because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Mushrooms

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …

Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.

I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This recipe makes about a quart of soup.

  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gouda  cheese
  • Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
  2. Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This is an #OnionLove Post … Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other great #onionlove posts …

This recipe was also shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party Wednesday, Everyday Mom’s MealsFull Plate Thursday, Share it Saturday, and Scrumptious Sunday.


Happiness & a Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Last night my facebook page zoomed past 10,000 “likes” when I wasn’t looking. I was out having a glass of wine with my friend, talking out all the things we needed to talk about, sharing things we probably wouldn’t ever tell anyone else.

How did it zoom by without me so quickly? I think it’s because I’ve been doing an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page. Every day there is a letter, you choose one thing that starts with that letter and share the health benefits of your chosen thing. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. Yesterday was G and I chose Garlic. Somewhere along the way I invited my foodie friends to join in and share facts or recipes on my page. That’s when things really got fun. Suddenly I wasn’t talking to myself anymore … everyone was joining in and we had such a spread of beautiful recipes and wonderful conversations going on everywhere.

10,063 likes on facebook

Today is the letter H and because I’m so HAPPY, I’ve asked everyone to share what makes them happy. And I thought I better take a minute to share what makes me happy. Each and every one of you that comment, visit, or like me on facebook or Pinterest or twitter: you make me happy. You are what makes all of the time and effort I put into this blog worthwhile.

What makes me happy?

Snuggling, hugs, curling up with my cat, the many shades of green leaves on the trees, joking with my son, hearing my daughter sing, seeing her dance, visiting my parents, talking with my sisters, playing with my nieces and nephews, going for long walks and hikes in beautiful, natural spaces, a text or visit from a friend, yoga, a genuine smile. Art. Live music. Singing. Beautiful architecture. History and Books. Sunrise on the lake.

Beautiful morning at Big Stone Lake

Thunderstorms and rain, rainbows, blue sky, clouds, flowers, sunshine, seeing a deer or beautiful bird or a bat flying in the sky. Dragonflies and butterflies. Mountains. Plants. ANYTHING purple. Looking at the stars somewhere away from the city where you can see so many more of them. Riding on a boat, canoeing, sailing. Swimming. Camping. Dancing. The sound of waves and the feel of water and sand on my toes. Opening the windows and feeling a slight breeze through my house. Travelling. Meeting new people and seeing new things, trying new foods and seeing the world from a different perspective. Coming home. Breathing freely. Being healthy and so grateful to be alive.

A hot cup of chai on a chilly morning, dinner on the patio, a really good smooth dark chocolate. Having a drawer full of different wonderful cheeses, a bottle of wine and several lovely dark beers in my refrigerator. Picking berries, vegetables, herbs or flowers and eating them fresh. Hot soup and the smell of fresh bread baking on a cool or rainy day. Thai food. Or Mexican or Greek or anything funky and ethnic. Baking cinnamon rolls with my daughter, making up new recipes with my son. A beautiful salad. Little toasts! Pizza. Cold sweet ice cream on a hot day. Cooking. Having a handsome man cook for me and rub my back or my feet. Growing herbs. Foraging. Writing and reading and sharing with all of the wonderful foodies that have graced my life with their presence.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Cheese is one of those things that send me into a happy oblivion. Dofino cheese noticed this and sent me a bunch of cheeses. One of the cheeses they sent me was this smoked havarti which is very creamy and has an intense smoky taste, which blends so well with mushroom, tomato and eggs and a bit of smoky bacon.

  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 1/4  - 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or swiss chard
  • A small handful of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • 2 – 4 eggs (depending on how fluffy you want your frittata … I used 2, but it was a little flat)
  • 1 slice lean bacon, fried crisp, cooled and crumbled or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, smoked havarti, & asiago, mixed)

Directions:

  1. In a skillet pan, melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. Sautee for a few minutes, add the tomato & onion. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then uncover and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the spinach and sautee briefly until wilted.
  2. Put the vegies in a bowl, mix with the herbs, and set aside. Clean out the pan. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a spoonful of water for each egg. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or just salt) and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Heat the skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour in the eggs and let them cook for just a moment to start setting up. Quickly spread the vegie mixture over the eggs, sprinkle with bacon and top with the shredded cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook till the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and serve immediately in wedges.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

What makes you happy? I would love to know!

This recipe was shared at Share It SaturdaysScrumptious SundaysRecipe of the WeekKatherine Martinelli’s Tomato Bloghop and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Wild Mushroom Grilled Pizza

Wild Mushroom Grilled Pizza

The last time I grilled pizza, I decided to do a simple wild mushroom ‘za. Just cuz I had some wild shrooms from my wonderful dad. Have I mentioned how much he spoils me? I am so so very lucky …

The mushrooms were fantastic, but really the best part about this pizza was the crust. The crust had such a wonderful flavor, probably because I used the liquid from cooking up the morel mushrooms along with some tomato juice for the liquid in the dough. Morel mushrooms are full of moisture. When you cook them up, the moisture releases and you end up with a sort of soupy mushroom mixture. You can keep cooking to reduce the juice, or you can save that delicious mushroom juice for soup … or pizza crust. I made two pizzas with this crust: this mushroom one for me, and a cheese one for my daughter. I still had some dough left, so I let it rise while I was cooking the pizzas, then baked it up as “flatbread” … my son gobbled those up in no time.

Wild Mushroom Grilled Pizza

Wild Mushroom Grilled Pizza

  • Pizza dough
  • Wild mushrooms (I used morels & shelf mushrooms, but others will work as well)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Your favorite pizza or pasta sauce
  • Mozzarella or Italian blend of cheeses
  • Fresh chives, garlic scapes, snipped, & fresh basil leaves

Heat a frying pan to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl about in the pan, then add the mushrooms and garlic and sautee for a few minutes. Season to taste with Red Robin seasoning. If the mushrooms get dry, add some white wine and cover for a couple minutes till the mushrooms are soft and moist. Pour off any excess mushroom juice (or wine) to use in your pizza crust.

