Dec 272012
Yep, it’s another recipe with butternut squash and kale.  Gotta say it’s my favorite ingredient combo of the season.  After the amazing hash I made a few weeks ago, I just couldn’t get enough.  This recipe also has sage and toasted hazelnuts…some of my favorite winter flavors.  This is the perfect rich but still semi-healthy main course or side for all of your holiday events.  

I made this as individual lasagna roll-ups because I was just cooking for myself and didn’t want to (slash knew it was probably not in my best interest) to have an entire lasagna around the apartment.  If I made it again I would just make the whole thing because a) it was ridiculously tasty and b) the roll-ups probably ended up being even more work.  Be warned that this recipe is pretty labor intensive but I was very happy with the flavors.  Especially the squash mixture alone, which I would definitely make again as a crostini topping!

Nutritional Highlights:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, butternut squash and kale are AMAZING for you.  These ingredients are so trendy right now for a very good reason! Butternut squash is packed with fiber, B6, potassium, folate, and most importantly, beta-carotene which has been linked with tons of health benefits.  Kale is a similar story, packed with Vitamin K, A and C which are all antioxidant vitamins, and also tons of fiber.  A brief plug on fiber…not only does it help keep things, you know, regular, but it also binds with cholesterol and takes it out of the body, to help keep your cholesterol in check.  Something we can all probably use after those Christmas hams.  

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach (or Kale) Lasagna

adapted from Cooking Light

**Note:  I’m including the recipe for the whole lasagna because i think it will be easier and come out better, but for individual roll-ups, just cook the lasagna noodles, spread on the toppings, roll it up, put it in the pan and bake.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 12 garlic cloves, unpeeled (about 1 head)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • large onion, vertically sliced
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • (9-ounce) packages fresh spinach or 1 bunch fresh kale
  • 5 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
  • bay leaf
  • thyme sprig
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded fontina cheese, divided (I substituted some of this with goat cheese)
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg (optional)
  • no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • Optional: 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. 2. Combine squash, 1 tablespoon oil, sage, whole unpeeled garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange squash mixture on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until squash is tender. Cool slightly; peel garlic. Place squash and garlic in a bowl; partially mash with a fork.
  3. 3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Place onion in a bowl.
  4. 4. Add 2 tablespoons water and spinach to Dutch oven; increase heat to high. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain in a colander; cool. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach. Add spinach to onions.
  5. 5. Heat 4 1/2 cups milk, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf and thyme. Return pan to medium heat. Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl. Add to pan, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups cheese, red pepper, and nutmeg.
  6. 6. Spread 1/2 cup milk mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over milk mixture; top with half of squash mixture, half of spinach mixture, and 3/4 cup milk mixture. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining milk mixture over noodles. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes, and remove from oven. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
  7. 7. Preheat broiler.
  8. 8. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Top with toasted hazelnuts and serve.
Dec 212012

Because I have been so busy with finals and work and holiday parties, I haven’t been able to post anything in a while.  Then, of course, when I finally tried to post a delicious kale and butternut squash lasagna recipe, I started having some technical difficulties with my computer (hey santa, maybe a new computer this year??  I’ve been really good.)  So Just so you have a little holiday eye candy :)

I’ve posted these before, but since I make them every single year I figured it was worthy of a repost.  I wish I could take credit for this brilliant idea, but it was my friend Erica of ericasweettooth that came up with this awesome idea.  It’s really pretty easy to put together.  I made mini brownie and blondie bites (because santa doesn’t discriminate) in a mini muffin pan, topped with a strawberry, and decorated with some cream cheese icing to make them look like santa hats.  Ho ho ho.  

I have to make a small confession…I used boxed brownie mix.  Ghiardelli dark chocolate to be exact.  I’ve made brownies from scratch before and they just never are quite as good as these.  So there.  Loud and proud.  
Nutritional Highlights:  Can’t say that the base of these treats are really healthy, but they’re mini and have a strawberry on top, so that counts for something, right?  Let’s be honest though…you’re not going to be totally healthy on Cristmas, so enjoy something sweet in moderation.  

