Worth the Effort

As I sit here typing, I am still stuffed to the gills.  I feel like I could lay on my side and roll down the hall to bed, giving in to the food coma that is lingering in my near future.  I told you that there were big fall food plans in my menu this week and tonight I definitely have a recipe you should try.

I was tentatively planning to use that butternut squash puree tonight for a risotto, but my protein wasn't thawed yet so I had to rearrange my menu plans for the week.  I decided to go ahead and prep tomorrow night's dinner, put it in the refrigerator, and then make something else for tonight's meal.  I figured since I have to work a little late tomorrow night that making tomorrow's dinner ahead of time would make it easiest on Tim.  Well, that and I could ensure that all of the food I picked up at the store this weekend wouldn't go to waste.

In fact, I was so excited about tomorrow night's dinner that I emailed my friend K.C., fellow step-mom and avid food blog reader, and told her, I'm going to make Smitten Kitchen's mushroom lasagna this week.  To which she replied, I JUST finished reading that post--let me know how it goes.  Great minds think alike.

But, when I got home from work, I realized that Dirty Dish Mountain (or Mount Dishmore which do you like better?) had completely obstructed my ability to use the counter-tops. 

Let's just say that between Dirty Dish Mountain and Tim's rumbling stomach I didn't get both dinners prepared.  Tomorrow's dinner became tonight's dinner, and mushroom lasagna was an excellent choice.

First there was a pound and a half of cremini mushrooms to deal with.  There was the rinsing them, the wiping any remaining dirt from them with a paper towel, then cutting off the stems and slicing them.  While I worked on these I started a pot of water boiling for the lasagna noodles.

This recipe, as Deb mentioned in her write up of it, is not for someone short on pots and pans.  While noodles bathed in the pot of boiling water and the cremini mushrooms sautéed in some butter and olive oil in a large skillet, I still needed a saucepan to heat up the milk and garlic and then add that to another saucepan to make the white sauce.  I was starting to mentally thank our wedding guests again as I pulled out some pots we don't use very often.  They really came in handy tonight!  Deb did say you could heat up the milk and garlic in your microwave, but what if you don't have one?

Mount Dishmore was slowly growing in the sink again.  Thankfully Tim and I have the ongoing deal that if whoever makes dinner doesn't have to do the dishes.  I think I've done my fair share tonight already!

My sauce turned out excellent and came together very easily, though if you make this I'd recommend being liberal with the salt.  Unless you are using a very salty cheese (like Pecorino), this is your best chance to flavor the lasagna. 

Just as the early fall sun abandoned me completely, my mushroom lasagna was assembled and ready to bake.  We watched last night's episode of Mad Men (a really, really good one, eh?) and tried to be patient.  Thankfully, the lasagna was worth the effort.

Forgive me for the terrible photo, but it was well after 8pm by the time I got to snap this.  There was no light left outside, and we are lacking on the bright indoor lights here.  You can see, though, the incredible layers of sauce, mushrooms, and noodles and the amazing crispy Parmesan cheese top.  It was earthy, salty, crunchy, cheesy, and rich. 

I ate one slice, and then had to have a little more.  I definitely could have stopped at the first, but this was the type of dinner you are afraid if you don't have just one more bite, you might not get another chance at it.  Which is completely silly, especially when we're talking about lasagna in a two-person household.  There are leftovers for days, which I sliced up and packaged individually so I can take it for lunches this week and we can freeze a few for another day. 

If you'd like the recipe, visit Smitten Kitchen.  Check out her recipe archive while you are there--you will be inspired.

As for what I was intending to make for dinner tonight--I guess you'll have to come back later this week to see for yourself.   


  1. This has to be one of my top 5 favorite meals that Little Chef has cooked for me. The whole house smelled so good while she was prepping it...I'm sure my hovering had a lot to do with it being dinner last night!

  2. Oh, yeah, this lasagna sounds absolutely soul-satisfying. I'm looking forward to what else you have up your culinary sleeve not that you're in fall mode - and that other dish you were going to make :)

  3. Jen, I will definitely try this recipe. I've made a similar lasagna for guests that included chicken. It was delicious, but somehow the thought of mushrooms and cheese only, seems a bit lighter...just a bit...and even a bit less time consuming! Off topic a bit...I told Joe he should call Tim and check on him. He said, "No Tim is fine! He's eating good every night!"
    I'll have to tell Joe about the "Little Chef".
    I'll make this and let you know how it goes.
    The chili and the fancy spaghetti were delicious and loved by the whole family!

  4. Definitely LOOKS worth the effort. I'm not sure I've EVER made lasagna (when I have the patience for multiple layers, I usually make moussaka), but I'm sure the payoff is unbelievable.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!