Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake

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Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed BUNN coffeemaker coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.

Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.

I went a little crazy with the photos in this post. Why, you ask? Well, because I just got a brand new coffee maker!  And its not just any coffee maker, its the BUNN HB Coffeemaker!  There was nothing wrong with my last coffee maker. That is, actually, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it until I drank my first cup of freshly brewed coffee that my new BUNN made. What a difference!

Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.

You see, this BUNN HB Coffeemaker lets you find your inner barista and creates a perfect, smooth tasting cup of coffee.  The BUNN HB Coffeemaker brews to professional standards every single time. I wanted to understand why this coffee maker is so unique so I went to the website which explains why the BUNN HB Coffeemaker is not your typical coffeemaker.

Most typical drip coffeemakers heat the water at an inconsistent temperature and then slowly “burp” or “spit” the water over the grounds. The result is often bitter tasting coffee.

What makes this 10-cup programmable coffeemaker unique is the professional grade Heat & Release Technology™ in the brewer uses a digital thermometer to precisely measure water temperature to the ideal brewing temperature (between 197.6º F and 204.8º F). Only once the water has reached the ideal temperature is it then released over the grounds. The commercial style, lime-tolerant 6-stream sprayhead is designed to shower the grounds for maximum turbulence- the effective interaction of hot water and coffee grounds. The coffeemaker maintains the ideal contact time between the water and coffee grounds for proper extraction.

It’s unique brewing process has qualified it to meet the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) professional standards and only 10 coffeemakers have received this distinction. The BUNN Coffeemaker has beautiful design features including curved lines, a free hanging funnel, and stainless steel accents for a modern aesthetic.

Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.

So, basically, you get to bring professional brewed coffee right to your kitchen with BUNN because it effortlessly creates a perfect cup of coffee just like your favorites brewed your local coffeehouse, restaurant or café.

I was so excited about getting my new coffee maker that I wanted to make a sweet treat to go with it and my husband suggested coffee cake. Normally, his suggestions can be pretty far out there, but sometimes he picks a real winner. Yes – coffee cake. Why didn’t I think of that? Of course, I had to put my own spin on it plus I had to use up the extra cranberries in my refrigerator, so that’s how we ended up with Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake.

I couldn’t wait to try my first cup of coffee brewed in my new BUNN Coffeemaker. I had already had my first cup of coffee from the old coffeemaker at 3:30am this morning (don’t ask – long story) so I was able to compare apples to apples. Or, I suppose I could say coffee to coffee.  I used the same exact kind of coffee and drank it the same way – with a splash of half and half. WOW – what a difference. I kid you not, the difference in temperature, quality and taste was incredibly noticable. Even my husband, who normally can’t even tell if we’re eating chicken or beef for dinner, was able to notice that the coffee brewed in our new BUNN was remarkably better.

Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.

Can you imagine how good this would be on Thanksgiving morning? Or on Christmas morning? Or on Sunday morning? Or right now?

Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.

And you simply can’t have coffee cake without an excellent cup of coffee, right? Right.

Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.

Treat yourself or someone you really care about to a new BUNN HB Coffeemaker. You can order one at Williams Sonoma. While you’re doing a little online shopping at one of my favorite stores, keep in mind that I love to cook (hint hint).

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
Topping:
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 cube) butter
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
Cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent leaking. Sift together the flour, dried cranberries, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter. Bring to a boil, then add cranberries, pecans, and orange zest, stir, and pour into bottom of springform pan. Do not overcook the sugar mixture.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving platter and carefully remove pan. Serve warm.
Serve up this sweet homemade Upside Down Cranberry Coffee Cake with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee for the perfect breakfast this holiday season.
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Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie

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Velvety smooth Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie is similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but different enough to pleasantly surprise your holiday dinner guests.

Velvety smooth Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie is similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but different enough to pleasantly surprise your holiday dinner guests.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love pumpkin pie and those who gag when they eat pumpkin pie. You know I’m right! I happen to fall in the gag category. There’s something about the texture. The only way I’ll eat pumpkin pie is if I either scrape off half the filling and cover it in whipped cream or if I make a hybrid pumpkin pie to add more texture like my pecan pumpkin pie.

Velvety smooth Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie is similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but different enough to pleasantly surprise your holiday dinner guests.

