13 April 2009

Combat Cancer with Lasagna



















It is Monday and here I am at home enjoying a day full of sunshine and promise. Spring is here!!!! It has been a very long and enjoyable weekend with also having Good Friday off from work, so, it has given me plenty of time to catch up with friends and enjoy being a tourist in my own town. I hope you all had a wonderful Easter holiday and celebrated whatever way is best for you.. and just enjoyed!!!! We are all healthy and happy and enjoying life. Some of our friends and loved ones are not as blessed and our hearts and our thoughts go out to them and their families!!

I read about this event on Susan's blog Foodblogga. Chris of Mele Cotte is raising cancer awareness once again for the third season in a row with her Cooking to Combat Cancer 111 event. She says, "As you're cooking over the next couple of weeks, try to work in recipes which include ingredients that help the body fight cancer. In short? Think healthy. Mayo Clinic Recipes is a great place to look, including this list of Cancer Fighting Foods and Spices and this list of 11 Cancer Fighting Foods."

We all know someone who has been touched by cancer whether it is ourselves battling the disease or another loved one. Mounting evidence shows that the foods we eat weigh heavily in the war against cancer. The extensive research published in the last decade alone proves that what you eat can have a profound effect on your protection against cancer. A healthy diet and exercise will keep you on the right track. It's a little-known fact that nutrition is barely taught in medical schools, where the solution to most problems is a drug of some kind. But can you blame them when a variety of patients are unwilling to make lifestyle changes? L'il Burnt Toast is at university studying to be a Dietician. The kids of today will change this world for the better!!

For this event I am offering this version of lasagna. This is what I call an old-fashioned lasagna made with a bechamel sauce instead of my usual layer of cottage or ricotta cheeses. To combat cancer it contains tomatoes, garlic and carrots.

The anti-cancer compound in tomatoes, lycopene, has been shown to be especially potent in combating prostate cancer. This compound appears to be more easily absorbed if the tomatoes are eaten in processed form-either as tomato sauce, paste, or juice. In addition to preventing prostate cancer, lycopene may also protect against breast, lung, stomach, and pancreatic cancer.

Garlic (including onions, scallions, leeks, and chives) contains a number of compounds believed to slow or stop the growth of tumors. One such compound, diallyl disulfide, appears to be especially potent in protecting against skin, colon, and lung cancer, though it is not known exactly how it functions.

Carrots contain a lot of beta carotene, which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast. Some research indicated beta carotene may actually cause cancer, but this has not proven that eating carrots, unless in very large quantities - 2 to 3 kilos a day, can cause cancer.

With your lasagna have one moderate glass of red wine which, even without alcohol, has polyphenols that may protect against various types of cancer. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants, compounds that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals.

**Kick it in the Butt Lasagna**
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 450g ground beef
  • 450g ground pork
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) white wine
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 x 700g bottle passata (tomato pasta sauce)
  • 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 sprig parsley, chopped
  • 1 dried or fresh bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 100g (1 cup) mozzarella, grated
  • 70g (1 cup) Parmesan, grated
  • 1 x 250g package dried lasagne sheets

 Besciamella (bechamel sauce)
  • 1L (4 cups) milk
  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • 2 sprigs parsley, chopped
  • 2 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 50g (1/3 cup)butter
  • 50g(1/3 cup) plain flour
  • 40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated parmesan
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • White pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to high. Add the ground beef and pork and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until meats change colour. Add the wine and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the passata, tomato, stock cube, parsley, bay leaf, oregano, basil and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

2. Meanwhile, to make the besciamella, place the milk, onion, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer. Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse. Strain the milk mixture through a fine sieve into a large heatproof jug. Discard the onion, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and begins to come away from the side of pan. Remove from heat. Gradually pour in half the milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Gradually add the remaining milk, whisking until smooth. Place over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the parmesan. Taste and season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine the mozzarella and parmesan in a small bowl. Spread 3/4 cup of meat mixture over the base of a 2.5L (10-cup) capacity ovenproof dish. Top with one-fifth of the lasagne sheets, 3/4 cup of meat mixture and 1/2 cup of besciamella. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of mozzarella mixture and 1 tablespoon of egg. Top with one-quarter of the remaining lasagne sheets and press down gently. Continue layering with remaining meat mixture, besciamella, mozzarella mixture, egg and lasagne sheets, finishing with mozzarella mixture.Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Set aside for 15 minutes to stand. Cut into portions and serve.

Serves 10
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  1. Nicely done! It is so sad to think that most people will just stop at McDonald and grab a value meal before they run home and throw together something healthy and easy. I promised myself I would not rant and rave about this again today so this is me shutting up......

  2. How awesome...delicious and benefitting a worthy cause! This looks amazing :) (...have u thought up any ??'s yet? I'm starting to think some up now)

  3. This is a wonderful version of one of my favorite foods! Thanks so much for participating in CCC3. This will be a great addition to the round up.

  4. Awesome lasagna! :)

  5. Nice one Val! Glad to know the lasagna is not only tasty but good for us too!

  6. Happy Easter, Val. That's a great looking lasagna and a worthy cause.

  7. The lasagna sound (and looks) fab! I now only make lasagna with a Bechamel component...it's the glue the the dish and it stays moist the next day.

  8. Mmmmm, lasagna with love. Wunderful!

  9. I love the cause and I love the title of this lasagna! :)

  10. Every Passover there is one food that I get ridiculous cravings for - food I never crave any other time of year. This year it is lasagna!

  11. there are many times when i wish i could change my diet completely to combat cancer and other modern illnesses (as both my parents died of cancer)

    the family is the reason why i am always putting this off - imagine how they would feel if i announced that there would be no more fried foods...

    but it's never too late to start, and i hope one day to do so

  12. your lasagna is the picture of perfection, val, and for such a worthy and terrific event. :)

  13. Yes, 'Kick it in the Butt Lasagna' sounds delicious to me Val. What a wonderful entry for round 3 of Chris's event.Am so glad Spring is there...we're frying at 40C!!

  14. Love the title/name of this lasagna! It looks great Val, and for a great cause too!

  15. Beautiful lasagna Val. We went to Victoria for couple days. The weather was so nice. Nice to see that you had a great week-end.

  16. Here is to real food and good health!

  17. "Kick in the Butt Lasagna..." I love it! Great mention of cancer-fighting foods in this post too, as well as a terrific submission to Chris's Cooking to Combat Cancer event!

  18. Looks fantastic,and for a good cause.Hope you had a happy easter!

  19. Val, the name is exquisite! I love it!

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  21. Fabulous lasagna, Val! And I love the name of course :)

  22. I hate to admit that I've never made lasagna with a bechamel sauce. Now I really have to try it - it looks fantastic and a great cause too.

  23. This is such a great Lasagne! Its also heartening to know that Tomatoes, Garlic and carrots all help in fighting cancer. We all love these three ingredients...

  24. Looks like some amazing lasagna - really! I can see why this is kick in the butt

  25. Yummy. I've always been very intrigued by the traditional lasagne made with bechemel. I've wanted to make one forver (but it's hard because I have Sir Pickypants to deal with). I love your bolognese sauce.

  26. Great looking lasagna. I haven't had it in years. Now I'm craving it.

  27. This lasagna look really wonderful dear Vall, nice recipe!! xGloria

  28. A great post Val - thanks for alerting me to this event! That lasagna looks so fab - sometimes old-fashioed is best :)

  29. Another lovely looking and sounding recipe! I could eat some right now!

  30. I switched from the cheese to bechamel a few years ago, and now much prefer it. This looks fantastic with all the extra veggies...
    And great event.. I'll have to check it out - maybe I'll have some time now!


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