• 6 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground round
  • 1.5 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup good white wine
  • 2 cups Pacific chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes and the juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • For the bechamel sauce
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons King Arthur unbleached flour
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Slap ya Mama or your favorite Creole spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Nonstick spray for the baking dish
  • 1.5 cups fresh spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Father Tim, his beloved wife, Cynthia, Marge, Emma, Puny, Dooley, Lottie Greer…all characters from Jan Karon’s Mitford series. Over the years I’ve very much enjoyed Jan’s work particularly because they are such relaxing and uplifting reads. Here is a list of the series in order: 1) At Home in Mitford, 2) A Light in the Window, 3) These High, Green Hills, 4) Out to Canaan, 5) A New Song, 6) A Common Life, 7) In This Mountain, 8 ) Shepherds Abiding, and 9) A Light from Heaven. A Common Life and Shepherds Abiding are sort of “mini-novels;” they go along with the series, but are not as long as her regular novels. Shepherds Abiding is also a collection of some shorter stories that still take place in Mitford with the same characters.

In 2004, while walking through the bookstore, I saw this precious yellow kitchen reader on the display shelf. Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader was finally here! As one of the millions of Mitford fans around the world, I agree that it is easy to put on a pound or two reading a Mitford novel. The colorful characters enjoying tantalizing dishes in just about every scene.

The Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader includes over 150 recipes from the Mitford novels and from author, Jan Karon’s, own recipe box. This colorful cookbook is loaded with tips, hints, funny jokes, culinary quotes, heart-warming stories, and delightful side-dish sidebars guaranteed to start your stomach a rumblin’. From Father Tim’s Beef Tenderloin to Emma’s Pound Cake, Mitford’s beloved characters come alive through their own favorite recipes. Some of Jan’s reminiscences of her own family’s traditions are included.

Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader is a charming companion to the Mitford series and has readers clamoring to bring into their own kitchens the aromas and flavors that swirl within the little town with the big heart.

For Sunday dinner, I made Cynthia’s Lasagna, which has become our family favorite! Reserved for special occasions only, we enjoyed it yesterday when my son Nathaniel came home for spring break. He and his lovely friend, amanda, met us at church. We see why he adores her so much! We are all getting to know and love Amanda and so Cynthia’s Lasagna it was! Here is a taste of the Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader. Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself. It is probably the best cookbook I have ever purchased! I have made just a couple of adaptations to the lasagna over the years, but it is perfect as is. Every recipe in this precious kitchen reader is simply wonderful!


For the filling
Place the bacon in a large pot over medium heat and saute until brown and crispy. Add the ground round, breaking it up with a fork, cooking until browned about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onions, green peppers, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until softened. Add the wine and cook until the sauce is thick, about 2 hours. Add 2 teaspoons salt, the pepper , and the cream. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Set he sauce aside until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.

The bechamel
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth, adjusting the heat so the sauce is bubbling. Make sure the heat is low enough so the sauce doesn’t scorch. When the bechamel has thickened, remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon salt, the Creole seasoning and nutmeg.

To assemble your lasagna

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a large rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon 1 cup of the meat sauce into the dish. Top with a single later of fresh spinach. Cover with a layer of noodles, touching but not overlapping. Spoon a layer of bechamel over the noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan. Repeat this process until you have used all of the ingredients,m saving some Parmesan. Be sure to end the layers with the bechamel. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, add the remaining Parmesan , and cook for another 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.