My weeks are generally very hectic, and on the weekend, even though I promise myself I will get something accomplished, I like to relax and read a little (or a lot).

Usually on Sunday I get a spurt of energy and manage to finish about a quarter of the things I had planned.

Apparently my daughter, Traci, and son-in-law, Kim, like their weekends frenetic. Yesterday they were in Madison with Kim’s brother for the Badgers game. Then they headed for Indianapolis to meet with more of Kim’s family to go to today’s Packers vs. Colts game. It should be easier to spot them this time, as there will be fewer fans in green and gold than at home games. I think Kim and his brothers have it in mind to see a Packers game in every stadium. And because Traci is one of the greatest Packers fans of all time, you can bet she won’t be sitting home knitting during any of those games.

I think we have reached the end of the squash recipes today, with one very quick and easy recipe and one a little more involved, but I’m sure it is worth the effort. Of her recipe, Karen Vick of

La Crosse says, “I add a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg or orange zest to this.”

M.A. Berg of Sparta shared a “luscious lasagna” recipe that appeared in the October issue of Woman’s Day magazine. The recipe calls for crumbled amaretti cookies (Italian almond cookies), but M.A. suggests using breadcrumbs and toasted almonds instead.

In July 2011, Someone’s in the Kitchen featured Rita Johnson, a world-class cook who was battling cancer. Sadly, Rita passed away this past July. But obviously cooking and food bring back precious memories for her family. Rita’s sister, Laurie Jaszewski of La Crosse, sent a hunter-hearty and transportable recipe of Rita’s, saying “Here is a make-ahead recipe that is easy to reheat and uncomplicated to serve. It is satisfying and delicious. It was one of my sister Rita’s go-to recipes.”

I also have made a request for some of your favorite Halloween recipes or party decorations to help with this year’s Halloween feature. Because there isn’t a lot of turnaround time (the column will need to be turned in on Oct. 21), speed is of the essence.

An anonymous reader might have come up with the caramel apple recipe that Deb Thesing and friends have been looking for. That will be in next week’s column. Carl Cox of La Crosse fondly remembers a special bread served in bread baskets at Cacciapaglio’s restaurant many years ago. It was topped with sauce and cheese “and maybe a little ground meat.” He says it was served at room temperature. Hopefully we will get a couple more zucchini bake recipes for Karen Nelson of Onalaska, too.

Send requests, recipes and cooking tips to Alice P. Clark at Reader Exchange, c/o La Crosse Tribune, 401 N. Third St., La Crosse, WI 54601 or email Submissions for the “Someone’s in the Kitchen” feature can be sent to the same addresses.

Mashed Butternut Squash

2 small butternut squash


1 teaspoon salt, divided use

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

Nutmeg, cinnamon or orange zest, optional

Halve squash lengthwise; remove seeds. In a 10-inch skillet, bring 1 inch water to a boil over medium heat. Add the squash, cut side down, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the water; return to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and cool slightly. Scoop out the pulp into a large bowl. With mixer on low speed, beat squash, remaining salt, brown sugar and butter until smooth. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon or orange zest if desired.

(Shared by Karen Vick, La Crosse)

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)

9 lasagna noodles

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour

4 cups whole milk

About 1/3 cup sage leaves

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided use

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg, divided use

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided use

4 amaretti cookies (Italian almond cookies), crumbled

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided use

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in a baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water; cover with foil and roast until tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Lay flat until ready to use.

White sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low head. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes (do not let it brown). Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the sage and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat; discard sage leaves. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, salt and pepper. Scoop out the squash and place the flesh into a large bowl (you should have about 4 cups). Add the cookies, oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix to combine. Spread 1 cup of white sauce on bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Top with 3 noodles and another cup of sauce. Dollop with a third of the squash mixture (about 1 1/2 cups), then gently swirl it into the sauce. Top with 2/3 cup mozzarella. Repeat twice. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Cover with an oiled piece of foil and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, another 5 to 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

(From Woman’s Day magazine, October 2012; shared by M.A. Berg, Sparta)

Creamed Turkey

Meat from 2 chickens (or equivalent turkey — a turkey breast is perfect)

2 cans chicken broth

Cooking juices from chicken/turkey

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 can evaporated milk

Salt and pepper

Refrigerated biscuits

Heat oven to temperature recommended for baking biscuits. In a saucepan, heat cooking juices and thicken with Wondra (gravy flour) or conventional gravy thickener. Stir until juices have thickened to a gravy-like consistency. Whisk in the chicken soup and evaporated milk. Add chicken/turkey and slowly heat through. Pour in baking dish, top with biscuits and bake until biscuits are done, or biscuits (canned or drop) can be baked separately and then split and topped with the cream mixture.

(Rita Johnson’s go-to recipe; shared by Laurie Jaszewski, La Crosse)

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