On the Side: November 2022

The Gift of Lasagna

Sharon Chatwell


I make a mean lasagna. Always have. It’s my mom’s recipe and it has never let me down. (Don’t worry. I’ll share it with you in a minute.) So, naturally, when I think of taking food over to someone’s house, I think of lasagna. It’s easy, portable, reheats well, and lasts for days. This is especially helpful if the person is sick, or in this case, recovering from surgery.


I had been feeling a little sorry for myself. One of our kids had been home for a while because of health concerns, but she thankfully started feeling better and is now back at her own place, out of state. Our house has seemed a bit sad and lonely since her departure. After all, while my husband is at work, there is nobody home all day except for me and a geriatric dog.


My husband comes home at night and sometimes we go out to eat, or I cook here, but nothing like the amount of cooking I’m used to doing. As a result, I have been somewhat grumpy and a little bored. Not like I don’t have enough to do. There is PLENTY to do. But my role as caregiver/mom/cook changed so abruptly that it is taking me a while to get used to it.


“…cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NASB


Since I’m familiar with this excellent Bible verse, I prayed about my feelings a few weeks ago and cast all my cares on God. I said to Him, “Hey! Give me someone to cook for, why don’t You?” (or something holy like that.) Shortly afterwards, it occurred to me that there must be lots of little old ladies at church who might enjoy a pie now and then, or a batch of cookies or something. I stopped just short of calling the church office and volunteering.


And then, out of the blue, one of the ladies in our small group went in for some surgery! It was an elective procedure, and although done for an unpleasant reason, she came through it very well and is now at home recuperating.


Thus, the lasagna!


I remember other experiences where cooking made me feel better. When my husband was just a little baby resident in Internal Medicine, we hardly ever saw him at home. Often he was on call, or at work, or at the hospital, or… you get the idea. Food for our family, including our 2 diapered children, often felt like an all-out, in the trenches war, fought by inches and not by yards, at the grocery store as well as in the kitchen. I remember that I never felt so alone as when I had to provide 3 square meals a day for two small children and clean up in between each and every meal, with cereal everywhere, and I mean absolutely everywhere!


But I also remember the joy of having my husband invite some of the other residents over for Thanksgiving Dinner; those without any family in town. I remember making out a schedule of what to bake

and when, so that I would have all the dishes ready and hot, all at the same time. When the big day arrived (with the pies all cooked the night before) we sat around our little 4-top Formica table and everyone felt as if we were eating like kings. It was just right!


Not everyone’s gift is cooking. (I jokingly say that I have the gift of “lateness.”) But, as Believers, each of us has different gifts and talents that we have been given by God to help build up the Body of Christ, of which we are an integral part.


Ephesians 4:15-16 says “…grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body … grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”


Each of us has a gift! You have a gift! And you can use your gift to help build up others in Christ! If it is encouraging, then encourage others heartily. If it is teaching, then help teach others about Jesus.

Regardless of your gift, we are all called to fellowship with other Christians. Make sure that you are making the effort necessary to get to church (with or without your doctor hubby) so that you can be with other Believers. Take your kids! They need to be in fellowship with Christians also.


For more possible fun and growth hang out with other doctors’ wives at Side By Side gatherings and events. They understand your journey!


It is important for us to be together. “As iron sharpens iron, So one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NASB) If we aren’t together, we can’t do much sharpening, or get sharpened ourselves. So, let’s all be together and make use of our gifts and talents to help build each other up.


This morning I made a lasagna and this afternoon I will deliver it to a friend from church, who is recovering from “surgeon tracks.” And, yes, I feel a little bit better. And hopefully now she will too.

Sharon is a physician’s wife, with a great lasagna recipe, living in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska. She invites you to share her recipe, which you can find below.

By Sharon Chatwell
(9×13 pan – serves 6-8 with leftovers)




Spaghetti Sauce

2 lbs ground chuck (80-85% lean)
2-3 T. Wesson (vegetable) oil
1-2 tsp salt
½-1 tsp pepper
1-2 T. dried minced onions
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 15 oz can water (use the empty tomato sauce can)
1 – 6 oz can of tomato paste
2-3 T. Worcestershire sauce
Additional salt as needed

  • Heat and brown hamburger meat in vegetable oil until it is brown and crumbly.
  • Add salt, pepper, dried onions, oregano, cumin, and garlic powder and fry in with meat.
  • Add tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce.
  • Stir and simmer on low for about 30 min
  • Add more water as needed.
  • Taste and add more salt as needed.



Additional Ingredients:
½ box lasagna noodles (cook as directed on box)
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, to taste
16 oz small curd cottage cheese (OPTIONAL)

  • After the meat and noodles are cooked on the stove, layer the ingredients in a 9×13 pan:  Noodles/ meat/ cheeses (repeat for 3 layers of each)
  • (If you add cottage cheese, put it only in the first 2 layers, not the top layer.)
  • Bake at 350-375°F for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly all through and top cheese is melted and lightly browned.



About Sharon Chatwell

Sharon is a medical wife and mom living in Lincoln, Nebraska who occasionally still struggles with the internet. She encourages you to walk in the light the Lord Jesus Christ has given you today and to trust Him with tomorrow.

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