Mini Santa Hat Brownies (or Blondies)


  • 1 Box of Brownie Mix
  • 24 strawberries
  • Cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
Directions:  Cook the brownies in a mini muffin tin according to directions.  They will only take 20-25 minutes to cook since they’re mini.  Cut off the base of the strawberries so they’re flat.  Prepare cream cheese frosting by mixing cream cheese with a few tablespoons of powdered sugar until it is sweet enough (sorry, forgot to measure!).  Put a little dot of cream cheese in the center of the brownie and place the strawberry on top.  Frost around the berry and on the top so it looks as santa like as possible.  

Maybe Santa will leave me some really good gifts this year if I leave these out for him and his reindeer?  
Dec 102012

For one of my grad school classes, we had to plan and execute the food service of an NYU event from start to finish.  My group catered the holiday party for the nutrition department, and I’ve gotta say I’m pretty impressed with what we came up with.  Among the spread were fig-tallegio grilled cheese, buckwheat flatbread with hummus and caramelized onion, cumin and chive deviled eggs, and NYU colored rainbow cookies.  Possibly the most interesting item were these Carrot-Cardamom Soup Shooters, which were topped with a homemade aleppo pepper marshmallow, a few pumpkin seeds, and a cilantro leaf.  Pretty fancy huh?  

Although I like to try to keep the recipes on this site pretty simple, once in a while I like to share something a little more challenging and outside of the tush cook box.  This soup is also completely vegan (although the marshmallow is not due to the egg whites) and although it tastes creamy, the creaminess comes from coconut milk rather than cream.  I’m not sure I’d want to eat this as a whole bowl of this soup, but it was really interesting and tasty as a mini shooter.  Plus, it’s one of few holiday appetizers that won’t leave you feeling totally stuffed!

Check out the spread at our event below.  So tasty!  

Carrot Cardamom Soup with Aleppo Marshmallow, Pumpkin Seed Oil, and Cilantro
recipe from Saxon + Parole
Serves eight (one cup each)

For the soup
1 tsp. honey
1 can (480 ml) coconut milk
3½ c. hot water
Juice of ½ lemon
2 green cardamom pods
½ of a fist-size white onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 thumb ginger, peeled and finely minced (using a microplane is best)
2 oz. unsalted butter (or olive oil)
1⅔ lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt to taste

1. Combine liquids (honey, coconut milk, water, lemon juice) and set aside.

2. Combine cardamom, onion, garlic, ginger, and butter in a pot and place over low heat. Sweat until everything is soft and translucent.

3. Add carrots and turn heat to high. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring, and then add liquids.

4. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until carrots are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the cardamom pods.

5. Puree soup in a food processor until smooth. Add salt to taste.

For the Aleppo marshmallow (this can be omitted, but it was fun and fancy so I’m sharing the recipe!)

1 1/8 c. sugar
1½ tsp. Aleppo (Syrian dried chili flakes)
4 sheets of gelatin, soaked in cold water

1. Heat a pot of water on high until it comes to a simmer.

2. Put egg white, sugar, and chili flakes in the bowl of an electric mixer and place the bowl over simmering water. Stir to melt sugar into egg whites. Remove from heat.

3. Separately, squeeze excess water out of gelatin sheets and place them in a small mixing bowl. Put that bowl over the warm water until the gelatin liquefies. Set aside.

4. Place the bowl with the egg whites into the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff peaks form.

5. Slow speed to medium and pour in melted gelatin. Whisk until incorporated.

6. Pour mixture onto a half-size sheet pan that’s been lightly oiled and dusted well with cornstarch.

7. Sift more cornstarch over the top.

8. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into desired size and shape.

To serve
Herb oil or pumpkin seed oil
Chili flakes
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Cilantro Leaves

1. Reheat soup if needed and portion into shot glasses
2. Place a marshmallow in the center of each serving 
3. Drizzle oil, sprinkle flakes and seeds, and garnish with cilantro.