This sweet potato pie, however, does not evoke the same gag reflex. The taste and texture is very similar to your traditional pumpkin pie, but it tastes like heaven times a thousand. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps the texture is just a wee bit smoother. Perhaps the thickness is just right. Perhaps the fact that this is made with a gingersnap crumb crust rather than a traditional butter pie crust makes all the difference. I really dunno. I just know that this pie is heaven.

Velvety smooth Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie is similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but different enough to pleasantly surprise your holiday dinner guests.

I can also tell you for a fact that you do not want to over cook this pie. If you do, not only will your gingersnap crust go from a luscious brown to a dark black, but the top of the pie will get dark brown burn spots and the texture will transform from velvety smooth to what’s-wrong-with-this-pie. There is a delicate balance between underdone-you-won’t-be-able-to-serve and oh-crap-I-burnt-it. You’ll have to watch it carefully to find that happy spot right in between. Enjoy!

Velvety smooth Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie is similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but different enough to pleasantly surprise your holiday dinner guests.

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie
 
Prep time
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Velvety smooth Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie is similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but different enough to pleasantly surprise your holiday dinner guests.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 2 pies
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces gingersnap cookies, pulsed into fine crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 cube) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (15 ounce) can sweet potato puree
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter in bowl. Press into bottom and up sides of two 9 inch pie dishes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine canned drained potatoes with sugar and eggs. Stir well.
  4. Stir in evaporated milk, vanilla, ginger and nutmeg.
  5. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
  6. Pour mixture into the two prepared shells. Using a pie shield or a strip of foil around the edges will prevent the cookie crust from browning too much. Bake for one hour or until set. Insert a toothpick to ensure the pie has finished cooking. Allow to cool before serving.
  7. Serve chilled with freshly whipped cream. Store pie in refrigerator.
Velvety smooth Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie is similar to traditional pumpkin pie, but different enough to pleasantly surprise your holiday dinner guests.
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Brussels Sprouts Gratin

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Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.

Ask me a year ago if I liked brussels sprouts and the answer would have been “no”. Truth be told, I don’t know if I ever really gave them a fair shot. Now, I can honestly say I love them. Things that changed my mind:

  • I tried them flash fried at a random dive restaurant with breakfast and they were to die for
  • I eat them shaved and roasted at the salad bar at work – oh my
  • I’ve loaded them up with tender crisp bacon with a balsamic reduction – so much yes
  • I incorporated them into a mustard sauce that I served with chicken – you’re starting to drool now, aren’t you…
  • And with this recipe, I smothered them in a rich gruyere cheese sauce – how can you possibly go wrong?

Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.

This time of year you can find brussels sprouts on a stalk. Not only does that ensure that they’ll taste as fresh as possible, but when you buy them you get to be that person walking through the store with a big ol’ stalk of sprouts and have everyone stare at you just knowing you’re going to do something awesome with them at home.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.

Aren’t they just gorgeous!

Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.

I adapted this recipe from Skinny Taste. As you might imagine from the photos, I de-Skinny-fied it. In her original version, she uses much less cheese and butter. I’ll just say this – she definitely gave the recipe a great starting point but I love my fat and dairy so I went a little overboard with the goodness.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.

The result is a rich and flavorful side dish worthy of a holiday meal or a simple family dinner. YUM!

Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin
 
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Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon (about 1 large clove) garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 ounces gruyere, grated and divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut each sprout in half and remove any outer leaves that are dirty. In a large bowl, toss the sprouts in the olive oil until lightly coated and then spread in a single layer in a baking dish.
  3. Roast sprouts in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping once half way through cooking time, until golden brown. About five minutes before sprouts have finished cooking, prepare cheese sauce.
  4. In medium sauce pan over medium high heat, melt butter. Add shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add garlic and cook another minute until golden brown. Sprinkle flour over mixture, stir well, and allow to cook for a few minutes to develop a roux.
  5. Add milk and whisk mixture constantly while heating. Allow mixture to heat and thicken. As soon as it does, remove from heat and stir in half of the cheese.
  6. Transfer sprouts to a 9 inch square baking dish and cover with cheese sauce. Top with remaining cheese and return to oven until cheese has fully melted, about 5 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin combines roasted fresh brussels sprouts with a creamy gruyere cheese sauce to create a heavenly vegetable side dish.
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Butternut squash mac n cheese

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This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.

This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.

This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.

