Sunday, October 11, 2015

Butternut Squash Alfredo Lasagna

I haven't done much posting on this blog in recent months...always other things that seem to take up my time...but I have been posting more and more on my health blog ( and decided it was high time to get back to posting some recipes. Since I recently made a pretty fabulous meal, I thought this was the perfect opportunity!

Since January, not only have I been completely vegan but I have also become gluten free for health-related issues (just a note... I do not believe gluten is a bad just doesn't do well in my body...therefore, many of my recipes are not gluten free because I still cook with gluten for my family).

After a delightful trip to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch last week, I had a beautiful butternut squash to use, loads of fresh kale from my garden and a box of gluten free lasagna noodles just asking to be used. I found a perfect recipe in Chloes's Vegan Italian Kitchen that was a must-try and the results were downright fabulous. I did modify the recipe for a few reasons - I didn't have any spinach so I used kale, I wanted a quick and easy recipe so I used dried minced onions and garlic powder instead of fresh onions and garlic and I eliminated the oil as I do not cook with oil anymore (see the end of this post for a quick blurb on why). Such a perfect fall treat on a breezy, cool day.

White Lasagna With Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach (Kylea's modified version:-) )
12 oz butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
sea salt and pepper
5 oz fresh kale, deveined and chopped
1 T minced dried onion
1 t garlic powder
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
3 cups water
1 T lemon juice
2 t sea salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 lb no boil lasagna noodles
tofu ricotta (recipe follows)

Fill pan half full with water and add squash. Cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. Place in food processor with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a food processor, combine onion, garlic, cashews, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth and creamy. In a 9x13 baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles along the bottom, layer half the ricotta, 4 noodles, sauce, 1/2 the butternut squash, half the kale, sauce, 4 noodles, butternut squash, kale, remaining ricotta, and top with remaining sauce. Bake covered for 50 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly.

Tofu Ricotta (also modified)
1 T dried minced onions
1 t garlic powder
1 14oz package of drained extra firm tofu
2 T lemon juice
2 t sea salt
1 1/2 t black pepper
3/4 cup fresh basil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until basil is chopped and tofu resembles ricotta cheese consistency. Set aside.

Eliminating Oils From the Diet
by Pamela A. Popper, Ph.D., N.D.
The Wellness Forum
I recently heard you speak and you emphasized the importance of eliminating oils from the diet.
I am young, have no signs of cardiovascular disease, it does not run in my family,
and I am wondering if it is ok to use oils in small amounts.
How important is it for someone like me to be totally compliant?
There are some compelling reasons for you to eliminate oils from the diet.
The first is that in my experience, people are more successful in maintaining optimal habits
when they have clear directions on what to do.
"Don't eat oil" is easier to understand and put into practice than "eat less oil."
 "Less" is a subjective term, and very difficult to translate into action.
Second, oils are actually easier to eliminate than most people imagine.
Just don't cook with them, read labels, and avoid products containing oil.
Anyone can watch Del Sroufe, Executive chef and co-owner of
Wellness Forum Foods making oil-free stir fry on our website at,
and members can consult the Wellness 101 curriculum book, which lists substitutions
for oil in cooking, baking, in salad dressings and other common foods that contain oil,
 and participate in Chef's Del's monthly calls for advice.
Third, you won't miss the oil. No one does. It does not add flavor to the food;
 it just adds fat and calories.
Last but not least, an American dies of cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds,
according to The American Heart Association. This should be a powerful incentive
for people to do everything they can to reduce their risk of developing coronary artery disease.
 Since oils have been proven to promote coronary artery disease,
we will continue to recommend eliminating them.
Circulation Volume 119(3)27 January 2009pp e21-e181 Heart Disease and
Stroke Statistics-2009 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association
Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee

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Crispy Herbed Potato Stack

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack
I was going to try a recipe for herbed scalloped potatoes and at last minute decided to do something fast and easy. I made up the recipe and it was yummola! I layered sliced russet potatoes in a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, basil, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder. Then I baked them at 425 fr about 45 minutes. They were crisp and very flavorful!

