Tag Archives: mushrooms

Portabella Pleasure

16 Jun

I love portabella mushrooms. IMG_1720If you don’t, well, I’m not sure if we can be friends anymore…I kid, I kid. I still love you, even if you don’t share my love for the fabulously funky fungus that is the portabella mushroom. But if you don’t share this love, you might not dig the recipes I’m about to share with you – just a heads-up! Last Friday, I got a package of 4 monstrously huge (seriously, these guys are gigantic) portabella mushrooms, and have enjoyed them in numerous forms this week. What forms, you wonder. Glad you asked!

The first concoction I made last Saturday. It was SO amazing, I’ve wanted to share it with you all week, but it hasn’t made it on here until today, but now is the time. My friends, I give you the beauty that is The Mexi-Mushroom (great name, I know). This beauty is basically everything you love about nachos in a portabella mushroom cap (I’ll give you a moment to stop and ponder just how awesome that is). It is SO easy to put together too!

IMG_1719The Mexi-Mushroom (serves one)

Broil one large portabella mushroom cap (cleaned and de-gilled with a grapefruit spoon, of course), sprayed first with a touch of PAM and seasoned with salt and pepper, until it starts to brown/release juices. Flip it and broil the other side.

Fill the cap with 1/2 cup refried beans (if desired, add extra seasonings like cumin, chili powder, or some Epicure stuff) and top with one Velveeta cheese slice (or use any cheese of your choice). Pop it back under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly (see above photo).

After the cheese has melted, top cap with any or all of the following (I went for all): salsa, chopped bell pepper, chopped green onion, chopped canned jalapenos (omit those if you can’t take the heat), chopped fresh cilantro, chopped tomato and sour cream/Greek yogurt. Serve with your choice of side dish (as you can see, I went for kale chips) and enjoy!

I think this would be fun to make as a party appetizer, but in baby ‘bellas, instead of full-size portabellas. And if you are low-carbing it or just trying to cut calories, this would make a great nacho substitute!

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Half a portabella (I told you, they’re HUGE) also made an appearance in the grilled goodness that was Tuesday night’s low carb supper. Since I had hooping, I grilled everything ahead (the mushroom, sweet Vidalia onion, asparagus, a mini eggplant and a mini yellow pepper, and a M&M honey garlic pork chop). I threw the cooled veggies and pork on my salad of lettuce, grape tomatoes, fresh dill and chives and thawed frozen corn.

My dressing was a real winner – balsamic barbeque! I combined 1 tsp avocado oil, a squirt each of yellow mustard, light ketchup and light BBQ sauce, a splash of fat-free Italian dressing, a drop of liquid smoke, cumin, and of course, balsamic vinegar. This dressing was AWESOME! It combined everything I love about ketchup/mustard, BBQ sauce flavour, and of course, balsamic vinegar! Combined with the slightly sweet pork and grilled veggies, it was basically barbeque in a salad – a sure-fire summer winner (FYI cold grilled pork chops are surprisingly juicy).

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As of the time of typing this, I haven’t tried the last portabella option (it’s today’s lunch), but I thought I’d share it with you anyway. I had the thought that I could make one of my favourite at-home paninis (portabella brie) in a to-go version. Here’s how I did it.

I baked one mushroom cap in the oven until tender the night before, spread it with Lemon Dill mustard, sliced some sweet onion, and wrapped it up in foil. I also brought some sliced light brie and 2 slices light bread. On the side, you see a salad I came up with based on what was in my fridge. I also brought a fat-free tapioca pudding and some fresh strawberries to enjoy for dessert.

Are you a fungus fan or do you avoid mushrooms at all costs (Donna, I already know your answer)?

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Portabella Pleasure

16 Jun

I love portabella mushrooms. IMG_1720If you don’t, well, I’m not sure if we can be friends anymore…I kid, I kid. I still love you, even if you don’t share my love for the fabulously funky fungus that is the portabella mushroom. But if you don’t share this love, you might not dig the recipes I’m about to share with you – just a heads-up! Last Friday, I got a package of 4 monstrously huge (seriously, these guys are gigantic) portabella mushrooms, and have enjoyed them in numerous forms this week. What forms, you wonder. Glad you asked!

