Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We recently attended a wedding at which the officiant spoke of those who couldn’t be there and asked that they be remembered in that moment. This always chokes me up, and predictably, I felt a tight squeeze on my hand. I looked over to see Andy also choked up. The same scene took place at our own wedding; both of us with tears in our eyes thinking of the family members we wished with all our might could be there with us.

I know in these moments Andy is thinking mostly of his mom. I never met her, but these are some things I know about her:
-        She was an adventurous eater, always seeking out the newest restaurants and trying different cuisines.
-        She loved to travel.
-        She shopped at Goodwill and was known on occasion to come home with a piece of clothing, only to realize that it was a piece she herself had donated. She thought this was hilarious.
-        She adored Snoopy.
-        She drank coffee like it was going out of style: hot, iced, fresh, day-old…didn’t matter.
-        She was known to throw quite a party.
-        She had a ceramic cantaloupe on her coffee table that always had candy in it.
-        She didn’t suffer fools gladly, with one of her favorite lines being, “I hate stupidity.” (A woman after my own heart.)
-        She was a crossword whiz.
-        She collected rocks. With a bucket in tow, she’d walk down the beach and select rocks that spoke to her. Her family of three rock-ducks sitting on our mantle is a whimsical (and highly coveted) reminder of that hobby.
-        She has a son who loves her dearly, misses her constantly, and always speaks of her with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.

With all my heart, I wish I could have met the woman who raised the best friend I’ve ever had. Andy promises me that we would have loved each other, and if her personality was anything like her sister’s, who I do have the good fortune of knowing, then I know he’s absolutely right. “Firecracker” probably most accurately describes them both.

So when I was trying to decide on a pasta recipe for the Smart & Final First Street Grand Event, I threw a couple ideas Andy’s way, one of them being lasagna. Since I’ve never made lasagna, he immediately suggested that I make his mom’s version. Now, there is no recipe for this lasagna and Andy himself has only made it for me twice. I agreed to try it, but immediately got that nervous, oh-my-goodness-I’m-making-his-mom’s-lasagna-I-hope-I-can-do-this-recipe-justice kind of feeling.

Knowing it would mean a lot to him if I stayed as true to the original as I could, I got some guidelines from him and got cooking, trying as best I could to channel a woman I’ve only heard stories about.

Mom’s Lasagna

Cottage cheese mixture:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
16 ounces cottage cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Meat sauce:
1 pound ground beef
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce, divided use
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine

12 ounces First Street lasagna noodles*
olive oil
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil and sauté onions until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute, making sure garlic doesn’t burn. Transfer onion mixture to a bowl to cool slightly. Stir in cottage cheese, basil, thyme, parsley, eggs salt and pepper. Mix well. Reserve in refrigerator.

In the same pot, cook ground beef until no pink remains. Drain off all fat. Add canned tomatoes and their juices, oregano, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. Simmer until most of the tomato juice is gone. Add about half the can of tomato sauce, tomato paste and red wine. Stir well and let simmer for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the lasagna noodles in salted water and according to the package until tender. After draining noodles, toss gently with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

When ready to assemble lasagna, spread remaining half can of tomato sauce on bottom of a 13x9 glass pan. Lay 4 noodles across the pan, overlapping slightly to fit, followed by half of the cottage cheese mixture, one third of the meat sauce, and one third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with another layer of noodles, remaining cottage cheese mixture, one third meat sauce and one third mozzarella cheese. Lastly, add one more layer of noodles and top with remaining meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

Place the lasagna dish onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, until top is brown and crusty, and lasagna is cooked completely through. (If top is getting too brown, tent a piece of foil over the pan.) Remove and let sit for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting it.

*Notes: I cooked the entire 16 ounce package of noodles to allow for breakage.
First Street lasagna noodles are made with durum semolina; use whichever noodles work for you.

This is a hearty, comforting dish and makes enough to feed an army. I couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out, and it even passed the “mom” test with Andy (whew!). 

To me, this recipe is about family, gathering together and sharing your day at the dinner table. 

It’s about knowing that no matter what these are the people that you can count on, even if you do fight over the crusty corners of the dish. I can completely picture Andy and his brothers in this scene, years ago. This makes me happy. I know it makes Andy happy. And I’m pretty sure it would have made his mom happy.

