Sunday, January 30, 2011

lasagna, books, and such...

Recently I've received several requests to post that lasagna recipe I mentioned during a blog interview. Since it's one of my favorite dishes in the whole world, and you readers are my favorite people in the whole world, I'll gladly share:) But first things first...

First, I so appreciate your prayers as I work through these galleys and also keep abreast of book one in my next series. I feel your prayers - they're like a warm blanket, and I remember the verse of how powerful and effective they can be. We're all in this together and you're a blessed part of that whether you're a writer, blogger, or reader.

Readers often comment about all the mentions of food in my novels. Nothing like a fine meal to give a book a little spice:) I've had fun in The Colonel's Lady bringing food to the table as my heroine is quite a cook. When she's not dodging bullets and handsome heroes, that is.

Anyway, on a lighter note (if butter and pasta are indeed lighter), here is that recipe...

Alaskan Halibut Lasagna

I use tender, mild halibut from the Pacific Northwest but you can substitute cod or chicken for the halibut if you like. Add a salad and you have a fine meal.

6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1-1/2 pounds halibut, bones removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
minced fresh parsley, optional

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add halibut, garlic, and thyme. Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining butter to the skillet. Stir in flour and salt until smooth; cook and stir until golden brown. Gradually add broth and cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. In a greased 13x9 inch baking dish, layer half of the noodles, halibut, white sauce and cheese. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.
Yield: 8 servings

I'd love to hear what your favorite recipe is and if you like to cook or would rather be reading?! Happy eating!


  1. I love to cook, just hate the clean up. I've gotten good at using as little dishes as possible and either stuffing them in the dishwasher after or hand washing once done with use. Keeps the kitchen workable.

    Typically I plan on the evening meal sometime early in the day, that way if it requires a longer cooking time I can get it going. Here lately the crockpot has been my best friend, and the family's. Most of my nights are spent at practice or a game, so I've been making lots of different soups or crockpot meals. This also frees me up for reading or writing time and not have to worry about stopping to cook if I'm going good. <}:^)

    My family's favorite food, is homemade pizza. Now that my twins are getting older, I'm making 2 pizzas, a big one for the kids and a small one for me and hubby. And I never go wrong with homemade biscuits and hamburger or sausage gravy--as twin #2 calls it white gravy. Can ya tell we're a Midwest family with a farming backgorund? LOL!

  2. Oh my goodness you've got me wanting pasta now! Sounds delicious!

  3. Ruth, I get these crazy pasta urges so understand completely:) This weekend all I had in the cupboard was angel hair and chevre so had to make do with that but it turned into a tasty little dish:) Happy meals to you!

  4. Oh, Winter, everything you mentioned makes my mouth water. We're on the very same page with the crock pot! I use mine all the time for soups, roasts, chicken, etc. And then there's my trusty bread machine! You are so right - with a little early planning it frees you up so you have more time for writing, reading, sports, etc. When I think of the women I write about slaving over a hot hearth and never having dreamed of a microwave, I am glad I live in this century:)

    You mentioned something else our family loves - sausage gravy, as we Kentuckians call it. Throw in some biscuits and eggs and you have one of the best meals ever! I could eat the whole skillet myself! And then there's pizza...

    And I didn't know you had twins!! The things you learn when you post about recipes:)

  5. Both! Ha. :) That photo is lovely, but which one on your blog isn't?? :)

    I love to cook and especially experiment with new recipes. But I think I love a good book more.

    Thanks for sharing that recipe, I would probably be hungry, except for the breakfast I had. :)

  6. You can keep the bullets, Laura, but it would be lovely to have to dodge the hansome heroes! Hmm...that makes me think of the period drama music video I saw of "It's Raining Men". That was hilarious! Now the song in everyday life isn't one that I would probably listen to and have on a CD, but with this fun video it makes it cute.

  7. Ruth, Forgot to mention how much I'm enjoying your Robin Hood reviews/Season 3. Yes, Tuck talks too much. The new Marian aka Kate is so annoying I want to wince when she appears:) Last night's episode found us all groaning unanimously when Gizzie finally killed the sheriff only to have his fingers wiggle at the very end. Ugh. LOVE Isabella! SPARKS flew when Robin caved and kissed her. Anyway, you are so right on in your reviews:)

  8. I think I love reading more than eating, too, only my waistline isn't cooperating as I age:) Bless you again, Casey, for such a fun blog interview! I can't wait to see who your next cold call is - I'm sure readers agree!

  9. LOL, Sylvia! What a vid! I've always loved the song - hallelujah, indeed:) Glad to see they gave John Thornton his due! Some of those heroes are new to me and I must confess I'm behind on my period dramas. Out of all these men/heroes, am wondering which is your favorite and which period drama you like best of these? Don't worry, I won't hold it against you if you DON'T say North&South!

