Pumpkin Lasagna

And continuing with my Fall squash obsession...

I have explored quite a few different ways to use squash this season. And by quite a few, let's just say I read all of my 40-something food blogs all day at work every day this Fall (well, I guess not all day...but close!) At least there is no harm in the obsession. It can't hurt me. It'll actually probably help me out...in numerous ways. 1. It's healthy. Most helpful during the holiday season considering the amount of cookies we will all consume!! 2. It's cheap and I can get at least 2 meals out of like 1 butternut squash. I actually got a lot of meals out of the one can of pumpkin that I used below (Luckily, pasta is also cheap. Too bad its not as healthy as squash). 3. It's simple. Anyone could make squash, even if you claim that you do not go near kitchens/ovens/stoves/etc. Usually you can just chop them up, scoop out the seeds and other gook, and throw them in the oven. 4. It's good. Duh.

Anyway, this Pumpkin Lasagna was a favorite. It is possible that it may have had something to do with all the cheese that was used, but I'd really rather just ignore that thought.

Pumpkin Lasagna Adapted from Food Mayhem

Pumpkin Lasagna
~about 9 servings

* 1 pound 5 ounces (or 21 ounces) fresh mozzarella, divided
* 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in a few pieces
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
* 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup (preferably grade B)
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* pinch white pepper
* 1 (1 lb) box lasagna sheets

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Shred 12 ounces of mozzarella and mix with the ricotta in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. In a 2 quart pot, melt butter on low heat. Add garlic and brown lightly. Stir in pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir until it’s all warm. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Smear a thin layer of pumpkin mixture on the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish.

5. Place 3 lasagna sheets across. Smooth a layer of ricotta/mozzarella on. Smooth a layer of pumpkin mixture on top. Repeat until you have 5 layers of pasta, cheese, pumpkin. (You will use 15 lasagna sheets in total so there may be extra sheets in the box.)

6.Slice the remaining 9 ounces of mozzarella. Arrange in one layer on top.

7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Thanksgiving 2009

I may be a week late, but oh well...better late than never.

Heres a taste of my Thanksgiving! First things first...the turkey, obviously...



My mom stuffs the turkey every year with stuffing, which she makes with sausage, celery and onion. It is A-mazing!

Then there's the mashed potatoes, which I tried a little differently this year in an attempt to be slightly healthier (which is really unnecessary during THanksgiving...I know!). I used 3 of your standard white potatoes and 1 sweet potato. Which of course, is way too many mashed potatoes for 5 people, but its Thanksgiving...might as well go all out. I mixed in a little bit of butter, milk, sour cream, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, and A LOT of garlic.

We also had a sweet potato dish that was a hit. It was your standard canned sweet potatoes, pineapple, pineapple juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, and marshmallows. Sooo good!

Turkey's best friend: Cranberry sauce. I have to admit, I DO really love canned cranberry sauce. It will always be a standard on my Thanksgiving menu, despite the fact that its clearly no culinary masterpiece. I also like to dilly-dally around and make my own. Last year I made more of a cranberry relish. This year, I made my own cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries, apples, clementines, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and, unfotunately, way too many cloves. If I had done without the cloves, it would have been great. There's always next year!

Every year my dad makes his special celery salad that is a recipe thats been passed down. It's very simple. He puts chopped celery, sliced black olives, cherry peppers, anchovies, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar in a big tupperware bowl and shakes it all together. It's best if made the night before and kept in the refrigerator so it can marinate. I love it, minus the anchovies but my dad is very opposed to leaving them out! So I work my way around them! I've never been able to enjoy an anchovy, unless its been pureed into a Ceasar dressing.

A new dish we tried this year was like a green bean casserole-y thing. We decided it was good, but not very Thanksgiving-like. We probably won't be doing it again on Thanksgiving. First we sauteed onions and garlic in some olive oil, and then poured in canned tomatoes with oregano. We let it simmer for a little while and then threw in fresh green beans and put the lid on. Once the beans cooked for a little while (I prefer mine to be cooked lightly), put them in a glass casserole dish. And then the best part...put feta on top and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes!

And last but not least, my mom's Strawberry Pretzel Jello. Which I am sure is not HERS...but she introduced it to me and makes it every year...so I like to consider it hers! It's the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

Strawberry Pretzel Jello:

2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tub (9 ounce size) Cool Whip
1 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
2 packages (3 ounce size) strawberry Jello gelatin
1 package (16 ounce size) frozen sweetened strawberries
1 cup boiling water


For Crust: Combine pretzels, butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Press into 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

For White Layer: Cream together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over pretzel crust.

For Red Layer: Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries, Chill until partially set, about 1 hour and spread over white layer. Chill until set and serve.

Actually, I lied. Pie is last! Always! Our favorites at home: Banana pudding, Chocolate pudding, Pumpkin and Apple. My personal favorite: Banana pudding!

My niece certainly enjoyed them..thats for sure!