FRENCH ONION SOUP with MAC & CHEESE CROUTONS

I was reading emails this morning that lead to checking out the occasional shopping link that lead to cookbooks and I found one that sounded so interesting that I had to check it out which lead to checking out his blog, The Food in My Beard-Crazy Good Comfort Food (catchy title) which looks fantastic and then I started on the recipe page and found a recipe that sounded so interesting I was going to add it to my menu for next week and then I froze!  He uses processed foods almost completely.  So I moved on.  But, then I had an idea.  Why do I have to give up this amazing sounding recipe?  Why can’t I just recreate it from scratch?  I am so glad I did.

Dan’s recipe is for French Onion Soup with Macaroni & Cheese croutons.  So is mine.  Mine is more labor intensive, but still quite easy and definitely from scratch with fresh products. I blind tasted hubby and he chose mine, but you be the judge.  Hubby said he preferred the traditional flavor of my cheese blend, but loved that the mac & cheese doesn’t get soggy like the regular croutons used to.

Here’s Dan’s recipe with his picture that caught my eye:
French Onion Soup with Mac and Cheese Croutons
French Onion Soup with Mac and Cheese Croutons 
2 (7 ounce) boxes Betty Crocker Mac & Cheese original flavor
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans Progresso™ French onion soup

  • Cook the mac and cheese according to package directions and drain. 
  • Stir in the milk, butter, and cheese packet and return to heat. 
  • Cook 3-5 minutes until it is drier and sticky. 
  • Stir in the grated cheese and mix until melted. 
  • Line a pan with wax paper and pour the mac and cheese onto the paper. 
  • Flatten with more wax paper on top until it is a little less than 1 inch thick. 
  • Put into the fridge to cool for at least an hour. 
  • When the mac and cheese is cooled, use mini ramekins as a cookie cutter to form your round tops. 
  • Divide the soup into the ramekins and top with the mac and cheese rounds. 
  • Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes or until hot throughout and browned on top. 

Here’s Mine (a 2 part recipe):
French Onion Soup with Mac and Cheese Croutons 

FRENCH ONION SOUP (adapted from my everyday normal recipe)

1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon sugar
4 medium VIDALIA onions, thinly sliced**
1 tablespoon flour
5 cups hot water
1 KNORR beef gel pack
1 tablespoon kitchen bouquet for color
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 thin slices french or sourdough bread, toasted (omit)
4 slices Gruyere cheese*(omit)

  • Melt butter in bottom of stock pot.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Separate onions into rings and add to butter. Cook until tender and golden.
  • Add flour and blend well with butter mixture and onions.
  • Add water, beef granules, kitchen bouquet, salt and pepper and stir well.
  • Simmer 15-20 minutes.
  • Toast bread and then butter it.
  • Ladle soup into 4 oven proof bowls that have been put on a cookie sheet for easier handling.
  • Place 1 slice of toast over top of soup.
  • Lay 1 slice of cheese on top of toast.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes or until cheese is melted.

*mozzarella cheese works well too

MAC & CHEESE (adapted from my everyday Chipolte recipe and adapted to his directions for croutons)
1 1/2 cups dried macaroni (elbows or shells)
1/2 cup garlic pepper crispy onions
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices GRUYERE cheese, torn into pieces
3 slices BABY SWISS cheese, torn into pieces
3 slices white American cheese, torn into pieces

  • Preheat oven to 350˚.
  • Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Drain well.
  • Using the same pan, melt butter and add cream until smooth.
  • Add cheese a few pieces at a time, stirring until well blended.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Line a pan with wax paper and pour the mac and cheese onto the paper. 
  • Flatten with more wax paper on top until it is a little less than 1 inch thick. 
  • Put into the fridge to cool for at least an hour. 
  • When the mac and cheese is cooled, use mini ramekins as a cookie cutter to form your round tops. 
  • Divide the soup into the ramekins and top with the mac and cheese rounds. 
  • Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes or until hot throughout and browned on top.

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