The first concoction I made last Saturday. It was SO amazing, I’ve wanted to share it with you all week, but it hasn’t made it on here until today, but now is the time. My friends, I give you the beauty that is The Mexi-Mushroom (great name, I know). This beauty is basically everything you love about nachos in a portabella mushroom cap (I’ll give you a moment to stop and ponder just how awesome that is). It is SO easy to put together too!

IMG_1719The Mexi-Mushroom (serves one)

Broil one large portabella mushroom cap (cleaned and de-gilled with a grapefruit spoon, of course), sprayed first with a touch of PAM and seasoned with salt and pepper, until it starts to brown/release juices. Flip it and broil the other side.

Fill the cap with 1/2 cup refried beans (if desired, add extra seasonings like cumin, chili powder, or some Epicure stuff) and top with one Velveeta cheese slice (or use any cheese of your choice). Pop it back under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly (see above photo).

After the cheese has melted, top cap with any or all of the following (I went for all): salsa, chopped bell pepper, chopped green onion, chopped canned jalapenos (omit those if you can’t take the heat), chopped fresh cilantro, chopped tomato and sour cream/Greek yogurt. Serve with your choice of side dish (as you can see, I went for kale chips) and enjoy!

I think this would be fun to make as a party appetizer, but in baby ‘bellas, instead of full-size portabellas. And if you are low-carbing it or just trying to cut calories, this would make a great nacho substitute!

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IMG_1768

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half a portabella (I told you, they’re HUGE) also made an appearance in the grilled goodness that was Tuesday night’s low carb supper. Since I had hooping, I grilled everything ahead (the mushroom, sweet Vidalia onion, asparagus, a mini eggplant and a mini yellow pepper, and a M&M honey garlic pork chop). I threw the cooled veggies and pork on my salad of lettuce, grape tomatoes, fresh dill and chives and thawed frozen corn.

My dressing was a real winner – balsamic barbeque! I combined 1 tsp avocado oil, a squirt each of yellow mustard, light ketchup and light BBQ sauce, a splash of fat-free Italian dressing, a drop of liquid smoke, cumin, and of course, balsamic vinegar. This dressing was AWESOME! It combined everything I love about ketchup/mustard, BBQ sauce flavour, and of course, balsamic vinegar! Combined with the slightly sweet pork and grilled veggies, it was basically barbeque in a salad – a sure-fire summer winner (FYI cold grilled pork chops are surprisingly juicy).

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As of the time of typing this, I haven’t tried the last portabella option (it’s today’s lunch), but I thought I’d share it with you anyway. I had the thought that I could make one of my favourite at-home paninis (portabella brie) in a to-go version. Here’s how I did it.

I baked one mushroom cap in the oven until tender the night before, spread it with Lemon Dill mustard, sliced some sweet onion, and wrapped it up in foil. I also brought some sliced light brie and 2 slices light bread. On the side, you see a salad I came up with based on what was in my fridge. I also brought a fat-free tapioca pudding and some fresh strawberries to enjoy for dessert.

Are you a fungus fan or do you avoid mushrooms at all costs (Donna, I already know your answer)?

Meat-free, the way to be!

11 Jun

…don’t worry, I haven’t gone vegetarian. Smile I just ate vegetarian suppers two nights in a row, and I like post titles that rhyme! June 10 2011

Thursday night, after meeting up with Donna for a chat and to plan our August trip to the Healthy Living Summit together (we were both relieved that we got along so well…otherwise it would be a long 9 hours to Philly), I met up with my mom and sister for a lovely ladies’ night out. We met at Devlin’s, a lovely “country bistro” (that’s what the website says) for dinner and then my mom surprised us by treating my sister and I each to a pedicure after dinner for an end-of-the-year treat (we’re both teachers) – thanks mom!

Instead of bread waiting for us, there were chips and black bean and corn salsa on the table. I nibbled on a couple, but it wasn’t anything fantastic, so I saved myself for the main meal. My mom ordered a Caesar salad, and was kind of enough to share a little bit with my sister and I (okay, so if you count the bacon bits, it’s not technically a vegetarian meal Winking smile)…we all LOVE restaurant Caesar salad.

I was trying to go for the “healthier” option on the menu, so I ordered the vegetarian roasted tomato ragout with polenta for my entree. The polenta was nice and creamy, and I liked the flavour of the ragout, but it was REALLY oily (I tried to ignore this). It was pretty good, but I fell like I could have made an equally tasty and less oily version at home. Shoulda gone with what I craved and got something else – oh well, live and learn.