I’m kind of sad that I didn’t start liking winter squash until well into my thirties. I feel like I missed out on an entirely delectable during my first three decades. I’m also a bit sad that my kids and husband don’t like butternut squash as well. No. Wait. I kind of like the fact that they don’t like it because when I make a batch of something like this butternut mac n cheese, I know I get to eat the entire thing. And eat the entire thing, I shall.

This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.

Everything about fall makes me giddy. The cool nights, the changing color of the leaves, the upcoming holidays, and all of the roasted squash. I might certifiably be a roasted squash addict.

This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.

I like to convince myself into thinking that by adding a healthy food like butternut squash into a rich and decadent mac n cheese made with starch and carb filled pasta, cheddar cheese, and butter… lots of butter… that I am actually eating a meal that’s healthy. Yeah. Let’s go with that.

This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.

Now, I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe as inspiration, but she left out three very crucial ingredients, in my opinion. Without these three magic ingredients, I really feel like this dish would be rather bland. What are these magic three ingredients, you must be thinking?  First – fresh sage. I actually kind of despise the smell of fresh sage, but when its cut into super thin ribbons and crisped up in butter – mercy. Second – nutmeg, and not the kind you sprinkle from a 20 year old spice jar. I’m talking freshly ground nutmeg. You won’t regret it. Both sage and nutmeg should be paired with butternut squash ALWAYS. Third – garlic. I’ve been splurging at the farmer’s market on really good quality garlic. It is worth every penny. Mark my words. I almost skipped the crumb topping and just dug right into the mac n cheese as soon as I mixed in the sauce, but I’m so glad that I went the extra mile. Not only did that crumb topping add the texture this dish needed, but I’m never going to pass on a little extra butter, garlic, and herbs!

This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.

If you adore butternut squash a fraction as much as I do, you’ll want to make this Butternut Coconut Curry (so good over rice):
butternut-coconut-curry-ig

Or this healthy Butternut Squash Soup:butternut-squash-soup-ig

Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese
 
Prep time
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This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 butternut squash, seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces pasta
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 12 fresh thinly sliced sage leaves, divided
  • 4 cloves minced garlic, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Cover the flesh of the squash with the olive oil and roast in a 425 degree F oven until very tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Allow to cool enough to remove the skin and mash the flesh. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Cook and drain pasta. Set aside.
  3. In a heavy bottom skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add onion and about 8 of the thinly sliced sage leaves. Start out with the heat on high and gradually reduce as the onions cook to allow them to brown without burning. A few minutes before they're done, add half of the garlic, stir, and allow to cook to golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pot, melt another 2 tablespoons of butter with the flour. Allow to cook over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant. Whisk in the milk and add the nutmeg. Continue to mix until the mixture bubbles and forms a gravy. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar and the mashed squash along with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Add the cooked pasta as well as the squash cheese sauce to the onion mixture and stir well to combine.
  6. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and combine with the bread crumbs and the remaining sage, garlic, and salt. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of the pasta mixture.
  7. Cook in 400 degree F oven until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
This Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese combines all the wonderful fall flavors of roasted squash, sage, and onion with the comforts of pasta and cheese.
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Hot Apple Toddy

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Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The second August rolls around, I’m all about everything-apple. From the second they are available at the farmers market up until I simply can’t stomach the sight of anything apple related (which usually happens by February or March), I can’t get enough crunchy tart juicy fresh apples, not to mention fresh apple cider, pie, apple brown betty, and even savory dinners with apple. The first time I had hot apple cider out of a crockpot was at a Thanksgiving dinner. The hostess had actually put butter in it. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the fat that floated to the top, I have to admit there was something lovely about the decadent richness the fat added to that warm fall drink. I much prefer, however, to add a dollop of whipped cream at the end.

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

This classic fall drink, of course, can be made kid friendly simply by omitting the booze, which is exactly why I don’t add it to the crockpot. That, plus the fact that I wouldn’t want any of the alcohol to burn off! You can really use any kind of liquor you want too – rum, bourbon whiskey, whatever warms our belly. My husband is a whiskey lover so that was my liquor of choice, but feel free to set several choices out for your guests and see what they prefer!

