busyness: in praise of big-batch cooking

Because of the young child and working full time thing and wanting to have a life, I don’t have as much time for cooking any more. Which is okay. That time will return, probably sooner than I expect it to (Baby Bear is growing so fast). Until that day, I am in love with cooking tons of food at a time and then freezing it for later. I am so in love with it that I am trying to encourage others – among other tidbits of advice I gave my newly-expecting sister-in-law, I recommended getting a freezer. For food stashing.

Today was my first day of vacation and I spent the morning cooking up a storm of lasagna:

lasagna assembly line

lasagna assembly line

It is not all for us; a couple will be going to some new parents/parents-to-be. Because if there’s anything that I really appreciated and want to pay forward, it was all the meals that people made for us when the Bear was newly home and occupying all our time and attention.

This lasagna is great – it is a friend’s mother’s recipe and I have it handwritten in a grimy notebook, but I don’t even need to check anymore because it is so flexible and easily doubled (or tripled, or quadrupled). Basically just onion, ground beef, and tomato sauce – add whatever veggies and seasoningsĀ suit your mood; I usually grate up a zucchini or two and add some green peppers and mushrooms, and throw in some Worcestershire sauce and a spoonful or two of pesto. Cook that till the meat is browned, the veggies are soft and the sauce is bubbling. The cheese layer is a tub of cottage cheese, an egg, some grated Mozzarella cheese and a thawed-out pack of frozen spinach with the water squeezed out. I’ll add a dash of nutmeg for the spinach if I’m feeling fancy. Then get your oven-ready lasagna noodles, layer it whichever way pleases you best, top with more grated Mozzarella, and bake at 350 degrees F till the cheese is browned and it’s hot through the middle. Perfecto.

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