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Indianapolis woman follows 'multi-layered' passion with popular Italian dish

Stephanie Daily didn't know what to do when she learned a friend lost his wife, so she baked and brought him lasagna.

BEECH GROVE, Ind. — Stephanie Daily's heritage is German and Irish but her niche is perfecting an Italian staple: lasagna.

"It's something that's very delicious, and people love to eat it, but they don't necessarily like to make it," Daily said.

But Daily loves to load up layer after layer of lasagna, sometimes up to 50 a day, in a commercial kitchen in Beech Grove.

"I make every single one of my lasagnas, so I'm slightly crazy," Daily said. "Food has always been a passion of mine."

Daily spent 13 years in insurance before she decided to pivot. She started working for a local agency in marketing and was open to what came next. Then, a friend lost his wife.

"I didn't know what to do, so I brought him a lasagna,"  Daily said. 

Then, she went home and talked about her day with her cousin.  

"I said something about sending a friend a lasagna, and she was like, 'That sounds like a business,' and I was like...wait a minute!" Daily said.

Daily launched "Send a Friend Lasagna" as a side hustle before the pandemic — her timing was perfect.

"It exploded into something that is just so thrilling, and I feel like I'm the luckiest person in the whole world," Daily said. "I've had somebody order from me in Washington, California and Arizona."

The dishes range from $30 to $60, with vegetarian, meat lovers, gorgonzola, and gluten-free options. Daily said the classics are top-sellers.

"Meat and cheese all the way, not even close," Daily said.

According to Daily, lasagna is the ultimate comfort food and offers a simple tip to the sometimes daunting Italian dish:

"You're going to think this is so crazy, but I swear people that do not salt their pasta, any kind of pasta, if they've not salted their pasta properly, it can make-or-break an Italian dish," Daily said.

Salt it like the sea, and do it with heart, Daily said.

"Cooking is all about love, just putting your heart into it and knowing that a family is not going to have to worry about cooking, no matter what the situation is, for one evening. That's a pretty cool thing," Daily said.

Daily believes the business took off because she's pursuing her passion, and that helps her be her best self.

"I reinvented myself completely. I think it's passion, loyalty, loving people, being trustworthy. I'm a good friend, I'm a good mom, I'm a good wife — that's what I think makes me a good me," Daily said. "I don't want a restaurant — restaurants are for the brave — but I love this. This is awesome. This is like my little creation, and people love it, and I love doing it."

Follow Send a Friend Lasagna on Facebook and Instagram.

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