Not Your Nona’s Lasagna

I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. But when I saw a recipe for pumpkin and kale lasagna, I shuddered and moved on. However, it kept calling my name and I looked at it more closely.

It certainly intrigued me. After all, I love pumpkin, and I love lasagna. I even love kale, with certain reservations. But the recipe was loaded with heavy and calorie-laden ingredients that seemed unnecessary, and kale sauteed in garlic added to pumpkin was too much for me to even think about.

I had a few other misgivings as well, so I incorporated a few of my sneaky ninja moves, as well as substituted almond milk for whole milk to come up with something that might be palatable.

One weekend afternoon, it was time to test it. However, before tying on my apron, I warned my husband that we might be doing take-out at the last minute. We didn’t. The lasagna was delicious, and we ate the entire pan in 3 days. It’s not your typical Italian lasagna, which is why I call it “Not Your Nona’s Lasagna.”

2 15 oz cans 100% pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

10 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP flour

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp ground nutmeg

8 oz mozzarella cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese

2 1/2 cups sliced almonds

About 8 ready-to-bake lasagna noodles (Or, you could boil traditional noodles, but who’s got the time)?

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese with the Parmesan and mix well. Lightly spray a large baking pan with non stick spray or olive oil. Spread half of the pumpkin mixture in the bottom of the pan. Top with 1 cup sliced almonds, followed with half of the spinach, and then half of the cheese mixture. Add a layer of ready to bake lasagna noodles.

Spread the remaining pumpkin mixture over the noodles, followed with 1 cup of sliced almonds, the remaining spinach and then the rest of the cheese mixture. Add another layer of noodles.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk well. Slowly add the almond milk, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Add nutmeg and white pepper, remove from heat, and pour evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste and remaining sliced almonds. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a 350 degree over for 1 hour. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Sunshine Beet Salad

I love beets. My husband, not so much. But I don’t know what to do with them when I buy them. Until recently, when I found myself at a Farmer’s Market looking at a beautiful basket of yellow beets. They seemed to be calling my name, and since my husband wasn’t around to stop me, I bought a small bunch.

When I caught up with my husband, he asked me what I had in the bag. I avoided his eyes. “Beets,” I muttered. He got a very guarded look on his face before he asked the obvious question.

“And what are you going to do with them?” “Darned if I know,” I replied. But I knew I’d think of something, or these lovely golden beauties would end up like all of the other beets I buy. Shriveled up in the compost.

I didn’t want that to happen, so I did some research when I got home, collected a few ideas, made my own special changes, (of course), and viola! A fresh salad with beets that even my husband loves. I call it my Sunshine Beet Salad, because I swear, when my husband ate it, I saw the light!

 

Sunshine Beet Salad

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP red wine vinegar

2 TBSP lemon juice

Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

3 small golden beets

1 16 oz bag fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup diced red onions

1/2 cups toasted slivered almonds

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients. Peel and thinly slice the beets. You can use a mandoline, but the little ninja in me really loves holding sharp objects like a knife. Besides, I had a bad experience once with a mandoline, but I digress. Toss the beets with the dressing and refrigerate for an hour or two. The vinaigrette will tenderize the beets. Toss with the baby spinach and red onion. Sprinkle with almonds just before serving. For an interesting twist, try adding a small amount of feta cheese on top. In Cheryl’s Kitchen, the rules are there are no rules. Especially when it comes to beets. Enjoy!