Make the dough for the pizza crust (see recipe below).

When the dough is ready, light up the coals on the grill, and when they are hot, pile the coals up on one side of the grill, leaving the other side empty to make a not-as-hot spot for the toppings to melt. (If you are using a gas grill, heat up one area to very hot and a lower heat area for melting the cheese.)

Arrange your mushrooms and cheese right next to the grill so you’re ready to top the pizza when the crust is ready.

Put the grate on the grill, and place a crust on the grill over the hot coals, cover and let it cook for 5-10 minutes, checking it periodically. The crust should start to bubble up a little and get brown on the bottom. Once it is nicely browned on the bottom, flip it over onto the cooler side of the grill, add the toppings and cover the grill again till the cheese is melted. (For some more pics showing how to grill pizza, see my Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza post.)

Top the pizza with chives, scapes and fresh basil, cut and enjoy!

Italian Mushroom Tomato Pizza Crust

  • 1 cup liquid (I used about 1/4 cup juice from cooking the mushrooms, 1/2 cup tomato juice, and filled the rest of the cup with water)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Put all ingredients into the bread machine and put it on the dough setting. When the dough is done, divide it into four balls. Shape each ball into a disc shape, cover with a towel and let rest about 5 – 10 minutes. On a clean, flat surface sprinkled with cornmeal, roll out the dough for your crust with a rolling pin. Cover and let rest until the grill is ready and you have all your ingredients prepped and ready. The trick to grilling pizza is to have all the toppings ready to add to the pizza quickly as soon as you flip the dough over.

Wild Mushroom Grilled Pizza

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Balsamic Roasted Zucchini & Mushrooms

{Guest Post from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen}

Balsamic Roasted Zucchini & Mushrooms

It’s Day 4 of my vacation and Carrie from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen is such a sweetie … she is tending the kitchen here today. Carrie is a fantabulous cook and great “virtual” friend that I am so pleased to know. And did you know she’s publishing a cookbook? I’m so excited for her!!! This dish that she is sharing is right up my alley … I can’t wait for zucchini season now.

Anyway, without further adieu, here’s Carrie!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carrie-Farias-of-Carrie's-Experimental-KitchenHi everyone, I’m Carrie behind Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen and I am thrilled and honored to be a guest here today at Sumptuous Spoonfuls! I just LOVE Ann’s blog and the fact that she uses fresh ingredients in her dishes (just like me!), it truly does make the world of difference! I love looking around the kitchen, seeing what I have on hand and creating a meal that is simple yet delicious, whether or not your an experienced chef or a kitchen novice. I have been married for 17 years and am the mother of two girls, ages 15 and 10, who I lovingly refer to as my food testing “guinea pigs”. I reside in a small town in Northwestern NJ and graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management. I am also awaiting the release of my first cookbook called “Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen: A Collection of Mediterranean Inspired Family Meals”; which is scheduled to be released in the late summer, early fall of 2012.

And now for the recipe…

Two of my favorite vegetables combined together with garlic and balsamic vinegar make this a must try side dish the next time you’re looking to try something new and easy! I LOVE roasting just about anything, and this was no exception. Just look at the beautiful color and the taste was incredible!

Balsamic Roasted Zucchini & Mushrooms

  • 2 Zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 8-10 Large Mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Add the zucchini, mushrooms and garlic to a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Mix well then place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway. Serves 4.

*Nutritional Information: Calories 94, Carbs 7g, Fat 8g, Protein 3g

Enjoy!

*Calculations based on ingredients entered into MyFitnessPal and may not be 100% accurate.

Carrie Palladino Farias
Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

Website: http://www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarriesExperimentalKitchen
Twitter: www.twitter.com/CarriesExpKtchn
Pinterest: CarriesExpKtchn


Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

My chives are growing like crazy right now and they’re in full bloom with big, beautiful purple flowers. They’ve taken over a big chunk of my raised bed already … Mom warned me that they would, but I’ve never had anything grow like that here . Perhaps it’s because the deer eat everything … except for the daffodils and the chives.

Their loss! I love them. Besides that they are gorgeous, I think chives taste marvelous. And chive flowers even moreso. While chives add sort of a subtle onion taste to a dish, chive flowers are more intense, little bursts of flavor.

And Dad gave me some beautiful fresh shelf mushrooms he found … I thought they’d go perfect with the chive flowers.

Chive flower, mushroom, white bean and walnut salad

Chive Flower, Mushroom, White Bean & Walnut Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Cooked white beans
  • Fresh mushrooms, sliced or torn into chunks
  • Fresh cut “shards” of parmesan cheese (thinly cut slices)
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Chive flowers
  • Avocado ranch salad dressing (recipe here)

Fill your bowl most of the way with greens, then toss on some beans, fresh mushrooms, parmesan, and walnuts. Tuck in the chive flowers and drizzle with avocado ranch.

Before you eat the salad, make sure you take a moment to savor the beauty of these flowers. Then dive into the taste of them … You might want to pull them apart and scatter them all over your salad.

Chive flower, mushroom, white bean and walnut salad

This recipe was shared at  Tastetastic ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Manic Mondays.


Shrimp, Chicken & Asparagus Cellentani Pasta

in a Lowfat Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce

Shrimp & Chicken Asparagus Mushroom Pasta with Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce

This is how I lighten up Fettucini Alfredo … except without the fettucini … because I just adore the swirly, curly shape of this cellentani.

