Basil Butternut Squash Lasagna


Fall is here and that means squash is everywhere.  So many different kinds but butternut squash is one of my favorites.  I experimented with Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe for Butternut Squash Lasagna and since then, I’ve made a few changes of my own.  This recipe is great to serve for a dinner party, or even to have for lunch leftovers.  If you want the original recipe, I’ll post a link at the end of this blog post.  But for the moment, here’s my version.

1Tbsp olive oil
1 whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2c water
1/4c butter
1/4c all-purpose flour
3 1/2c low-fat milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4c (tightly packed) fresh basil leaves
1c fresh basil leaves, chopped
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2c shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese


Add the squash in a heavy large pot full of boiling water.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender – it’ll take about 20-30 minutes.  Spoon out the squash and let it cool for 5 minutes.  Add to food processor and blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes.  Add the nutmeg and mix well.  Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender. Add the 3/4 of the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat to 375 degrees F.  Spread a ladle of the sauce in a baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread a little squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Drizzle some more sauce over the noodles.  In the second layer, sprinkle the cup of chopped basil.  Continue layering and top with mozarella cheese.

20151002_192341Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  I found that this makes the sauce not bubble over and the flavors are so much more vibrant.  Bake the lasagna for 40 minutes.  Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Garnish with some fresh basil.

*Here is the link to the original recipe by Giada de Laurentiis: Butternut Squash Lasagna

Three Bean Chili

*Updated Oct. 16, 2020

Sundays in our house are dedicated to football. Now that the season has started, I’m challenging myself to find some healthier recipes to get us through the games. Sure the chicken wings, nachos, creamy dips, and pizza sound good but they definitely don’t pass the healthy test. This is a hearty chili loaded with veggies, beans and definitely falls into the comfort zone. It makes you want to curl up on the sofa with a warm bowl while you’re watching football (or a movie or your favorite tv show).

The heat of the ancho chili and cayenne give this a perfect balance to some of the sweeter veggies like the carrots and bell peppers.  Using the canned beans also take a lot of the work out of this dish for you and I’ve included both stove top and slow cooker versions so you can make it any way that is easiest and most convenient.

Add a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of spring onions to finish off this chili before eating with a side of cornbread.  Nothing can beat this delicious chili on a cold winter day.  I’d like to say, I’m definitely ready for this winter season!

I’ve made this chili vegan and it can remain so with toppings such as spring onions, cilantro, avocado and lime wedges.

Optional to add are toppings such as sour cream and cheese.  They will definitely soften up the taste if you choose these!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope this 3 Bean Chili brings a little warmth to your day!

I’ve made this both on the stove top and in the slow cooker.  Here is the equipment I used to make the chili:

Quinoa, Brown Rice and Black Beans


Loaded with protein and yummy veggies, this is one of my new favorite go-to’s.  Simple to make and you can add whatever veggies you choose – I had colored bell peppers, tomatoes and onions in my fridge so that’s what I went with today.

Here’s how I made it:

Soak 1/3c Quinoa in some warm water for about 20 minutes.  This helps the seeds cook easier and softer.

Also soak 1/2c Brown Rice for 20 minutes.  Brown Rice can be tough to cook as it usually takes longer than white rice to make but if you soak it first, it comes out really nice and soft.


Finely Dice colored Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions and a couple of cloves of garlic.

In a nonstick pot, heat oil and ad the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.


Cook for 5 minutes, then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and just a touch of hot sauce – it adds that magical touch!   Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.  20150922_191538

Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.  The extra zing tastes really good!  There you have it!  This is a great make ahead recipe and perfect for the fall.

Here’s the recipe all in one spot!

½ c diced onions
½ c diced tomatoes
1c diced bell peppers (I like to include a variety of colors)
1 can (14oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 c Quinoa
½ c Brown Rice
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tsp, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2 c Water
a couple dashes of hot sauce

Soak quinoa and brown rice in warm water for 20 minutes.
In a nonstick pot, heat oil and add the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.
Cook for 5 minutes, and then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and the hot sauce.
Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.