By Onné Andrews
Holidays with my mother’s family resembled a competitive cook-off. You think Gordon Ramsay of Hell’s Kitchen is tough? He would never have survived a clan of Irish women with power kitchen tools.
The objective for each holiday was to produce the dish that disappeared the fastest. Needless to say, I never won. The aunts would whisper behind their hands, “What can you expect? The poor lass. Her mother married that German fellow.”
So, of course, I stole all their recipes. Sausage Alfredo Lasagna was developed by my cousin Marie. She made the mistake of refining it while we were flatmates. Now, it’s mine, all mine!
Seriously though, this is the one dish my personal assistants, Pierce and Daniel, demand for Christmas Day. So, my lovelies, if you’re looking to impress your fellow with something other than the usual ham, this is the recipe for you!
Sausage Alfredo Lasagna
½ lb. Sweet Italian Sausage
½ lb. Ground Beef
1 med. Onion, diced
Brown these three together.
9 Lasagna noodles
Prepare noodles according to directions on package, and drain.
3 cups Heavy Cream
4 T Salted Butter
1 Teas. Salt
½ Teas. Garlic Powder
¼ Teas. Pepper
¼ Teas. Oregano
Pinch of Dried Parsley
Heat these ingredients in med. Saucepan until cream just starts to boil.
For Layering, you will also need:
1 pint of cottage cheese
2 cups of shredded mozzarella
1 cup of shredded parmesan
In a 9X13 glass baking dish, spoon in enough cream sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Then layer accordingly:
3 Cooked noodles
1/3 of remaining cream sauce
1/3 of browned meat
1/3 of cottage cheese (approx. 12 teas. drops)
1/3 of mozzarella, sprinkled evenly
1/3 of parmesan, sprinkled evenly
Repeat layers twice.
Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes or until parmesan turns golden and starts to crisp. Let stand for fifteen minutes before serving.
Now for the really good stuff!
1) I’ll be giving away one copy of my latest e-book, Santa’s Gift: Horny Holidays #1, to one lucky commenter of today’s post. Just leave a comment before Midnight, CST, on December 7.
2) I’ll also give away a copy of Santa’s Gift to the winner of the Holiday Cheer NOOK HD.
Excerpt of Santa’s Gift
Sandra tapped her pad as the reindeer team arrowed for downtown Detroit. She winced at the numbers. Motown used to be one of Dad’s biggest stops on Christmas Eve. Now, the city was barely a ghost of itself.
Behind her, Thistledown whistled through her teeth. “This is heartbreaking.”
“Yeah, it sure is.” Sandra set the pad in its holder right before Rudy led the team in a heart-stopping dive. “Everyone got their assignments?”
If Thistledown’s squad answered, the words were ripped from them and tossed with the snowflakes in the air. The reindeer drew the sleigh to a smooth stop on the top of an apartment building.
Rudy stomped his fore hoof. “Okay, ladies, the clock’s ticking.”
Elves scrambled out of the sleigh, each with a bright red sack of toys over her shoulder, and took off in all directions.
Sandra headed for the stairwell. Most of the visits in this building were easy. Despite the horrid conditions, the families in the tenement were doing their best, thankful for the little they had. It was such a pleasure to give the children a little something extra.
All of the visits warmed her heart. All except for the last one.
She double-checked her pad. Jordan Bowman. Four-years-old. Lost his mother Jill to cancer in February. Put his favorite teddy bear in his mom’s coffin to keep her company. His father Scott lost everything paying medical bills before losing his job in the economic downturn. The cases like these broke her heart.
With her token amount of magic, she slipped under the crack of the apartment door. Cockroach feet scurried away in her presence. The combination living room and kitchenette was barely the size of her closet. A sad little tinsel tree sat on top of a small table. One present, wrapped in the comics section of the Free Press, sat next to it. She already knew it was a toy car from the dollar store down the street, the only thing Jordan’s father could afford.