This pasta dish is a delicious & elegant meal, a great way to use leftover chicken, and if you take a few minutes to get everything prepped and have the meat pre-cooked, it comes together in about 30 to 45 minutes. Just make the lowfat creamy sauce, sautee some lovely vegetables and throw it all together with the cooked shrimp and chicken.

The chicken breast was one I had marinated in a garlic-buttermilk mixture, then cooked on the grill the other night. Use any leftover chicken … or just skip the chicken and add more shrimp (or vice versa)!  The shrimp were just some frozen little shrimps I had in my freezer. Bigger shrimp would of course be more fancy shmancy if you’re serving this to company.

Shrimp & Chicken Asparagus Mushroom Pasta with Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce

Shrimp, Chicken & Asparagus Cellentani in a Lowfat Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce

Makes 2 to 4 servings, depending on how hefty your eaters are.

  • 1 cup dry uncooked cellentani or cavatappi pasta (about 4 oz. … or use another shape … fettucine, linguini, ziti, or penne would all work too …)
  • 1 1/4 cups asparagus
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 – 2  Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 oz. shrimp, pre-cooked
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • for garnish: freshly shredded parmesan, snipped chives and/or green onion and fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  1. First, make the garlic cream sauce (see below). You can make the sauce ahead of time to save steps at dinnertime –just keep it in the fridge in a covered container till you’re ready to use it.
  2. Start the water boiling to cook the pasta. While it’s heating up, chop and prep the vegetables, chicken and herbs and shred the cheese.
  3. When the water starts to boil, add the cellantani (or whatever pasta you are using).
  4. Heat a sautee pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray, and add the asparagus, mushrooms, garlic and rosemary. Sautee just briefly, then add the wine. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning mix–or just salt and pepper.) Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes or until the liquid from the wine and mushrooms has mostly evaporated, the mushrooms are tender and the asparagus is crisp tender.
  5. By this point, the pasta should be almost done. When it’s done, put it in a colander to drain out the water.
  6. To the sautee pan, add the sauce, shrimp, chicken, basil and tomato, then pour in the creamy sauce and the pasta. (You may not need all the sauce.) Stir everything together and cook until everything is hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with a bit of shredded parmesan, some basil leaves and snipped green onion and/or chives (I used both). A nice salad and some garlic toast on the side would be marvelous.

Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce (Alfredo-ish)

  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup low fat or skim milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, then add the chopped garlic and sautee just for a minute or two to cook the garlic. Add the flour and stir to make a paste (or roux). Add the milk, lower the heat to medium, and whisk until the roux is dissolved in the milk and the sauce begins to thicken. Toss in the shredded parmesan, basil and nutmeg and stir, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Shrimp & Chicken Asparagus Mushroom Pasta with Lowfat Garlic Cream Sauce

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, Everyday Mom’s Meals and Mealtime Mondays.


Smoky Blue Cheese & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

Smoky Blue Cheese & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms are curious things. Some mushrooms are healthy and delicious and nutritious … and then other mushrooms are quite dangerous.

I have gone mushroom hunting several times. The little shrooms can be quite elusive, and then suddenly you’ll discover a whole field of them. Or not. It’s hard to tell with mushrooms. If you’re going to go hunting them in the wild, though, make sure only to pick the ones you KNOW are safe to eat. I’ve hunted morels, chanterelles, shaggy manes, and a few other stragglers. Morels are by far my favorite. There is nothing like them in the whole world. They are just exquisite.

These aren’t morels or anything I found growing wild. Just some huge mushrooms I saw at the grocery store that were screaming to be taken home and stuffed. They sat neglected in my vegetable drawer for a week, waiting for me to attend to them, pulling at my consciousness with little nags telling me they’re not going to wait forever. Sorry I kept you waiting so long, dear mushrooms. Here, have a nice cheesey-licious stuffing. And some basil.

Smoky Blue Cheese & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

First you must make this funky cheese mixture. I used this same cheese filling in my Pepperoni Pull Apart Rolls.

Smoky Basil Cheese filling:

  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 2 Tablespoons)

Mix the ingredients up in a bowl. I know, it makes more than you’ll need for these mushrooms. Use it on toast or in a sandwich, or toss it into the cheese mixture for a lasagna or some stuffed pull apart rolls. It’s really tasty … I know you’ll find SOMETHING to do with it.

Smoky Blue Cheese & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 8 big mushrooms
  • 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup red onion, peeled
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons blue cheese
  • 2/3 cup smoky basil cheese filling
  • Fresh sprigs of basil, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Carefully pull the stems out of the mushrooms and chop the stems and the garlic and onion into little bits.
  3. Spray a pan with cooking spray and sautee the onion, garlic, and mushroom stems briefly over medium high heat, then add the wine and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the sauteed vegies with the breadcrumbs, blue cheese, and smoky basil cheese filling.
  5. Stuff the mushroom caps with the cheesy crumb mixture. You can pile it on there a bit.
  6. Set the stuffed mushrooms on a baking pan and pour 1/4 cup white wine plus 1/4 cup water in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Bake the mushrooms at 350 for 15 – 25 minutes or until they are nice and hot all the way through.
  8. Garnish with basil leaves. You may have to use a toothpick to make a little hole in the stuffing to stick in the basil stems. (I did.) Serve them while they’re hot. You can make them ahead of time, store them in the fridge in a covered container, then pop them in the oven just before serving time if you like. You’d have to bake them a little longer, but not too much.

Smoky Blue Cheese & Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.


White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce on Angel Hair

with fresh parmesan and basil leaves (and shhhh! … it’s kind of even  … almost … healthy)

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta with Parmesan and Fresh Basil

There is a bit of a funny story surrounding this dish … we like to joke around a lot in my office. Normally this doesn’t extend to our clients, but today something came across the email trail and our client jokingly said “10 lashings for Mike” … which my boss responded to with “with a wet noodle … al dente”. I was sooo tempted to respond with “and a white wine mushroom cream sauce”.