Dessert was 80/20 in a BIG way! Caramel peanut cheesecake anyone? And, except for the two bites my sister had, I ate that WHOLE thing! Embarrassed smile…and had a bite or two of my mom’s rhubarb crisp too. I definitely did not need that whole dessert, but since I didn’t order an appetizer or eat a huge entree, I didn’t feel TOO horrible. The problem was that I munched on a few things when I got home (that whole Thursday night mentality). It wasn’t absolutely horrible, but more than I needed. What can I say? I’m a work in progress!

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Last night’s vegetarian effort was homemade, and, not to brag, but at least for the entree part, I enjoyed it MORE than the restaurant ragout (I haven’t quite figured out how to make a healthy cheesecake that tastes that decadent…any suggestions? Winking smile).

Since it was Friday, that meant PIZZA! Specifically, a balsamic wild mushroom pizza with goat cheese. My sides were roasted asparagus (roast at 450 for 20 to 30 minutes with PAM, salt and pepper, add balsamic at the last minute) and a simply amazing tomato and roasted red pepper soup with fresh basil. Mmmmm….the perfect spring supper celebrating seasonal veggies and herbs. I made the pizza and soup recipes sort of “in tandem” (read on and you’ll see what I mean, so I’m going to write those recipes up simultaneously.

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If you’ve read HHH for any length of time, you can already guess what I did for my pizza crust. For the base of my pizza topping (and soup), I sautéed half of a sweet Vidalia onion in one teaspoon of olive oil on medium-high heat until it just started to brown, reduced heat and cooked a bit more, then I added two cloves of chopped garlic. After cooking for a few minutes, I removed half of the onions to use later for the soup. For the pizza, I added chopped creminis, shitakes and one half of a GIANT portabello mushroom (you could use any combo of mushrooms you have).IMG_1710 I turned the heat back up to medium-high, then cooked the mushrooms until starting to brown and they were nice and juicy, then added chopped fresh sage from my garden (fresh sage and mushrooms are simply DIVINE together…try it!) and splashed in some balsamic. I let it all cook together until the liquid evaporated, seasoning with salt and pepper.

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For the sauce, I used a new Costco find (I made a trip on Monday) that is sure to become a favourite ingredient: mashed San Marzano tomatoes. It’s just tomatoes and basil, but it’s all pureed, so it’s the ideal base for sauces and soups – you can just add your desired seasonings and meat/veggies. So flavourful, but healthier than pre-made sauces with lots of additives. My pizza sauce was creamy – I combined one wedge of Laughing Cow light with a bit of this stuff, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a touch of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

I spread the sauce over my crust, topped with the mushroom mixture, a few spinach leaves for added colour/nutrition, and crumbled goat cheese (just LOVE goat cheese and mushrooms…can’t get over it). I baked at 450 until the cheese had melted, only about 5 or 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, my soup was going on. In a small saucepan, I combined the reserved onion/garlic mixture, about 3/4 cup of the tomato puree, a bit of water (tip: it was the bottom of the jar and I didn’t want any of the puree to go to waste, so I rinsed out the jar with water and poured straight into the pot to get all the goodness) and salt and pepper, I brought to a simmer over medium heat. I added one roasted red pepper, 2 wedges of Laughing Cow (can’t say enough how great this stuff is for creamy soups), and right at the end (remember, add late for maximum flavour), a handful of fresh basil. I pureed with my immersion blender (really, you NEED one) and topped it off with a bit more fresh basil.

After meals like this, I think it wouldn’t be heard to be vegetarian (but then I think about it and realize I’d never last). This meal was also perfect, as it was nice and light, which I needed after Thursday night’s splurge, and a few delicious samples I consumed while shopping at the market and grocery store yesterday afternoon. Embarrassed smile

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For dessert, I was excited to try some of the Chapman’s Yogurt Plus: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble frozen yogurt I bought, topped with some of the new batch of stewed rhubarb I made and fresh strawberries. It was ok, but honestly, I wouldn’t have guessed there was rhubarb in there if I couldn’t taste it. It just tasted like ordinary strawberry fro yo to me (it was no soft serve sundae, that’s for sure). I do like Yogurt Plus though: it’s packed with fibre and probiotics, so can’t go wrong there, right?

Happy weekend! I’m hoping the weather forecast is wrong and we can enjoy some sunshine. Sun

Do you eat vegetarian very often, or are you a carnivore to the core? (I am on a rhyming role today Smile).

