Friday, April 15, 2022

Mac and Cheese

Like people, goals and achievements come in all shapes and sizes and they all deserve celebration.  In our house, David/TEAM Partners acquired a new company and everyone needs a Nexbelt.  Andrew ran a sub-5 minute mile.  Someone is making it through the “11th plague.” Someone else has reached another birthday with most of her parts still in reasonable working order.  And we have finally found a homemade mac and cheese recipe that Elizabeth will eat!  This recipe comes from one of Travis’ favorite vloggers, Basics with Babish.  Try skipping the box and giving the America’s Test Kitchen Mac & Cheese Method option a try!  


  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 oz dry pasta (or half of a 1 lb box of pasta)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz American cheese, grated (or 5 slices of American cheese singles cut into smaller squares)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated

Start by combining 1 ½ cups of whole milk with 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan.

Add and cook the pasta directly in the milk and water mixture over medium heat while stirring and allowing the liquid to be absorbed by the pasta, about 1 minute before the pasta is done then reduce the heat.

Add 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and 4 ounces of grated American cheese then mix together over low heat before seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Once the American cheese has completely melted, add 4 ounces of grated extra sharp cheddar, turn off the heat entirely and mix it until it is dispersed amongst the pasta then cover and let it rest 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, give it a stir, then serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

"Our" World's Best Lasagna

I am standing at the meat counter to order an ingredient for the lasagna. I look to my left and who is standing there?  All 6’ 7” of Luka Doncic!  I almost start hyperventilating while I am processing my good fortune.  I am so flustered that I order ground pork and then remember that I want ground Italian sausage.  I try to surreptitiously take a picture (to prove to my family that it is really him - and to make them jealous).  David replies “head/face?”  Sure enough, I did not angle the camera properly.  It is not every day that I am taking a picture of someone so tall.  

This recipe is called “World’s Best” so who am I not to try it?  I have made it numerous times and tweaked it along the way.  We think this one is a winner.  Like Luka!

Note: this lasagna takes a long time to prepare and assemble (like 3+ hours).  I know this and still falter at the timing so plan ahead!


  • ¾ pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 ounce (1/2 can) tomato paste
  • 15 ounce can canned tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1½ teaspoons salt, divided, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 10 oz (2 – 5 oz balls) mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef or turkey, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers (noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, meat sauce, parmesan), and then top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

Bake covered lasagna for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes before serving, if you can wait that long.