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

Hot Apple Toddy
 
Prep time
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Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1 valencia orange, sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 20 cloves
  • 6 ounces whiskey
  • whipped cream
  • spices
Instructions
  1. Add cider to crockpot. Stud orange slices with cloves and add them to the crockpot along with the cinnamon sticks. Set temperature to high and heat for at least an hour.
  2. To serve, add a shot of whisky to a mug, then fill with spiced cider and top with whipped cream.

 

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.
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Upside down pear tarts

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This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.
Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year for baking. Between the holidays and tailgating with those busy crockpot dinners in between, its a wonder if our family even goes out to eat during the fall. One of my favorite fruits to cook with are pears. I’m not a huge fan of eating them raw. I much prefer a juicy, crisp, and slightly tart apple. But, in my opinion, their gritty texture hold up extremely well when cooking.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

Using frozen puff pastry is one of my favorite kitchen hacks. Some day I’ll figure out how to make it from scratch. But for now, I won’t tell if you don’t tell. I love baking with it, though. All of those golden flaky layers make me happy.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

I’ve made a few different kinds of upside down cakes before – apple and banana. Both times I cooked up the fruit in a sugar and butter mixture and then poured cake batter on top.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

This version was slightly different because I transferred everything to a jumbo muffin tin.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

I almost just cut one big round of pastry dough and placed it on the skillet instead of making mini tarts, but I had to stick to my original plan because the goal was to create little individual desserts.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

See how easy that was?

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

I was a little nervous when it came time to invert them onto the platter. Its been a few years since I’d had an upside down cake disaster, but I’m always prepared for the fact that I might completely mess up and end up with an incredibly sticky dessert on the floor. This particular dessert ended up being super easy to flip out onto the platter.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

You should have seen my kids when I took these out of the oven. They were circling me like a couple of sharks would with fresh blood in the water. They were so impressed and are such suckers for having their own individual dessert rather than a piece from a big dessert.

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.

If you love pear desserts as much as I do, you’ll want to check out these Ginger Pear Mini Tarts:ginger-pear-mini-tarts-ig

As well as my Hazelnut Tea Cake with Moscato Pears:hazelnut-tea-cake-moscato-pears-ig

Upside Down Pear Tarts
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 pears (d'anjou recommended)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (12 inch square) sheet of puff pastry dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease the wells of jumbo muffin pan.
  2. Peel and slice pears.
  3. Using a heavy bottom skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and allow to foam. Once the foam subsides and you start to get brown bits, add the sugar, cinnamon, and pears. Stir to coat. Allow to cook until the sugar fully dissolves and starts to form a syrup consistency. Allow to thicken just a bit but do not allow sugar to burn. Remove from heat.
  4. Scoop pears and syrup into the six wells of the jumbo muffin tin.
  5. Using a pairing knife or a round cutter, cut circles out of the dough. Use scraps for a different use. Place one round on top of each well.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until the dough is a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  7. Cover the muffin pan with a large tray or serving platter and carefully invert. Serve warm.

 

Upside Down Pear Tarts are an impressive looking fall dessert, yet are incredibly easy to make with only a few ingredients.
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Pecan Pumpkin Pie

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Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

What pies are always served at Thanksgiving? Pumpkin, of course. And if you’re in my family, you’ll always see a Pecan Pie as well. What’s that?  Apple you say?  Well, sure, but let’s not get crazy here. I think that it is perfectly acceptable to combine two of Thanksgiving’s greatest desserts: the pumpkin and pecan pie. The pecan pie layer elevates the pumpkin pie layer, and the pumpkin layer tames the richness of the pecan layer. If you want my honest opinion, I think this hybrid pie is so much better than either of the originals. Kind of like how a Golden Doodle is way better than a regular old Poodle (sorry poodle owners, but you know I’m right).

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

This pie starts off with a traditional pie crust. You can always buy one of those pre-made ones, but you know homemade is always best. I use an all butter recipe. Its how my mom taught me and its what I’ve taught my own daughter. I think all butter pie crusts are not only delicious, but if prepared correctly, they’re insanely flakey. Next comes the pumpkin layer. Can it really get any easier than mixing a can of pumpkin with some sugar, a couple of eggs, and some pumpkin pie spice? It can’t. Which is why, despite my control issues in the kitchen, I was able to let my daughter do this part on her own. Into the uncooked pie shell it goes!

