Super Foods Part 2 – yummy yourself into better health

I didn’t invent these lists, for that I must give credit to Rebecca Katz’s “The Longevity Kitchen” and my favorite source for advice to the aging – the AARP Magazine. But the comments are all mine!

Food 5: Kale
Ok – not one of my favorite veggies – so I’m more into hiding it than featuring it – but Kale is a definite Super Food. It’s rich in vitamin K (for Kale) – which is essential for blood clotting. Kale also contains lutein – which reduced the risk of cataracts and eye disorders. A surprising fact – one serving of Kale has almost 3 times the amount of Lutin as Raw Spinach. (So if you have to pick between Spinach and Kale – pick Kale!)

Food 6: Garlic
Not just for scaring off Vampires – Garlic is a great Super Food – and you can use it just about anywhere. It contains antioxidants, and antimicrobials. And when it’s crushed, it releases allicin, which wards off heart attacks, strokes – and vampires!

Food 7: Thyme
Beyond being famous for being in the title of a song from Simon and Garfunkle, Thyme fights bacteria. And in tincture form, it has recently been found to be effective in the treatment of acne. Pretty sure you don’t want to put the food on your face – but still, interesting to know, eh?

Food 8: Dark Chocolate
Ok – this is clearly my favorite Super Food. Honestly – ask me to eat more dark chocolate – I’m so there! Notice its dark chocolate – not milk and not white – that’s good for you. It’s lower in calories, rich in flavonoids, can aid in decreasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And – at the 60% or more cocoa level – it may reduce heart attacks and strokes in high risk individuals if consumed daily. Let’s see – daily consumption of dark chocolate. I can handle that.

Another yummy recipe from using 3 of the 4 Super Foods described above!

Whole-wheat Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale

You can assemble and chill the lasagna a day ahead, but add 10 to 15 minutes to the baking time. You can also freeze the lasagna, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month and bake it frozen (add 1 1/4 hours to the oven time).

Yield: Makes 8 servings
Total: 2 Hours

Recipe Time
Total: 2 Hours
Nutritional Information
Amount per serving
Calories: 424
Calories from fat: 38%
Protein: 20g
Fat: 18g
Saturated fat: 7.4g
Carbohydrate: 51g
Fiber: 8g
Sodium: 659mg
Cholesterol: 39mg


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided $
1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced
3 peeled garlic cloves (1 minced, 2 left whole)
2 cans (14 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
About 1 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 cups (about 2 lbs.) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 pound Lacinato kale (often sold as dinosaur or Tuscan kale)
9 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 8 oz.)
1 container (15 oz.) part-skim-milk ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a 2- to 3-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and flavors are combined, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
2. While sauce is cooking, in a 12- by 15-in. baking pan, sprinkle squash with thyme, remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic cloves and toss squash mixture to coat with oil. Bake until soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 3 qts. salted water to a boil in a large pot.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor and purée until smooth.
4. Tear kale leaves from center ribs and discard ribs. Boil leaves until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain; let cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible and chop finely.
5. In the same pot, bring another 3 qts. salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water.
6. In a bowl, mix ricotta, nutmeg, 1 cup mozzarella, and remaining 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.
7. Coat the bottom of a 9- by 13-in. pan with 1/3 of tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups). Lay 3 noodles in a single layer over sauce. Top noodles with squash, spreading evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 of kale evenly over squash. Arrange 3 more noodles on kale and top with ricotta, spreading evenly. Top with remaining kale and noodles. Cover noodles with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
8. Bake lasagna until juices are bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
Note: Nutrition analysis is per 4 1/2- by 4 1/2-in. serving.

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