Greens Please!

Happy New Year! If you made a new years resolution to eat healthier, or just want to make a really good-for-you dish. I recommend the following.

I’ve finished reading My Father’s Daughter and certain recipes have been haunting me. I decided to make one of them last night: Green Rice. We used it as a side dish, but I would happily make a meal out of it if I were just cooking for myself.

Brown rice, scallions and kale take center stage with some added garlic for sautéing and soy sauce for drizzling. The key is steaming the kale and cutting the leaves into little ribbons.

This rice dish is so good and good for you! Kale is a super food. It is rich in vitamins. Brown rice trumps white rice. It has so much more nutritional value than white rice. I think of it like white bread versus a hearty wheat bread. One is clearly the smarter choice.

And remember those leeks we had in our garage? I tossed those in last night as well. There’s definitely room to get creative with this, which is great. (I thought about adding some edamame in there for a really nutrient-packed punch!) I warmed up leftovers for lunch today and I added some grated Parmesan on top. Playing with food is so much fun!

I’ll add that my mother was highly skeptical of this dish, but upon tasting changed her mind. She has been talking about it all day. She wants me to make it again this week. Just sayin’, you may convert some skeptics with this one.

We served it up with scallops and salad for a delightful meal.

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

The Food: Butternut Squash

Not only do I find butternut squash one of the most delightful flavors to utilize in the fall, but we also grew them in our garden this summer and were still left with an abundance despite thorough distribution to neighbors. I have since been on alert for any kind of recipe that uses them.

Recipe found on Shape.com

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb peeled, seeded butternut squash, buttercup squash, or kabocha squash

3 1/2 T olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 oz lasagna noodles

2 clv garlic, minced

4 cup lacinato (or regular) kale, rinsed and cut into ribbons

2 T sliced fresh basil leaves

3 T all-purpose flour

2 cup nonfat milk

2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 large egg

2 T minced fresh oregano

Cooking spray

1 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut squash into thin slices and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer on baking sheet; roast for 30 minutes or until butternut squash has softened. Remove squash from oven (keep oven on).

While butternut squash roasts, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook for 7 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent sticking.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add garlic; sauté. 2 minutes. Stir in kale and 1 tablespoon basil. Add ¼ cup water to skillet and cover; cook 5 minutes. Remove cover, reduce heat to low; cook 3 minutes more. Set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add flour; whisk 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Continue whisking for 2 more minutes or until white sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

Stir ricotta into kale. Add egg and oregano; stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 2/3 cup of sauce over bottom. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles over sauce. Gently spread half the ricotta mixture over noodles; top with roasted butternut squash. Sprinkle half the mozzarella over squash. Top with remaining ricotta, followed by lasagna noodles. Top with remaining sauce, basil, and mozzarella.

Coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Tent foil, sprayed side down, over lasagna. Bake 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake 15 more minutes to brown cheese slightly. Let butternut squash lasagna rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.

The Fare: Butternut Squash Lasagna

 

The recipe says it yields 8 servings, but this one pan fed seven, including seconds for some and a few pieces leftover.

 

The recipe said prep time was about 20 minutes. While it took me a little longer than that to prep, everything came to a finish around the same time which was ideal.

The kale was a twist on the usual spinach for me. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the texture but I was pleasantly surprised.

The recipe calls for 1.5lbs of squash but I would double the amount next time. 1.5lbs was only enough for one layer of squash and I would have enjoyed more. It is after all the main ingredient.

This was a really delicious and relatively healthy main dish. I would for sure make this again.