Cooking With a Pot of Love

— Written By April Lamb and last updated by
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Cooking doesn’t have to be a one-person job. For many years since the beginning of time, food brings people together. If there is a death in the family, people will bring food. A scheduled baby shower, there is food. Holiday functions, a buffet of food. A friends and family day at church, there will be food after service. The person who cooks puts all the ingredients together, tastes it throughout the process and makes sure that the family will enjoy it. There is always room to add in some helping hands. Think of it as them lessening the load of the cook rather than being in the way. The children can throw some cut-up veggies into a salad or some fruit into a bowl to make a quick fruit salad.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. One main ingredient that is never listed in a recipe, but is added in the pot is love. Yes, L-O-V-E. A simple and ordinary word that packs a punch with its potency. Even though it is strong, you can never use too much. Some ingredients like salt can be over used, but not love. We all need love. It takes love to make sure that the family is fed. It takes love to plan, shop, prepare, cook and serve. In order to live, there are some essential things that are needed. We need oxygen, water, food, shelter and sleep. Regardless of how fancy or how plain you think your meal is, simply add in your secret ingredient.

Below you will find a simple and quick thirty-minute recipe that is delicious and filling. In EFNEP, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, we encourage our participants to incorporate the five food groups in their meals. The five food groups are fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. You can easily pair a cup of fruit salad with your lasagna. Try this with your family today. I cannot wait to hear of the success stories. Send me a quick email explaining how well it went. Let’s try to live with love in our cooking.

Easy Lasagna

Makes 6 servings

Serving size: 1/6 recipe


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • ½ pound lean or extra-lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces egg noodles, uncooked (try whole-grain)
  • 12 ounces fat free cottage cheese
  • 2 cups reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided


  1. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Brown ground meat. Drain and return to skillet.
  2. Stir in diced tomatoes, water, parsley, oregano, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add uncooked pasta. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in cottage cheese. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  6. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

370 Calories, Total Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 6g, Protein 32g, Total Carbohydrate 35g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sodium 530mg. Excellent Source of vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Good source of vitamin A.

For more information, or to register for any upcoming EFNEP classes, please contact April Lamb, EFNEP Educator Program Assistant, at (910) 592 – 7161 ext. 1273. If you prefer email, contact me at