She walked around the tattered couch that had seen better days when her father was a boy. Her fingers automatically pulled the cinnamon brown teddy bear with its jaunty blue bow from her bag and set it next to the car. Hair rose on the back of her neck at the sense of being watched, and she whirled around.
Suspicious dark eyes glittered in the glow from the streetlight outside the one window. Scott Bowman lay on the couch. Jordan, in Superman pajamas, was sound asleep on his father’s chest.
“We don’t have anything to steal,” Scott murmured.
“I’m not stealing anything.” She couldn’t stop looking at him. Jeans encased his long legs in a way that left no doubt they encased an equally muscular ass. Tousled dark hair framed his chiseled features. But it was the eyes that drew her.
Dark circles and jagged lines showed how much his problems and grief had worn him down. The only thing keeping him going was the precious bundle in his arms.
“So I’m dreaming?” He smiled, but the expression was stiff, like he’d almost forgotten how.
“Yes,” She smiled back. Damn, if her body wasn’t echoing her brain’s assessment of his good looks, but it was his protective hold of his son that tugged on her heart.
“You don’t look like any Santa I’ve seen before.”
“I’m the first woman in the family to hold the post.”
Scott swung his feet around and rose. The motion was so smooth and practiced that he must do it often. He settled Jordan on the cushions, pulled a ragged afghan off the back of the couch and covered his son. The boy made a soft, sleepy sound before he snuggled deeper into the warm spot left by his father’s body.
She sucked in a breath as Scott crossed the tiny room. The University of Michigan sweatshirt he wore emphasized his broad chest.
He reached out and picked up the teddy bear. “Is this for Jordan?”
“He put his bear in—”
She took his free hand in hers. “I know. He’s a very special little boy.” They both looked at the sleeping child.
Scott set the bear next to the tiny tree. Something shifted in his expression. He curled one of her blonde ringlets that had escaped its pin around his index finger. “You feel real.”
“Don’t things always feel real while you’re in your dream?” Her question came out in a breathless rush. He was too near, ignited too many feelings in her that she couldn’t deal with. Not tonight of all nights.
He carefully cupped her cheeks. “True. But I wonder how you taste?”
His head dipped and his mouth claimed hers. He tasted of peppermint stick and smelled of sweet dreams. Her lips parted in invitation, and he accepted. His tongue swept hers, and she tentatively returned the touch. It was her first real kiss from a human male. The experience left her weak in the knees.
Her body pressed against his. A thick ridge poked her abdomen, just above her belt. Intellectually, she knew what an erection was, but the actual experience caught her by surprise. She giggled.
Scott pulled back and frowned. “Usually, my dream girl doesn’t giggle while I’m kissing her.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just—I mean, I’ve never—” Good Lord! Could she possibly make any more of a fool of herself?
He stepped back and raked his fingers through his hair. “No, I’m the one who’s sorry. I—I miss…” The confusion on his face matched her own emotions.
Sandra stepped forward and laid her hand on his chest. Muscle rippled beneath her touch. “If only we could have met on a different night…”
“Yeah, if only.” He chuckled, a rueful, sad sound. “I’m getting blown off even in my dreams.”
God, she didn’t want to leave. Instead, she wanted to drag him into the even smaller bedroom and find out how a real human felt. “Go to sleep, Scott Bowman. Things will get better.”
His hand covered hers. “You promise?”
She hesitated. A Santa promising something to a mortal had consequences, but she couldn’t stop herself. “I promise.”
They both whirled to find Jordan sitting up, tiny fists scrubbing at bleary eyes.
She took three steps and knelt beside the couch. “You and your dad need to go back to bed, Jordan.”
“Did you bring me a new mommy?”
The innocent question pierced her heart. She kissed his cheek. “Not tonight, Jordan. Go to sleep so Christmas will come.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He lay down and snuggled under the afghan.
She headed for the door.
She paused and looked back at the sexy, sad man.
“Will I see you again?”
She smiled. “I have a promise to keep, don’t I?” Then she laid her finger to the side of her nose and slid under the apartment door. The only question was how in the world was she going to keep it.