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. All opinions are my own.


  1. This was probably a post I needed to read after breakfast, not before! Looks SOO good! Need to make this! ASAP!

  2. What a heartwarming post! I'm sure Andy's mom would have loved you.

  3. This looks so delicious, and what a great tribute to Andy's mom. Very sweet.

  4. Andy's mom sounds like she would have been great. I'm sure we would have loved her, too.
    Mom & Dad

  5. What a lovely blog post..... the lasagna looks amazing.

  6. What a touching post. This lasagna looks great! Love the cheesey top on it too.

  7. Sigh...thank you, baby.

  8. OMGOSH that looks amazing!!! A very touching tribute to your Mother in Law!!

  9. Loved your post. I just got a new lasagna dish and I guess I will just have to make this recipe :). And good luck for the sweepstakes ;)

  10. What a lovely post! This lasagna looks perfect, love a good comfort meal!

  11. Thank you for sharing your story-I love recipes from family! I have not tried cottage cheese in lasagna before, but your recipe looks and sounds so wonderful, I am making "Andy's Mom's" recipe next time-thank you!

  12. I so love this story. It's exactly the kind of stuff I like reading along with a great recipe. The lasagna looks soooo good!

  13. I adore lasagne, especially one with cottage cheese! This looks divinnneee :) Lovely recipe and post also

  14. This post made me hungry! I love lasagna.

  15. First, I am the soul who added your recipe to my eRecipeCards recipe box. Will be making this very very soon, I just love a recipe with a story.

    Reminds me of my own wedding. My father died when I was young, but my wife's father died only 6 weeks before our event. She often talks about the saddest walk of her life when she couldn;t walk down the aisle with her dad...

    Such a wonderful post

  16. Looks great...can't wait to try your recipe!

  17. There is nothing like comfort food such as lasagna! Your dish and photos look absolutely beautiful!

  18. What a great lasagna recipe. I'm sure that your Mother-in-Law, would be proud of you. Beautiful pictures and post.

  19. beautiful lasagna looks wonderful
    check out the event food palette series rainbow colours on my site hope you can join
    regards Akheela

  20. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman! I wish I could have met her, too. Give Andy an understanding cyber hug from me. The lasagna looks amazing and your pictures are a feast for the eyes. Buzzed!

  21. Great post :) I'm in a similar situation. I only got to meet my husbands mom once before she passed away and she was very sick when I did. I feel like I missed out on something so important. I think your lasagna looks amazing and perfect for a family do :)

  22. Aw, what a sweet post. This lasagna looks amazing and I can only imagine the happy memories it elicited for your husband :)

  23. This is a lovely post. I love lasagna, make it often. This looks delicious. Congrats on top 9!

  24. Congrats on the Top 9 today!!!

  25. Looks so good. Your Mother In Law must have been a wonderful Lady and what a lovely tribute to her and Andy.

    Congrats on top nine.

  26. i just lost my mom and family recipes always bring a tear to my eye... what a better way to say you care than with food, caringly prepared for the ones you love... Andy is very lucky!

    I am not a fan of cottage cheese (I always make my lasagna with cream cheese - rich, creamy, YUM) but i am going to try yours (and Mom's) Looking forward to a wonderful meal!

  27. Mom's lasagna looks incredible!!

  28. Love this post Karen!!! The part about her shopping at Goodwill and buying an item she herself had donated cracked me up! I could so see myself doing that!!! She sounded like someone super fun and full of life!!!

    Her lasagna you recreated looks OUT OF THIS WORD BEAUTIFUL!!! I know you made her proud up there!!! :) XOXO

  29. Your pictures are beyond gorgeous and scrumptious. And that lasagna - good Lord!

  30. You are making me hungry now! Such amazing photos and great story!!

  31. I need a second dinner now. This looks incredible.

  32. Hey Karen: I finally got around to trying this great recipe last weekend and everyone loved it! I've never made a lasagna without ricotta cheese in there somewhere, so I was a little concerned about the cottage cheese; not to worry, it was fantastic. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the story behind it. P.S. The Andrew Murray Vineyards Esperance paired beautifully with it!

