December 27, 2019

Boxing Day Fare...

Brynwood Needleworks - Boxing Day Lasagna

Handsome and I prepared a tasty prime rib for Christmas Day. I made roast potatoes and cauliflower as our side dishes. It was nice that we had some leftovers for sandwiches, too.

I decided to surprise my dear husband with another "special" meal for Boxing Day, so I chose to make lasagna. I usually have everything I need to prepare this dish in the farmhouse, so imagine my surprise when I realized I had no cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to make this dish. What to do?

I was reminded of a sentence from a knitting book I read decades ago, when I was teaching myself to knit..."What would Laura Ingalls do?" I mean, if she didn't have an ingredient, she wasn't likely to hook the horses up to the wagon and make for town! So, in pioneer style I took to the internet (stop laughing), and looked up "substitutes for ricotta cheese in lasagna".

I initially stumbled over the "substitute cottage cheese for ricotta", but kept scrolling. I came upon this link, which specifically mentioned lasagna. Before homemakers turned to ricotta and cottage cheese, they made their own sauce. I continued following links to find this recipe for lasagna, utilizing a simple bechamel sauce. Here's the link for the lasagna recipe.

Brynwood Needleworks - Basic Béchamel Sauce

Another link for the bechamel sauce was this one. Because Handsome isn't fond of nutmeg and cloves, I made the simple version, adding only the bay leaf, salt and white pepper.

Brynwood Needleworks - My Lasagna Ingredients
I always assemble everything in one place before beginning the preparation for my lasagna. I use the "cook" version of my lasagna noodles, so those were already cooked and drained. The bechamel sauce was made and strained so it would be lovely and smooth. The sauce was prepared (sauce, browned ground beef, green peppers, onions and sauted mushrooms), and lots of shredded mozzarella cheese. I also used a foil pan for easy cleanup. 
Then, I assembled away, layering noodles, sauce, mozzarella and bechamel sauce. I repeated those steps three times.

Brynwood Needleworks - Boxing Day Lasagna, Oven Ready
Once everything was in the pan, it went into a 350º oven for 45 minutes. Let me tell you that this lasagna was different from anything I've ever made before (and I've made a lot of lasagna over the years)! You could definitely taste the hint of bay leaf - even through all the other ingredients. 
The lasagna had a richer, smoother and deeper flavor. It was also a lot more filling. One serving was plenty, with a side of french baguette slices. Handsome and I agreed that this is how lasagna should taste, and I'll repeat this recipe from now on.
For now, we have enough leftover for another meal this week, and a full tray to freeze for another time. If you decide to try this recipe (with or without my amendments), please let me know what you think! I think this will become our Boxing Day tradition moving forward.


  1. “Using what we have” and not running to the store for every little missing thing is very wise. Your Lasagna looks delicious. My hubby is not fond of red or tomato sauces so I make white sauce lemony chicken lasagna which we both enjoy. Slow and relaxed days before the New Year...Ahhh

  2. I returned home from Costco today with a frozen lasagna, only to discover your recipe for lasagna with picture and I must say "mine" pales in comparison! Thank you for sharing, and of course I am tossing the Costco recipe in the bottom of the freezer...maybe I will try to duplicate 'yours" … Thank you, for continuing to write my favorite blog my dear friend! Happy New Year


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Blessings, Donna