Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cooking With Author Sandra Merville Hart

Today my guest is fellow Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC) author, Sandra M. Hart. She has a new novel out and a recipe to share.

Sandra tells me, "I’d love to share a lasagna recipe that I tweaked from several other recipes to create my own version. Hope you and your family enjoy it!"

Make a Day Ahead Lasagna

1 ½ pounds ground beef
3 cups (24 oz.) ricotta cheese
¾ cup chopped onion
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
16 oz lasagna noodles , uncooked
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
½ pound provolone cheese
1 teaspoon basil leaves
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Crumble the ground beef into a large saucepan or Dutch oven along with the onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is brown and the onion is tender. Drain well.

Add tomatoes to the meat mixture in the pan. Stir in tomato sauce, the sugar, 2 tablespoons parsley flakes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the basil. Heat to boiling on a medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered one hour or until the mixture is the consistency of spaghetti sauce. This creates a meaty spaghetti sauce. Reserve 2 cups of this sauce for the top layer.

Mix the ricotta cheese (can use cottage cheese as a cheaper option if you prefer,) ½ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon parsley flakes, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, and the oregano.

In an ungreased 13x9 deep baking pan, layer 1/3 each of uncooked lasagna noodles (as long as the noodles are completely covered they will soften naturally in the layered mixture overnight in the fridge,) meat sauce, mozzarella cheese and all the ricotta cheese mixture. For the second layer, use 1/3 of the uncooked lasagna noodles, meat sauce, and provolone cheese. Use another layer of noodles on top of the provolone cheese and spread the reserved meat sauce to completely cover them, followed by mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with ½ cup Parmesan cheese.

Cover it and refrigerate overnight. Make this recipe the night before because it requires time for the uncooked lasagna noodles to soften. (If you are making it to eat on the same day, simply cook the noodles following directions on the box before combining the layers and reduce the baking time to 45 minutes. I like the convenience of doing it the night before because there's no mess in the kitchen when the guests arrive. And the stress of preparation is behind me!)

Remove it from the fridge an hour before it needs to bake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for about an hour.

Let the lasagna sit about 15 minutes before cutting for easier slicing. Makes 12 3-inch square servings.

About Sandra Merville Hart:
Sandra Merville Hart, Assistant Editor for, loves to find unusual or little-known facts in her historical research to use in her stories. Her debut Civil War romance, A Stranger On My Land, was an IRCA Finalist 2015. Her second Civil War romance novel, A Rebel in My House, is set during the Battle of Gettysburg. It released on July 15, 2017. Visit Sandra on her blog.

About A Rebel in My House
When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

Get a copy of Sandra's novel; you can buy it on Amazon.

Treat yourself and watch the book trailer.


Sandra Merville Hart said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Alice! It was fun sharing this recipe with you.

Gail Kittleson said...

Wow, that is some recipe, - you must be a REAL cook, Sandra! I've gotten lazy w/the years...

Both your WWII and Civil War stories sound great. Thanks.

Sandra Merville Hart said...

Thanks, Gail! Yes, I like to tweak recipes until they are "just right" for my family's tastes. I don't get to make it often enough as my husband doesn't like tomatoes. Both of my romances are set during the Civil War. The latest, A Rebel in My House, is set during the Battle of Gettysburg. I loved researching in that historic city!

Gail Kittleson said...

Oh - I must have misread that you have one WWII novel. The Civil War is such a fascinating era. Hard to get a grasp of the kind of complicated angst people must have been feeling.