Some of my stash from the Market!

Holy Holiday Market Haul!

In case you missed it, White Bear Lake was host to a winter farmers market last weekend, and it was a huge hit! So much real, whole, local food under one roof. It was a blast to see everyone getting excited about local foods – thanks so much for making it a great success: for the farmers, vendors, White Bear Area Food Shelf, Tamarack Nature Center and BearPower. What a vibrant community to be a part of!

If you’re like some of the over 500 people who shopped local at the recent Winter Farmers Market, you may have an abundance of lovely late season/storage/root crop produce hanging around staring at you… I’ve been cooking up a storm ever since and have narrowed this blog post down to two must try recipes.

One for a quick healthy family friendly dinner; Warm Salad: Roasted Squash & Crisped Kale.

One fancy enough to impress at a Holiday Meal; Winter Veg Lasagna.

You will quickly see that these two recipes use many of the same ingredients, and in fact these two dishes  ‘share’ ingredients quite well. But the two flavors are distinct enough to keep your taste buds happy all week long (these both make perfect leftover meals). They can also both work as vegetarian or vegan entrees (if you sub in some vegan cheese). Hello “Meatless Monday”!

Using the old stand-by winter vegetables of butternut squash, potatoes, kale and red onion with a few tweaks; these are some of my new favorite meals- you’ll have to let me know which one wins out at your home!?

Kind of like a ‘capsule wardrobe’ these recipes make the most out of some time tested veggies- that can sometimes go to waste because no one wants to eat the same tasting things all week. So, between these two recipes you’ll use a whole large squash. Use the top skinny part of the squash for the lasagna recipe and the bottom part that you scrape the seeds out of for the smaller chopped pieces in the warmed salad.

My last harvest of curly kale, last week…

**At first my kids only wanted to eat the potatoes out of the lasagna- but the next night they ate more and more without realizing it. I love it when they eat healthy in spite of themselves**

So, Kale. Yes, I’m obsessed; eating kale makes me feel good, so I’m not going to stop anytime soon- but my garden has sadly stopped producing it now. We had a really good run this year, mid-June thru mid-December. While I still have one bag of the fresh stuff left, I have many gallon bags frozen. Both of these recipes work well with either frozen or fresh.  I like options, lots of kale options. Keep in mind that even kale gets flown in from far away.

Kind of like tomatoes. So in the interest of keeping the Winter Veg Lasagna recipe more local, try the hot house grown “Bushel Boys” during MN winters, Grown in Owatana- which is just under 19,000 miles closer than California, the largest producer of tomatoes in the US.  I think the greenhouse grown versions are not good for eating raw but they are perfect for this recipe. Unless you have whole frozen tomatoes you can slice…

Let’s get cooking!

Warm Salad: Roasted Squash & Crisped Kale

Heat oven to 400F

1/2 Butternut squash chopped into 1 inch pieces
½ Red Onion sliced in rounds
1 big bunch Kale (OK to sub frozen kale!)
2-4 garlic cloves- pressed (or 1-2 tsp garlic powder)
1 cup cooked garbanozos
S&P to taste
Pepitas/Pumpkin seeds- optional, for serving

Dressing: your choice- or come up with your own!
Simple Citrus
½ lemon juiced
S&P (white pepper works too)
Garlic Powder
Dash cayenne
shaken or stirred 😉

Tahini Dressing
2 TBSP tahini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
½ teaspoon salt

Toss the Butternut pieces with EVOO and S&P, spread onto rimmed baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes at 400F. Check on squash 15-20 minutes in and stir pieces to help brown evenly.

Make Dressing if using.

Remove stems and shred or chop the Kale into bite size pieces. (If using frozen you may be able to break apart chunks, as stems have been removed)

In a large skillet heat more EVOO on med-high heat, add onion rounds and char, add pressed garlic stir for under a minute, add in kale, S&P ‘stir fry’ for a few minutes, until kale is slightly charred and crispy at edges. Add in cooked garbanzos. Turn off heat once garbanzos are warmed through. Stir in roasted squash pieces.

Add pepitas and toss with dressing or drizzle on as wanted (My kids do not like it!)

This makes a hearty lunch on day two. And three 😉

The next recipe is a lasagna so like all good layered and baked comfort food, go ahead and prep everything before you get started layering.

Seriously, that took me way too long to figure out.

Winter Veg Lasagna 

½ small butternut squash
1/2 medium Red Onion
1 small bunch kale
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes,
6-8 oz. provolone cheese
2 small tomatoes
¼ c. grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 425F

Get all the ingredients prepped:
Peel and slice the butternut, (I like half circles)
Slice potatoes into rounds
Slice red onion into rounds,
remove stems and shred or chop kale into bite size pieces


Slice provolone
Slice tomatoes
EVOO in bottom of pan and start layering:

Squash, then onion, then kale-
drizzle EVOO S&P
Then Potatoes and halff the provolone
Then more kale, more EVOO S&P
Then onion, tomatoes
Top with rest of the squash and last of provolone

Bake for 30 minutes.

Drop temp to 400, and add parmesan to top bake for another 10-15 until potatoes are cooked through.

These are my two new favorites- give them a try at home or for the holiday pot luck coming up. Let me know what you think! I always love to hear when people substitute ingredients too!

Go ahead and Dig In to this Holiday Comfort food!