Sweet Potato and Spinach Lasagna

No matter how many times I make pasta dishes they can never quite measure up to lasagna.  I think there must be some type of magic hidden in the layers.  It’s just one of those scenarios when one plus one actual equals three, because the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  And this lasagna is my new favorite, perfect for impressing dinner guests with the unique individual portion presentation.

sweet potato spinach lasagna

Sweet Potato and Spinach Lasagna
2 sweet potatoes
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 c and 2 tbs milk
1/2 c and 2 tbs parmesan cheese
2 c frozen spinach
8 lasagna noodles
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 c italian blend shredded cheese

Butter 4 10-ounce ramekin dishes, set aside on a baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pierce sweet potato skins several times then microwave for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through, flesh should be soft.  Allow sweet potatoes to cool.  Remove flesh from skin and add to a bowl with nutmeg, cinnamon, 2 tbs of milk, and 2 tbs of parmesan cheese. Mix until smooth and well combined. Defrost spinach then ring out excess water using a kitchen towel.  Cook lasagna noodles to just shy of al dente.  In the meantime in a skillet melt butter over medium heat, add flour to make roux.  Whisk in remaining 2 c milk, allow mixture to come to a simmer and thicken.  Add 1 c italian blend cheese, remove from heat.

To assemble put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of each ramekin then lay 2 lasagna noodles in an “x” pattern, allowing excess pasta to overhand the edges.  Add a rounded tablespoon of the sweet potatoes in each ramekin, then spinkle with spinach, adding a bit more sauce, and extra italian blend cheese.  Fold 2 overhanging pasta pieces over the filling then repeat the layering until each ramekin is full.  Use remaining italian blend cheese and parmesan cheese to top each lasagna.

Bake for 30 minutes until lasagna is bubbly and delicious.  Allow 10 minutes to cool then use a knife to loosen the edges around the ramekin and unmold onto serving dishes.

Chicken And Spinach Pasta

DF, GF

I really love pasta.  It’s one of those comfort foods for me that just never gets old.  Occasionally I like meatballs and spaghetti, but most other times I want something without a red sauce.  I like marinara, but there is a time and a place.  Most of the time I like to experiment with sauces by using olive oil, white wine, pumpkin, or in this case “butter” and pancetta.  Although I didn’t use a lot of either ingredient it’s enough to provide a stable flavor foundation.  On top of those firm flavors I added garlic and spinach, two things when combined with just each other make a lasting impact.  Try this recipe today for something different than a traditional pasta recipe with red sauce.

Food 061

Chicken And Spinach Pasta
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 tbs vegan butter (suggested: earth balance)
2 c baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
1 c onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt
1 lb ground chicken
4 c frozen spinach, thawed and ringed of excess water
1 c chicken broth
1 (12 ounce) box of whole wheat or gluten free pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking water.  Set pasta aside.

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add pancetta and cook until crisp, use a slotted spoon to move pancetta to a paper towel lined plate.  Add 1 tbs butter, mushrooms, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste.  Cook until onions and mushrooms soften, about 3 minutes.  Add ground chicken, break up and cook until browned.  Once chicken has browned add frozen spinach, chicken broth, 1/2 c starching cooking liquid and remaining 1 tbs of butter.  Let liquid reduce for 4 minutes, then add pasta and toss to combine.

Pear Salad

DF, V, VG if w/out blue cheese, GF

In addition to squash, pears are in abundance in fall. They’re a great snack as is, but why not use them to change up the standard dinner salad.  Pears have an affinity with gorgonzola, making this salad a great place to start.

Pear Salad 001

Pear Salad
1 pear, thinly sliced
6 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup candied nuts
4 ounces, crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the pear, baby spinach, candied nuts, blue cheese, and craisins in a large bowl.  Measure extra virgin olive and balsamic vinegar in the same liquid measuring cup, then add dijon mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine.  Dress salad with balsamic mixture then toss to combine.  Serve and enjoy.

Pear Salad 002