Last Week’s Menu: Lasagna, Mac And Cheese & More!

In an effort to not only catalog previously attempted recipes, but also give a few hints, tips and anecdotes, here’s last week’s menu revisited!

squash bacon soup

Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup
Source: Damn Delicious

I’m pretty sure I’m batting 1000 when it comes to recipes form Damn Delicious. The streak continues with this one for a butternut squash and bacon soup that I altered just a bit. For one thing, I didn’t have red pepper because my kiddo loves them. For another, I just split a package of bacon between the first and second parts instead of the four slices each. But, the major change I made was swapping out the goat cheese in the original for a tub of blue cheese which my wife loves (as opposed to goat stuff, which she loathes).

Aside from that, I followed the instructions and wound up with a delightful pot of soup that I just threw all of the cheese into so it mixed up. The results might have been a touch salty for some (that’s what I get for using a whole order of bacon, I guess), but it all came together as this wonderfully gooey dish that even my kid loved, which is a coup in and of itself.

Verdict: Definite repeat.


Mama’s Lasagna
Source: The Neelys via

I’ve tried a variety of different lasagna recipes over the years, but I keep going back to this one from the Neelys (or formerly the Neelys, I guess). I don’t mess with this one aside from maybe going a little heavier on the cheese than recommended. I also don’t use pre-shredded cheese, but instead throw the hard stuff into a food processor and choppingĀ  up the mozzarella with a knife.

I’m sure a lot of people prefer the more traditional ricotta to the cottage cheese from this recipe, but I love that extra bit of tang playing with the tomatoes and smothered in cheese.

Verdict: I keep coming back for more.


Reuben Mac n Cheese
Source: Rachel Ray via

Another recipe repeat, I continue to love this variation on the traditional macaroni and cheese template, specifically because I’m a big fan of Reubens (even though I can never spell them correctly on the first try).

This time around, I skipped the rye bread croutons and just cooked up some panko in a little olive oil, parsley and paprika. I would have tossed in a few caraway seeds to get that familiar rye flavor, but I dropped a jar of them on the floor the week prior and haven’t needed to replace them yet.

Once again, I went a little overboard with the cheese. I used a few cheddar cheese ends that my mother-in-law passed us after Christmas, a solid block of Swiss and a smaller rectangle of Gruyere. Altogether, this makes for a tangy, transmogrification of a sandwich I love into a dish I love even more even though I completely forgot the sauerkraut this time around.

I actually served this on New Year’s Even along with some asparagus I cooked in the oven. There was plenty for four adults and a pre-schooler plus leftovers.

Verdict: I keep coming back for more.

french toast casserole

Make-Ahead French Toast Casserole With Caramel-Pecan Topping
Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Kitchen Third Edition page 271

Originally, I thought my folks would either stay over New Year’s Eve night or come back over in the morning for breakfast. I thought this before actually talking to them about it, so it wasn’t the best laid plan. I only mention that because this French toast casserole is a much bigger dish than my wife, daughter and I can handle.

I also hit a few bumps along the way with this one. I used a high sided vessel to cook in the oven because my 9x13s were occupied with lasagna and mac & cheese. That added nearly 20 minutes to my cook time, which was a bummer because we were hungry.

However, even with the hiccups, this was a solid, sweet breakfast that WOULD be great for a group of people. It gets extra points for being something you make ahead of time. I think next time I would add some actual syrup into the mix to make it just a bit sweeter. But, it didn’t work out super-well for me this time around.

Verdict: Maybe I’ll come back.

kielbasa soup

Kielbasa & Cauliflower Orzo Soup
Source: My Refrigerator!

I intended to make a rib-based sauce in the crock pot on Sunday, but had a bit of a problem with the device (operator error was to blame, thankfully and unfortunately). So, with that out the window — almost literally because I was so mad — I had to improvise a kielbasa soup that turned out surprisingly well. In fact, it was so good, I’m going to give it its own post later this week, so stay tuned!

Verdict: TBD (not really, it was awesome and I’m definitely trying again soon).



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