This Friday, my friend is Sandra Merville Hart. She loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes many articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites. Sandra and her husband live in the Midwest. Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014.
Sometimes You Get What You Ask For
When I was about five-years-old, I heard someone talking about a “meat and potatoes” man. My mom explained it meant that this man was a plain eater. He liked meat and potatoes meals — nothing fancy.
At five, I didn’t like fancy meals either. “I want a husband like that!”
She frowned at me and shook her head. “Be careful what you wish for.”
“Because you might get it.”
My mother was a wise woman. I did marry a plain eater. My husband loves any kind of meat, as long as it’s unembellished. Gravy is okay but no tomato sauce of any kind. There aren’t many fruits and vegetables in his diet so my cooking choices are limited.
He doesn’t eat lasagna or any Italian foods. I have a wonderful lasagna recipe that I haven’t made for seven years. I’m going to forget how to prepare it! So before I do, I plan to invite a few family members over and make it for them. Thankfully my husband will be happy with a hamburger. He can grill it while I slave over the hot stove for everyone else!
I got what I asked for, and it’s been a challenge to cook supper over the years. You see, he’s happy to eat the same few foods every week. I get tired of it and need more variety. Most new recipes that I try must be modified. I leave out a couple of ingredients or substitute for something else he will eat.
I guess it’s made me a creative cook. I do receive a lot of compliments. And he’s learned to trust me over the years. If I make a new recipe that contains something he doesn’t normally eat, I tell him. I also let him know I think he will like it. Usually he does. In this way, I’ve added several new menu items to his diet, giving me more choices at supper.
If you have a picky eater at home, you understand my dilemma. And when you get tired of preparing the same old recipes, at least there are plenty of restaurants close by!
I asked Sandra to share her lasagna recipe and she did! Not only did she share it, but she tried it out and said her guests loved it! I’ll bed they did. I love anything Italian, but lasagna is one of my favorites!
Make a day ahead Lasagna
1 1/2 pounds ground beef 3 cups (24 oz) ricotta cheese
3/4 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
2 tablespoons parsley flakes 16 oz lasagna noodles , uncooked
2 tablespoons sugar 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt 1/2 pound provolone cheese
1 teaspoon basil leaves 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Crumble the ground beef into a large saucepan or Dutch oven along with the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is brown and the onion is tender. Drain well.
Add tomatoes to the meat mixture in the pan. Stir in tomato sauce, the sugar, 2 tablespoons parsley flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the basil. Heat to boiling on a medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered one hour or until the mixture is the consistency of spaghetti sauce. This creates a meaty spaghetti sauce. Reserve 2 cups of this sauce for the top layer.
Mix the ricotta cheese (can use cottage cheese as a cheaper option if you prefer,) 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the oregano.
In an ungreased 13×9 deep baking pan, layer 1/3 each of uncooked lasagna noodles (as long as the noodles are completely covered they will soften naturally in the layered mixture overnight in the fridge,) meat sauce, mozzarella cheese and all the ricotta cheese mixture. For the second layer, use 1/3 of the uncooked lasagna noodles, meat sauce, and provolone cheese. Use another layer of noodles on top of the provolone cheese and spread the reserved meat sauce to completely cover them, followed by mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Cover it and refrigerate overnight. Make this recipe the night before because it requires time for the uncooked lasagna noodles to soften. (If you are making it to eat on the same day, simply cook the noodles following directions on the box before combining the layers and reduce the baking time to 45 minutes. I like the convenience of doing it the night before because there’s no mess in the kitchen when the guests arrive. And the stress of preparation is behind me!)
When you’re ready to bake, remove it from the fridge an hour early. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for about an hour.
Let the lasagna sit about 15 minutes before cutting for easier slicing. Makes 12 3-inch square servings.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think it sounds delicious. If any of you make it, share the results with us! Thanks for sharing your recipe with us Sandra.