Skinny Butternut Squash Lasagna Cups
As we delve into squash, we’re all about ways of using squash as a vehicle for other delicious things. And we happen to have a thing for muffin pans. So when Jaymee told us about her Noodleless Lasagna Cups, we were all ears. Best of all, each individual cup will only cost you 182 calories, 11 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of fat. Don’t mind if we do!
– 1 peeled, seeded butternut squash
– 1 tablespoon olive oil, for brushing
– 1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese (fresh is best!)
– 1 large egg
– 1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
– 2 tablespoons butter
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 12 whole leaves for garnish
– 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (rice flour for gluten free)
– 2 cups milk, slightly warmed on stove or in microwave (I used 1%)
– salt & pepper
– 1 cup fontina cheese, freshly shredded
– 1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
– freshly ground nutmeg, for garnishing
– Tools: muffin pan, mandoline
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a mandoline, slice squash into 1/8 inch slices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes, or until squash just starts to become pliable.
While squash is baking, mix together ricotta, egg and oregano. Set aside.
In a medium saute pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, then add spinach. Cook until wilted. Remove from heat. Once cooled, squeeze out excess moisture, chop, and add to ricotta mixture.
In medium sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Add chopped sage and cook for one minute. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Gradually whisk in warm milk. Continue cooking, stirring often, until sauce is simmering and thickened. Let sauce bubble gently until thick, about 5-10 minutes longer, stirring often so it doesn’t scorch on bottom. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To assemble lasagna cups, spray muffin tin with cooking spray and place 12 of your largest slices in the bottom of each muffin cup. Spoon a layer of the ricotta mixture in each cup, and pour some of the white sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Fontina cheese and repeat layers once more, this time laying the squash piece the other direction. Top with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.
While lasagna cups are baking, fry sage leaves in hot olive oil for about 45 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towels.
When lasagna is done, sprinkle each roll with a little nutmeg, top with a fried sage leave and serve!
What are your favorite unconventional ways to prepare squash? Let us know in the comments below.
Jaymee Sire is an Emmy-award winning television reporter CSN Bay Area. When she isn’t covering a sporting event, her true passion is food. Check out Jaymee’s alphabet-themed food blog, E is for Eat, and be sure to follow her on Twitter & Facebook.
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com