  10. The lasagna does sound very good. I believe I may have to try it sometime, I'll try it with chicken instead of the halibut I think though. I'm still country enough that I prefer my fish to be fried. ;)

    I actually do enjoy cooking. I post on a fellowship board for Christian women, and we often share menus of what we are having. One of my friends there has often said I have some of the most interesting dinners. She's been impressed that I'm single and cook. She knows so many single people who just eat out all the time.

    I've smiled over the mentions of sausage gravy. My grandfather has often said I would have never have lived through the Great Depression because I don't like sausage gravy, nor do I like pinto beans.

    Of course, I love my pastas. I must say they are a staple of my meals. I love making homemade spaghetti sauce, lasagna, etc.

    One of my favorite meals though is taco salad. I make it like my mom does, but it still never tastes exactly like hers.

    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  11. Laura, my favorite period drama is the tried and true 5-hour BBC/A&E 1995Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. North and South is so close to it that they are bumping into one another. I love all of Jane Austen's novels and this version of P&P is very much like the novel with a few additional scenes that flesh out the characters. It's not as intense as N&S. Actually, it's more light-hearted with no death. The kiss in P&P does not hold a candle to N&S. It's actually very sweet, hesitant and chaste, but there are enough looks/expressions in the rest of it that it doesn't matter. Actually the only kisses that I have seen on-screen that make me want to re-watch as much as N&S is the one in Penelope 2006 (good story;don't like the swearing) and The More the Merrier 1943. They are not period dramas. Actually, P is a fairy tale type story and TMTM is about a woman who lets out part of her apartment during the housing shortage in WWII. TMTM is black and white, but absolutely fun, romantic and a wonderful, witty script.

  12. This is way off topic, but I just read this article about a costume company that started in 1840. How would you like to go to the warehouse and try on those costumes? They even mention the recycled costumes website!:)

  13. What a sumptuous recipe! Great photo, too . . . I would rather be reading than cooking. However, reading and eating are a match made in heaven!

    My favorite recipe is a rice pudding my grandmother used to make. Her pudding was thick enough to cut and so tasty. Unfortunately, Nannie never wrote anything down. But this past year my sister found a Paula Deen recipe that's come the closest to what we remember of the original.

    After reading this post, I'm inspired to stop at the grocery store later. I'm expecting 2 more snow days this week (we've had 5 in January plus several delays) so I think I might have to fill the time with some experimenting in the kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration, Laura!

  14. Michelle, Ditto on the taco salad:) My mom makes a great one, too. Trouble is, mine never tastes the same! I use to fry my own taco shells in oil as you can bend them into a bowl-like shape which is fun and oh so tasty. But writing has bumped all that. I used to pour over recipe books and cooking magazines. Sometimes I miss those days. I still love buying recipe cards and writing them down.

    I can't believe you're not a pinto bean, sausage gravy kind of gal! Guess that means you don't like blackeyed peas either:( Another of my favs. But we have a mutual love of pasta and a certain restaurant...

    I think it's neat that you belong to a fellowship board that posts menus/recipes. Often I get into a rut of what to cook and hearing your ideas here really helps. I'm going to add taco salad to my list as that's been awhile.

    I applaud you for cooking solo. Someday you'll make someone very happy with all that practice:)

  15. Sylvia, I'm writing all this down! TMTM sounds like something I'd love, too. All of them, actually. Can't believe I haven't seen the Colin Firth version of P&P yet! Interesting to hear your insights regarding this drama vs. N&S. The latter is quite dark, actually, and I know some viewers prefer a lighthearted kind of romp. The same goes for books. I've had readers say they can't handle my books as they're dark. Strangely enough, I never see it!

    Oh, going to your link soon... It dovetails with what I'm going to be posting on later this week - my own 18th-c. gown:) And all those intimidating undergarments! Bless u!

  16. Renee Ann,
    Your rice pudding sounds wonderful - and a perfect winter's dessert. My granny was much the same, never wrote recipes down, but just added a pinch of this or that. Somehow they were the best cooks! I'm glad you found a fair substitute for such a beloved recipe. That is always a joy!

    I can't believe how hard hit you New Yorkers/east coasters have been this winter. I know you are snow weary. But it sounds like you're making the most of it by filling the time with good books and good cooking. Wish I could pop into your kitchen! Let me know if you find an irresistible (sp?) recipe to pass on:) Happy cooking!

