Friday, February 11, 2011

Really Good Lasagna. Really Great Bread.

As requested by reader jmckemie, I’m posting the lasagna recipe that Vernie, my mother-in-law, has made famous—in our family, at least. (The recipe is from her church’s cookbook where it’s credited to Hannah McCord.)


The best thing about this recipe (besides the fact that it tastes marvelous) is that it’s perfect for preparing ahead of time. In fact, I think it tastes even better if you make it a day early and let the flavors blend. And meld. And organize themselves into a veritable cornucopia of yumminess.

And then on the day when you’re actually going to serve it, all you have to do is throw some garlic bread in the oven, toss together a tossed salad and voila’! You have dinner on the table. Perfect for when guests are coming over and you don’t want to have to disappear into the kitchen for long periods of time, wringing your hands over your perspiration-inducing preparations and muttering utterly dismaying stuff to yourself as you work your way through a 17-step recipe. (Was that a run on sentence? My apologies.)

Also--if you have any lasagna left over (and you wouldn’t, if I were eating with you) you can cut it into squares, flash freeze it (lay it out in rows on a foil covered cookie sheet and put in freezer till very firm) and transfer the frozen squares to a gallon Ziploc bag. Then when a lasagna hankerin’ hits, you can take out just one square for a meal-for-one or else half a dozen squares for a meal-for-more. It’s much more tasty and economical than buying frozen lasagna entrees.

How wonderfully simple is that?

So. Here’s the recipe being sent to you with the Smith family’s highest recommendations.

By the way, at the end of this recipe, I am going to share a top secret “bread recipe” with you that is so easy that you could do it in your sleep. (Although I do recommend at least a modicum of quasi-alertness any time you use your oven. Just sayin’.)

Luscious and Lovely Lasagna

1/2 pound hot sausage (Neese brand is really good)

1/2 pound ground beef (you could substitute ground turkey)

1 clove garlic, sliced thin (I take the Lazy Lady’s way out and use the minced garlic in a jar)

1 T. basil (dried)

1 (1 lb) can tomatoes

1 t. salt

2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste

1 (10 oz) pkg lasagna noodles

3 C cottage cheese

1/2 C parmesan cheese

2 T parsley flakes

2 beaten eggs

1 lb mozzarella cheese

1. Brown meat; drain fat.

2. Add next 5 ingredients

3. Simmer uncovered for thirty minutes.

4. Cook noodles, drain, rinse.

5. Combine remaining ingredients, except mozzarella

6. In a 9 x 13 pan, alternate layers of noodles, sauce, and cottage cheese.

7. Repeat layers, ending with mozzarella cheese.

8. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

9. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. And eating. And sighing with joy.

Okay, and now for the promised bread recipe. This was borrowed, taken, and otherwise hijacked from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe website. She calls it
The Bread which is also what we have opted to call it around these here non-pioneer parts of the country.

However. I have made a sight alteration to her recipe; instead of using the French bread, I substitute ciabatta bread. It’s way better. (At least in my humble, bread-loving opinion.)


I slice a (store bought) loaf in half the short way and then again the long way so I have four equally sized pieces. (One fourth of a loaf feeds Sarah, Steve and me; however, when Nathan is home, I double the quantity. I mean, College Dudes are nothing if not famous for their appetites for home cooked meals.)

The Pioneer Woman’s recipe calls for a stick of softened butter on each half of the French bread but I usually use just a quarter stick for each fourth of a loaf. The thing that ciabatta bread brings to the table (so to speak) that French bread doesn’t is that it has all those little holes and crevices woven throughout it that the butter just melts its yummy way into. (You can also add garlic salt to the top or crushed dried Rosemary.)

Follow the Pioneer Woman’s recipe exactly (right down to cutting it into strips instead of slices—I use a pizza cutter) and before you know it, you will have a most delectable sort of bread ready to serve. And although it seems high calorie, it’s really not too bad considering that (in my recipe, at least) the 400 calories of butter are divided up between three people. When you melt the butter first and then broil it, it gives just a little bit of butter a whole lot of flavor. (Well if, in fact, four tablespoons can be considered a little bit.)

So anyway, this bread would be great with the lasagna and is also very good served with soup on a wintry day. Or a summery day, for that matter! In fact I firmly believe that butter-slathered items can be served on any ol’ day they want to be served!

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Alrighty then. . . since I hate to leave you with just pictures of food, I’ll close out with a few non-food pictures as well. Your diets can thank me.