Before and After

26 Mar

Mushroom Pasta Casserole

I love leftovers (you know this by now Smile). If I can help it, I won’t let any food go to waste. This was the inspiration for Wednesday’s dinner: mushroom chicken pasta bake. The leftovers I used: cooked whole wheat penne, more of the infamous mushroom cream cheese (you would NOT believe how much of this stuff is still left!) and leftover roasted chicken.

If you take a look at my nifty photo collage (can’t believe I’ve been using Picasa for years and just discovered this feature!) you can see the before and after photos – before is in the top right, after is the large photo on the left and then my plated portion is on the bottom right, alongside some roasted veggies (eggplant, carrot, cauliflower, red pepper with cumin, olive oil and salt). Before I go on to describe how I made this casserole, let me just say that I am really getting into cumin-roasted veggies, cauliflower in particular. I’ve always LOVED cumin and its delightful smokiness (without being spicy hot)…and lately I’ve been sprinkling it on my cauliflower, then roasting with oil and salt…YUMMY! Open-mouthed smile Give it a try.

Anyway…back to the casserole. My sister was visiting this week Red heart, so instead of making a dinner for two, this casserole serves three. The amounts I used of my leftovers were (approximately): just about 3 cups cooked penne (I chopped it up a bit before putting it in, because I wanted smaller pieces), 6 or 7 ounces cooked chicken, chopped and a nice scoop of the cream cheese. I started by sauteeing some mushrooms, onion, garlic and kale (for added colour, nutrition, and to use up the little bit left in the fridge) in a teaspoon of olive oil. Meanwhile, I was soaking some dried mushrooms in boiling water. I added the mushrooms, a bit of frozen spinach that I had defrosted and drained (again, why not bump up the veggies?) and the chicken, my seasonings were salt, pepper and thyme. I added in the pasta, my scoop of cream cheese and a bit of the reserved liquid from the mushrooms (if you soak dried mushrooms, save the liquid, it’s SUPER flavourful) and cooked it together for a few minutes until heated through, tasting to check for seasoning (oh: just remembered, I added a splash of soy sauce just for an extra punch of flavour).

I put the pasta mixture into a casserole dish, then topped with 1/3 cup grated light cheese (I had Tex-Mex, so that’s what I used) and 2 tbsp light Parmesan cheese (as processed as I know the stuff in the plastic can is, I like it because it’s grated so fine, a little goes a long way). I baked it at 400 for about half an hour, just to heat it all through and get the cheese nice and bubbly.

This wasn’t my absolute favourite meal, but it was a tasty and inventive way to use up leftovers, I think. It got positive reviews from the other diners too Smile.  Since this post is about re-imagining leftovers/using up food, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite tricks and tips for using up leftovers/food that’s almost going bad…there are always ways to incorporate something, and I’d much rather do that than let something go to waste!

1. Be creative! Just because you have leftovers of a meal doesn’t mean you need to eat the same meal for days straight. Leftover meatloaf can be made into a sandwich, or even crumbled onto nachos. That mushroom cream cheese wasn’t just for appetizers, but pizza, pasta, chicken…(still looking for ideas)! You just need to think outside of the box. Part of the fun of leftovers is that you can create unique combinations that you never would have thought of before and maybe make something you like even better than the original!

2. Don’t throw out produce that’s past its prime. Limp veggies can be revived! They’re probably not great for eating fresh…so cook ‘em up. Limp celery and bendy carrots? Cook them in a soup…either chopped in a chicken noodle soup, or blended into a puree for a cream soup. You can also stir fry or roast veggies that may not be at their freshest.

3. Even sour milk can be saved! Ok, if it’s separating into big chunks and clear liquid….it’s past its prime. But, if it’s just a little off, you can bake with it. There are recipes that actually call for soured milk (it’s true!)…like my favourite banana cake recipe (will have to post it here some time). And speaking of out-dated dairy, remember that expiration dates are just a guideline. I eat yogurt that’s past the date all the time…and sometimes milk too! I open it up, take a whiff, and if it smells ok, I go for it, no matter what the date says. Remember, it’s best before, not terrible after!