Because I wasn’t sure how the client would react, I held my tongue and just went into the kitchen and made this. It’s a very quick dish to prepare …  You could have it for lunch or dinner just like this as an elegant vegetarian meal … and it is so amazing just like that! … maybe with a salad on the side? I didn’t have the patience to do that today … I was SO hungry. If you are a meat eater, I think it would be lovely to add chicken, shrimp, or a luscious grilled hunk of salmon … or some broccoli or asparagus or maybe a bit of chopped tomato.

I honestly could not think or wait to eat this for even a moment longer. It was SO hard to refrain from inhaling this while I took the pictures …

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta (low fat, healthy!)

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce on Angel Hair Pasta

Serves one hungry person or perhaps as a side dish for two … multiply the recipe for the number of mouths you have to feed!

  • 1 serving of angel hair pasta (I recommend using whole wheat pasta or something like Smart Taste that has more fiber in it … )
  • 1 heaping cup of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Bruschetta seasoning and Red Robin seasoning (recipe here)
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fat free half and half
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese (or a mix of both)
  • Fresh basil leaves, sliced (or not)

Directions:

  1. Start the water for your angel hair pasta heating.
  2. Spray the pan with cooking spray, then add mushrooms, onion, & garlic. Sautee briefly, then add the white wine and sprinkle on some of the seasonings. Sautee for a while and adjust the seasonings to taste.
  3. When the water starts boiling, throw your pasta into the water. The rest of this isn’t going to take long …
  4. To the pan with the mushrooms, add the light cream cheese and the fat free half and half. Cook and stir on medium to medium-low heat until the sauce starts to thicken a bit, then add most of the shredded cheese (saving a bit for the top).
  5. Check if the pasta is done. Throw it in the strainer.
  6. Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened to the consistency you want, put the pasta on a plate, pour the creamy mushroom sauce all over it, then sprinkle with your fresh basil leaves.
  7. Try to slow down and savor it … I really wouldn’t recommend the inhalation method I used …

White Wine Mushroom Cream Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta ... a lower-fat, healthified recipe ...

This recipe was shared on Talent Show TuesdaysCast Party Wednesdays, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday and Full Plate Thursday, {Fusion Friday}, Weekend Potluck, Meatless Mondays and Katherine Martinelli’s Pasta Blog Hop.

This recipe was FEATURED on Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.


Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

I had the urge to make beer cheese soup the other day … and there was just a bit of bacon sitting there needing to be used, and then while retrieving the garlic, I ran across some mushrooms … so they hopped in the soup too. And then I stumbled across some pumpkin puree in the freezer, and because it was so good in the macaroni and cheese, I threw in some pumpkin puree too. And that’s how this soup happened.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Makes 2-4 bowls of soup, depending on how big your bowls are.

  • 2 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups of 1 % milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 loose cup of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (gently place the cheese in the cup so it fluffs up–don’t pack it in)
  • 1/2 loose cup of shredded gouda cheese (again, very loosely placed in the cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of Red Robin Seasoning (if you don’t have any, here’s a recipe … or use your favorite seasoned salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown ale (or your favorite brew–I used the Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale)
  • For garnish: crumbled bits of bacon, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan (I mean the pan you’re going to cook the soup in), fry the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and crumble it up into little bits. Set it aside for now.
  2. Pour some of the excess fat from the pan, then add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Over medium-high heat, sautee them in the bacon fat until the onions are soft and translucent and the mushrooms are limp.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little shrooms and onions and garlic bits in flour.
  4. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, shredded cheeses, most of the bacon bits (reserving a few for garnish), and the seasonings and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the beer. The soup will froth up for a moment, but then it will calm down again, just in time to serve it.
  7. Pour into bowls and top with shredded cheese, the reserved bacon bits, and fresh parsley leaves. Some people like to put popcorn on their beer cheese soup. That’s fun too.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

This would go great with hot, crusty, fresh baked bread, or even better, in a bread bowl. I didn’t have any of that, though …

This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night and Full Plate Thursday.


Blues n Beef Salad with Pear & Pomegranate

And a kickin’ blue cheese yogurt dressing

Blues n Beef Salad with Pear & Pomegranate

This was a salad-scape I threw together on Friday for lunch. I had some steak from a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich I bought that was way too big for me, so I was looking for things to go with the extra meat I pilfered from the leftover sandwich. Blue cheese, definitely, and mushrooms and onions … oh and some toasted nuts for crunch. A spicy blue cheese dressing, yes. But then it needed a little something sweet and juicy to counterpoint all the intense meat and cheese flavors. I had some of the pear and pomegranate seeds left from the pear crostini — that was just the thing.

Make the dressing first.

Kickin Blue Cheese Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons blue cheese crumbles

Mix all ingredients together and let sit to blend the flavors while you prepare the salad.

Blues n Beef Salad with Pear & Pomegranate Seeds

Blues n Beef Salad with Pear & Pomegranate Seeds

  • Mixed greens
  • Steak or Roast beef, thinly sliced and warm
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Sliced red onions
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Hunks of ripe red pear
  • Pomegranate seeds

Fill the bowl 3/4 full of greens. Top with the rest of the ingredients as you like. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy.