  33. India's most controversial, and most popular, reality show, Bigg Boss15, has
    already announced its next season. Bigg Boss 15, which will be started Oct 2021

    Bigg Boss 15

  34. India's most controversial, and most popular, reality show, Bigg Boss15, has
    already announced its next season. Bigg Boss 15, which will be started Oct 2021

    Bigg Boss 15

  35. chennai escorts
    Chennai Escorts welcomes you to a very gorgeous Independent Call Girls and Escort Service We Offer Female escorts in Chennai working 24/7 in 5 Star hotel.

  36. sex sohbet, sex sohpet, sex chat, sex çet, gay sohbet, gabile sohbet, lezbiyen chat, geveze sex sohbet, cinsel sohbet, gabile çet, gay çet, gay sohbet kanalı, gay sohpet, cinsel sohpet, gay chat, live sohbet, kelebek gay chat, kelebek gay çet, marcinal sohbet, marcinal çet, kelebek görüntülü çet, kelebek canlı çet, kelebek canlı chat, kızlarla sohbet, kızlarla çet, erkeklerle sohbet, erkeklerle chat, kızlarla chat, ruslarla sohbet, rus sohbet, rus chat, rus çet, amerika sohbet, amerikalı kızlarla sohbet, amerikalı kızlarla çet, yunan sohbet, yunanlılarla sohbet, amerika sex sohbet, amerika sex sohpet, amerika sex çet, ukrayna sohbet, ukrayna chat, ukrayna çet, ukraynalı kızlarla sohpet, ukraynalı bayanlar, latin kızlarla sohbet, latin sex sohbet, kıbrıs sopet, kıbrıs sex sohbet, kıbrıs sex çet, parasız sex sohbet, parasız gay sohbet, parasız sex çet, parasız gay çet, parasız chat, aktif sohbet, pasif sohbet,

  37. High Class Jaipur call girls Service with call girls, Jaipur Agencies, High class Jaipur call girls and pornstar call girls.
    Udaipur Escorts
    Pushkar Escorts
    Lucknow Escorts
    Jaisalmer Escorts
    Ajmer Escorts
    Bikaner Escorts
    Dholpur Escorts
    Kota Escorts
    Jodhpur Escorts

  38. Are you looking for an Escort in Chennai? Stop, we have 367 of them! Trusted by visitors from around the world. So book now at -
    Anna Nagar Escorts
    Chetput Escorts
    Guindy Escorts
    KK Nagar Escorts
    Saidapet Escorts
    t nagar Escorts
    Villivakkam Escorts
    Adyar Escorts
    Ashok Nagar Escorts

  39. Independent's never disappoint you with their Pune escorts services. They always ready to provide desirable escort service to every client. Our high profile Pune call girls are from high-class society. They have a proper manner of living a high-class life.
    Wakad Escorts
    Hinjewadi Escorts
    Aundh Escorts
    Swargate Escorts
    Warje Escorts
    Banner Escorts
    Lonavala Escorts
    Wagholi Escorts
    Koregaon Park escorts

  40. Are you looking for Model Bangalore Escorts or some fun with our High Profile Bangalore Call Girls, if yes then you have ended at right place at affordable price. Visit us:-
    South Bangalore Escorts
    Koramangala Escorts
    Kr Puram Escorts
    Malleswaram Escorts
    Benson Town Escorts
    Brigade Road Escorts
    Marathahalli Escorts
    Commercial Street Escorts
    Cooke Town Escorts
    Devanahalli Escorts