  17. Mmm sorry not appealing to me at all LOL! On a high note I made yummy steak and cheese subs for dinner tonight! I just get whatever beef they have at the store that is thin cut (like a sirloin tip), cut into thin strips, cook it in water on the stove for an hour, drain, then throw in half a bag of onion/pepper stir fry with a few TB of vinegar and few TB of butter. I put shredded mozzerella on open sub rolls under the broiler in the over for a few minutes until toasted and the cheese melts. Then I put the finished meat/stirfry onto the buns then close them and put them back under the broiler for a minute. Then I finish it with a ton of mayo and eat! Good Stuff!!!

    XOXO~ Renee

  18. Renee, LOL - you said the magic words - MAYO!! I am going to try this this weekend. My men will love it! So will I:) Thanks for the details as it is easily written down on a recipe card. This sounds like a great Super Bowl recipe...

    I had to chuckle at your pass on the halibut lasagna:) Kind of a love it or hate it type thing, I think. Kind of like fish tacos!

    Bless u bunches for that recipe! GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Hmmm...I wonder if tofu would work instead of halibut or chicken? Might lose something in the translation. LOL.

    I think one of my favourite things to make is soup and stew. I make a big crockpot full and freeze portions for work lunches. I make a mean lentil soup, minestrone...oh and how about sweet potato chili? Yum! Haven't had that in a while. You're making me hungry, Laura! We all need to get together for a potluck -- of food and books!

  20. Lol, I wish I could peek over your shoulder and see what you're up to ;) I'm sure its fabulous! It must be so fun to be setting the ground work for such a large project. I'm so looking forward to it! So that we wont have to completely let go of all the characters once the book is over. But this year long wait.....too long! ;)

    This recipe looks so good too! I may try it next time I go to the grocery store. We are so bad about eating fish. Probably because I really dont know how to cook it. Here in the landlocked center, most of our fish intake is fried catfish ;)
    These past couple of weeks I've been making this italian sausage soup that is so good. I swear, if we weren't already married, that recipe would get me a proposal in a heartbeat ;)

  21. Oh, Kav, sweet potato chili sounds wonderful! I just baked one yesterday and slathered it with butter and had it for a snack during a writing break:) Yum.

    Don't laugh but I just had tofu in an East Indian dish and LOVED it! Only I kept thinking it was cheese:) Can you tell I'm a foodie? Anything goes for me except oysters and sushi and things like that.

    Your stews and soups sound wonderful. I'm a big fan of making those and they freeze so well like you said. I might just have to hunt up a sweet potato chili recipe. One of my favorite soups ever is butternut squash bisque. Sadly, my men protest mightily:( Happy cooking to you!

  22. LOL, Heather:) That sausage soup sounds wonderful - would you believe I make one called Italian sausage soup and if it's even remotely the same, it's proposal worthy indeed!

    I like your emphasis on the "fun" aspect of this new series. Sometimes I get caught up in the intimidating angle of it. For instance, I wrote a synopsis for each book, something I've never done. I typically just sit down and write cold - no plotting, no character developement, nada. But this time I had to write that synopsis. And for the most part, the book is humming along and adhering to it but there have been some major detours. Imagine my surprise when in chapter 2 a second hero appeared!! THAT wasn't in the plan. So now I have rival heroes only one of them is really a villain in disguise...

    Yes, writing is never dull. I am sure you can say the same about your beautiful art!

  23. I don't think Chris would eat this, but think I will try a chicken substitute.

    I do love to cook, although its a hobby that I've put to the side for this season.

    My favorite foods are comfort foods especially with our winters here. Meatloaf, mac & cheese, pancakes with real maple syrup...and those sausage biscuits sound great, Winter.

    However, I am learning to love (well maybe not totally there yet) fish and veggies :) I am learning to make some ethnic fish dishes that have received the nod of approval from Chris (Mr. Meat & Potatoes) and then make plain fillets for the kids.

    Happy writing!

  24. Julia, This is probably not a manly dish, so Chris might not be a fan. Randy is a meat and potatoes man so is iffy about this but I love as does my Wyatt. Paul will hardly eat a thing, on the other hand! It's a very rich dish and a little goes a long ways, that's for sure. I haven't tried the chicken but think that would be very good here.

    Like you, I'm trying to eat healthier and do a lot of lean meat and vegies. Sadly, I am somewhat addicted to pasta, bread, and all the comfort foods. There's actually a science to that as our bodies crave that type food in winter. Grrrr.

    Hope your schooling and teaching writing and all else is going well. Spring is coming - hallelujah!

  25. Thank you for sharing this,Laura! I'm going to try it. It looks absolutely delicious! We have good seafood on the east coast, too, so it should be nice.

  26. Carla, Make and enjoy! I know you're a fine cook and you have wonderful fish over there:) Wish we could sit down together and toast your wonderful success!! I'm so thrilled for you, dear Carla!

