Side Orders: You can decide if this is ‘world’s best’ lasagna

When a recipe says it's the world's best anything, does that pique your interest? It certainly did mine when an email crossed my desk saying it was the "World's Best Lasagna." That trio of words made my mouth water.

The recipe was from, so I must give credit where credit is due.

Now, for that "world's best" part. Was it really? That's an incredibly bold statement to make. Everyone's taste is different, so one person may say it's the best in the world, while another may say they've had better.

I gave it a go anyway — a rather pricey go at that. My bill for all the groceries came to just over $27, not counting the spices, Parmesan cheese and onions I already had, which is more than I usually spend on a meal for two people. The nice thing about lasagna, though, is that it feeds a crowd if you happen to have one. If not, which is my case, it can be frozen and reheated when you have to feed a few extra people.

This World's Best Lasagna recipe doesn't look a lot different from any other lasagna recipes I've tried. And it took approximately two hours to make, then another hour for baking, so you'll need to commit to spending at least three hours in your kitchen or nearby.

After it spent an hour in the oven and then rested for the recommended 15 minutes, I cut into it for my first bite. Was it the world's best lasagna? I haven't tasted every lasagna in the world, but, yes, it was quite good. It also stayed together, unlike some lasagna recipes I've tried that run all over the plate.

Regardless of whether you use this recipe or your favorite, lasagna is one of the best comfort foods to come out of Italy. And with a few more weeks of winter on the calendar, it's an excellent time of year to pop a panful in the oven.

World's Best Lasagna

1 pound sweet Italian sausage

3/4 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons white sugar

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided, or to taste

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

12 lasagna noodles

16 ounces ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Gather all your ingredients. This will make the long process of making lasagna seem to go a little faster.

Cook sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat until well-browned.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water. Season with sugar, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds and pepper. 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 2 tablespoons parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange 3 to 4 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce to cover. Spread with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers, and 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 in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven, and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.



Two area fast-food restaurants have added fish to their menus.

Through April 28, Krystal restaurants will be serving the Krabbycake Slider, Shrimp Po'Boy and Shrimp Basket. True seafood connoisseurs may opt for the Seafood Lovers Combo, which pairs the po'boy and slider.

Also back for a limited time is the Bojangler fish sandwich, a crispy Alaskan pollock filet dusted in Bo's Famous Seasoning and topped with a slice of American cheese and creamy tartar sauce. The sandwich is available a la carte or as a combo.


Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe has always been a favorite place to get some good Greek food, and now those of us who live and/or work in Hixson have something to celebrate. The new Taziki's has finally opened in the same shopping center as two other popular restaurants, Mike's Tavern and First Watch, at 5215 Highway 153. It's so nice to have a Taziki's on the Hixson side of town.

The new location looks much like the others and works just the same. Place your order at the counter, then take a number, put it on your table and your food will be delivered to you.

(READ MORE: Taziki's prepares to add another restaurant in the Chattanooga area)

Through April 21, diners at all locations can enjoy a return of the popular Grilled Fish With Homemade Caper-Dill Sauce, offered as a sandwich starting at $11 and as a feast starting at $12.49.

To finish it off, try one of the new white chocolate lemon cookies. They come in a two-pack or a perfect for sharing unless you want to just keep them all to yourself. Wouldn't blame you if you did! They have a delicious lemon flavor, for sure.

In addition to the new Hixson location, there are Taziki's in downtown Chattanooga, near Hamilton Place and in Cleveland, Tennessee.


Elsie's Daughter at the Chattanooga Choo Choo's Hotel Chalet is now serving brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Some of the favorite items served at dinner, such as oysters on the half shell and smoked trout dip, are on the brunch menu, and a few breakfast favorites, including French toast, berries and cream, and a cheesy potato frittata, have been added.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga restaurateurs hope to blend past, present with Elsie's Daughter at Choo Choo)

Enjoy any of those with a mug of mulled apple cider or a glass of bubbly. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are also served, along with a full bar of cocktails, wines and beer.

Email Anne Braly at

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