Blues n Beef Salad with Pear & Pomegranate

This recipe was shared at Talent Show TuesdayTotally Tasty Tuesdays, and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Hashbrowns Supreme

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

My kids love to go to IHOP … frankly, I would much rather stay home and eat … it’s usually much tastier and it costs so much less, but once in a while I give in and we go. I will spare you my whining about paying $7 for a plate of pancakes that I can make for less than $1 … oh wait, did I say that? This coming from the same woman that will spend $5 on a small pack of raspberries to go with the chocolate stout cake or $8 on a single glass of wine. Yeah, I know it makes no sense, but you know, we all have different priorities …

But really, both of my kids get so excited about going to IHOP when we go that it is a joy to go. Never mind having to fight the SUVs for a decent-sized parking space because their compact parking spaces might possibly be big enough for a motorcycle. But the people there are usually  friendly. And the food is reasonably good. And my kids LOVE the pancakes. They debate over how to order so they can each get pancakes and hashbrowns and sausages in just the right portions. When I order coffee, I get a whole big pot of it, which is good in my book. And the hashbrowns are pretty good. I often just order a side of hashbrowns and  coffee.

But IHOP completely surprised me on our last visit. They had this thing they called “hashbrown stacks” … which was mounds of vegies and cheese and eggs and all kinds of yumminess on a bed of hashbrowns … oh, I had to have one of THOSE!

It wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, but I don’t fault IHOP for it. They did come up with a pretty dang awesome idea. So of course I had to try it at home …

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Hashbrowns Supreme

  • Hot cooked hashbrowns
  • Spinach, thawed and warmed, with the excess juice squeezed out
  • Mushrooms & red onions, sauteed and seasoned to taste
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Small slices or shredded cheese (I used slices of gouda and sharp cheddar)
  • Tomato, for the top (I thought of this after the fact, but a bit of chopped tomato on top would have been just perfect.)
First, make a flat layer of hashbrowns on your plate.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Top with spinach, then prosciutto.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Now add the mushrooms, onions and top with egg.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

And finally top with cheese (and tomato) and put in the microwave for a minute or two to get the cheese all good and melted.

Hashbrowns Supreme with Spinach, Prosciutto, Mushroom, Onion, Egg, and Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Cheese

I think you could do this on a larger scale in a glass casserole dish if you have a crowd to feed. I would love to try that … maybe at the next family get together.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyWednesday EatsThursday’s TreasuresMidweek FiestaFabulous Friday, Gooseberry Patch Comfort Foods and Foodie Friday.


Curried Stuffed Summer Squash

Curried Stuffed Summer Squash

My parents came to visit this weekend and with them they brought SO much beautiful bounty from their garden: peppers, onions, potatoes, eggplant, turnips, tomatoes, yellow watermelon, butternut squash.

They brought me a jar of salsa that they had made and a box full of canned tomatoes. AND a case of dad’s homemade wine.

We debated whether we should go out for dinner or stay in and cook– but since we had SO much food in the house, well, it just seemed like we should cook up some of it!

So I took the summer squash that my friend gave me last weekend and stuffed it some of dad’s venison apple sausage, some feta cheese and a bunch of  goodies from the garden. Oh it turned out good. We had a bit of soup and some bread along with some Pinot Grigio and we were well fed and happy.

Here are the squash sisters. Aren’t they pretty? The dark green one was a winter squash that had a mild sweet taste to it and smooth texture. The brighter green stripey one on the left was the one we ate last night. I am not sure what kind of squash these are since my friend says they were volunteers in her garden, but I sure love the taste of them. Someone told me they are cushaw squashes. Do you think that’s what they are?

The squash sisters

Curried Stuffed Summer Squash

You can adjust the seasonings to your own tastes. I didn’t actually measure anything either … just threw it all together, so feel free to adjust up or down on any of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a large summer squash or zucchini (eggplant would be good this way, too!), sliced lengthways and seeded if it has seeds in the middle like mine did
  • 1 t. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled & chopped
  • 3 -4 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 5- 7 fresh mushrooms, sliced and diced
  • about 3/4 c. chopped fresh tomato
  • about 3/4 c. cooked low-fat sausage (I used 2 venison-apple sausages, but turkey or chicken sausage would be good too. Peel off the casings if the sausage has them then chop. You could also leave out the sausage if you prefer just vegies.)
  • about 3/4 c. breadcrumbs
  • About 1/3 c. feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1 – 2 t. Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika

Directions:

  1. Scoop out the flesh of the summer squash with a grapefruit spoon, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick shell so it’s sturdy enough to hold the stuffing when it’s cooked.
  2. Chop up the scooped out flesh of the squash.
  3. Heat a medium saucepan to medium-high heat, then swirl around the olive oil in the pan. Add the squash, onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms and sautee until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the sausage, tomato, feta cheese, breadcrumbs, and spices. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon the stuffing back into the squash shell, packing it in so it all fits. If it doesn’t all fit back into the squash, you can bake some in a separate casserole dish. Sprinkle with a bit of extra feta cheese and top with a few chopped cherry tomatoes if you like.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and everything is well heated through.
  7. Scoop out servings from the beautiful squash shell.
Curried Stuffed Summer Squash
This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

“Got the Blues” Beefy Mushroom Pizza

My Beefy Mushroom Pizza's Got the Blues

I know my pizza doesn’t look very blue … but it is. The cheery colors are misleading … down deep, it is blue. Meaty. Creamy. Blue cheese intense.

I feel blue today too. It’s one of  those nagging, something-is-bothering-me-but-I-don’t-quite-know-what-it-is kinda feelings. The kind where you wonder what the heck you are so worried about … because really my life is so good. Oh yes, there are issues to deal with. Always there are those little curve balls life throws at you. But nothing major. Nothing really worth stewing about.

Most days I tend to focus on the pluses. Smell the roses. Watch the beauty of the world around me. Feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Enjoy the company of my children and my friends.

But once in a while you gotta grumble. Roar. Sing the blues. I know it’s temporary but when these kind of blues come around, I need to embrace the feeling and go with it.

Tomorrow I will (probably) be sunshine again. Today I am blue.

A good bluesy pizza is so awesome for these kinds of days … and a little wine … and yeah, I’m playing some blues too.

Blue Cheese Beef & Mushroom Pizza

“Got the Blues” Beefy Mushroom Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite pizza crust (I pulled one of my homemade crusts from the freezer)
  • Bluesy Autumn Pizza Spread (Recipe below–includes blue cheese, asiago, parmesan, cream cheese, and squash)
  • Cooked roast beef, venison, or steak, warmed and sliced or shredded (I used the meat from my French Dips, but feel free to use whatever meat you have on hand — or leave off the meat and just enjoy the cheese & mushroom sensation)
  • Mushrooms, sliced (Chardonnay mushrooms go well on this pizza too)
  • Bell pepper, chopped
  • Onion, chopped
  • Shredded Italian Blend of Cheeses
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Fresh tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • Just a few fresh basil leaves (if you have them)

Directions:

  1. If your pizza crust is frozen, warm it just a bit in the oven.
  2. Spread the warmed crust with a layer of the Bluesy Autumn Pizza Spread.
  3. Top with the rest of the ingredients. I started with meat, mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, then added the cheeses and topped it with the tomatoes, a few more bell peppers and onions.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is good and melty and bubbly.
  5. Sprinkle with basil leaves if you have some.

Blue cheese, beef, & mushroom pizza

Bluesy Autumn Pizza Spread

I took the cheesy mixture I used on my Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese sandwich and mixed it with an equal amount of cooked cushaw (we THINK that’s what it is anyway!) squash. I think you could use butternut squash, cushaw, acorn, or pumpkin … each would give it a little different flavor, but they would all be goooood.)

This cheese mixture is the same one used in my Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 – 2 T.  freshly grated asiago cheese
  • 1 – 2 T. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 T. blue cheese crumbles

Mix the above ingredients until well blended.

  • Cooked squash or canned pumpkin

Once you have the cheese mixture made, take a bit of the cheesy mixture — just 2-3 tablespoons–and mix it with an equal amount of cooked squash or canned pumpkin. Save the rest of the cheese mixture for sandwiches or crackers.

"Got the Blues" Blue Cheese, Mushroom, Beefy Pizza

Even though I don’t feel like warm connections today, this is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food. I still love you all. I just need a moment to myself today …

This recipe was shared at Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursdays and Recipe of the Week: Superbowl Snacks.


Finally! the Perfect Spinach & Artichoke Dip … with Chardonnay Mushrooms

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip

There are some recipes that just come to you in a sudden flash and the first time you make them they are absolutely fantabulous the very first time you make them.

There are others that take a lot of work, several iterations, sometimes months or even years to perfect. Your tasters get tired of tasting and you get tired of trying to find ways to reuse the “failures”. My Philly Cheesesteak French Dip recipe was one of those. I don’t know how many pounds of meat I went through before I got that one right! Each version was certainly edible, but not quite up to the flavor-filled goodness I wanted.

This dip recipe was another one of THOSE. I know there are plenty of spinach artichoke dips out there–and yes, I had one that I REALLY liked, but still it was laden with fat from all the cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise.  ( I tried some of the “light” versions and they just didn’t have the right creamy cheese-ilicious taste.) In fact, the health experts tell you that Spinach Artichoke Dip is one of the foods to AVOID at holiday parties because it’s one of the most fattening (and misleading!) appetizers that people serve at parties.

You don’t have to avoid this one. I admit, it still does have fat from the cheese, but I used small amounts of good strong flavorful cheeses, so you get the cheesey taste without as much fat.  And I added some cannellini beans–they add creaminess, protein, fiber, and flavor. I skipped the sour cream and used fat free greek yogurt instead. Oh, and I included the Chardonnay Mushrooms. They were just begging to join in the party.

And yes, they fit right in.

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip (with Chardonnay Mushrooms)

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized onion
  • 1/3 c. Chardonnay mushrooms (recipe is here)
  • 1/2 of a 15-oz. can of canellini beans, drained (reserve the juice in case you need it for blending)
  • 1 c. cooked spinach (roughly … you can add more if you like!)
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz. fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of a 15-oz. container of artichokes, chopped with a knife into small pieces
  • 1 T. loose blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 c. freshly shredded asiago cheese
  • 1/4 c. freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 oz. goat cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 c. light mayonnaise
For the top:
  • A bit of part-skim mozzarella cheese and a few chopped cherry tomatoes
Directions:
  1. Toss the garlic, onion, and mushrooms in your handi chopper or food processor and process till they are just little pieces. Take them out and put them in the mixing bowl where you’ll be whooshing together your dip.
  2. Next take your spinach, put it in the processor to chop it up fine, then blot out the extra moisture with a clean towel. Add it to the bowl
  3. Now take the cannellini beans and process them in your food processor until they are a smooth soft paste. Add some liquid from the can if you need to. Pour the beans in your handy dandy mixing bowl.
  4. Now add all the other ingredients and mix them up with a spoon in the bowl until everything is nicely mixed.
  5. Pour your dip into a baking dish or casserole, top with a bit of shredded cheese and tomatoes to make it look pretty, then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until it’s all hot and bubbly.
  6. Serve with bread, toasted tortillas, bagel chips, or vegies for dipping. Ordinary tortilla chips are not quite strong enough to stand up to this dish.

Another pretty way to serve this dip is in a bread bowl. Heat the dip, then pour into a hollowed out bread bowl with the chunks of bread for dipping. When I serve it this way, the entire thing usually gets eaten up, bowl and all!

The Realistic Nutritionist reminded me this morning that this dip also makes a great pizza!

This dip is totally addicting! If you bring it to a party, all your friends will totally love you … even more than they already do. Yes, really. Just make sure if you’re going to kiss any of them that they eat the dip too. ;)

The Perfect Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

This recipe was featured at Totally Tasty Tuesdays and shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Game Day Blog Hop and Fit & Fabulous Fridays: Superbowl Edition and Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny Bloghop.

