Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Lasagna

A butternut squash has been sitting on my counter since I bought it a week ago. We had inventory at work last week (Monday-Saturday), and I didn’t cook at all.

I love roasted butternut squash and decided to try something new. Instead of using only lasagna noodles, I wondered how it would be if I used roasted butternut squash ribbons. Fast forward through not finding my mandoline, and using a knife; roasting chunks along with ribbons; and thinking caramelized onions would be tasty in this. I started at 4pm and finished at 7pm; cooking, mixing, washing dishes, cooking, cleaning…you know the drill.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Lasagna

1 butternut squash, peeled, sliced and chunked, roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper, rubbed sage & ground thyme

2 large sweet onions, caramelized with olive oil, unsalted butter or ghee, salt, minced fresh sage, and thyme leaves

Bechamel sauce – I used 4 cups skim milk and 8 oz heavy cream, seasoned with salt, pepper, rubbed sage, & ground thyme (I had about 1/3 of the mixture leftover, which could be used in something else)

1 package Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles

2 2 cup packages shredded mozzarella cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 2 cup package shredded triple cheddar cheese

1 32 oz container part-skim ricotta

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with salt, pepper, rubbed sage, and ground thyme. Add shredded cheddar cheeses, and mix to combine. Add ricotta cheese and mix well.

In a lasagna pan or large baking dish, ladle in enough bechamel sauce to cover bottom of pan. Create layers in this order: lasagna noodles, butternut squash, caramelized onion, ricotta mixture, shredded mozzarella cheese, bechamel sauce, lasagna noodles, butternut squash, ricotta mixture, shredded mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, bechamel sauce, lasagna noodles, caramelized onions, shredded mozzarella. Cover with foil.

Bake at 380 degrees for 30 minutes, removing foil, and baking for another 10 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread.

Mini Victoria Sponge

Thank you to everyone who came out to our Facebook Takeover party for Happy Homicides 6: Cookin’ Up Crime! We had so much fun with it, and hope you did as well. Winners of the various author’s giveaways are posted on the event page.

Fans of a traditional tea will already be familiar with Victoria Sponge. It’s buttercream and strawberry jam sandwiched between two delicious layers of sponge cake, dusted with confectioners sugar. I don’t see anything not to like about that!

I created an individual treat just for the Facebook Takeover party. Husband is always happy to be my taste tester for experiments 🙂 I share it with you now, because it’s too tasty to keep to myself.

Mini Victoria Sponge – For each one, you’ll need:

Dessert shells or small sponge cake (you can use a 2″ biscuit cutter to cut rounds from a sponge cake)

Buttercream (see recipe below)

Strawberry jam

Confectioners sugar

Place a dessert shell or sponge cake round on a plate. Put 2 T of buttercream in center and spread out to edges. Put 2 T of strawberry jam over buttercream and spread out to edges. Dust with confectioners sugar.


1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/4 t table salt, or 1/2 t Kosher salt

1/2 t vanilla (or to taste)

1 C confectioners sugar (or as needed to get consistency you want – buttercream should hold it’s shape when placed on the cake; runny icing is not what we’re going for here)

Cream butter and salt until butter is smooth; add vanilla and beat for 1 minute (start slowly so the vanilla doesn’t fly out of the bowl). Slowly add confectioners sugar to mixer at low speed; once all sugar is incorporated, beat at medium speed for 30 seconds until everything is incorporated. At this point, I took the bowl off the mixing stand and used a spatula to add more confectioners sugar until it was the consistency I wanted.


Meat Loaf topped with Savory Sauce and Bacon

Meat loaf. Or is it meatloaf? Either way, it’s a flashback to my childhood and my mother’s meatloaf, topped with ketchup and bacon. Baked in the oven, with potatoes alongside. She put a nail in the potatoes to cook them evenly, and dried the potatoes so the skin would be crackling-crispy. We’d cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the soft flesh, and butter and season the insides of that cracking skin. The texture and flavor was so good, and we had the bonus of the buttered insides to soak up the juice from the meat loaf.

I haven’t made meat loaf in years, and just got a craving for it. I added some chopped onion and shredded carrot, mixed in a beaten egg and some seasonings. I had enough for two loaves, and made a savory sauce with some unusual ingredients. Topped it off with bacon, and let everything bake until the meat loaf was cooked, the bacon was crisp, and the sauce was…delicious.

Mashed potatoes and broccoli rounded out the meal. It was everything I’d been hoping for, and I had one to put in the freezer for a fast dinner or two at a later date.

Meat Loaf topped with Savory Sauce and Bacon

2 lbs ground beef, 80/20

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1/4 cup shredded carrot

1 teaspoon Everglades seasoning (or the seasoning of your choice)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 strips bacon

1/2 cup ketchup

3 T duck sauce

3 T Weber’s horseradish mustard (or mustard of your choice)

3 T hot Chinese mustard (mine was leftover from our Chinese takeout)

Combine the beaten egg, onion, carrot, Everglades seasoning, and pepper. Add ground beef and combine, taking care not to overwork the beef. Divide meat loaf mixture into two loaf pans.

In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, mustards, and duck sauce. Divide and spread evenly over meat loaf. Top each loaf with 4 strips of bacon.

Bake at 350 degrees until done, about one hour. The bacon should be fully cooked and crisp on the edges. Remove from oven and slice. Serve with baked or mashed potatoes, and green beans or broccoli. Delicious, and a throwback to simpler times!

Happy Homicides 6: Cookin’ Up Crime is available for $.99 until November 5! Don’t miss our Facebook Takeover Part on Saturday, November 4, from 5pm-10pm EDT. Details will be on our Happy Homicides Facebook page.

Bite-Size Caprese Salad

Happy Homicides 6: Cookin’ Up Crime is out now! I’m delighted to be included in this short story anthology with 14 other authors, in 15 clean, traditional mystery stories. It’s available for $.99 until November 5. Click here to buy your copy now.

My husband was gone for a golf weekend with the boys from Friday through Sunday. Yay! I had most of the weekend to catch up on laundry, do some cleaning, and most importantly, get some writing work done. I’m working on several projects, and sometimes it’s easier when the house is quiet.

He came back mid-afternoon on Sunday and I made these bite size appetizers to tide us over until dinner (Pot Roast in a Crock Pot – I’ll post that next week). We’d had a Caprese Salad a week or so ago, and I still had some mozzarella. Add some tomatoes I picked up Sunday morning at the grocery store, a few ingredients on hand, and presto!

Bite-Size Caprese Salad

Each toothpick holds one serving

Mozzarella, cut into 1/2″ chunks

Grape tomatoes

Basil leaves, torn to size

Balsamic glaze (I use Gia Russo brand, available from the grocery store in the vinegar aisle)

Extra-virgin olive oil

Himalayan sea salt

Arrange the mozzarella chunks on a plate. Top with a piece of basil leaf and tomatoe. Insert toothpick, and continue until you’ve made as many as you like.

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over tomatoes; drizzle balsamic glaze over tomatoes. Sprinkle sea salt over tomatoes.

Eat and enjoy!