  41. Being a Professional Independent Call Girls in Delhi assure you about quality service
    Remember that great quality fraternity renews your life to such an extent that fatigue keeps a long separation from you. With regards to accessibility of their administrations, it is only five-star lodgings in Delhi that you have to visit. They are the most fitting spots for you as they are 100% protected and furnished with all the advanced offices—accessibility of supplements for improvement of your pleasure, Wi-Fi framework, Music System and satellite TV. There are such an assortment of courses through which one would find that Call Girl in Delhi would come astoundingly advantageous to you once you are appropriately there. There are different kinds of young women who are working Delhi Call Girl No and you would love to mix with them and see so an extensive number of them to be significantly pleasing and what's more extraordinary as per record are concerned. Young women who are delightful by appearance are generally that much creative and imaginative and those fixings can be found exactly when once is negligible nearer to them. It is the physical appearance which works contemplates and in addition meanwhile one must comprehend how it is the inward characteristics which are watched that work ponder for getting the satisfaction to the Noida Call Girl whose organizations are making waves around the overall public particularly.
    Call Girl in Delhi
    Noida Call Girl
    Call Girls In Gurgaon
    College Girls Escorts In Delhi
    Noida Escorts
    Gurgaon Escorts
    Delhi Escorts
    Independent Escorts In Delhi
    Vip Escorts In Delhi
    High Profile Escorts In Delhi
    Female Escorts in Delhi
    Russian Escorts in Delhi
    Independent Escorts In Noida
    Independent Escorts In Gurgaon
    TV Actress Escorts in Delhi
    Bollywood Celebrity Escorts in Delhi
    Airhostess Call Girls in Delhi
    Bollywood Actress Escorts in Delhi
    Call Girl in Noida
    Call Girls In Noida

  42. SaachiArora for most trusted Delhi Call Girl services and ultimate fun
    They are of as much significance to you any fundamental thing of your life. In the event that you are not with the correct grown-up media outlet, you will just wind up with the issues and there will be no joy in your life by any stretch of the imagination. It is simply Delhi Call Girl Escorts benefits that can satisfy your licentious wants. They are helpful to you concerning numerous things—simple openness, accessibility of instructed, mannered and chic sentimental associates and finish wellbeing and security at lovemaking setting. Subsequently, you require not stress over anything. With regards to Call Girls in Delhi, they are incredibly delightful. When you get their impressions, you won't have the capacity to oppose yourself. Their appeal and fascination are so heart winning that your disposition will move toward becoming on the double wind up sentimental. However miserable and agitate you might be, you will be happy to the point bursting.
    Call Girls In Delhi
    Call Girl in Noida
    Gurgaon Call Girl
    Escort Service In Noida
    Delhi Call Girl No
    Escort Service In Gurgaon
    Escort Service in Delhi
    Delhi Independent Escorts
    Delhi VIP Escorts
    Delhi High Profile Escorts
    Delhi Female Escorts
    Delhi Russian Escorts
    Noida Independent Escorts
    Gurgaon Independent Escorts
    Delhi TV Actress Escorts
    Delhi Bollywood Celebrity Escorts
    Delhi Airhostess Escorts
    Bollywood Escorts In Delhi
    Call Girl in Delhi
    Delhi Call Girl No
    Delhi Call Girl
    Call Girls Delhi

  43. Enjoy the Passionate service of Hyderabad Escorts. Premium Escorts in Hyderabad for Utmost Entertainment. Truly secured doorway to reach the lovely Hyderabad escort service profiles. Visit now -
    Hyderabad Escorts
    Hyderabad Escort
    Independent escorts in Hyderabad
    Hyderabad independent escorts
    Hyderabad escorts service
    Hyderabad escort services
    Escorts services in Hyderabad
    Hyderabad escort model
    High class escorts in Hyderabad
    Hyderabad escort models

  44. Contact With Independent Escort Call Girl in Hyderabad. Avail Her VIP Hyderabad Escorts Service At Your Home Or In Hotel. Contact 24/7 available Call girls. Book now -
    Hyderabad Escorts
    Banjara Hills Escorts
    Charminar Escorts
    Gachibowli Escorts
    Hi Tech City Escorts
    Jubilee Hills Escorts
    Madhapur Escorts
    Hyderabad Escorts
    Mallapur Escorts

  45. Book hot and busty Call Girls in Hyderabad to fulfill your demand & find Hyderabad Escorts service for sex satisfaction at low rate, avail 24/7. Visit us:-
    Secunderabad Escorts
    Hyderguda Escorts
    Lb-Nagar Escorts
    Lingampally Escorts
    Malakpet-Extension Escorts
    Mehdipatnam Escorts
    Moosapet Escorts
    Pathargatti Escorts
    Qutubullapur Escorts