cheese - Related Content

Cheesy Zucchini Towers and Zucchini Lasagna

Monday, July 31st 2023 6:00 am

Cheesy Zucchini Towers


1 large zucchini

1 C shaved or grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp salt

1 tsp paprika (optional)

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 420 degrees.

Wash and thinly slice zucchini using a sharp knife or mandolin. Sprinkle with salt, paprika, ½ cup parmesan cheese and 1 tsp olive oil. Mix well.

Then, lightly coat a muffin tin with olive oil and stack your zucchini slices on top of one another in each tin (about 8 in each).

Top with the remaining grated parmesan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy as a side dish, an appetizer or a quick snack.


Zucchini Lasagna


4-5 medium-large zucchini, sliced thin (1/8-inch cuts)

1/2 C parmesan cheese          

3 C shredded mozzarella

3 C tomato sauce

2 tsp fresh oregano          3 T fresh basil

Ricotta Filling Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 C ricotta cheese (drained of liquids)

1/4 C parmesan cheese


pinch of salt            

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 c fresh basil, chopped (for dried basil use 2 T)


Preheat oven to 375F.  

Salt & pre-bake zucchini noodles: arrange zucchini slices on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with course sea salt – let sit for 5-10 minutes so zucchini "sweats" any excess moisture. Use paper towels to press and dry zucchini noodles. Then bake noodles for 8-10 minutes – pat them dry when finished baking. Note: pre-baking the zucchini will help dry up even more moisture from the noodles.

Ricotta filling: in a medium-sized bowl, mix all of ricotta filling ingredients together.

Layer ingredients: In a 13×9 baking dish, layer lasagna: spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish, add layer of cooked zucchini noodles, thin layer of ricotta filling, and mozzarella cheese & little parmesan, and generous sprinkle of freshly cut oregano & basil. Repeat each step until finished. On top layer with sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. 

Leave dish uncovered and bake for 30-40 minutes.  For a browned top, broil on HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes until to your liking.  Top with chopped fresh basil. Slice and enjoy! 

You can make two pans, and freeze one for another day.  Thaw overnight and bake in a 375 degree oven until center is warmed through, about 20 minutes.


To cut the zucchini: If you are experienced with a chef’s knife and feel comfortable, you can slice the zucchini noodles with a sharp knife. Remove the top and bottom stems of the zucchini, stand upright and carefully slice from top to bottom into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Be very careful doing this step.  A mandolin is a great option to get precise vegetables cut without using a chef knife.  Some folks simply cut it in thin rounds and proceed!  It also works to prepare the cheese mixture and/or the zucchini ahead of time and refrigerate.  Wrap zucchini slices in the parchment, wiping off moisture as you go and cover.  Put the dish together the next day.

You can beef up this recipe by adding cooked ground meat or sausage to the sauce.  To make this or any lasagna for vegans, use vegan mozzarella and substitute crumbled firm tofu for the ricotta.  Don't skimp on herbs and add a small "glug" of olive oil to give it that dairy fat mouth feel! 

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!


Have you ever seen your neighbor coming by with an armful of green torpedo – shaped produce?  Don’t run and hide!  Having an abundance is a challenge and not everyone likes to spend hours in the kitchen.  Which gets me thinking.  We all can't be like our ancestors who thrived on those kinds of garden and kitchen tasks.  If we are honest, many of them had little choice and had varying degrees of success at making the best of it.  Today, we have the privilege of choosing to make things from scratch or finding healthy short-cuts.  What am I good at?  What new experiences will stretch me?  Where do I choose to invest my time and creative energy?  What is my attitude toward the things I do?  towards the food I prepare or simply eat?  One can complain about unavoidable meal chores, tolerate them while wishing we were doing something else, or choose to celebrate that even if I don't like food prep and all that goes into it, I am feeding and caring for my own body and for those I love.  It's an act of loving service and of doing "what is mine to do." 

Ten Local Food Gift Ideas

Monday, December 11th 2023 6:00 am

Food gifts are good gifts!  for friends, for yourself, for the holidays and in the New Year.  As my Mom used to say, "This is for me, from one who cares!"

Bakery and Other Specialties in Wisconsin, for example include:  Apple Bread from La Crescent, Cherries from Door County, Kringle from Racine, Pasties from Hurley, Pickled Ham Hocks and eggs from Milwaukee, Sausage from Backalars and Pickles, Cheese, Cheese curds and Sausage from almost anywhere!  What specialties are in your area?

