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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Bathtub Lasagna

I am not much of a cook for family get-togethers since losing most of my taste in 2006. One item that everyone likes and I enjoy cooking is Bathtub Lasagna. Sharing the recipe complete with the cooking adventure for you here. Have a good time, and I hope reading it makes you smile. 

Bathtub Lasagna
A piece of my digital art:
of a rainbow scarf.

The week before, go to Sam’s or Costco, buy bag of sweet peppers and a bag of onions, chop them up, combine them in ziplock gallon bags. Freeze.
While at Sam’s or Costco, get foil steam pans. I use the square ones so I can share. If I am not sharing, I use my covered turkey roaster pan.

Once a year, go to an Amish or another type of bulk food store, and buy a container of pizza spice. Keep in freezer.

Once a year, go to your local cattle rancher, buy a beef. You will need at least 3 1/2 pounds of 90% hamburger.

The day before, go to Aldi-
Buy two jars of red pesto
4 large cans of crushed tomatoes
2 cans of diced tomatoes ( if they have fire roasted, yay!)
6 containers of whole milk ricotta
2 dozen eggs (you will only use 4, the rest are because you needed eggs)
2 boxes of lasagna noodles (regular or oven ready- doesn’t matter)
4 bags of Italian shredded cheese
2 bags of shredded mozzarella
1 container of Parmesan and Romano cheese


Brown the hamburger. Add a cup of chopped celery, add half a gallon freezer bag of the frozen onion pepper mix, add the cans of crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Note: hold the crushed tomato cans under the kitchen faucet and rinse the tomatoes stuck to the side using a small stream of water; pour the resulting 1/4 cup (approximately) of liquid in each can into the sauce pan. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pizza seasoning (use what your crew likes). Cook for a while, adding good smells to your house. Note- you could add chopped zucchini if it is summer and your neighbor surprised you with a full grocery bag.

After it has cooked for a while, stir in the two jars of red pesto and turn off the burner. Let the sauce sit covered while you mix the white layer.

The white layer :
Find your biggest mixing bowl- you will need the stirring room. Ask the tallest person in your house to reach the bowl you only use for holiday cooking- that is the one you will need.
Open and dump in the ricotta, more pizza spice, half of the Parma/romano container, and 4 eggs. Stir with a whisk. If you thought fast enough, do the eggs first so you can whisk them good before adding everything else.

Assembling the lasagna :

Whatever pan(s) you are using, spray the pan with Pam. It won’t keep all the hard to clean bits from forming, but you will feel better for doing it.

Put the pan(s) on the counter next to the stove where the sauce is cooling. Put the huge bowl with the white layer on the other side- you will be alternating layers of sauce and ricotta filling as you assemble the lasagna. Put the shredded cheese bags nearby- open as you need them.

Depending on the age of your oven, you can preheat it now or about halfway into the assembly process. 375 degrees F.

Layer order- figure on three layers total in the smaller steam pans or up to 9 layers in the turkey roaster :

  1. Meat sauce
  2. Noodles
  3. Ricotta mixture
  4. Shredded Mozzarella
  5. Meat sauce
  6. Shredded italian cheese
  7. Noodles
  8. Repeat the layers, ending with the meat sauce and remaining Italian cheese/ mozzarella ( a mix of whatever is left over)

At this point, you will realize you should have purchased 3 boxes of noodles and 2 more bags of mozzarella so you sweetly ask another person in your house to go fetch one more box of noodles and 2 bags of mozzarella from whatever nearby store. You will probably forget to edit the ingredients list above, too. 

You may have sauce left over.

Cover the assembled lasagna(s) tightly with foil (yes, even if you are using the turkey roaster, and spray the food side of the foil with Pam). Put the pan(s) on baking sheets to catch overflow (also cover the baking sheets in foil for easy clean up. Always be kind to your future self!) Put in oven- bake 50-60 minutes, depending on what other kitchen activities are going on.

Turn off oven when the timer goes off and leave the lasagna(s) in to set. You don’t have counter space to put it on anyway. Wait about 30 minutes, or longer if dinner isn’t for a while and you don’t have housemates hollering for the garlic bread yet. Pull the lasagna(s) out and remove the foil and see if the noodles have soaked up the sauce in an appropriate manner.

Now that the oven is freed up, make your garlic bread and go toss a salad. You are ready to eat.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

17 years on after Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma

If you are reeiving this because you are subscribed to my blog, I imagine this update after such a long silence shocked you a bit. Grinning over here - that isn't the intent. I just wanted to check in. 

I am still on this timeline with you. AdCC hasn't come back yet, though my doctors get at least one boat payment from me each year when I go in for my check-ups and x-rays. It isn't all a fairy tale, but no one's life is. I have outlived my mom (one of her wishes when I was diagnosed in 2006, since her fear was that she would outlive me.) Mom was boss to the end. Sharing her life story here (video made my my nephew, now videographer for the Kansas City Chiefs, so our family has a bit of Super Bowl history :-): She was my strength and advisor, the wall I bounced my angst tennis balls off of during our hour-long phone calls, even up until the very last week of her life. Thanks to her, I can continue to look forward to what tomorrow brings. Even when the tomorrows seem scarier than usual. 

I have been in grief counseling for about 6 weeks and can recommend it for anyone suffering a loss (in my opinion, that includes having a cancer diagnosis, since I lost my former self when diagnosed and treated all those years ago.) Mom's hospice recommended a counselor trained by the Grief Recovery Institute:  I highly recommend this program and its trained experts, based on my experience with my Omaha-based counselor, Sandra Frost

My husband is wonderful and as supportive as ever as we both travel into aging together. He indulged me in renovating our house to be as accommodating as possible for us to live comfortably and independently for the next 10 years. This meant a kitchen and main bath redo, resulting in a walk-in shower complete with grab bars, and a new deck. We have rolled with this like other disruptions in our lives, and continue to look forward to good adventures to come.   

I have a granddaughter that joined her brother in 2022, adding more love to our family circle. Her picture on this post shows her wearing the dress I made for her mom in 1991 when my husband returned from the Gulf War. I am very glad I am around to see the continuing family history. 

I hope some of these ramblings, along with the others in this 17 year old blog, help you if you or someone you love is going through cancer treatment. I am glad to be here to say there are tomorrows, and despite life being different, it is a rich one. I may update this more often, even if it just to comment on the weather. Remember: #HumansWin. 

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