Trust me, my Aunt Katie was an amazing aunt, mom, teacher, friend, and wife.
She was actually kind of crazy, but in the best way possible. What came out of this girl’s mouth was down right funny and a good part of the time inappropriate for anyone under the age of 16. Every time a certain body part was mentioned, yes I said body part, she would make references to the word winky. She also had a great name for peanut butter, once again it involved a body part! Let’s just say most of her funnier comment’s are too inappropriate for this blog. The lady could really make you laugh!
And can we talk about her laugh for second? It was the best laugh you have ever heard. A true honest laugh, not one of those fake ones that people use just to go along with things. No, her laugh was a lite up the room kind of laugh. Full of happiness, excitement, and love. It put a true smile on everyones face. That laugh will be missed so much!
Some of my best memories of her are when I was younger and our families would head to our cabin in Ripley, New York the day after Christmas. Everyone one was on break with nothing around us for miles so we would ski, go sledding off the deck, tie ropes to the back of the four wheelers and go for sled rides, make coke slushies out snow, make margarita’s (virgin for the youngins) watch movies, eat hot tamales, watch the ball drop on New Years Eve and play Balderdash!
Balderdash is a game of bluffing and trivia and Aunt Katie killed it! There could not have been a better Balderdash player. Seriously, we would get a serious ab workout from all the laughing. Those were some of the best nights that I can remember, and they are because of her.
She had a way of making you feel like you were not the only freak in the world. She always put everyone before herself, that is just who she was.
She would even put my hair in a french braid for me before heading out to go snowboarding. She did it for my cousins (her daughters) and I obviously wanted to be just like them. Since my mom did not know how to french braid (or maybe she did, but she just said that so my aunt Katie would do it), Aunt Katie did it for me. And to this day every morning when I go out for a hike I braid my hair just like she used to!
Aunt Katie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer barely 8 months ago. She died on Monday night after fighting her hardest. She was the strongest most dedicated person I know. She was too young. It was too soon.
She will be missed by so many. No one will ever forget her, it is just not possible.
She left us with amazing memories, even better cousins and this lasagna recipe. My cousins say her best dishes were literally “just threw shit together”. Chili, steak, potatoes and this lasagna. It is my moms favorite, along with many others, and now it can be yours to!
Aunt Katie’s White Lasagna
- Serving Size: 6-8
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Cook time: 1 hour
- Total time: 2 hours
- 1/2 (1 stick) cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups (16oz) whole milk ricatta
- 1 cup (8oz) gorgonzola cheese, finely crumbled
- 1 egg
- 2 packages frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces (optional)
- 1 pound fresh lasagna noodles or 8oz uncooked lasagna noodles (about 10)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9x13 inch pan, set a side.
Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Saute the garlic, basil, oregano and pepper until the garlic is fragrant.Whisk in the flour and salt until there are no clumps (besides the garlic). Cook for about 1 minute.
Slowly add the milk and broth. Bring to a boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth. Set the cheese sauce aside.
In a medium bowl combine the ricatta cheese, gorgonzola cheese, and egg. Mix until combined.
Spread 1/4 of the cheese sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 3-4 lasagna noodles (fresh or uncooked dry lasagna noodles). Spread with 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture and then another 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Place another 3-4 lasagna noodles on top and then top with the remaining ricotta cheese mixture, then all of the spinach and another 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Add the remaining lasagna noodles and pour the remain cheese sauce over top. Top with a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until the top has bubbled up and browned a bit.
Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
Aunt Katie you left us with the best memories possible, we will NEVER forget you. Like I said, it is not possible.