Totally Tasty Tuesdays


Reinventing your Old Food and a Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spinach Mushroom Grilled Cheese

It’s Blog Action Day today and since it coincides with World Food Day this year, they’ve chosen the topic of food.

I want to talk about one little thing I think most of us don’t think about too much in our fast-food, disposable society: Reuse. We recycle, and that’s good, but we should also be doing a lot more reuse.

In America, we buy a lot of food that we never eat. So much of it gets thrown in the trash, encased in a plastic bag that won’t break down, then buried in a landfill. The convenience food we buy gets overpackaged in plastic and cardboard. We even buy packaged water, which isn’t any better tasting, cleaner, or more pure than the water that comes out of the tap.

I want to challenge you to do three simple things:

  1. Buy less pre-packaged food. Opt for foods that aren’t packaged at all as much as you can. All that packaging hurts our environment.
  2. Drink out of reusable containers. Make your own bottled water with a reusable water bottle and the water that comes out of your tap. If you must have filtered water, get a water filter. Skip the plastic bottles. Bring your own travel mug to the coffee shop or ask them to put your coffee in a REAL mug. They all have real mugs, but look around at the coffee shop and notice how many people are drinking out of real mugs and how many people are drinking out of disposable containers? Why do you have to ASK for a REAL mug?
  3. Really use the food you buy.

Let’s talk more about #3. I know, leftovers can get boring, but they don’t have to be!

I don’t know if you noticed that a lot of the recipes on my blog are interconnected. The leftover Baked Herb Lemon Garlic Chicken got turned into a Pesto Chicken Bacon Pizza, the waffles my kids didn’t eat at breakfast were tossed into a delicious chocolate raspberry pudding. Leftover tzatziki and hummus became a gorgeous Greek Layer Dip. The other thing you can do is simply freeze your leftovers so you have a quick meal when you need something fast (a much better kind of “fast food” than the drive through at McDonald’s).

I use “old” bread to make breadcrumbs for breading fish, topping casseroles or stuffing (whir the bread in a food processor or handi chopper until it’s fine crumbs, then freeze them for quick use whenever you need breadcrumbs). You don’t have to buy “panko” or breadcrumbs–just use the ends of the bread you have!

“Old” bread is also lovely for making french toast or bread pizza, and it also makes a killer grilled cheese sandwich. The toasting makes it taste fresh all over again.

Instead of going out and buying MORE food to make things, try to think of different ways to reuse what you’ve got. Get creative. You will be saving money, eating more interesting, delicious meals, AND you’ll be making a difference in the world. That’s something you can feel good about.

Which leads me to this sandwich. This is a reinvention of the Chardonnay Mushrooms and the Rustic Rosemary Bread. The bread and mushrooms are really two great ingredients that can be used SO many ways. What’s better than that?

Spinach & Mushroom Grilled Cheese

This is an amazing blend of tastes in one little sandwich. It’s a simple sandwich to make — and if you keep some of the cheese mixture and mushrooms pre-made in the fridge, you can whip up a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich in no time. The cheese, by the way, is also a really nice spread for crackers or on celery sticks. The mushrooms are great on a steak or chicken or pizza. Since spinach freezes so well, just pull out what you will use for your sandwich and put the rest back in the freezer for another use.

Before you can make this delicious sandwich, you need to make Chardonnay Mushrooms, so if you don’t have any on hand, go pop over and make those first. Here’s the recipe. It won’t take you long.  (If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, improvise a bit! Try another wine + your favorite seasoning blends!)

Spinach, Pesto & Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spinach, Pesto, and Chardonnay Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • Pesto (You can use store-bought or make your own! Here’s my recipe for pesto.)
  • Chardonnay mushrooms (Recipe here!)
  • Fresh spinach leaves or frozen spinach, thawed, warmed, and blotted with a towel to take out the extra liquid
  • Reduced-fat trans-fat-free buttery spread of your choice — or butter — whatever you like to use!
  • Your favorite rustic or french bread, sliced (I used the Rustic Rosemary bread.)

Cheese mixture

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 – 2 T.  freshly grated asiago cheese
  • 1 – 2 T. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 2 T. blue cheese crumbles

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with the other cheeses till they are well blended. You can vary the cheeses according to your preferences, but I recommend intensely flavored cheeses. Once you’ve mixed them well, warm the cheese briefly in the microwave (not more than 30 seconds).
  2. If you have fresh spinach, make sure it’s washed and dried well. I used frozen, so I heated in the microwave, then pressed a clean towel over it to remove the excess juices.
  3. Spread a very thin layer of buttery spread on the outside of the bread slices.
    Butter the outside of the bread slices first
  4. Flip over the slices. On one slice of bread for each sandwich, spread a thin layer of pesto. On the other side, spread with a thicker layer of the warm cheese mixture.
    Spread the inside of the slices: one with pesto, one with cheese mixture
  5. On top of the pesto side, arrange several spinach leaves or cooked spinach, then top with the Chardonnay Mushrooms.
    Top with spinach and mushrooms
  6. Put the cheesy slice on top of the sandwich.
  7. Heat a saucepan to med-high heat. Place each sandwich in the pan and cover for a few minutes. When the first side is golden brown and toasty, flip the sandwich to toast the other side.
  8. Slice and enjoy!
Spinach & Chardonnay Mushroom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.
This recipe was featured at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays.

Chardonnay Mushrooms

Chardonnay Mushrooms

It’s a super busy day here … so I am rushing to share this very quick and simple post with you!

Do you ever wish you had a really delicious way to prepare mushrooms that didn’t involve a lot of butter? This is it.

Only 5 ingredients. Super fast to make. And SOOooo good that you will have a hard time saving some for your steak or toast.