Berries and Cranberries were harvested by native people who knew their health benefits.  Phytochemicals found in berries and other foods with deep color are important in a plant-rich diet.  Wisconsin is #1 producer of cranberries in the U.S., growing 59% of the cranberries used for juice, dried cranberries and more!  Add some dried "crane" berries to whole grain oat granola or to a pinecone birdfeeder!

Beverages like Sprecher’s Root Beer and specialty sodas, Spotted Cow beer from New Glarus, Apple Cider from almost any Orchard Store like Bauer’s in La Crescent, and, of course fruits of the vine: wines, brews and hard beverages from local wineries, breweries and distilleries.  Local people take pride in what they bring to the festivities and to the economy. 

CSA (Community Support Agriculture) refers to a partnership between farmers who sell their home grown (often organic) produce, eggs, chicken, pork and more direct to the eaters, who serves as shareholders or subscribers.  You pay before the season and begin getting a “share”, a box of food (or a couple of chickens!) at harvest time. Now is the time to consider trying this for next spring and summer!  For more information ask around or go to the Know where your food comes from website.

Fish.  Smelt in spring, trout in summer and perch through the ice in winter are catches we treasure in the Great Lakes and upper Midwest region.  Check out the  Red Cliff Fish Company who sell fresh, smoked and frozen fillets of Lake Superior fish.  Yum!

Game Meats have always been a northern staple for families that knew how to hunt and prepare these lean proteins. Today, bison has become popular in tribes for its cultural and spiritual value.  It is gaining recognition among non-natives as a low cholesterol meat as well as for its contribution to tribal economies.  Check for it in your local co-op, small meat market or larger meat departments.

Honey is a healthy locally produced food.  If you can’t buy from a farmer, check the label for its origin!  Local honey is often given credit for increasing our immunity to common local weeds to which folks have allergies.  It tastes great, too!

Local dairy, meats and produce  Check out your local Food Co-Op for items sourced from local farmers and cooperatives like Organic Valley in La Farge, WI or Belgioso Cheese in Denmark, WI.

Maple Syrup is a flavorful ingredient that kept native diets calorie and mineral-rich through long winters.  Once you taste locally produced maple syrup, you won’t go back to corn syrup with maple flavoring!

Wild Rice adds great nutritional and cultural value to any food gift and can support native tribes who harvest and process this “good berry” or “manoomin”, using traditional ways.  Check out Native Harvest Ojibwe Products, a division of White Earth Land Recovery Project. Warming water temps are making the survival of this grass vital to the identity of Ojibwe people in Northern WI and MN.  All efforts to reduce global warming will protect this high protein, high fiber spiritual food.

Locally grown foods have many benefits.  The Wisconsin Local Food Organization tells us that they help: 
* Develop and strengthen a connection between local farmers, chefs, and eaters
* Awareness about what grows around us
* Highlight personal and environmental benefits
* Put a face, a place and taste to our food
* Get people cooking again and foster healthier eating
* Experience and enjoy incredible food and meals
* Support local small business and their workers
* Keep dollars in the local community
* Help us identify with the land we live on and the culture of food production

Convenience has been a boon to the food industry since after World War II.  Our mothers and grandmothers who once cooked from scratched were prime targets of advertising for all things easy from Jello and Swanson TV Dinners to menu items "in a mix" of all the food groups.  In processing, fiber and its nutritional value are removed to make grains, for example, more shelf stable.  Preservatives, additives, salt, sugar and even gases are added to make them tasty and long lasting for distribution around the country.   But today, we can examine that system and get closer to the food and to the land.

Consider a convenience food (like chips, instant potatoes, cake mix, soda pop) that could be made from scratch in your kitchen.   How could a natural food like nuts, sweet potatoes, frozen cranberry juice or a homemade baking mix add to your life rather than be an inconvenience.  It may be a challenge to address in partnership with a friend or family member.

If you would like to be notified when we share new recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom, provide your email address, check the box confirming you are not a robot, click on a few photos to prove it and click subscribe! You will then receive an email after each new post. Remember, we're always looking for new recipes, so keep sending them to!  

The Seasoned Franciscan will be on hiatus for the rest of Advent and the Christmas season.  Watch for a new post in mid-January!

Merry Christmas!  Vicki

Tour Chapels
Explore our Ministries