Aunt Virginia was my great-aunt – my grandfather’s sister.
She was a doodle. Spunky. Sweet. And, cute – all the way to her retirement home years. She was a bingo player. Well, an anything player.
Aunt Virginia had it going on!
I loved to hear her talk. She was a Northerner, after all. HBD (Handy Builder Dad) had roots in Michigan but lived most of his life in the South. Several of my grandfather’s siblings lived “up North”, as we called it. Aunt Virginia came South on rare occasions.
Her accent intrigued me. I’m not usually quiet, but when Aunt Virginia was around, my mouth was shut. I didn’t want to miss a word that women said! Or, how she said it. She never knew how much I adored being around her – probably because I rarely saw her.
Uncle Bill was a rough sort of character – words of a sailor – but it didn’t phase Aunt Virginia. I never heard her say those words, but that might only mean she didn’t use them in my presence. She would laugh and wave off Uncle Bill and say, “Oh, Bill…”. What a couple they were.
During my late teens, my parents and I took a road trip to visit the Gutzwiller’s. What a name, huh? Unusual characters deserve an unusual name, I guess.
Aunt Virginia fed us the most delicious lasagna I’d ever eaten. During the meal, when I dared to fill the air with my words, I told her how much I was enjoying it.
“It’s an old family recipe.” She said.
And, then I heard the most special words of the day, “I’ll share it with you.”
Gasp! She would give me the family recipe?………Oh!…..Yea!…..I forgot (momentarily)…..I’m family.
She told me all about the recipe – that it was made with sausage, as well as ground beef (must be the secret ingredient) – and how that was the difference between German and Italian Lasagna.
Oh, my! Really? It’s wonderful to be in the know – to feel smart…informed at such a young age.
Aunt Virginia said I should probably cut the recipe in half, unless I’ll be cooking for an army.
This time when I made German Lasagna, we did have a crowd. And, I made the full recipe.
But, for just our family, I make half. I decided to give you this recipe in the half measurements. Don’t you find it easier to double rather than halving?
Here’s the recipe for y’all to print. I hope you’ll try it.
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork sausage
- ½ clove garlic
- 1-1/2 teaspoon parsley
- 1-1/2 teaspoon basil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 5 ounces lasagna noodles, boiled
- 1-1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Parsley
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ pound grated Mozzarella
- Brown meat in large skillet and drain off fat. Add next 6 ingredients, stir to blend, and simmer over low heat 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, while lasagna noodles are boiling, Mix together cottage cheese and next 5 ingredients. Set aside.
- When meat mixture is finished simmering and lasagna is cooked, begin layering in a large, deep oblong dish prepared with vegetable spray. Line bottom of dish with enough meat sauce to barely cover bottom of pan - about ½ cup of sauce. Add a layer of noodles - half the number cooked, then half the meat sauce, half the cottage cheese mixture, then half the mozzarella. Repeat layers, using the remaining half of each, beginning with noodles, and ending with the remainder of mozzarella. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. If freezing, freeze before baking.
Lasagna seems complicated because of all the layers, but the meat and cheese mixtures are fairly simple. The raving compliments you get from your consumers will be ample payment for your time investment.
I sometimes add cooked spinach (or thawed and drained frozen spinach) to the meat mixture. It adds delicious flavor and more vitamins, as well. Our kids noticed the green when they were young (couldn’t fool them!), but they loved the taste.
Enjoy, y’all! 🙂
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