Christmas · Holidays · kid-friendly · Recipes · Uncategorized

Michelle’s Stuffed Mushrooms

By popular demand, I’ve got Michelle, my brother’s girlfriend and an awesome cook, to guest blog about how she makes her easy yet delicious stuffed mushrooms. They’ve been a staple at our holiday celebrations this year, and are truly addictive! Interested in finding out how she makes this healthy dish? Keep reading!

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Michelle’s Famous Stuffed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

  • White mushrooms, 3 or 4 packages
  • Plain bread crumbs, any brand
  • Butter (5 TBSP total)

DIRECTIONS

The number of people you are planning to serve determines how many packages of mushrooms to buy. I buy the white mushrooms that still have the stems attached. For Christmas, when we had 12 guests, I got four packages, and for Easter I got three. It may seem like a lot, but remember that mushrooms shrink! I also use the 4C Plain Bread Crumbs but you can use your favorite kind.

Usually the night before I am going to make them, I take the stems out and I save about 10 of them. Then I wash all the mushrooms to make sure I have all the dirt off, and put them back in the fridge. (Don’t forget to wash the stems too!)

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To make them, I get a pot of boiling water and put the mushrooms in the water for 5 minutes. Make sure not to leave them in any longer then that! I have a limited amount of large pots in my house so I boiled them in three batches, and it works well either way. Then use a (clean) towel and put them facing down so the water doesn’t pool. Then, you want to use the stems: chop them up very fine and use about 1-2 tablespoons of butter (it can be salted or unsalted). I use salted butter for mine. Have the butter melt in the frying pan then put your stems in and let them cook until they get a deeper brown color. Make sure to keep stirring them so they don’t burn. That usually takes about 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat.

In a bowl, have your bread crumbs ready. The amount will vary depending on how many mushrooms you have. I used a little less than a cup. If you’re making more mushrooms, then add more breadcrumbs. Once the stems are done cooking you add those in with your bread crumbs.

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You will need to melt about 2-3 more tablespoons of butter (just use the same frying pan you cooked the stems in) and once that is melted add that to your bread crumbs and mix it all up until it kind of looks like wet sand. (You can do a taste test here ~ I promise you it doesn’t taste like sand!) You just want to make sure that all the breadcrumbs are coated.

**At this time if you wanted, you could add whatever spices you like, for example garlic powder, cheese, onion powder, etc. You can get creative, but I keep things plain.**

Now time for stuffing! I have a large round glass dish that I like to cook my mushrooms in. By this time they will be cooled from being boiled so just move them into whatever dish you baking them in and stuff them! I use a small spoon and make sure I really pack the stuffing into each mushroom by using the back of the spoon. You will more than likely have a little left over stuffing, so that’s what I sprinkle over the top. Put them in the oven at 350F for about 20-25 minutes (or until the stuffing looks golden brown) and that’s it! Very easy and delicious!

Thanks, Michelle! We are so glad to have you sharing your recipe with us by popular demand, and can’t wait to see what you cook up next 🙂

Holidays · Recipes

Eating Fish on Good Friday?

Allow me to share my two favorite seafood recipes for any last-minute Good Friday cooks out there (with apologies for the 2012-style fuzzy photo in the second dish). These really are scrumptious and easy to pull together.

Seafood Pasta Baked in Foil, adapted from the Pioneer Woman

Are you eschewing meat entirely this Lent? Allow me to share with you my favorite meat-free risotto recipe.

Springtime Risotto

However and whatever you’re celebrating, have a lovely weekend and enjoy your family, friends and food. XOXO

Recipes

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

What’s the best thing about mashed potatoes? How fluffy, buttery and delicious they are, right? But there’s a dark side — all that peeling, chopping, boiling and mashing by hand the morning of a big meal, which almost makes you dread having them. Well, not anymore.

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As I mentioned in my Christmas Dinner post, I used a new recipe (new to me, anyway) from the Pioneer Woman, which calls for baking the potatoes the day before (I KNOW) and then popping them in the oven just half an hour before you eat. I had to try it. I love, love, LOVE buttery mashed potatoes, and yet they are such a pain when you’re trying to time the rest of a big meal to be ready all at once. Well, this make-ahead tip 100% worked for me, so I am posting it here in the hopes it’ll save you some time down the line. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 5-lb. bag of Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 8-oz. container of plain cream cheese
  • 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Peel and cut the potatoes evenly into halves or quarters. Set a large pot of water on to boil, and when the water is simmering rapidly, add the potatoes. Cook for at least 30 minutes.

Once the potatoes are fork-tender, drain them in a large colander. When they are done draining, place them back into the dry cooking pot on the stove over low heat. Mash by hand with a potato masher over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape.

Turn off the stove and add the softened butter, starting with one stick and adding more to your taste. Then add the cream cheese and half a cup of the half-and-half or heavy cream, again adding more to your taste. Mash until there are no more lumps.