  27. LOL Laura I totally put 3 TB of mayo on my little six inch sub so you might say I'm a mayo fan! I hope you enjoy the sandwiches if you give them a try! Thanks for cheering my STEELERS ;-)

    XOXO~ Renee

  28. Goodness, how did I miss this post?! Sorry *blushing*

    That is a yummy looking pic and I'm sure if I liked fish this would be delicious to me! As it is, the only seafood I will eat is fried calamari and it has to be tossed in a balsamic vinegar reduction - so spoiled :D Although, my mom does make tilapia taste really good, like chicken actually ;)

    I LOVE to cook and bake and I come from a long line of women who do! I hope I can make them proud :) My mom just recently started making a cheese ravioli lasagna and it is AWESOME! Once you try it that why you won't go back to the lasagna noodles, I swear. And since the ricotta cheese it already inside the pasta you don't have to add it, though my family loves cheese so my mom adds a little anyway :) Oh, and I am SO with you in that love for pasta! What is it with women and carbs? Meat I could give or take it but when it comes to pasta or bread I just have to have it, LOL!

    I guess my favorite dish to make (and apparently the one I make the best according to the fam) is chicken francaise with a lemon butter sauce served with thin linguini with almost like an alfredo sauce that has a hint of lemon. My brother is so cute, he said that when he gets married I have to teach his wife how to make this because it's his favorite! Guess thats a pretty good compliment ;)

    Thanks for making me hungry with all this food talk and at this late hour where anything I'd eat will go right to my hips! LOL ;)


  29. Oh Amanda, I want a key to your kitchen! Your mom's ravioli lasagna sounds to die for! I was at Costco today looking at all their ravioli and wanted to heap my cart full:) ALL the pasta you mentioned sounds great and I'm with your brother - gotta keep that recipe going!

    I hope you aren't getting a deluge of snow right now. I've been thinking of you today and wondering. Hope this isn't full of typos as I've been gone all day, starting with being traumatized by the dentist at 8am:)

    Thanks for letting me in on what your family enjoys eating. I've had a great many things but have never tasted calamari! I think I would have to have it the way you said. I do love most fish but detest salmon - and my freezer is full of it!

    Hope you have a good book handy and are by a warm fire, dear friend.

  30. Oh, Laura, I'm so sorry about the dentist! Really, is there any worse doctor to have to see? Well, I guess I can think of one but she shall remain nameless ;)

    I pray everything is alright, my friend. Was it a root canal? Had one of those when I was younger and I think I blocked out the experience, either that or I was REALLY numb!

    We didn't get much snow today. But we did get some freezing rain which they said on the news is an added threat to roofs! I guess a building collapsed under the weight of all the snow and now ice somewhere in Mass just over the line. Everything is covered in ice right now. I took my dogs outside a little while ago and poor things were slipping and sliding all over.

    And you are welcomed in my kitchen anytime, my friend :) My mom uses the large raviolis for the dish and I hope you get to try it as it's wonderful! I hope you get to try calamari soon too, and if you do make sure to ask for it with a balsamic reduction - I wish everything had a balsamic reduction on it! And I don't blame you with the salmon, heard its very fishy :P

    Thanks for thinking of me and my snowy plight, you are so sweet :) Mary Connealy and her Docotor in Petticoats has been keeping me company through it so its all good :D Praying for you!


  31. LOL, Amanda, I just responded to your comment here via the next post! I'll blame it on the dentist:)

  32. Happy Friday, Laura!

    So my mom was downstairs baking and came across an old cookbook she forgot she even had: "The First Ladies Cook Book" (Favorite Recipes Of All The Presidents of The United States). Isn't that cool? Since I know George was your favorite I'll tell you that they have some sweet older shots of Mount Vernon, inside and out - west & east front, west parlor, common parlor, the banquet hall AND the library! Apparently his favorite recipes were Beefsteak and Kidney Pie, and one for a Trifle, Rich Custard, and Chess Cake. They have pictures and recipes, as well as the china it was served on, for all the Presidents up to Nixon (guess he was in office when this book came out). It's a neat look back and I thought you might think it was neat too :) I found a pic of it on Amazon so you can see what the cover looks like. Just click the link below:

    Have a blessed day, my friend!

  33. Amanda, You know what I like!! Hearing you're looking at pics of Mt. Vernon is a delight, as is George's recipes:) How he ate all that with bad teeth, I'll never know, though I have read he had a fine cook. And Martha was no slouch in the kitchen herself!

    It reminds me of one of my granny's favorite recipes from Bess Truman, President Harry's wife. It's tuna casserole which might sound revolting but it was his favorite dish - and one of ours also. Take a peek and see if that is in your mom's cookbook:)

    Anyway, off to Amazon to look. Bless you so much for the tip!!