4. Don’t banish the bruised! Soft or bruised fruit can be used. Over-ripe bananas? Freeze ‘em! Freeze in the peel and then microwave to use in baking (hello banana bread Smile ) or peel first, cut in half, freeze, and use for banana soft serve, smoothies, or just eat as-is for a quick and delicious snack. Pears or apples that are bruised, past their prime, or just kind of mealy or soft are great if you cook them in a little bit of water with cinnamon/spices and sweetener of your choice. You can stir them into yogurt, use as an ice cream topped, or make my squash breakfast.

I’ve got lots more great leftover tips, but I will save them for future posts. Do you have any favourite ways to use up leftovers? And…any ideas for what else I can do with my mushroom cream cheese? Or do you want some? I’ll give it away, free of charge!Smile with tongue out

More mushrooms

13 Mar

What? You didn’t think all the leftover mushroom cream cheese filling would disappear overnight, did you? I joked to my mom when I made that mushroom-stuffed chicken, “I just have to make this every night for the next 2 months, and we’ll get rid of this stuff!” 😛 It is good stuff….I’m not tired of it yet…but if I ever see the bottom of that container, I’m sure I will be!

Thursday’s mushroom adventure was GOOD!!!!! I made mushroom-spinach lasagna with butternut squash sauce, oh yes I did and it was as delicious as it sounds! Here’s how it went down. I sauteed some onion and fresh mushrooms, in a little olive oil, seasoning with salt, pepper, thyme and sage. Right at the end of cook time, I added some dried wild mushrooms (bought a GIANT jar at Costco) that I had soaked in water (save the liquid…it has great flavour!). I spread some of the mushroom cream cheese on 2 sheets of fresh whole wheat lasagna noodles (look for them in the refrigerated fresh pasta area) (I had just 2 sheets leftover from a lasagna I made a few weeks ago) and topped with a bit of fresh spinach and the sauteed mushroom mixture on one half of each sheet. To make the sauce I cooked about 1 and 1/2 cups of peeled, cubed butternut squash in salted water in the microwave until tender. I pureed it with one wedge of Laughing Cow light cheese, a spoonful of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and some of the reserved mushroom liquid. To assemble the lasagna, I spread a bit of the sauce on the bottom of a stoneware pan. I folded each lasagna sheet over the mushroom mixture and laid them on top of the sauce. I spread the rest of the sauce over the lasagna, and topped with 1/2 cup shredded light Italian blend cheese. I baked for 1/2 hour at 400, then let it sit in the oven for about 15 minutes (waiting for my mom to get home 🙂 ). I served with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts.

All I can say is yum, yum, yum! This meal was fabulous in and of itself…tasted far better than just something made to use up leftovers. I love cooking to use up leftovers in the fridge…I find it oddly satisfying (I’m a weirdo, I know). I just love the challenge of taking something that’s sitting in the fridge and re-inventing it in a new and exciting way…anyone with me on that?

But the mushroom madness doesn’t end there, my friends…oh no. I also used the ‘shroom-y spread on my Friday night pizza. Here’s how it went down. I did the crust my usual way, then spread it with what else…the mushroom spread!  I caramelized some onion in 1/2 tsp olive oil, then used the same pan and added another 1/2 tsp oil and sauteed some button mushrooms and one mini portobello. Inspired by this recipe, I added some balsamic vinegar at the end. I also seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme. I topped the pizza crust/sauce with the onions, mushrooms, chopped light deli ham and my new cheesy crush, PC Blue Menu light Brie. I baked just until the cheese was melty. YUMMY! Once again, another mushroom winner!

My side dish? I cooked some butternut squash cubes in the microwave in salted water until tender. I cooked some kale and broccoli rabe in boiling salted water (just let it boil and then drain, I don’t like my greens overcooked). I re-used the same nonstick pan from the onions and mushrooms (all about minimizing the dishes), sprayed with a bit of nonstick spray, added the squash and greens and some leftover onions and mushrooms from the pizza, sauteed altogether with salt, pepper and thyme, and added just a splash of balsamic at the end. I forgot how much I like eating squash and greens together…it’s been a while. I always feel super healthy when I eat this combo, as I consider both to be super foods in their own right…and together? They can conquer the world! Okay…maybe not…but at least after eating them I can conquer, uh, something….sorry….I digress. Texturally, this dish was just ok…I think it’s because I didn’t add any more oil and didn’t drain the water from my veggies thoroughly enough…but it was still a satisfying side.