Taste and season with salt and pepper, taking care not to under-salt.

Stir well and add to a medium sized baking dish. Top with a few pats of butter and put it in the fridge, covered, until you’re ready to bake it.

If you’re eating it right away, just bake at 350 until the butter on top is melted and the potatoes are warmed through. If you’re making ahead of time, take it out of the fridge an hour or two before your meal and heat for 25 to 30 minutes at the same temperature.

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Chopping the potatoes into smaller pieces hastens the cooking time. Half or at the most quartered should do it, otherwise they’ll fall apart in the water.

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Using a hand-held potato masher is the only way to go. An electric mixer sometimes makes the potatoes glue-y.

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Make sure you’ve set the butter out to soften for a bit before mixing it into the potatoes. I also like to leave the half-and-half and cream cheese out for a few minutes to come closer to room temperature before using.

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Make sure you taste before putting the potatoes into your baking dish to make sure they’ve been salted enough!

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Yum.

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Orange Berry Smoothie

Is anyone else out there feeling desperate for simple, healthful food after that holiday? Yeah, me too. As much as I love stuffing, casseroles and pie, they do take a toll on your energy level, complexion and waistline. Personally what I’ve been craving is fresh fruit, lots of water and NO bread! So I threw together a refreshing smoothie and a batch of low-fat breakfast muffins with broccoli and feta (which I’ll post here in a few days). Enjoy:

Orange Berry Smoothie

A refreshing blend of orange, strawberry & banana with coconut milk for creaminess.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk (light)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana, frozen or fresh

Directions

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy cold. Makes enough for two!

I used a frozen banana because I always keep them handy; a little over a cup of the OJ and coconut milk, because that’s what I had left in the jugs in my fridge; and a heaping cup full of frozen strawberries.You can use full-fat coconut milk if you don’t mind the extra calories, and of course you can substitute greek yogurt to make it extra thick.

This is SO fresh and tasty in the morning!

Drinks & Smoothies · Recipes

Three Ideas for Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving & Black Friday and that you’re getting geared up for Cyber Monday (I know I am!) I meant to post this last year, but then forgot to do it and eventually it was too late. As I’ve mentioned before, I love making homemade cranberry sauce, and I always make sure there’s plenty extra. But what if you just have TOO much left over? Here are a couple fun things to do with extra cranberry jelly.

Photo Courtesy of Inspired2Cook (http://www.inspired2cook.com/2011/12/17/leftover-cranberry-sauce-vinaigrette/).

First up, a salad dressing by Inspired2Cook:

Cranberry Sauce Vinaigrette

Adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine. Makes about 1 cup.

  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup leftover cranberry sauce

Whisk shallot, mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil into leftover cranberry sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

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Next up, a smoothie, courtesy of Hillbilly Housewife:

Cranberry Smoothie

  • 1 can or 16 oz. of cranberry sauce
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen unsweetened peach slices, partially thawed
  • 1 container (6 oz) vanilla yogurt
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Blend together until smooth. Serve cold.

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Finally, scones, courtesy of Gourmandia:

Cranberry Oat Scones

  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 2 C all-purpose whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tsp (=1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ C butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 C plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla OR orange extract
  • 2/3 C cranberry sauce (the thicker the better)

Preheat the oven to 425F. In the large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then add the butter/margarine and cut it into the flour mixture. As long as you’ve washed them well, you can use your hands to do the cutting, but a fork will work just fine. In the small mixing bowl, combine the egg, the plain yogurt, the vanilla/orange extract, and the cranberry sauce. Mix with the fork until well-blended. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to them. Blend lightly with the fork until you have a soft dough. Scoop out quarter-cup-sized balls of dough and place them on the greased cookie sheet or into the cups of the greased muffin tin. (You can also drop all of the dough into a greased cake or loaf pan and use the dough to make a thick cake or dessert loaf. Bake your scones in the oven for abut 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. NOTE: If you are doing the loaf/cake version, you will need to cook it for a good half-hour.

Serve hot with butter, and enjoy.

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Recipes

Christmas Recipe #1: Corn Casserole

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! As promised, I’m posting a few recipes from our Christmas Dinner. First up: Corn Casserole, which was a huge hit with the family this year. Props to my aunt’s friend Elsie for passing along this recipe a few years ago!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans of cream-style corn
  • 4 heaping TBSP flour
  • 1 1/2 TSP vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • Dash of pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients and pour into a buttered glass 9×13 dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for at least an hour. Let sit for about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven so the middle sets. This tends to do really well being cooked the night before and reheated to save you hassle on the holiday!

We also had Broccoli Casserole and Roasted Honey-Glazed Carrots

…..and lots more! I’ll be posting other recipes soon, plus pictures from my Holiday Weekend Tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel.