

I remove both of the pans from the heat.

I then got to work on the lasagna.

I layered each of the ingredients in my pan. This recipe makes a 9×13  or two 8×8 square pans of lasagna. I used the square pans because they were more easily accessible after I was unpacking my kitchen from Pesach mode.

I ladled some of the white sauce on to the bottom of the pan. I then added the pasta sheets. I spread some ricotta cheese over the pasta. I then added the chopped kale, then the thick layer of squash strips, then some sage leaves, then a small sprinkle of mozzarella and then more white sauce. I repeated this layer and when the pan was full and I used up the sauce, I topped everything with shredded parmesan cheese and more mozzarella. I also sprinkled on some more herbs and black pepper.

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I baked everything in the oven until the cheese was bubbly and beginning to brown. We dug in. Amazing! My husband and daughter had two helpings! Totally making this dish again!

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Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dairy, Pasta, Entree
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash, skin removed
  • 1 package No-Boil Lasagna Sheets
  • Sage Leaves, About 16-20
  • 1 14oz. container of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 8oz. package of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Additional Parmesan Cheese
White Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from stem
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese shreds
For the Kale Layer
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 cups chopped kale (I like the bag from Trader Joe's)
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise. I use the peeler to get thin slices of the squash. Peel about 3 cups of squash and set aside.
For the white sauce
  1. Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion, garlic and herbs. Once the onion and garlic have softened, add in the flour. Whisk quickly and then turn the heat to medium-low and whisk in the milk. Let the mixture thicken and add in salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Remove from heat.
For the Kale
  1. Heat up the oil oil in a large pan and add in the garlic and kale. Let the kale saute a bit so it softens. You are just trying to get the edge off a bit. You don't need it to cook down completely.
On to the Lasagna
  1. In a 9x13, ladle a bit of the white sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Lay down the lasagna noodles and spread a layer of ricotta cheese over the noodles.
  3. Next, layer the kale then the butternut squash strips with some sage. Sprinkle a small amount of mozzarella over that and then ladle some more white sauce. Repeat the layering process again.
  4. For the final step, ladle the rest of the sauce over the pan and then sprinkle on some more mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle on some black pepper to taste and some extra chopped sage and thyme.
  5. Bake for around 40 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
  6. Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Freezer-Friendly Meals

freezer friendly meals

I’m preparing to go to Israel for a couple of weeks for a work conference. So in addition to preparing for the big conference, I’m also preparing the house and the family for my being gone for two weeks. I know that the house can run without me, but I panic. I’ve been gone for a week before, but never two! My husband isn’t a bad cook, but he is limited in the kitchen and has limited time for recipes. I decided that I needed to come up with a food plan ahead of time. I began planning a month in advance. I set aside my Sundays for cooking and freezing a few dishes to ensure that my kids would not be feasting on ramen and Wacky Mac each night. Mind you, they’d be thrilled with those options. I just want some more nutritious options in their bellies. I also wanted to make it easy on my babysitter. A simple reheat makes things uncomplicated. Everything is properly wrapped and labeled. All that needs to be done is a quick chopped salad and dinner is done!

Here are some of the dishes I already have ready to go:

French Onion Soup | Carrot Ginger Soup | Moroccan Lentil Soup | White Bean and Kale Soup | Split Pea Soup | Vegetarian Chili | Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos | Mushroom and Onion Quiche | Baked Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese | Eggplant Pasta Bake | Homemade Pizza Bagels | Veggie Burgers | Veggie Meatballs and Sauce | Quesadilla Pie | Quinoa and Chickpea Loaf | Lentil Sloppy Joes

*Please let me know if you’d like me to post he recipes to any of the above dishes that aren’t already linked
and I will try to make them a future feature.

P.S. If you have any great foodie suggestions in Israel, let me know in the comments below!

While trying to come up with my own menu plan, I sought out some help from many of my foodie friends. Sharing some fantastic ideas with you here! Do you have a favorite freezer-friendly dish? Share them in the comments below.

Soups:

Roasted Winter Vegetable Chowder – Kitchen Treaty

Crockpot Pumpkin Red Lentil Chili – Kitchen Treaty

Slow-Cooked Split Pea Soup – This American Bite

Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk – JewHungry

Roasted Red Pepper Soup – Tales of an Overtime Cook

Main Dishes:

Baked Falafel  – May I Have That Recipe

Pretzel and Cashew Crusted Tofu – May I Have That Recipe

Crepe Lasagna – Because I Like Chocolate

Green Mac & Cheese – The Kosher Foodies

Whole Wheat Cabbage & Mushroom Galette – The Kosher Foodies

Peas and Shells with Vegan Alfredo – JewHungry

Eggplant Casserole – EverydayMaven

Asparagus, Dill & Onion Egg Casserole – EverydayMaven

Sides:

Broccoli Kugel Muffins – Tales of an Overtime Cook

Mushroom and Leek Savory Bread Pudding

A few years ago, I had some random chunks of bread that were taking up space in my freezer. I had company coming over and it occurred to me to turn that leftover bread in to a casserole or bread pudding of sorts. I am not a big fan of sweet bread puddings, so the savory version seemed like the right course of action.

The bread pudding was a huge hit at that brunch.

Savory Bread Pudding

 

Fast forward a few years. I recently found myself planning Shavuot meals. On Shavuot, it is customary to eat dairy meals. I decided to turn back to that bread pudding I made a few years ago. We still love it and I decided to share it here.

Enjoy!

 

Mushroom and Leek Savory Bread Pudding
 
Author:
Recipe type: Casserole
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 leeks, cleaned and sliced in to thin rounds
  • 15 oz. baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups half & half
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cheddar and jack shredded cheese blend
  • additional salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups cubed pumpernickel bread, crusts removed
  • 3 cups cubed italian bread, crusts removed
  • olive oil spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat up the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan.
  3. Add in the onions, garlic and leeks and sauté for about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the sliced mushrooms and cook for another few minutes.
  5. Stir in the fresh herbs, salt and pepper and cook another two minutes.
  6. Cook until all of the veggies have softened. Remove from heat and set mixture aside.
  7. While the veggies cook, you can quickly prep the bread cubes and get to work on those.
  8. Spray a large baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  9. Place the bread cubes on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread cubes start to brown.
  10. Remove from oven and set aside.
  11. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, broth, half and half, additional spices, half of the parmesan cheese and half of the shredded cheese.
  12. Add the lightly toasted bread cubes to the egg mixture.
  13. Stir the vegetable mixture into the egg mixture.
  14. Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
  15. Pour the mixture in to a 9"x13" pan.
  16. Sprinkle over the remaining cheeses.
  17. Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes or until pudding is set and cheese starts to bubble and brown.
  18. Remove from oven and let sit a bit before serving.
  19. Enjoy!

 

Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

One of my favorite meals is breakfast, but I rarely give it the honor it deserves. I find it hard to devote time for it. The perfect breakfast for me would be later in the morning,  but leisurely. It would probably be a brunch. I don’t have the patience to go beyond the coffee too early in the morning. I love eggs though, and I love other typical breakfast food.

Spinach-Breakfast-Casserole-confident-cook

I had an abundance of spinach in my house. So, I decided to turn some of it in to breakfast food. I came up with this breakfast casserole. I am so happy with the way it turned out. I had to share it with you.


Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Ingredients:

oil spray
1 bag pre-cooked hash browns (I like to use Alexia or Simply Potatoes)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 oz. mushrooms, sliced (cremini, white button combo)
3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1.5 cups shredded swiss or gruyere cheese, or a combo of both
2 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
8  extra-large eggs
4 tbsp. half & half
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. ground pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with the oil spray.

Empty the bag of the hashbrown potatoes in to the pan.

Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until you see the edges begin to brown.

When done, remove from oven.

Layer the onions and garlic, then the mushrooms and then the spinach over the potatoes.

Layer the shredded cheese over the veggie mixture.

Whisk together the eggs with the half & half and the rest of the spices. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven at 375 for around 25-30 minutes or until the eggs are set.

Remove from oven and serve.

Enjoy!

Spinach-casserole-confident-cook
Spinach and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • oil spray
  • 1 bag pre-cooked hash browns (I like to use Alexia or Simply Potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 oz. mushrooms, sliced (cremini, white button combo)
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 cups shredded swiss or gruyere cheese, or a combo of both
  • 2 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • 4 tbsp. half & half
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with the oil spray.
  3. Empty the bag of the hashbrown potatoes in to the pan. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until you see the edges begin to brown. When done, remove from oven.
  4. Layer the onions and garlic, then the mushrooms and then the spinach over the potatoes. Layer the shredded cheese over the veggie mixture.
  5. Whisk together the eggs with the half & half and the rest of the spices.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies.
  7. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.
  8. Bake in the oven at 375 for around 25-30 minutes or until the eggs are set.
  9. Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche with an Almond Crustlut

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Just the other day, I participated in this fantastic Hamentaschen contest. I spent the early evening hours rolling out dough and shaping hamentaschen – over and over and over. So you could understand that I will not be hanging out with any rolling pins for the next long while. It was a fun day though, and the Hamentaschen were fantastic. I went the untraditional route with a caramelized onion, mushroom, garlic, thyme and gruyere filling. It just so happens that I over prepared. I made about twice the filling than was necessary. Oops. After brainstorming a bit, I decided to make a quiche with some of the leftover filling. Easy enough. But there’s that pesky rolling pin involved with quiche. I don’t like buying prepared crusts. I decided to put together an easy almond crust. It’s gluten free and also kosher for Passover. Perfect timing. This came together very quickly and I will definitely be making this again for Pesach.