Although it’s not mushroom-related, the dessert that followed the pizza was also quite fabulous, so I thought I’d share :)…didn’t think you’d mind. I made an ice cream sandwich with a deep chocolate Vitatop and 1/4 cup of one of my new obsessions: President’s Choice Caramel Pecan Crunch frozen yogurt….WOW this stuff is good…I am in love! Try it if you don’t believe me…it’s like butterscotch ripple on steroids…so so yummy! And 110 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving? Yes please! In the Alumni Western mug (go Mustangs!) is hot chocolate. It was the perfect meal and dessert to kick off my March Break…followed by reading my entire new Food Network Magazine in one sitting on the couch in sweatpants! 😀 Yes, that’s my idea of a fun Friday night. If that makes me an old lady, then so be it.

Have you ever used leftovers to make something that turned out to be incredibly delicious? Do tell! And what’s your ideal Friday night…in or out?

Mushroom mania!

7 Mar

If you don’t like mushrooms, you should probably move right along. As the title would suggest, I had a mushroom-filled (don’t worry, the legal kind :P) weekend. So let’s dive right in and see just how many times those tasty fungi made an appearance in my weekend meals.

I only worked half a day Friday (reason forthcoming in the post), so that meant I was home for lunch. I had a portobello mushroom that needed to be used up, so I decided to make it into a sandwich. I’ve discovered that during the winter months, when grilling is not a viable option, broiling portobello mushroom caps works quite nicely and still brings out their meaty, juicy flavour. So I broiled the mushroom with garlic seasoning, then sandwiched it in a thin bun with some of my amazing balsamic mustard (seriously, I am in love with this stuff) and an ounce of the PC light brie…then I spritzed it with butter spray and grilled in a grill pan/panini press to make a nice, melty panini (side note: don’t have a panini press? Use a George Foreman – works awesome! I did this all the time in university). On the side, I enjoyed some kale chips and cut up veggies. You could call this my own veggie “burger and chips.” Another side note: I hate it when people say that a meal like this is a great healthy substitute for the “unhealthy” real thing. As much as I LOVED this lunch, I loved it because I love the flavours of kale chips, portobello and brie. But if I was craving a hamburger and french fries – this would not do it for me. If I crave a hamburger, I want meat, not a mushroom! I eat the mushrooms because I enjoy them and they are a healthier day-to-day option than a big hunk of meat…just had to get that out there…now back to the mushrooms. 🙂

Now onto the reason I only worked half a day. Observe the photo to the right…no, I have not taken stock in Pillsbury (there are 14 tubes of country biscuits on the counter). My church supports an orphanage in Haiti and was having a benefit concert on the weekend. There were to be appetizers served afterward, all of the recipes coming from the cookbook we had assembled. I volunteered to make over 250 of my mushroom appetizers, so I opted for taking half a day off instead of staying up until midnight! Thankfully another wonderful church lady came over and helped me with assembly, so we finished in only a couple of hours (recipe at the end of this post). Just a tip if you are making a huge quantity of appetizers that require chopped vegetables? The food processor is a HUGE time saver! It made quick work of chopping 10 and a half cups of mushrooms and 8 onions (and I didn’t even shed a tear)! I also opted to purchase pre-washed, sliced mushrooms. When you’re cooking such a large quantity, it’s worth the slight increase in price not to have to scrub that many ‘shrooms!

So the appetizers were done, but my mushroom mania was just beginning. For one thing, I had a few leftover mushrooms. I took care of that problem by sauteing them, along with some onions and frozen spinach, and serving over some Hungry Girl-fredo with goat cheese for lunch on Saturday. Mmm…was it tasty! But sadly, I used up my last package of tofu shirataki noodles :(….hopefully I can get some of March Break when I go shopping in Buffalo!

In addition to the leftover mushrooms, we also had TONS of the cream cheese filling leftover! Just look at the size of the vat! I should have figured…I usually have a little bit leftover…and considering I was multiplying the recipe by 7, I should have expected that amount would go up by a lot! I took it to the church function to spread on crackers and a little got eaten up, but I was still left with a sizable amount. I think it would be good stuffed inside of chicken or in or on pasta….stay tuned to see what I come up with!

