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RDJ-- Chicken Lasagna, 08-18-12  RDJ
 Aug 18, 2012 10:27 PDT 

Volume 15      Number 149
US Library of Congress ISSN: 1530-3292

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Chicken Lasagna

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 large onion
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (10-ounce) container refrigerated reduced-fat Alfredo sauce
1 (7-ounce) jar diced pimiento, undrained
1 (6-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 5
minutes or until tender. Stir in soup and next 5 ingredients. Reserve 1
cup sauce.

Drain spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels.

Stir together spinach, cottage cheese, and next 3 ingredients.

Place 3 lasagna noodles in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Layer with half each of sauce, spinach mixture, and chicken. Sprinkle
with 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Repeat procedure. Top with remaining 3
noodles and reserved 1 cup sauce. Cover and chill up to 1 day ahead.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Cheddar
cheese, and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10
minutes before serving. Makes 10 servings.

(nutritional info not available)

By Walter Mills

A Flash of Green

There is a storm-swept group of islands 70 miles beyond Key West called
the Dry Tortugas. The Spanish found them almost 500 years ago and named
them after the sea turtles that waded onto the sandy shores to lay their
eggs. Tortugas is Spanish for turtles.

From 1904 to 1939, the largest of the islands housed the Western
Hemisphere's first tropical marine biology station, run by the Carnegie
Institution. The leader of the research station was a scientist named
Alfred Goldsborough Mayor, who was known as an authority on coral reefs
and Medusae, or jelly fish. I recently received a copy of a book about
his life, titled Seafaring Scientist, that tells about the founding of
the Tortugas Marine Biology Laboratory and Mayor's adventures sailing
the world in search of the mysteries of the coral reefs.

I have heard stories and legends all my life about my grandfather's
trips to the South Seas with the scientists from the Tortugas Station,
where he was the chief engineer and captain of the research vessel Anton
Dohrn, a 70-foot motor yacht he helped to build. It is one thing to hear
as a child the stories of headhunters in New Guinea, and hurricanes at
sea; it is something else to come across these stories written down in a
book, stories in which my grandfather is at best an incidental player.

The book ends in 1922 with Mayor's death. Mayor, who was dying of
tuberculosis, got up from bed and wandered out to the beach, where he
was found lying face down in the water. My grandfather erected a
memorial in the form of a large concrete block with a plaque
memorializing his achievements that still stands on the island. Nothing
else except some low retaining walls remains of the once famous
laboratory, according to the authors.

But the story of the research station on Tortugas does not end there. A
scientist named William Longley who had visited the station for many
summers took over as director. One of our family legends claims my
grandfather built the first underwater camera. That isn't possible, but
a little research shows that William Longley did indeed take the first
underwater color photographs, at Dry Tortugas in 1922. The photograph
can be seen on the National Geographic website.

When my father and Uncle Bill were boys, they went with my grandfather
for summers on Dry Tortugas. I've seen photos of them as young boys in
the 1920s and '30s, posing on the dock with fish they caught that are
twice as big as they are. In a journal from 1929, kept by a visiting
marine biologist named Charles Breder, he mentions in several entries
the fish that Capt. Mills' son Billy had caught off the dock. In another
entry he writes about seeing the phenomenon of the green flash, the rare
illusion of a flare of green light over water after the sun has sunk
below the horizon.     

History forgets all but a few of us. We are at best a few lines in a
book, a tantalizing entry in a journal. For me, those few allusions to
my grandfather's life add substance to childhood stories, changing the
myths into history. The rest is washed away by time, like the lonely
research station on the Dry Tortugas, gone in a flash of green.

Read more of Walt's writing at his blog:

(The above column originally appeared in the Centre Daily Times and is
copyright © 2012 by Walter Mills. All rights reserved worldwide. To
contact Walt, address your emails to    awmi-@verizon.net ).

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