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Don’t mind those little chunks of butter in the picture above. I failed to completely melt my butter, but it didn’t hurt the final recipe. It’s all good.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Finally, you have your pecan layer. Again, its super easy. Basically, just dump and mix. The pecans float right to the top so I think its worth it to take the extra minute to arrange them in an eye pleasing pattern.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

The trick to any Thanksgiving pies (and muffins, for that matter) are to start out cooking hot and then reduce the temperature. I’ve found this to be the best method for cooking both the inside and the outside perfectly.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Now, once this pie is done you will have to show some major restraint because it really should sit in the refrigerator overnight. Just imagine how good this will taste with a hot cup of coffee and a dollop of freshly whipped cream after your Thanksgiving dinner. Yum, right?

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

This pie is simply the best of both worlds. I’m going to let you in on a little secret… I don’t actually like pumpkin pie all that much. Gasp!  I’ll eat it, but it usually involves stripping away the top part of the pumpkin layer and adding a bunch of whipped cream. There’s something about the texture, or lack there of, of plain pumpkin pie that makes me gag.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Likewise, I have a hard time eating straight up basic pecan pie. That’s a lot of sugar, yo! But, when combined into one perfectly sweetened and textured pie – oh heavens! Time to put on the stretchy pants!!!

Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Pecan Pumpkin Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Yields: 1 pie
Ingredients
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
PUMPKIN LAYER:
  • 1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
PECAN LAYER:
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Line a 9 inch pie plate with pie dough. Roll edges under and create a scalloped pattern.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pie dough and level it with the back of the spoon.
  3. Wash and dry the bowl, and then combine the corn syrup, sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract and pecans. Gently pour over the pumpkin mixture. If desired, place the pecans in a symmetrical pattern.
  4. Cover the crust loosely with aluminum foil or a pie shield to keep it from browning too much.
  5. Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Without opening the door, reduce heat to 350°. Bake an additional 40-45 minutes until crust is golden brown. Turn oven off and crack oven door. Allow pie to sit in open oven for about 15 minutes before removing.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
Pecan Pumpkin Pie combines the best of both worlds into one decadent and perfectly sweet holiday pie that is perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner.
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Layered Pumpkin Cake

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The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

So… I may have gone a little overboard with the pictures on this recipe. I don’t make cakes that often, so when I do I guess I go a little snap happy with my camera. This recipe, in its entirety, was provided by my incredibly talented friend, Mindy, of Decadent Creations. She sells this cake during the fall at the Farmers Markets and its oh-so-amazing.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The cake is the most moist and forgiving pumpkin cake. She tells us to use bread flour in the recipe. I asked her why and she said it holds up best to the moisture from the pumpkin. This cake recipe would be perfect for muffins too. When it really comes down to it, there isn’t much difference between a really good muffin and a cupcake, don’tcha think?

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The final cooked cake was so easy to work with. I used a large serrated edge knife to cut each layer in half creating four thin layers. I love thin multi-layered cakes because they’re not only pretty, but you’re guaranteed to get cake, ganache, and frosting in each bite when its prepared like this. I’m the kind of eater that has to have a bit of everything on my fork with every bite, so this makes me extremely happy.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

The ganache spreads beautifully when its just the right temperature. You want it to be smooth enough to spread but not so hot that it sinks into or off of the cake. The buttercream is incredibly light and fluffy and smooths out perfectly over each ganache and cake layer.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

I decided to put a thin layer of frosting on the outside to give it a nice crumb coat. The beauty of buttercream is that there is so much darn butter in it, that when you refrigerate it, everything gets rock hard. Then, when I was ready to spread the final layer of buttercream on the cake, I just allowed the extra frosting to sit out at room temperature until it was spreadable before removing the cake from the oven.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Aren’t those little marzipan pumpkins the cutest! They only took me a few minutes to make and made the final cake so darn purdy!

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

If you ask me, a good cream cheese frosting can’t be beat. This buttercream, especially with the hazelnut butter added for texture and taste, are an incredible addition to this cake.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Another shot of the little pumpkins below simply because I love them.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

I brought this monster cake into work. One of the ways my co-workers described it was “I thought it was going to be really sweet but all the layers really balanced all the flavors and sweetness out.”  I couldn’t agree more, Scott!  See, when you add booze to chocolate, it reduces the sweetness just the right amount.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Don’t let all the steps to the recipe fool you. This cake really is super easy to make.  The buttercream may seem intimidating, but as long as you have a thermometer to get the melted sugar to the right temperature, its actually tons of fun to watch it to come together. Chocolate ganache only takes a few minutes to make. The smiles you will get from the people who enjoy this cake will make it all worth it.