Gluten Free Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche (Kosher for Passover)
Ingredients:

Filling:
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground pepper
5 cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. ground pepper
1/3 cup shredded swiss or gruyere cheese
4 Eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground pepper
Crust:
1.5 cups almond meal
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. water
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

For the filling, heat up the butter and olive oil in a pan.  Add in the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes and let the liquid from the mushrooms evaporate. Add in the spices and turn heat down to medium low. Cook for around 20 minutes and let everything caramelize.  Once done, set the pan aside.

Start preparing the crust. Mix all of the crust ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread the almond meal mixture in to a pie plate.

Crust Stuff

Bake the crust for 10-13 minutes.  Remove from the oven.

Beat the eggs and the milk with a whisk in a small bowl. Mix in the salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the cheese on the bottom of the crust.
Top with the onion mixture.  Pour the egg mixture over the onions.
Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Quiche2

Serve quiche with a nice and hearty salad or a warm bowl of soup. Enjoy!

Quiche1

Mushroom, Spinach, and White Bean Casserole

Recently, I have been on this casserole kick. Don’t know where it came from. I didn’t grow up with casseroles. When I hear the word “casserole,” I think of Paula Deen and her twang as she talks about adding mayonaisse and cream of mushroom soup to cans of green beans. Definitely not my kind of cooking. The other kind of casserole I kind of know are the hotdishes of the tater tot variety that I use to see at various Minnesota potluck dinners. Again, not my taste. Though I do love tater tots. One day I will turn tater tot hotdish in to a healthier me kind of dish.

This morning I cooked up some brown rice, and had a nice vegetable market haul sitting in my fridge. I decided to elevate the casserole and the brown rice in to a mighty tasty dinner. Behold, the healthy and hearty casserole!

Mushroom, Spinach, and White Bean Casserole (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
Ingredients:

10 oz. chopped mushrooms (I used a mixture of crimini and white)
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.5 cups chopped spinach
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 handfuls of shredded cheese (I used cheddar and monterey jack)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup parmesean cheese
2 tsp. tarragon
2 tsp. thyme
ground black pepper
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

In a large pan saute the mushrooms in some olive oil. Add a bit of salt. Stir.

Add in the onions and garlic. Saute a few minutes. Add in the spinach and the beans. Let some of the liquid evaporate. Add in the rice mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and spices. 
Combine the rice mixture and cottage cheese mixture in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.

Pour mixture in to baking dish. I used a 9×13 and a 9×9. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle some of the chopped tarragon, and the remaining Parmesan.

Enoy!

Vegan Green Bean Casserole -Thanksgiving Redux

I never had a casserole growing up. Not even a bite of one of those canned french fried onions! Imagine that!


Casseroles always piqued my curiosity. These four ingredient dishes that look so easy and convenient. What could be wrong with that? Of course the ingredients scared me. A can of this with a bag of that and throw in some can of cream soup. Yikes! MSG + Fat + unidentified objects. Seriously? I’m supposed to eat that?

This year was the first year I was hosting Thanksgiving. I wanted to do it right. Wanted to bring in some of that “traditional” American Thanksgiving that I didn’t grow up with.

One of the iconic dishes that comes with tradition is the green bean casserole.

How could I make it kosher and tasty and healthier was my question.

Here is what I came up with.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole (adapted from a recipe on vegweb.com)
Ingredients:

1.5 cups vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
1 cup baby bell mushrooms, chopped
1 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
basil, a few leaves, chopped
oregano, a bunch of leaves, chopped
sage leaves, a few – chopped
thyme, a few sprigs, chopped
salt
pepper
cayenne
2 tbsp. corn starch
3 tbsp. cold water
16oz. cut green beans (I used frozen)
1.5 cans of those crunchy french fried onions (I found them at whole foods and trader joes)
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a saucepan, heat the soy milk and broth.

In another pan, saute the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and carrots. Add the herbs. I like to add a teaspoon or two of cayenne to bump up the heat a bit, but it’s purely optional. Saute on medium until everything is soft.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the cold water. Add it to the broth mixture to thicken it.

Add the green beans and sauteed veggie mixture to the broth mixture. Mix in a half a can of the fried onions. Pour the mixture into a baking pan. I used a 9×9 pan, but I could have used something slightly larger. Sprinkle more fried onions over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes.

To be honest, I was surprised that I actually liked this. It had some sort of comforting taste to it. I probably won’t make it again for at least another year. It’s not bad though. Just not what we are used to eating. You have to make it once, though. Enjoy!
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