"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." ~Confucius

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna, To-Go!

First off, I'd like to apologize for not making any posts during our trip. For those of you who know us personally, you probably heard that our trip turned out to be very eventful, but not in a good way. We really wanted to post this blog at the beginning of our vacation, but since that didn't happen I figured that it should be our first blog post-vacation!

The night before our trip, I was cleaning out the refrigerator trying to dispose of anything that might spoil over the three weeks that we would be out of town. Included in the pile that needed to be discarded was a thawed out package of ground lamb for a dinner that never got made, a half gallon of non-fat milk, the remains of three different kinds of cheeses, and three small to medium sized butternut squash that a neighbor had given me out of her garden.

I couldn't bear the thought of letting her beautiful squash go to waste, so I decided to make a meal for us to eat on the road. I remembered seeing a squash recipe in the latest issue (October/November 2010 on page 25) of Mother Earth News that used a white béchamel sauce to make a lasagna. I had originally passed over the recipe because I am the only person in our house who likes squash, but I figured that maybe the ground lamb was my ace in the hole, so I decided to give it a shot!

I cooked the ground lamb with some white onion and salt and pepper to taste, and then made the béchamel according to the directions in their recipe. The only change I made was to use non-fat milk instead of whole because that is what I had in the fridge. I don't feel like it made too much of a difference, my sauce was nice and creamy like you would expect a white sauce to be, so I'll probably stick with using non-fat in the future.

I started building the lasagna by spreading a thin amount of the white sauce over the (buttered) bottom of a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Then I alternated layers of noodles, squash purée, ground lamb & sautéed onions, cheeses, and then more béchamel, continuing with this pattern and ending with the white sauce. Make sure to leave plenty of room for a nice layer of cheese that you add during the last few minutes of baking time.

Cover the lasagna and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Then take the cover off, add the rest of the cheese and bake for 15 more minutes. After you take it out of the oven let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting into it. Taking the time to do this helps it hold together and it shouldn't fall apart when you serve it!

I boxed up half of the lasagna in tupperware containers and put them in the cooler to eat during our long drive north, and then I gave the other half to our neighbors who were kind enough to keep an eye on our house while we were gone. (Thanks again Andy & Linda!) When we stopped for gas in Redding we pulled it out and had homemade lasagna for dinner along with some grapes from the farmer's market.

It was obvious that people around us were envious, and if they realized how easy it was to make, and how much money we saved packing our own food, then they probably would have traded their Popeye's and Pizza Hut for our meal any day!

For those of you who would prefer to have the recipe in the traditional format, here's the link to the original recipe I saw in the magazine:

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