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Sheesh, how many pictures did I take?

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

There we go. Last picture!  Now, what are you waiting for?  Go make the cake!!!

The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!

Layered Pumpkin Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The best delicious fall dessert is this moist homemade Layered Pumpkin Cake with hazelnut buttercream, drunken chocolate ganache, and marzipan pumpkins!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 16 servings
Ingredients
cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • one 15 oz. Can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
hazelnut buttercream:
drunken ganache:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. Dark chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 3 Tablespoons good rum (we prefer Myer's Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
marzipan pumpkins:
  • 5 ounces marzipan
  • 2-4 drops yellow food coloring
  • 2-4 drops red food coloring
  • 7 whole cloves
Instructions
To make the cake batter:
  1. Combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda & powder, salt, and spices) in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on speed 1.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until combines, scraping the bowl to ensure a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between two 9 inch pans lined with pan spray and parchment. Bake 28-35 minutes at 350F. The cakes are done when a toothpick comes out cleanly when poked in the center of the cake. Allow time to fully cool on a cooling rack.
To make the frosting:
  1. Follow directions for my Perfect Buttercream frosting. Once done, fold in hazelnut butter.
To make the ganache:
  1. Cald the cream in a small saucepan or microwave. Pour over combined chocolate and corn syrup, stir with a whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Stir in rum and cinnamon, allow the mixture to set in a shallow pan or plate at room temperature before using (at least 30 minutes). If the mixture sets to a point where it's no longer spreadable, simply microwave it and stir it for very small intervals (5 seconds at time in the microwave).
Assemble the cake:
  1. Cut each round into two thin layers, if desired. Divide the rum ganache in three portions and spread evenly to the tops of three of the four layers of cake. Plop about 3/4 cup of the hazelnut frosting on top of each spread ganache layer, and spread evenly as well. Stack all four layers of the cake, the one that has no ganache or hazelnut frosting will be the top layer. Spread the remaining hazelnut frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, you can do a very thin layer of frosting, then refrigerate, then add remaining frosting to avoid crumbs in your top layer. !To make the marzipan pumpkins:
  2. Add the food coloring to the marzipan and mix well with hands like it was play dough until all of the color is even. Divide the dough into 9 equal sized portions. Use hands to roll each portion into a ball and then use butter knife to indent grooves down the side to make it look like a pumpkin. Insert a whole clove into the top for the stem. Top cake with marzipan pumpkins.

Layered Pumpkin Cake | Self Proclaimed Foodie
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Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.

Chances are you’ve eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.

Chances are you've eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.

Have you ever had gnocchi? I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea how to even properly pronounce the word. All I know is that I had it recently and have been craving it ever since.

Chances are you've eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.

I’ve been trying really hard to eat well lately. I cut out (for the most part) added sugar, I cut out (for the most part) white flour, and I cut out (for the most part) empty starches. I’ve tried really hard to stick to healthy whole grains and things like sweet potatoes versus standard white potatoes.

Chances are you've eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.I made this recipe with whole wheat flour. Do I think it would have turned out better with all purpose flour? Yes. Did I feel better about using whole wheat flour? Yes. I will tell you one thing – when you toss these bad boys into the boiling water, don’t walk away. I thought they would have to boil much longer than they did. Again, if I had used all purpose flour it may have been perfect, but I wrote the recipe exactly as I made it. If you experiment, do come back and let me know!

Chances are you've eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.

Now, plain boiled gnocchi ain’t anything to write home about, but as soon as you brown up some butter with some crispy ribbons of fresh sage, you’re in for a real treat!  I served these up for dinner with some grilled pork chops and butternut squash mash. YUM!

Chances are you've eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.

