Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cindy's Butternut-Kale Lasagna

Gruyere-spiked Bechamel drapes over the noodles and squash to give Butternut-Kale Lasagna velvety richness. Hearty, earthy kale perfectly balances the sweet kale, and crunchy, toasted pecans crown the top of this luscious lasagna.

Yield: Serves 4
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1 (12-ounce) package prechopped fresh butternut squash 
  • 3 cups prechopped kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup) 
  • 2 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup water and squash in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; pierce plastic wrap 2 to 3 times. Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes or until tender; drain. Combine squash and kale in a large bowl. Wipe dish dry.
  3. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture and remaining 2 1/4 cups milk to pan; increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 ounce Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, and pepper; stir until cheese melts.
  4. Coat baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup milk mixture in bottom of dish. Arrange 2 noodles over milk mixture; top with half of squash mixture and 2/3 cup milk mixture. Repeat layers once, ending with remaining noodles and remaining milk mixture. Cover with foil; bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining Gruyère and pecans over top. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and sauce is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 420
Fat: 16.3g
Saturated fat: 5.8g
Monounsaturated fat: 7.3g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.1g
Protein: 20.4g
Carbohydrate: 51.4g
Fiber: 4.5g
Cholesterol: 29mg
Iron: 3.1mg
Sodium: 556mg
Calcium: 557mg


Cindy made this for Alex's 25th birthday celebration.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cindy's Cherry Cheesecake

1 package graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, melted
8 oz package cream cheese
1 pint whipping cream ( I usually only use about 3/4 of this)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 can cherry pie filling

Crush the graham crackers (I usually put them in a Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin).  Pour them into a bowl, add the sugar and melted butter.  Mix them together, pour them into a pie plate or 8" square pan.  Pat them into place and bake at 350 for 7 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Put cream cheese in mixer bowl.  Wait 1/2 hour to let cream cheese soften.  Turn mixer on low and mix cream cheese adding whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond as you run mixer.  Mix until thick.  Spread over graham cracker crust.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Before serving open cherries and spread them over the cream cheese mixture.

Made for Alex's 25th BIrthday.  Cindy/Alex/Maria

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Trader Joe's: Almond Croissants

Easy to make - delicious and impressive looking!

Just need to put on oiled or paper the evening before you serve so they can defrost and rise.  Then bake in 350 over for 20 minutes.  Yum!

Friday, March 8, 2013


Easy, Simple, but Plain Looking

Gnocchi with potatoes is what people usually think of - the kind where each pillow is rolled with a fork.  This one is very quick, the fork design would melt out so it takes half the time of potato gnocchi.

1 lb ricotta cream
2 eggs
1 c grated cheese
1 c cooked spinach or chard chopped well and drained with garlic
salt and pepper
start with about 2 c all-purpose flour - add if more needed

In a bowl mix both cheese with spinach, salt and pepper.  Add eggs and mix well.  Slowly mix in flour until you can turn a slightly sticky dough on a board and gently knead to form a smooth dough.  

Roll in a snake and cut in consistent lengths so about 3/4 inch by 3/4 inch.  

Can freeze* at this stage or cook about 3.5 minutes in boiling salted water.  

*  To freeze put in single layer on a plate in the freezer.  After frozen scoop up and put into a plastic bag. This way the pieces do not stick together and it will be easier to portion our what you want to use.

We made brown butter and sage sauce for the gnocci - but pesto or tomato sauce would be wonderful too.


Base for all Risotto
1 c chopped onion, scallion or leeks
2 c aborio rice
1 c white wine
butter, hot broth grated cheese

Saute onions in 3 T butter until soft.  Add rice and cook about three minutes.  Add wine.  

When wine is absorbed slowly add broth a ladle at a time stirring constantly.  

Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  

When the rice if fully cooked add options.  

Finish with up to 8 T butter and more than 3 T grated cheese.

Vegetable broth - roasted eggplant and tomato
Chicken broth - fontina and tomato
Mushroom broth - mushrooms
Add meat or really any other vegetables you have on hand!

Allow about an hour of stirring time to prepare this dish!