On Sunday, I did come up with what I think is a pretty creative use for the stuff: ham, mushroom and artichoke stuffed squash! It may sound (and look) a little weird, but don’t knock it ’till you try it…it was actually really good! Here’s what I did. I baked a buttercup squash that had been scooped of its seeds in the oven, then cut a wedge that was about a third of the squash. For the filling, I sauteed a few large mushrooms in a nonstick pan with salt, pepper and thyme. I combined the mushrooms with 2 oz leftover diced, cooked ham; one diced canned artichoke heart, and a couple of tbsp of the leftover cream cheese filling. I sprinkled the top with 2 tbsp light Parmesan cheese. I put it back in the oven at 425 until the cheese was melted and browned and the filling was heated through, about 15 minutes (I didn’t time it exactly, but I had enough time to go and put my sheets back on my bed after they’d been in the dryer :P). I served the squash with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts. It was an unconventional but nonetheless delicious lunch!

That sums up my mushroom shenanigans and you know what? I’m not sick of mushrooms yet! I still love this funky fungus. How about you…are you a mushroom lover or hater? Before I go, here is the appetizer recipe, as promised. They’re usually quite popular whenever I make them, and they come together pretty easily (if you’re not making 280)! Added bonus? Only 65 calories and 2.6 grams of fat per appetizer, according to the recipe!

Mushroom Pastries

from Company’s Coming: Cooking for the Seasons (this recipe is from the spring section…hope it’s okay that I made it a few weeks early 😛 )

1 ½ cups chopped fresh mushrooms

1 medium onion, chopped

1 ½ tbsp. cooking oil

1 250 g/8 oz package light cream cheese, softened

1tbsp. milk

1 tsp. dried dill

2 green onions, finely chopped

1/8 tsp. dried thyme

2 tubes of refrigerated country style biscuits (10 per tube)

 

Sauté mushrooms and onion in cooking oil in frying pan until soft and liquid from mushrooms has evaporated. Remove to small bowl. Cool to room temperature.

Beat cream cheese, milk, dill green onions and thyme in medium bowl until smooth. Stir in mushroom mixture.

Separate biscuits. Split each biscuit in half. Flatten biscuit halves with rolling pin. Put about 2 tsp. filling on each. Fold over. Seal. Arrange in single layer on greased baking sheet. Bake in 400̊ F oven for about 15 minutes until golden. Makes 40 appetizers (and, if you’re like me…extra filling)!

Mmmm….creamy

4 Feb

So, the other night, I made a supper that included a DELICIOUS cream sauce. This may not seem news-worthy to you, but I have long been a follower of “the golden rules of healthy eating” – avoid cream sauces at all costs! But if you make the sauce yourself, cream sauce is totally do-able without wrecking your diet. I wanted to write the post before I forgot everything I put in the sauce – since I completely made it up!

So the sauce was a wild mushroom and balsamic cream sauce – does that sound good or what?! Here’s what I did:

I started by soaking some mixed wild mushrooms in boil water. In half a tsp of olive oil in a small nonstick pan, I sauteed one sliced portabello mushroom and a clove of minced garlic. After a few minutes, I added the softened dried mushrooms and their cooking liquid. I also added 2 tbsp of half and half cream, 2 wedges of the Laughing Cow light cheese, a couple of splashes of chicken broth, a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar and a spoonful of Dijon mustard. I seasoned with salt and pepper, and let it simmer together until the Laughing Cow had melted in (I had to keep adding a bit more liquid to thin it out).This made enough for 2 servings.

What did I serve this oh-so-delicious sauce with? As you can see in the photo (sorry the quality’s not so great, I was in a bit of a rush), I used some of it to top my mashed cauliflower/celery root. The rest of it topped a “turkey broil” I bought from a vendor at a local farmer’s market. I think the broils are basically just lean ground turkey, parsley and spices, shaped into nice little medallions. I baked them in the oven for about 45 minutes at 350, then topped them with the sauce and a little bit of goat cheese (I was a little short on my dairy servings, so this got in the last 1/2 serving I needed ;)). On the side, I had some roasted brussels sprouts (olive oil, garlic salt, pepper – roast at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes).

It was a delicious dinner that included non-diet-wrecking cream sauce. One healthy cooking tip is that if part of your meal is a little more decadent (meat topped with cream sauce and cheese, hello!), cut back on other parts. If you noticed, the rest of the meal was entirely vegetables (except for the Laughing Cow pureed with the cauliflower). The meat was a bit of a splurge, so I wasn’t going to pair it with a load of pasta or a rich side dish. But it was so flavourful, I didn’t need to.

Do you have any favourite healthy “cheats” that taste like splurges?