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Bonus Daughter Number 1

This issue is about a special young lady who has so effortlessly transitioned into womanhood, my oldest bonus daughter. Her name is Kristina Noel Morton. She came into my life almost five years ago and I loved her from the first trip we took together to the store. It was dark outside her Dad was cooking for me and her sisters . He needed an additional ingredient from the store and asked me to go. Well this city girl was afraid to drive to the store because I thought I would get lost and she popped up and volunteered and said I will go with you.

As we drove in the car her natural ability at charm and connection resonated. She immediately said I have a question. Well I thought she was about to put me on the spot and ask me about her Dad but she didn’t . She had a question that most 7th graders have and it was about boys. We had a great talk and have been talking since then. What impressed me the most about her as well as her sisters was when I asked her about school she didn’t have a one word answer like I’m doing ok or it’s just fine. She could tell me, well I have all A’s in these subjects. But this other subject I have a B so I’m going to have to do some extra work to bring it up to a A. I was impressed and of course won over.

It’s been a joy to see her grow into a beautiful, responsible, and thoughtful young woman. Who thinks about fairness in this world and is dedicated to doing right by herself and others. She worked throughout high school and she was a star athlete. I only got to see her play softball twice but I was told by many sources that you could see fire when she throws a ball. When COVID hit like many students it became a challenge for her academically and socially. She didn’t let that stop her. She leaned on her family as a support. Was transparent with us about what she needed. And blazed forward like the trooper we all knew she was.

Now in terms of food this girl loves good food and good cooking. And don’t fall asleep at night with some good leftovers cause you might wake up in the morning and it’s gone , gone, gone . Lol . She loves hers biological Daddy’s and Mommy’s cooking . Specifically her Dad’s ribs. But the dish she asks her Bonus Mom which is me , to cook for her is my Lasagna. And when I cook it boy does she smash!!!!!! I’m going to miss our time together. She is about to attend Old Dominion University in a couple of weeks . Entering as a Junior. I’m so proud of her . With tears in my eyes as I reflect , wow, she’s a grown woman now, but she will always be one of my special bonus babies.

Okay now on to this lasagna recipe



1 pound sweet Italian sausage

¾ pound lean ground beef ½ cup minced onion

Garlic Powder season to taste

Basil season to taste

Italian Seasonings season to taste

Onion Powder season to taste

Salt season to taste

Crushed Red Pepper season to taste

1 bottle of Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce

1 bottle of garlic and basil spaghetti sauce 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

12 lasagna noodles

16 ounces ricotta cheese

¾ pound mozzarella cheese, sliced

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Pan,sauté sweet Italian sausage, ground beef, and onion over medium heat until well browned. Add two bottles of sauce. Season with sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder , onion powder , basil, salt, crushed red pepper. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Next cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg,, salt.

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

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, 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.Step 5 Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

-Nikita Robinson

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