But save some (or make sure you have more mushrooms on hand!) because I’m going to show you some other really great ways to use these babies.

Chardonnay Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Red Robin seasoning (or your favorite tasty seasoned salt! … or if you want to try making your own there’s a recipe here.)
  • Bruschetta seasoning (I bought mine at World Market, but if you don’t have any on hand, don’t fret! I found a recipe to make it which is really good because I’ve used up all my bruschetta seasoning making these amazing mushrooms!)
  • a “splash” of Chardonnay (1 – 2 oz.)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a frying pan over med-high heat and spritz the pan with cooking spray.
  2. When the pan is hot, add the mushrooms and garlic and stir for a minute or so to get them started cooking.
  3. Sprinkle with a goodly amount of Red Robin Seasoning and Bruschetta seasoning, then add some freshly ground pepper.
  4. Pour a splash of chardonnay over the mushrooms–you don’t need much, probably 1 or 2 oz.
  5. Sautee the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to almost nothing.
  6. Taste your beautiful mushrooms and adjust the seasoning if you need to.
Chardonnay Mushrooms
This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

Eggplant, Mushroom, Ricotta & Asiago Bruschetta

Eggplant Mushroom Bruschetta

My dear, dear friend brought me some of her precious rustic rosemary pepper bread … and I was SO delighted! I had seen this recipe for Eggplant Bruschetta and already had dreams of eggplant and bruschetta dancing in my mind … I just needed some rustic bread to make it happen … some days, if you make little wishes, the rustic bread of your dreams may just appear on your doorstep …

(I’m still waiting for the handsome prince wish to come true … he stopped by a few weeks ago, and we had a lovely dinner together … but then he disappeared … sigh … perhaps this is just an issue of patience. Or perhaps he’s not my prince. I haven’t figured that puzzle out yet …)

BUT I did figure out the eggplant bruschetta puzzle … I kind of made up my own eggplant bruschetta recipe … and oh my this turned out good … I think I will just revel in this bruschetta dream for a bit longer. The prince can wait.

Eggplant Mushroom Ricotta Bruschetta

Eggplant, Mushroom, Ricotta & Asiago Bruschetta

  • 3 baby lavender eggplants, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
  • 4 – 6 fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • Basil vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Rustic crusty bread, sliced … I think if your bread is not rosemary pepper bread, you might want to add some finely chopped rosemary and extra fresh ground pepper to the eggplant mixture
  • Pesto
  • Lowfat ricotta cheese
  • Shredded Asiago cheese
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes from the garden
  • Basil leaves for garnish

Roast the eggplant by spreading in a thin layer on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and lightly sprinkle with salt, then bake in a 350 degree oven about 5 minutes. Stir the eggplant and bake a few more minutes or until soft.

Coat a frying pan with cooking spray, then add the olive oil. Sautee the eggplant, onion, garlic, and mushroom briefly until the mushrooms and onion are soft. Toss with 1 – 2 T. basil vinaigrette (recipe below).

Meanwhile, lightly toast several slices of the rustic bread. Spread each slice with a thin layer of pesto, then the ricotta, then sprinkle on some shredded asiago cheese onto each round of bread. Put the bruschetta on a baking tray and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 5-10 minutes or until the asiago is melted and bubbly.

Top with the eggplant/mushroom mixture and some freshly chopped tomatoes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Eggplant Mushroom Asiago Bruschetta

Basil Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

This dressing is so versatile … it’s great on a salad, of course, but also makes for a very quick tasty bruschetta!

I found this recipe on Farm Fresh Living when I was looking for a way to use up some of my plentiful basil (besides pesto!). I used a LOT more basil than the recipe called for. And I adjusted it quite a bit … like I always do …

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tablespoons Garlic peppercorn mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1/8 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. rice wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Juice from 1/2 orange
  • 1 small tomato diced
  • Several BIG handfuls of basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra- virgin organic olive oil

Toss all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.

Use a little to make your lovely bruschetta, then store the rest in the fridge for your next fantastic basilicious creation.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Eggplant Bloghop.


Baked Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms

Baked Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken

I made this chicken along with some Garlic Knots for the $5 meal challenge yesterday … the goal was to make a meal for $5 per person or less. I think this whole meal cost about $5 for the two of us and we had leftovers! You can adjust this to make more servings. I was cooking for two last night, so I just made 6 chicken legs, which actually turned out to be way too much for us!

Baked Herbed Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken legs (or other parts … I used rather small legs, so if you have larger pieces, you will need to add more of the other ingredients)
  • 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • About 1/2 of a small carton of mushrooms, cut in quarters
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 t. dried thyme
  • Several sprigs of fresh oregano or 1 t. dried oregano
  • A small sprig of fresh rosemary, snipped or 1/4 t. dried rosemary, ground
  • Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning blend) and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt

Directions:

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and arrange the chicken parts in the bottom.

Top with garlic, lemon zest, tomato, mushrooms, and herbs. Squeeze the lemon juice all over the chicken.

Herbed Chicken with Lemon Garlic and Mushrooms

Here they are, with the rolls, all ready for baking:

Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms

Bake covered at 400 degrees F. for about 1 hour or until the chicken juices run clear when you make a small cut into one of the chicken pieces.

Now after moving the chicken to a serving dish, take out about 1/4 c. of the vegies and herbs with a little bit of the juice from the bottom of the pan and put in a handi chopper or food processor with 1/3 c. of plain yogurt. Whir until well blended.

Serve the sauce on the side with the chicken and some fresh homemade rolls or bread. I should have made a salad to go with, but it was a long day and I was too exhausted to make anything more … so dinner was served just like this. We had been munching on the mushrooms and some watermelon from dad’s garden earlier, so I am counting that as our “salad”.

Herbed Lemon Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms


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