If you love sweet potatoes as much as I do, you’ll love this Sweet Potato Quick Bread:sweet-potato-quick-bread-IG

Or this Sweet Potato and Bacon Frittata:sweet-potato-bacon-frittata-IG

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
 
Chances are you've eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.
Author:
Recipe type: Side dish
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups (about) whole wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Poke holes in sweet potatoes with a fork. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, rotate, then cook for another 10 minutes. They should be soft at this point. If they are still hard, cook for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool enough to handle.
  2. Remove skin from sweet potatoes and mash flesh. Ideally, you want about 2 cups of mashed sweet potato.
  3. In bowl, combine mashed sweet potato with ricotta and parmesan cheeses along with brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Add flour in small amounts until a sticky ball forms. You may use less than the recommended amount.
  4. Once dough is formed, roll a small amount of dough on a heavily floured surface into a thick rope that's about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut into 1 inch long pieces.
  5. Boil heavily salted water. Working with small batches, add cut gnocchi pieces to boiling water. Once they float, remove them with a slotted spoon and continue with remaining dough. This only takes a few minutes. Set aside to cool. This process can be done ahead of time.
  6. To serve, melt butter over medium heat while stirring occasionally until brown solids begin to form and it smells wonderfully nutty. Add sage leaves and cook for a couple minutes. Add cooked gnocchi pieces and saute until heated through, 3-4 minutes, gently tossing occasionally. Serve warm.
Notes
*Note - I used whole wheat flour however I think it would have turned out even better with all purpose flour
Chances are you've eaten gnocchi before, but this homemade whole wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi is a healthier version perfect for fall.
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Butternut Squash Lasagna

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Creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna, with a white Béchamel sauce, is a delicious fall dinner as well as a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.

Creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna, with a white Béchamel sauce, is a delicious fall dinner as well as a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.

Who are you inviting over for Thanksgiving this year? I always like to invite a mix of both family and friends. Why? Well, first of all, the more the merrier. Especially during the holidays, right? Second, the dynamic between your guests completely changes when you combine both sets of in-laws with friends of yours whom they never met. Ever tried my little trick? If yes, you might know what happens – everyone is on their best behavior. Maybe its just my family, but when I only have my family and my husband’s family over, people mostly stick to only talking to their own blood relatives. When I introduce friends and co-workers into the mix, everyone seems to co-mingle a little bit better.

 

Creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna, with a white Béchamel sauce, is a delicious fall dinner as well as a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.

All of my friends and family have been meat eaters. Of all the years I’ve hosted Thanksgiving, I’ve never had to worry about what I would do if a vegetarian came over for dinner. Well, this year, one of my friends coming over just so happens to be a vegetarian. I know she wouldn’t want me to go out of my way to make something special for her, which is why I especially love this lasagna – it is so delicious that vegetarians and meat eaters alike will love it!

Creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna, with a white Béchamel sauce, is a delicious fall dinner as well as a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.

When I think of lasagna, I can’t help but think of red sauce and meat. This is neither. It is made with lasagna noodles and that’s basically the only similarity to traditional lasagna, other than the fact that the ingredients are layered.  It incorporates super soft and creamy roasted butternut squash with onions and garlic. Then, since I’m using no-bake lasagna noodles, I must use some kind of liquid to properly cook them. This meal, in addition to a few good handfuls of freshly grated mozzarella and parmasan, uses a Béchamel sauce, also known as white sauce, which is made from a white roux and milk. Even though it first appeared in Italian cooking books, it is now considered one of the mother sauces of French cuisine.

Creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna, with a white Béchamel sauce, is a delicious fall dinner as well as a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.

Let me tell you, this dinner tastes like heaven and you will find that it is the best main dish to serve to your vegetarian friends and family at Thanksgiving!

Creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna, with a white Béchamel sauce, is a delicious fall dinner as well as a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.

Butternut Squash Lasagna
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Ingredients
  • For the vegetables:
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • For the bechamel:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • For the lasagna:
  • Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
  • 2 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
Instructions
  1. Make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt. Toss the onion with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on a separate baking sheet; season with salt. Roast, rotating the baking sheets once, until the vegetables are tender, 18 to 20 minutes; set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  2. Meanwhile, make the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking, until the flour is lightly golden but not brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg.
  3. Assemble the lasagna: Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Toss the cheeses and the flour in a bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for topping. Evenly coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of the bechamel. Lay 3 noodles side by side on top. Cover with one-third of the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture, then top with half of the vegetable mixture. Arrange 3 more noodles on top and repeat the layers (bechamel, cheese, vegetables). Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then cover with the remaining bechamel; sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese.
  4. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Uncover the lasagna and broil until browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Creamy Butternut Squash Lasagna, with a white Béchamel sauce, is a delicious fall dinner as well as a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.
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