Thanksgiving Special: Pumpkin Loaf & Turkey Sausage Lasagna

Enjoy this thanksgiving with some yummy and easy treats! This year I made a Turkey Lasagna as well as a pumpkin spice cheesecake!

There’s a lot of sweets in this blog so I thought it’s time I put something savoury up too!

Turkey Lasagna

I got this recipe from Eating Well, and it turned out more yummy than I expected!

Turkey Sausage Lasagna from Eating Well

My Easy Turkey Sausage Lasagna

Here’s what I used:

  • 375g oven-ready whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 500g lean turkey sausage (I left the skin on because that’s my favourite part)
  • 4 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup water (If you intend to wash the mushrooms, you really don’t need the extra water.)
  • 500g fresh spinach
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably chunky
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups of Light Tex-Mex mixed shredded cheese (39% less fat)
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2) Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally and crumbling the sausage more, until it is cooked through, the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Squeeze spinach to remove excess water, then stir into the pan; remove from heat.

Stir-fry!

3) Mix tomatoes with basil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Tomatos and Basil

4) To assemble lasagna:
– Spread 1 cup of the tomatoes in the prepared baking dish.
– Arrange a layer of noodles on top, trimming to fit if necessary.
– Evenly dollop 1 cup cheese over the noodles.

mmmm cheeese..

– Top with half the sausage mixture
– one-third of the remaining tomatoes
– 2/3 cup cheese
– Continue with another layer of noodles
– 1 cup cheese
– The remaining sausage
– half the remaining tomatoes
– half the remaining cheese
– Top with a third layer of noodles
– remaining tomatoes.
FINAL STEP!!
5) Cover the lasagna with foil and bake until bubbling and heated through, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove the foil; sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is just melted but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Ta-da!!
I would totally make this again. 😀
Tip: if you find the top layer of your lasagna undercooked or too dry, use a spatula to push it down until your “lasagna juice” from the middle springs up to the top, then put it back into the oven. The moisture from the “juice” will help cook the lasagna.
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
Instead of the traditional pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, how about a Pumpkin Cheesecake for a change?!
I followed the Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe that was allegedly from the famous Cheesecake Factory itself! The results: A moist, soft and amazingly delicious Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. Instead of paying $7 a slice, try making your very own Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake!

Actual Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sometimes I bring in my baking goodies to work to share with everyone and one of my co-workers Stephen was craving this Pumpkin Cheesecake that could only be found in the States. Unfortunately Canada has yet to launch a Cheesecake Factory franchise. 😦
Anyway! Before starting on this cake, I did some research on making a smooth cheesecake with I did make some modifications to the recipe but followed it quite closely for the most part. For this cake it is preferable that you use a SPRINGFORM PAN. It’s a special pan whereby the circumference sides of the pan can be detached by lifting a latch off the pan.

My Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake!

Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Filling
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups / 24 oz. low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp corn starch (to make the cheesecake more moist and avoid cracks on the top)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
Topping

1) Bring cream cheese to room temperature and preheat oven to 350 degrees. A cream cheese at room temperature will produce a batter that does not have too much “air” in it when mixed. The “air” in the batter is what causes cracks on the top of your cheesecake because this “air” expands when in the oven.

2) Mix crust ingredients together, just till coated and crumbly.

Graham Crust!

3) Use a “1 cup / 1/2 cup” measuring cup to firmly press and flatten the crust onto the bottom and 2/3 up the sides of an 8″ springform pan. Bake for 5 min. at 350. Set aside. You do not need to grease the pan in this recipe as the crust is already coated with butter.

4) Combine room temperature cream cheese, sugar and vanilla essence in large bowl, mix until smooth with a fork or an electric mixer at the lowest speed. (I chose to use a fork because my electric mixer does not know how to chill out.)

5) Add pumpkin and spices, beat till smooth and creamy.

Pumpkin & Spices

6) Add eggs, ONE AT A TIME. Make sure that each egg is well mixed before you add the next one. Again, this will help to leave out unwanted air in your batter.

7) Pour into the crust. With the water bath method, bake for 60-70 min or till the top turns a bit darker. As you can see, I did leave mine in the oven for a little longer than ideal, and so my top turned a brown. But I will show you how to cover it up! Remove from oven and allow to come to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Water Bath method: Place another pan bigger than your cheesecake on a rack close to and directly below the springform pan. Pour boiling water onto the pan below. The pan will help keep the cheesecake moist and discourage cracks.

Just Right! (2nd Attempt: See following blog entry)

Too Dark (1st Attempt)

8) After refrigerating for at least 4-8 hours, use a spatula to separate the crust of the cake with the springform pan.

9) Spread cream cheese to the top of the cake.

10) Sift ground almond on top of the cream cheese frosting spread

Sift Ground Almond for the top

11) Serve with whipped cream!

Final Product, an easy Pumpkin Cheesecake!!

That's MY slice. nom nom nom

Pumpkin Flax Loaf
It was 10pm and I had a huge craving for sweets. My buttermilk in the fridge was expiring the next day and I still had leftover pumpkin puree from the cheesecake! So I decided to make a healthy and easy loaf for myself! This is also completely vegetarian and has no eggs.
1 tbsp flax
3 tbsp buttermilk
2 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup cake flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
Yada-yada.. Just mix it all together! haha

Pumpkin Flax Loaf (before)

AFTER!

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes

Serve with syrup!

Pumpkin Flax Loaf with syrup!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

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