I was reading the Southern Living blog. On it, there was a photo of a great big casserole topped with melted cheese. And the title was something like: Casseroles for a crowd. I don’t ever need a crowd to make a casserole. In fact, I could eat one of twenty-five cheesy baked casseroles rotated in succession every day for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy. Maybe a salad. With a side of bread. And dessert. Because it’s delicious.
But it’s not good for me or for any of us. If anyone is seeking truth, this might be a good truism: All the really good things are bad if you have/do it too much. Good food, alcohol, sex (I know, I said it out loud), sleep. You get the picture. So, in the scheme of what we like and want, we must use self-control, or often self-deprivation to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Even then, our bodies and minds can go haywire. God, Karma, the Force, someone–or something, is making sure we don’t have too much fun or get too much sleep, lest we resemble Jabba the Hutt.
All of these things that humans love are motivators in healthy doses. And we so often want and need more. Our desire to feel good or better can be at the root of addictions of every kind.
I’m from a close Southern family where food has always been a celebratory glue that brings and binds us together. But I understand that there are others who only eat to live, not live to eat. It baffles me, but it has to better for long-term health. Fortunately, we live to be in our nineties, so there is that.
My love of cheese is legend, and the backside of middle-age and having to cut back is frustrating me, especially when I’m hit with the beautiful casserole images all around social media.
I’m looking forward to Spring and home-grown tomatoes. Believe it or not, I love healthy things too.
Have a lovely day!
Edited: Here’s the really delicious lasagna recipe. It’s not a quick one, but if you have some time, go for it!! You use less cheese because of the white sauce.
Lasagna Bolognese (with bechamel sauce)
Okay, here goes…
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork or Italian sausage
1 onion (chopped)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
Garlic (whatever way you like it)
1/4 t. white pepper (no more)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup white wine (cooking wine is fine)
1 small can tomato paste or half jar of Ragu Three Cheese Sauce
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg (optional)
Combine beef and pork (or sausage) in pot and season with salt and pepper. Lightly brown and drain, then add white pepper, onions, celery, garlic, italian seasoning and carrot. Cook on med. heat until veggies wilt. Add milk and cook for about fifteen min. Add white wine and cook for another fifteen min. Add tomato paste or Ragu and cook for about ten minutes then turn heat down to simmer for about thirty min.
2 C milk
3/4 C flour
2 T butter
1/2 t. salt
Add milk to separate pot and whisk in flour while cold. Add butter and heat on med/hi until mixture comes to a slow boil, then turn very low. Continue whisking the entire time so the sauce doesn’t stick together or the pot. After it boils, turn off.
Spoon 3/4 cup bechamel sauce into meat sauce to thicken. Keep both sauces handy for layering.
You will also need:
Parmesan cheese (The kind in the shaker is fine)
Shredded Mozzarella for the top
I use no-boil lasagna noodles.
Layer the noodles, meat sauce, bechamel sauce drizzle, and Parmesan cheese in four layers and top with the rest of bechamel sauce and Mozzarella.
Bake according to instructions on pasta box. Around 45 min. at 400 degrees.
Let me know if you have questions. This isn’t a really red sauce. It’s a Northern Italian dish and isn’t strong on spices. I throw more salt or pepper as needed (I also use Tony Chachere’s if necessary) Use your own judgment on seasoning. We like things spicy. 🙂 Susan