My thrown-together salad today - after discovering I had no leftovers for lunch!

Tamale Fixings

Tamale Fixings
Plain pintos (for Keith), pintos, corn and onions; corn, jalepenos and Daiya; mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and chard

Making these was a bit time-consuming but kinda fun! They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped - the outer tamale part (not the filling) just wasn't as flavorful as tamales I have had in restaurants. I have another recipe I will try for the dough next time. Tamales are one of my favorite foods so I won't give up on this one!

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes
I modified one of my favorite pancake recipes to make it vegan and then I added blueberries. Turned out quite yummy. Soymilk sours and thickens well - very similar to buttermilk. I have been really impressed with it's ability to substitute for real buttermilk.

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

Egg replacement for 1 egg
1 1/4 cups soured soy milk (put 2 T vinegar into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add enough soy milk to equal 1 1/4 cups)
2 T canola oil
1 cup flour (I wouldn't recommend whole wheat or whole wheat pastry - it really takes away from the fluffiness of these pancakes)
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Blueberries, optional

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Heat griddle pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Sprinkle blueberries on pancakes after ladling onto griddle. Cook just until golden on both sides.

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein
Overall, this was fabulous! However, I don't think the seitan added much so I would just leave it out next time. The lo mein also needed about double the sauce so I would simply do that next time for added flavor. This was especially spicy and yummy with some Sriracha drizzled on top. I made our favorite veg egg rolls to go with this and it was truly a Chinese treat!!

Veggie Seitan Lo Mein

I really did my own thing for this recipe so I am just going to outline the instructions and include the sauce recipe. I heated oil in a large skillet and added 3 minced cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of half-moon cut onions (I was out of green onions but next time I would use green onions as I like them a lot in Chinese food) and about 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots. After about 5-6 minutes, I added about 1/4 lb of whole green beans. I cooked these veggies until tender. Meanwhile, I cooked a 16oz package of chow mein noodles. Once the veggie mixture was cooked, I poured the sauce on the veggies, heated through and tossed with the noodles. Next time I would double the amount of sauce and have adjusted amounts below to reflect double recipe.

Sauce (Source:Adaptable Feast)
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine (I used 3 T rice vinegar and 1 t sugar as I didn't have any rice wine)
3 t sugar
4 T black bean garlic sauce
Mix all ingredients and toss with above mixture.

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth
Pretty yummy. I found that steaming the wontons worked much better than the recipe suggestion to boil them. The broth was very mild and a bit too mellow for us. Still pretty yummy though. I added extra veggies to the wontons and scallion to the broth. The seasoning in the wonton filling was quite tasty!

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)

(As usual, I modified several things so it's not exactly the recipe in Vegan Yum Yum!)

1 cup chopped broccoli
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 T oil
1 t fresh ginger, minced
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1/2 t hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 t hot Chinese mustard
2 T plus 1 t soy sauce
4 cups water ( I think this might have been more flavorful had I used vegetable broth or faux chicken broth???)
6 slices fresh ginger
1 T mirin (I used a splash of cooking wine as I didn't have mirin)
1 1/2 t sugar
2 t rice vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions
16 wonton skins

For filling: Heat oil in skillet and add broccoli, ginger, garlic, carrot, onion and cook until veggies are crisp tender. Add chili sauce, mustard, 1 t soy sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make wontons, take one skin and place in diamond shape. Fill with 1-2 t filling. Fold in half to make a triangle and moisten edges with water and pinch sides to seal. Set triangle in front of you with point up and take the 2 side points and bring them together in front to cross. Set aside and prepare remaining wontons. When finished, place wontons in a steamer basket and steam over pot of boiling water until translucent.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine remaining ingredients (except wontons) and simmer 10-15 min.

Place 3-4 wontons in bowl and ladle broth over wontons. Serve.