By Derek Gean (Leonard Wood)March 9, 2018
Lauren Noland has a love for exotic food. The Eagle River, Alaska native attributes her love of adventurous things to some of the wild meats available growing up, including her favorite dish, caribou sausage lasagna. A veteran herself, and spouse to Staff Sgt. Nickolas Noland, Noland has been named Fort Leonard Wood's "Foodie of the Fort" for March.
Noland enjoys exotic culinary treats, but, as a busy mom, she also prides herself in making food the family loves.
Here is Noland's interview:
Q. There is no doubt you have a love for cooking, do you consider yourself a foodie? How so?
A. I do consider myself a foodie. I not only enjoy how food tastes but I enjoy how it looks and how it smells. I enjoy trying new flavors from all over the world, by making it at home and enjoying new dishes at restaurants. I usually post food on my Instagram and Facebook page for my friends to see. I like the creativity with the senses that cooking offers.
Q. What is your specialty dish? Why did you choose it?
A. I have a few dishes that are my absolute favorite to make but I selected caribou sausage lasagna as my specialty. I chose this dish because I wanted to honor my Alaskan heritage and my love of Italian food.
Q. Why do you think your coworkers or friends call on your when it's time to have a potluck?
A. I usually get invited to parties by friends because chances are I am going to bring something home cooked or wine, or both.
Q. How did you acquire your love of cooking?
A. My love for cooking started as a small child. My great grandmother, Mary Jane, was an excellent cook. She grew up in the depression, and taught me a lot. She was very precise. I remember cooking with her when I was as young as two years old. When she passed away I started to cook more with my mom. My mother worked in the fine-dining industry for over 15 years and her methods of cooking and recipes were far more sporadic and based on flavor rather than measurement.
We love trying recipes, or trying something in a restaurant and emulating it at home, or checking out local spots when we travel that were listed on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." My husband is open to trying new food with me so it makes it fun when I want to try something different.
Q. Why do you like to share food with people?
A. Food brings people together in good times and in bad times. Sharing something I worked on to create with my family and friends makes me happy. I enjoy making memories. Not only do I get to see joy on other people's faces, I also get to spend time with them. I make dinner every night for my family of seven. I take self-pride in knowing I am making a good meal for my husband and kids.
Q. What is your favorite recipe?
A. My favorite thing to make is curry chickpeas and potatoes with basmati rice. My kids, however, really love my tater-tot casserole.
2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion
2 cans of cream of chicken soup with herbs or 1 can cream of mushroom and 1 can cream of chicken with herbs
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables, (canned will be too mushy)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 bag tater-tots
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dice yellow onion. In a medium to large pan start browning your ground beef on medium heat. Immediately add your onion. Add the Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and garlic salt to the pan. Using your utensil break up the beef.
Once your ground beef is mostly browned, drain off excess fat. Put the ground beef into an oblong casserole dish. Add two cans of cream of chicken with herbs, the bag of frozen vegetables and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
Mix ingredients in casserole dish. Once your ground beef, mixed vegetables and cheese are covered in the cream of chicken. Smooth the casserole over so you can layer tater-tots on top. With the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese sprinkle it on top of your tater-tots.
Cook for 50 minutes to ensure the tots are crispy.
(Editor's note: To nominate a Fort Leonard Wood-connected individual for Foodie of the Fort, email your nominee and why you chose them to email@example.com. Foodies of the Fort are announced on the second Thursday of each month.)