Yesterday was a snow day and the kids got a break from school. (I know that people who live in Chicago and other cold places are snickering about school being let out for two inches of snow but hey, what can I say? We’re Southerners here, people!)


Sarah was, of course, very put out that she had to stay in her pajamas all day, snuggle with her doggie and watch TV. (Well, she only watched a little bit of TV because she had writing and editing to do up in her bedroom; however, this is the picture I just happened to catch.)


Can’t you just see the misery eking out of every pore of her little ol’ body? Such a tough day for her. And for Snowy. All that lounging. And relaxing. And reclining. Sigh. I hate to see my child having such a difficult time.


She even found time for some quiet reflection—until it was interrupted by a Mom Type Person wielding a camera.



At any rate, even though you can’t really see the snow through the glass doors, it was a lovely day, indeed; lovely for gazing outside and counting blessings along with snowflakes.



Trine asked, 1) Does Sarah still use her ear aid (Not sure of the English word the thing she uses for her hearing)

No, she hasn’t worn them in a while and seems to getting along fairly well without them. They really bothered her (for a variety of reasons) each time she tried to wear them and since her doctor said she is borderline for even needing them, she’s opting to go without them. (For now at least.)

2) I remember you mentioned in a entry that you had contacted her doctor about something with symptoms and late effects?

Yes we did, but thankfully the symptoms resolved themselves quickly and turned out not to related to late term side effects after all.

8 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Anonymous said...

A story for you - I was getting gas at the TA Travel Center on I-85 at the Gibsonville exit last Saturday afternoon and happened to glance at the gentleman at the next pump and thought he looked familiar. But after looking again just couldn't place where I knew him from. Then as he drove away from the pump I saw Snowy - it was Snowy's Dad! I contemplated chasing him through the parking lot to introduce myself as a follower of Sarah's site and Becky's blog but decided since the family still had several hours drive ahead maybe being chased through the parking lot wasn't such a good idea:) Have a great weekend! Blessings, Susan in Greensboro, NC

Lizz said...

Well I have some weather news you can laugh at! Here in New Braunfels, TX (south central) last Friday our kids got a snow day and we only had 1/2 inch of snow!! It was crazy and I wish they hadn't cancelled school for that but better safe than sorry since even just a tiny bit of rain can make drivers extremely crazy around these usually dry and snow free parts!

Me said...

Oh my word. That looks so good! Now I need lasagna and garlic bread. :)

jmckemie said...

Thanks for the recipe and I promise to give credit where credit is due when we enjoy it!
Ah, snow days...we have had way too many here in St. Louis lately. Praising God for sunny skies and warmer temperatures that have moved in.

Guerrina said...

Sounds good! I also add mozzarella to the cheese and egg mixture! Helps my layers stick together!

We still have about 1 foot of snow covering the lawn with much bigger piles where we deposited it from the walks, steps & drive! Hallelujah, sunny skies are predicted for the next 5 days!'ll be a heatwave when we get in the mid-30s! T-shirt weather for sure! They've cancelled February vacation in a number of school districts because they've run out of snow days.

Whether it's 1/2 inch or 12 inches, snow/ice creates dangerous driving conditions and I'm glad to see the cancellations - not that I get to stay home from work :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, Lasagna recipe sounds wonderful, but could you use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese?

Debbie said...

Your home is so beautiful and so tidy!! Does it always stay that way? Now I am wanting Lasagna bad! I will have to fix some soon!!!!

Have a great weekend!!!

God Bless~
Debbie Jean

Anonymous said...

Ummmm was that little "dig" at Chicago towards me (LOL)? Yes, we are still digging out of our 2+ feet of snow. I am just perplexed at the notion of NO snow equipment; I understand the cost and all but I don't even think the plows come out for 2 inches of snow, in Chicago, seriously.

The bigger problem now is ice. I went to throw out a bag of garbage on Friday (other than two doctor's appointments I haven't been out of the house for two weeks due to being deathly ill---on day 13 of a fever ill) and slipped on a THICK patch of ice and went down; backwards. I hit the back of my head, HARD. I also smacked my back and tailbone. I bit my lip going down and there was a lot of blood and now I have a HUGE LUMP on the back of my head and in addition to my chronic daily migraines I have one heck of a headache related to the fall. My dad called me every 2 hours over night to make sure I was okay.

We, here, in Chicago really are ready for Spring.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.