Pay It Forward

When we moved to South Carolina several months back, we had several interesting experiences with people as we settled in.

 On one hand we had a neighbor who spray painted the property lines so my roses would not even hang over, and on the other we had a stay-at-home mom of three little boys who made homemade bread and brought it to welcome us to the neighborhood.

The latter was such a wonderful feeling that truly eased my mind over this big decision we had made in our lives!  Knowing how I felt (five and half hours away from all family, trying to figure out where I belonged), when one of Audley’s co-workers moved his family down from Philly, I knew I needed to pay forward the kindness extended to us.

What does every family need when moving into a new home?

Supper!

I decided to fix a lasagna with salad (including dressing) and bread to carry over fully prepared so all they had to do was take a break from unpacking and enjoy supper together.

I love this lasagna recipe that I inherited from my mother.  She made it when I was growing up and it has always been a hit with my own children.

Savory Lasagna

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 pound mild Italian sausage, ground
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 6 oz. cans tomato paste
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 16 oz. cup of skim cottage cheese
1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons parsley
1 Tablespoon basil
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 box lasagna noodles
16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare your lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain.  At the same time, combine the ground beef and Italian sausage in a skillet with the garlic and salt.  Brown the meat, drain it, and pour in a mixing bowl.  Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and oregano to the cooked meats and set aside.

In another mixing bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, basil and eggs.

Using a 9×13 pan, spread about 3/4 cups of the meat and tomato mixture across the bottom of the pan (this will help keep the noodles from sticking to the pan).  It doesn’t have to cover the whole pan, just give a base.

Add a layer of noodles on top of the meat, another layer of the meat mixture and a layer of the cottage cheese mixture.  Repeat the process a second time.  After you have put the last of your cottage cheese on, add one more layer of noodles (you will have three divisions of noodles total, two of the filling), then top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until bubbly and heated through.

This is a great recipe for preparing in advance and freezing, or just cooking later in the day.  If you do either of these, (thawing out the lasagna first in the refrigerator works best) cook about 45 minutes (possibly longer) in order for it to heat through.  I have never cooked it frozen, but I would say close to an hour and a half (covered with foil).
Just check on it as it is cooking!!


TIPS FOR PREPARING SUPPER FOR A NEW NEIGHBOR:

**Make it easy.  Chose a filling one pan meal like lasagna, spaghetti pie or a casserole.

**Pick something that is popular with most everyone in the general public.  Deciding to experiment on the neighbors is probably not a good idea!

**Carry everything over in pans/bowls that can be trashed.  Someone who has just moved in has enough to organize without having to wash dishes as well.

**Unless you are helping unpack or clean your new neighbor’s house, don’t hang around expecting an invite to supper.  Seriously, if you fixed your favorite dish to carry over, fix extras to share with your own family and let your neighbors enjoy a peaceful supper.  Being a mooch the first time you meet them will make a bigger impression than the food you carried over.  There will be plenty of time to get to know them in the upcoming weeks!

** Carry a little welcome gift.  Leave them your phone numbers so that they have at least one person to contact for questions and help.

When I carried supper over, I also carried a little welcome basket.  Since they have moved to the South from the Philly area, I decided to give them a Southern welcome by gifting Mason jars and sweet tea.

I also included chocolate chip cookies (with the South Carolina Palmetto) for their children.

It brought quite a laugh which is a great way to break the ice!

Linking up with Foodie Friday this week;  drop in at Designs By Gollum for more savory treats!

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3 thoughts on “Pay It Forward

  1. What a thoughtful sweet gesture… I know that this all went over well because you knew just what they'd need…a warm welcome and some great food.

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