CAFO-grown beef is really tough, especially if you're on a budget. Every Saturday (ok, it's been twice), we've been going to the community market here in Lynchburg to get eggs and bread and bison since that's the only beef-ish thing they've been selling of late. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it! We're starting to prefer it as a substitute in recipes that call for ground beef.
Making lasagna has been a wonderful stress reliever (if the baby is cooperating and the dog has been fed). I feel the same way about layer cakes. When you're done you have a sense that you built something; you gave it a sound structure and put yourself into the design of it.
The day that led up to making the lasagna was full of little anxieties--a baby with diaper rash, a dog suffering from lack of attention, trips into town and back, upcoming first birthday plans, general mood swings from all living beings in the house--enough to throw a person off kilter.
There is a corner between the stove top and counter top that I inhabit. This is where I live. This is where I throw the day's frustrations into soup bowls and pots and pans and beat them out with rolling pins. Where I stir and whip and even daydream; where I coax egg whites into fluff and butter into sauce.
This is where, on Saturday, I lifted soaked lasagna noodles from their water and patted them dry and layered them with cheese and meat sauce in a red casserole dish. Where I experimented with bison meat and herbs and ricotta. This is where the day came back together.
I like Martha's recipe for lasagna, and I use it as a guide. Already having sauce on hand, I didn't make the sauce called for (though I have in the past and it's great). I also don't like ricotta cheese as a general rule, but I add a little bit to the layers of pasta, smearing it on before I add the sauce so that there are no big dollops. It makes the strata less dense. Because I browned the bison instead of sausage, I added some dried Italian herbs. I also needed an extra noodle per layer (maybe I had short noodles?)
The whole thing turned out pretty well and somehow healed us all of the day's turmoil.