Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I wanted to re-post this recipe from last year in case anybody is looking for an awesome Thanksgiving dessert....enjoy!

I know, I know - more cheesecake, you say. I made this today for my in-laws Thanksgiving dinner coming up on Sunday and wanted to share it just in case anyone wanted a holiday dessert idea. Obviously I can't taste it to tell you how it is, but it got rave reviews over at I will update the post on Monday to let you know the results.

1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed gingersnap cookies, pecans, and butter. Press into the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake crust 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture. Blend 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining mixture. Spread the pumpkin flavored batter into the crust, and drop the plain batter by spoonfuls onto the top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. (I piped the white mixture with a ziplock bag into a swirl effect instead)

Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool before removing pan rim. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Butternut and Sausage Lasagne

I've been trying some new recipes lately and haven't really had any bombs, which is unusual for me. Some recipes I've tried in the past month are Alphabet & Beef Soup, Mushroom Risotto, Sticky Coconut Chicken, Red Lentil & Kale Soup, and this one: Butternut and Sausage Lasagne. I loved it so much, that I had to take some time to post it up.

I got it from one of my mommy allies (thank you Traci!), and made a few minor adjustments. She mentioned that it was from Rachael Ray, but this is the closest I found from RR, which actually is kind of different. Maybe I will have to try that one next time. I think adding another veggie to bulk it up would be nice too...maybe mushrooms or spinach?

I bought the noodles from Trader Joes, as well as the Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage. And no mozzarella or ricotta makes this much cheaper to make than regular lasagne. It was rich, but not heavy. Subtle unique flavors, but not bland! The creamy sauce will fool your toddlers (and husbands) that it is made from cheese instead of nutrient-rich winter squash. If you have some time to make and freeze it this week, it would be a great to serve any holiday crashers you have coming for Turkey Day weekend.

Butternut and Sausage Lasagna


1 large butternut squash, halved and seeded
EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for liberal drizzling
Salt and pepper
Freshy grated nutmeg
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
10-12 leaves fresh sage, very thinly sliced
1 box no boil, flat edged lasagna sheets
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Drizzle squash with a little EVOO and season with salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Roast cut-side down until tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool enough to handle, then scoop flesh out of skin and add to food processor. Puree squash with stock and honey, in 2 batches if necessary, and reserve.
Heat a drizzle of EVOO in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brown the sausage, crumbling it into very small bits as it cooks, about 7-8 minutes.
While the sausage cooks, heat a pot over medium heat. Add butter and melt, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in milk. Season with salt, pepper, a little freshly grated nutmeg and the sage. Cook until thickened, about 7-8 minutes, whisking occasionally. Mix in the squash puree to make your base sauce.
Spread a little sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish then add a layer of pasta. Top with 1/3 of the cooked sausage and cover with sauce and Parmigiano. Cover with another layer of pasta, sausage, sauce and Parmigiano. Repeat one more time, and for the last layer do pasta, sauce and remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake lasagna 30 minutes. Uncover and cook 15 minutes or more to brown the top.