1 large onion--about 1 1/2 cups
2 c butternut squash puree (see NOTE)
8 oz frozen chopped spinach
28 oz can or jar spaghetti sauce with mushrooms--or your favorite sauce
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 t garlic powder (I was in a hurry so didn't use fresh garlic, but that would certainly be good instead)
1 t mixed herbs--basil, rosemary, thyme and marjoram
7 to 8 oz low fat ricotta (about half a container)
6 oz grated cheese--I used a mixture of mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, and asiago but mozzarella alone would be fine too
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
NOTE: I would suggest that you get in the habit of baking squash (or sweet potatoes when you have extras) whenever you are using the oven for something else. When cooking squash, always cook at least twice as much as you need so that you can mash the extra and tuck into the freezer for later use.
If you don't have any squash made ahead for this dish, you can omit it OR you could grate or thinly slice a couple of carrots, microwave them until very tender and then stir into the sauce in place of the squash.
1. Cook the spaghetti as directed. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, saute the onion and stir in the spaghetti sauce and all the remaining ingredients except the ricotta and cheese.
3. In a large flat casserole--about 11 to 12 inches in diameter (or square)--spread about a third of the sauce mixture. Spread half the spaghetti over the sauce. Top with another third of the sauce and then spread the ricotta over this layer of sauce. Cover with the remaining spaghetti, spread with the remaining sauce, and then sprinkle with the grated cheese.
4. Cover and bake at 360 for about 1 hour, until bubbly in the center. If desired, remove the cover the last 15 to 20 minutes for a crustier top.
5. Remove from oven and let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes for easier serving.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper.
This will serve at least 6 people and could easily be stretched to 8.
Red and Green Winter Salad with Raspberry Dressing
This recipe uses the chart I included in my December 16 post. I made the dressing using some raspberry syrup prepared from the summer's prolific berries. Any purchased vinaigrette dressing could be used instead.
2 to 3 cups shredded cabbage
2 to 3 cups torn spinach leaves
1 T sliced leeks (because I had some on hand; any onions could be used in place of the leeks)
1 large or 2 medium red skinned apples, cored but not peeled and coarsely diced
1/3 c coarsely chopped walnuts
2 to 4 T crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Toss together and serve the dressing on the side. Pass the pepper grater as well.
3 to 4 T raspberry syrup (see NOTE)
1 t dried basil, crushed
1 to 2 T olive oil
1 to 2 t balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients and taste, adjusting amounts as desired.
NOTE: I made the raspberry syrup by combining 2 cups of fresh or frozen raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine colander or sieve. If you want a sweeter, or thicker, syrup, increase the sugar to 1/4 cup. If you don't have raspberries for making this syrup, you can use frozen apple-raspberry 100% juice concentrate instead. This will be quite a bit sweeter, so you may want to substitute wine vinegar for the balsamic, and increase the amount of vinegar slightly.