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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Brenda's Lasagna (recipe), Overused Words and One of the Best Moms I Know

I haven't posted here as much as I thought I would. Not sure why - I guess it has to do mostly with work - I have so many thoughts going through my mind that I think would make interesting topics and then I don't set aside the time to post.  I need to manage that a little better! Take my friend, Brenda - I wonder if her ears were ringing today.  I was thinking about her.  A lot.  I mean, she's got a hubby and six kids (four are her own and two step daughters) and if she can find the time to take care of her family and herself and work full time, then I can certainly find the time to post some of my thoughts and recipes more often!  I don't have any kids; I just have a boyfriend and a cat.
One of the things I've been thinking about lately is how certain words are overused.  Lately the words I hear all the time are AMAZING and ROCKS.  I was watching Property Brothers a few weeks ago and this lady kept saying "Oh my God, that's AMAY-ZING" like 18 times in about 7 minutes.  I had to have the boyfriend put it on mute.  I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition a few years ago and AMAZING was used quite frequently throughout the classes.  And there's ROCKS as in "he rocks my world."  Don't get me wrong, I think they're great words, very uplifting, ascending and positive words, but I hear it so often that I cringe sometimes.  That said, let me tell you a little more about my friend, Brenda.

We have worked together for a long time and we've shared one another's ups and downs; I got to share the pregnancy process vicariously through her twice as she had two babies in two years.  She was born to be a mom - she's one of the best moms I know.  I often tell her if I could suspend time and stay at my present age until her oldest son reaches my age, I would love to be married to him!  She is raising her kids to be thoughtful, kind and considerate human beings.  She's fifteen years younger than me, but seems to be so intuitive and wise beyond her years.  She's bright, sassy, lovely and intelligent.  And even with her very full schedule, she recently became a Beachbody coach - her transformation in just a few shorts weeks is nothing short of well... AMAZING. Her before and after photos are incredible http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/BRENDAMCGUIRE - she has committed to become healthy and lose weight and the dedication shows.  It gives me hope - it can be done - you just need to set your mind to it.  So, here's to an amazing person, an amazing friend, and one of the most amazing moms I know.  Brenda, you ROCK! ;-)

Anyway, I took my usual drive up to the Berkshires this afternoon - my frequent escape.  I love it up there and I love the scenic drive along Route 7.  And after the week I had last week, I needed an escape, however brief.  I was wondering what to make for dinner tonight and since I had Brenda on my mind, I thought of Brenda's Lasagna.  It isn't actually my friend's recipe, but that's the name of the recipe (courtesy of Allrecipes.com).  Here is the recipe as it appears on the site - feel free to omit the ground beef if you're veg - it's still good or you can substitute spinach, grated veggies, etc..  And of course, try to use fresh, local, organic ingredients whenever possible!

Brenda's Lasagna - Serves 8

  • 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 pound shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pint ricotta cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef and season with salt and pepper; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and garlic and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine mozzarella, Cheddar and ricotta; stir well. In 9x13 inch pan, alternate layers of noodles, meat mixture and cheese mixture until pan is filled.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Nutritional Information open nutritional information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 643 | Total Fat: 29.3g | Cholesterol: 108mg

My note:  Instead of the regular lasagna noodles, I used the no-boil lasagna noodles and added about half cup of water to the tomato sauce, then completed the recipe as stated.

Definitely not one of the healthier recipes on the planet, but a delicious, occasional  splurge.

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