“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.”

Oh yes, the proverbial next chapter.

The other day while scouting out a publisher’s website, I saw this anonymous quote and I borrowed it.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I’ve been busy re-reading the last chapter for far too long. Still, I think sorting out the last chapter is essential or the next one won’t make sense. There are chapters that need to end or require serious editing and rewriting or sometimes they need pitching altogether. And some chapters are worth re-reading more carefully, more thoughtfully  – salvaging.

I’m speaking both literally and metaphorically since I’m trying to finish a manuscript and meanwhile I’m also making changes all over the place in my life. Who isn’t?

Change seems to have been a constant in my life – endless new chapters. I’ve moved so many times I’ve lost count – lived in thirteen cities (or more, I may have lost a few along the way) on three continents. At one point I had lived in eighteen different houses in a twenty-five year span. Sometimes I awaken at night wondering where I am – dreaming about a person or place left behind.

And I’ve started over again at the bottom of the career ladder more times than I care to remember. In fact, I’ve rarely lived anywhere long enough to get off the bottom rung of the career ladder.

But I am ready for a new chapter – one that involves the words; steadier, simpler, calmer, more focussed, more thoughtful, happier, more joyful, more love, more comfort and care. More of what I want to do and less of the other stuff. Less “stuff” altogether.

I’ll start where I always do – in the kitchen. This weekend was cold and damp in Kingston. The leaves are falling and the temperature is dropping. It’s time for comfort food. I’m calling up my tried and trued favourites.

This recipe is one I’ve revisited over and over. It’s a constant. Every time I make it I think of the sweet friend who served it at a send-off dinner on the eve of one of our departures from Australia. I haven’t changed a thing since she handed me the recipe, except to convert the measurements to the crazy system of metric and imperial that we use in Canada. It’s a perfect way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey and if you haven’t got leftover turkey – you can use leftover cooked chicken. It’s equally delicious either way. I served it with my standard green salad (mixed organic greens, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette).

Chicken (or Turkey) Lasagna Florentine

I pkg. oven ready lasagna noodles (I used oven-ready brown rice lasagna noodles – they’re amazing)

1 pkg. (300 grams) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken or turkey

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 tbsp corn starch

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 can mushroom soup (I have substituted organic broth here)

1 can water

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

Few good grinds of black pepper

½ cup grated parmesan

Grease a 9 x 13 inch lasagna pan. Set oven to 350°F.

Combine spinach, cheddar cheese, chicken or turkey, onion, cornstarch, soya sauce, soup, water, sour cream, mayonnaise, and black pepper.

Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan and cover with noodles. Don’t overlap or crowd the noodles.

Spoon a layer of sauce over the noodles and repeat. There should be three layers of noodles. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle parmesan over all.

Bake uncovered for about 45-50 minutes or until noodles are soft and top is well browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. This dish is possibly even better the next day.

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10 thoughts on “the next chapter and some serious comfort food: chicken lasagna florentine

    1. Thanks Jennifer – and I know you’d love it. It’s up there with pesto, fig and blue cheese pizza in my books. But less trendy & more comfort….

  1. Oh, I like less trendy food! Farmhouse comfort food is my preference. I’ll make this very soon.
    My son was in Kingston this weekend at a conference. He went to university there and is very fond of the place.
    Hope all goes well with the simple, focussed and careful changes you are making…. i am doing the same here! While excavating my study full of books and stuff…which I will seriously purge….to prepare for painting the room…i made some simple quiche and beef and veggy soup for nourishment….great weekend to do indoor things!

    1. Kingston has a funny way of growing on you. It crept on me. I’m not surprised your son likes to come back.

      And yes, I like farmhouse comfort food too especially when the weather starts to turn.

      I hope you post photographs of your study as it transitions. A good autumn project! Look forward to reading more….

  2. This looks mighty yummy!!…Dan and I leave tuesday for a 5 week trip: 3 weeks in Switzerland, then a 2 week cruise back, so I won’t be cooking for awhile, but will look forward to trying it in Nov….take care, enjoy the Autumn weather

    1. Oh a five week trip with three weeks in Switzerland and a cruise! What a dream. Happy, happy,safe travels to you both!

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