Early January Eating

Food for early january

For a month now, festive food has been on the menu. It started with pepernoten and borstplaat for Sinterklaas, which changed almost seamlessly into the nibbles and dinners out of the pre-Christmas season. Then Christmas and its run-up test cooking happened, with a staggering amount of chocolate and bacon. Stomach nicely stretched, the fried goodies of New Year’s Eve were just the ticket and yesterday the year started off right with overflowing platters of fish and seafood, potato salad and gorgeous, runny, smelly cheese.

It seems wrong to lunge from all that into salads, vegetable stews and glasses of lemon water. My waistline would likely benefit, but cushioning the psychological blow would take so much chocolate that I cannot be certain. Much wiser to keep a certain amount of cheer on the plate. I will concede, though, that one cannot live by cream, cheese and sugar alone, and that a slight lightening of shopping list may be a good thing. Therefore, I will put lasagna on the menu.

Yes. Lasagna. As the lighter option.

I was never a great fan of lasagna, until I made Jess Thomson’s loaf pan lasagna a few years back. She replaces the béchamel sauce with a mixture of cottage cheese and eggs, nixing the layers of heavy white creaminess that I always hope will taste of cheese but never do. In their place, something clean tasting with a slight, pleasant chew. Much better. Also, there is lean ground beef (so healthy!) with onions and garlic and (in my lazy version of her already easy recipe) tomato passata sprinkled with oregano (so good for you!). There are pasta sheets, of course, but everyone needs carbohydrates. All in all, it is an excellent way of keeping up your spirits in these resolution-filled first few days of the year. Even better if you invite some friends over to share and keep the merriment going.

Happy new year to you and yours!


Lasagna with cottage cheese

Adapted slightly from Jess Thomson’s Loaf Pan Lasagna  

Serves 2-3

  •  1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, pressed
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 500 gr ground beef
  • olive oil for frying beef and onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 400 gr cottage cheese
  • appr 750 gr passata di pomodoro
  • lasagna sheets, about 250 gr (you will have a few left over)
  • 150 gr grated Gouda
  • grated parmesan, to cover the top of the dish 

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onion until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and the thyme, and cook for one or two minutes more. Add the beef, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Keep cooking until the meat is crumbly and cooked (it is okay to have a few pink bits left over- no need to overcook). 

Mix the eggs with the cottage cheese, add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Preheat over to 190 degrees Celsius. Take a lasagna pan measuring approximately 15cm x 25 cm. Layer the beef, tomato sauce sprinkled with oregano, lasagna sheets, cheese and cottage cheese mixture in the following order:

  • Tomato sauce + oregano
  • Lasagna sheets
  • Tomato sauce + oregano
  • Beef
  • Cheese
  • Lasagna sheets
  • Cottage cheese
  • Lasagna sheets
  • Tomato sauce + oregano
  • Beef
  • Cheese
  • Lasagna sheets
  • Cottage cheese
  • Lasagna sheets
  • Tomato sauce + oregano
  • Grated parmesan to cover

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes, or until the parmesan forms a nice crust, browned in places. Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.



Filed under Pasta and rice

4 responses to “Early January Eating

  1. I’ll give this a go this friday, I am looking forward to it.

    Have a blast 2011, this will be your year!

  2. I have tested this dish. And I must say, it sure is yummy!
    Although I would add a bell pepper for an extra bite and some color (yellow bell pepper). But that would be me. And maybe some mushrooms somewhere in the top layer. My little one would love that, she always wants to help me chop them.

  3. Glad you liked it! (So proud that someone cooked from my blog.)

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