Friday, September 30, 2016

Last Friday of the Month Recipe Featuring Author Claire Gem's Lasagna Recipe

YUM!  I minute I knew Claire was going to post a Lasagna recipe, my taste buds tingled in anticipation. And when I found lasagne is featured in her latest book, The Phoenix Syndrome, it was  a perfect fit.

Recipe of the Month: Mama’s Homemade Lasagna

Hi Claire, welcome to the blog.  Tell us why you love making this recipe!

Hi, L.A. Thank you so much for hosting me, the timing couldn't be more perfect. This is one of those all-day cooking affairs that usually requires a special occasion—and a crowd to eat it! Although my mother cooked many Italian dishes, I will admit, she didn’t make lasagna often, nor did she have a specific recipe for the dish. So the first time I attempted the feat, I studied numerous recipes, and then came up with my own.

The reason I chose this dish to highlight for Recipe of the Month is because in my new release, The Phoenix Syndrome, (which came out just yesterday!) my heroine Lannie Marvin constructs this “stratified feast” in anticipation of a family dinner with her husband and son. I describe exactly how the kitchen looks after such an endeavor! Then, as Lannie is getting ready to put it in the oven, her son announces he has other plans for dinner and her husband texts from the office to say the same. Lannie considers tossing the entire pan at the wall, but decides to just pour herself a glass of wine and cry instead.

Recipe: Mama’s Homemade Lasagna

1 pkg (lb) lasagna noodles
1 small carton ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 lbs. shredded mozzarella
1 lb. ground beef
3-4 links Italian sausage, hot or sweet (you choose or mix)
Sauce: you can either make your own favorite homemade sauce, or purchase 1 large jar Prego or Ragu Homestyle or Old World Style.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
If you choose to make the sauce from scratch, begin that early in the day (a recipe for another time ). If not, about 3 hours before dinner time, steam sausage, covered, until done through in a pan with a small amount of water. Then uncover and brown. Remove sausage from pan and brown ground beef until done. Slice sausage into 1/4 inch medallions and mix with drained ground beef.

Beat egg in medium bowl, add ricotta and blend until smooth. Stir in parmesan and parsley. 

Boil large pot of water with 1-2 tablespoons of salt and add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add lasagna noodles, one at a time. Stir often to avoid sticking. Boil 6 minutes only. The noodles will be just starting to get limp. Dump out hot water and fill with cold.

Using a large, deep lasagna pan (needs to be at least 3 inches deep), spray with cooking spray. Coat bottom of pan with about 1/2 cup of the sauce (does not need to be hot at this point). Remove lasagna noodles one at a time, allowing excess water to drain, and place four noodles on the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly.

Dot noodle layer with dollops of ricotta mixture, smoothing with spoon. Use about 1/3 of the mixture. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture, spreading evenly. Ladle 1/2-3/4 cup of sauce over top, then top with 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover with another layer of lasagna noodles.

Repeat twice. Once the top layer of noodles is in place, ladle with sauce to cover lightly, and seal with foil. Place in 375 degree oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Lasagna should be bubbling along the edges and hot in the center. Once this occurs, uncover, spread with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella and raise oven temp to 400 degrees. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Allow to cool 15-20 minutes before attempting to slice. Serve with additional sauce, bread, and salad. Mangia!

Short Book Blurb: 
Research technician Lannie Marvin has a very rough birthday. Turning forty is bad enough, but she discovers her husband is leaving her, & then is bitten by an experimental mouse at work. Lannie snaps, taking off to chase her old dream of a music career & her new crush: the drummer of a heavy metal band.

Tristan Allard holds a benefit every year for his late wife, who was also his muse. He's beginning to have doubts about his ability to write the band's music. Plus, he's damn lonely. So when Lannie nearly plows him down at the backstage reception, he's ready to learn more about her--and her long-abandoned dream of music composition.
But reality invades their hot weekend fling, as Tristan is headed back to the UK, & Lannie discovers, to her horror, that the experimental mice have gone deaf.

Buy Links: 
Amazon | Book Trailer

Bio: Claire writes intensely emotional romantic novels. Her vision is to transport her readers into another place and time, creating characters so real, readers miss them when they reach The End. Her heroes are hot, & her heroines strong and brave: a combination producing the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire's characters are human, just like you & me. They make mistakes, they get clumsy sometimes, & they're not too proud to laugh at themselves & each other.

The keyword here is EMOTION. Big on the *Sigh* factor, Claire's stories aim to hit you straight in the heart and leave you smiling through happy tears.

She writes in two genres: romance w/a ghostly twist, and sexy contemporary. Claire's books are like a thrill ride at a theme park. Whether it's spooky-scary, angst-ridden relationships filled with gut-wrenching turmoil, silly chuckle moments, or hot-flash-inducing sex, Claire guarantees to take you on an emotionally intense romantic journey.

Find Claire: 
Website | Facebook | Twitter


  1. Leslie, thanks so much for hosting me today. Though I have to tell you, my kids saw the post and are now BUGGING me to put lasagna on the menu soon! Oh well, anytime is a good time for a family feast, right? Enjoy!

  2. Hi Claire, I'm heading to your house right now :)

    Why did you pick the occupation of researcher for Lannie's occupation? I love it!


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