“You cook EVERY night?”
Yes- yes, I do cook almost every night! My friends have always been amazed that we eat home cooked meals almost nightly. To be honest- I’m amazed they don’t (in a completely non-judgmental way)! I just don’t know what they eat because I can’t figure out how to feed my family without cooking almost every night. I’m not a fan of fast food. Eating “better” take-out gets expensive and most frozen dinners taste like cardboard. I would much rather have a homemade Butternut Squash Lasagna than the ice brick I find in the frozen section of the grocery store. Of course, then there are my control issues! I have a thing about controlling what my family puts in our bodies and if I cook the meals I know the ingredients. However- I have found that I have to take a few shortcuts now that I have a 2 and 1 year old underfoot while I cook!
There was a time I made my own dressings, sauces, and occasionally breads from scratch. Now- I’m just thankful for RAGÚ Homestyle Pasta Sauce for providing me with a healthy option for my family that contains no artificial flavors, colors, or high-fructose corn syrup. It is thick and bold-flavored, seasoned with the same herbs I once used in my homemade sauces and comes in these six flavors so you can find the exact combination of amazing that is perfect for your meal!
Oh- and one more tip for cooking when you’re busy with kids (or just busy in general): use as few dishes as possible! I cook casseroles A LOT because it’s an entire meal in one dish!!! And unless I’m taking supper to a new mom I usually forego the salad and bread, too, so I try to pack hearty veggies into my casseroles to load my people up with nutrients and keep them full. (If you are looking for some great recipes for your family be sure to take a look here and here!). And because casseroles tend to go far we can get at least 2, maybe 3, meals from just one!
But, instead of talking about my love affair with casseroles, I thought I would share a nutrition packed, gluten-free lasagna my family loves and this is the star of the recipe!
I grew up in the deep south and my family does food. Fresh veggies and fruits are in endless supply and we have these amazing things down there called canning plants where you get your friends/family together and take your food to a magical place and “put up” food for the off-season using gigantic, commercial-grade equipment. While I can’t say we always had the healthiest cooking habits, I have a very healthy appreciation for vegetables. With all the research done now about how different foods affect our bodies my family, like many others, have made a concerted effort to follow a healthier lifestyle. Luckily, I have been able to adapt many of the recipes passed down through my family to meet my new health goals without sabotaging taste. I love food entirely too much to sacrifice “tasty” for “healthy”- and with all the options available to us today there is no reason we should!
Growing up, lasagna was a meal my mom made occasionally throughout the year and it was always highly anticipated. Today, the thought of lasagna still makes my mouth water but I have to limit the amount of gluten I consume. For a long time I simply avoided certain foods because I didn’t realize there were other options- then I started getting creative in the kitchen and substituting vegetables for ingredients with gluten and this Butternut Squash Lasagna is one of my favorite creations to date! Stick with me here! Butternut squash was one of the few squashes I was not raised on but it has a rich flavor that is a perfect compliment for tomatoes (which shouldn’t have surprised me because every southerner knows squash and tomatoes go together) and I now add it to many of my Italian recipes. But I’ve talked enough so here you go!
Butternut Squash Lasagna
If you are a pasta lover and can't quite fathom lasagna without it just add it in and layer along with the sauce, meat, cheese, and squash!
- Homestyle Ragu| in your flavor of choice.
- 1/2 butternut squash, sliced
- 1 lb. grass fed ground beef (or ground turkey)
- 1/2 c. yellow onion, diced
- 2 T. garlic
- 1 c. mushrooms
- 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
- 1 c. shredded mozarella
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat fat of choice (I prefer coconut oil) in a skillet and add garlic and onion. Cook until onions are slightly translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add ground beef to onions and brown, stirring frequently. When meat is nearly browned add mushrooms to soften. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and/or italian seasonings.
- In the meantime, combine ricotta, parmesan, spinach, and egg. Mix well.
- Slice butternut squash.
- Drain meat mixture (if necessary) and add 1 1/2 c. Homestyle Ragu (or more if you want to get saucy!). This does not have to cook. It simply makes casserole building easier.
- In a greased 9x13 casserole dish: layer sauce, squash, cheese-spinach mixture. Repeat, ending with a layer of sauce.
- Sprinkle Mozarella cheese on top.
- Bake for 45 minutes until the casserole is easily pierced with a fork and sides are bubbling. Allow to sit 15 minutes before serving.
Is your mouth watering yet?!!
That’s what I thought!
After an embarrassingly long time staring at all 6 flavor options in the aisle at Kroger I finally tossed a jar of Ragu Homestyle Thick & Hearty Garlic in my buggy. Do you think I made the right choice?
Next up I’m making a Twice Baked Squashetti that is amazing and I’m taking votes! Tell me which of these RAGÚ Homestyle flavors you want to see in the Squashetti and you could find $20 in your inbox!
(Open to US residents only, must be 18 to enter. This giveaway is hosted by A Kreative Whim and has no affiliation with PayPal or Ragu. Entries accepted through June 6, 2016. Void where prohibited.)
Want to know more about Ragu Pasta Sauces and why they are the perfect fit for your family? Here ya go!!!
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