A piping hot casserole is on the top of my list in the colder months! Intuitively we want to have warmer, heavier foods during the winter season. When you get in tune with your body’s signals, it tells you what it needs. If you think about it, we naturally want to eat with the seasons when we are really in tune with ourselves.
One of the tips I learned in Health Coaching school was to eat until I was 80 percent full, and it is really effective. I feel great when I don’t eat until I am completely stuffed and have had enough to feel satiated and comfortable. This way of eating keeps weight pretty much the same without having to restrict calories. I really dislike restriction of food, I am a foodie, but I love feeling great in my clothes! Don’t deprive me! 🙂 So, eating nutrient rich food is not only great for you, it avoids dieting and keeps the body fed and full of energy. I prefer “crowding out” which simply means, eating more real food so you don’t have room for the opposite. When you are eating healthy, whole foods made into scrumptious dishes like this casserole, you don’t crave junk. All my recipes have health benefits, even the sweet ones! One of the things I tell and have proven to my clients is, when they give their taste buds time to change, by taking out processed food for a few months, when they go back to eating them, they will taste artificial and too sweet or chemically. They actually will prefer the real stuff! You can eat food that isn’t just good for you, but is also just G-O-O-D!
Getting back to the scrumptious lasagna though, this Butternut Squash Lasagna uses thin sliced butternut as the noodles and is hearty and flavorful with a nice caramelized top! There are lots of nutritious dried herbs and one of my favorite flavor additions, chopped fennel!
Butternut Squash Lasagna
Preheat your oven to 375º degrees. You can assemble this dish in advance and refrigerate it covered until you are ready to bake it!
1 Butternut Squash (Medium to Large)
1 Pound of Grass Fed Ground Beef
1 Pound of Ground Pork
1 Fennel Bulb (medium sized, diced)
1 Cup of Sliced Scallions
1 Jar of Strained Organic Tomatoes (24 oz.), or Tomato Puree (I like this brand)
2 Tablespoons of Garlic Olive Oil (or 2 TBS of Regular EVOO plus 3 minced garlic cloves)
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley
1 Teaspoon of Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Marjoram
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Thyme
1/4 Teaspoon of Dried Rosemary
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Sea Salt (or Himalayan Pink my personal favorite)
Peel the butternut squash. Divide the peeled whole squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Laying the two squash halves flat side down on a cutting board, cut it into 1/2 inch slices so they form half moon shapes perfect for layering as noodles. Set aside.
In a large skillet, add 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Olive Oil (or your olive oil and fresh minced garlic) over medium high heat. Add your ground beef, pork and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, and brown. When almost brown, but still a little pink, add the diced fennel, scallions, dried herbs and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Keep browning until the fennel is tender, about five minutes. Drain off the excess fat. Add the crushed tomatoes, and thoroughly combine with the meat and herbs bring it to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss your butternut squash slices with 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
Coat a 14″ x 10″ inch casserole dish (approximate size) with olive oil. Add a single layer of butternut squash, filling in the gaps as well as you can, it doesn’t have to be perfectly covered. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture. Add another layer of butternut squash and another 1/3 of the meat mixture. Add the final layer of butternut squash, and finish with the last 1/3 of the meat mixture.
Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil, and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and caramelized and the squash is really tender.
Remove from the oven, and let it sit ten minutes before serving!
*Optional Pecorino cheese grated on the top. It is a delicious Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk.
Like all lasagna, this is even better leftover!
Eat Your Nutrients!