Stuffed Mushrooms

Okay so I know I promised a chocolate covered strawberry cupcake tutorial but about halfway through making them, I stopped taking pictures because it was such a tedious process between picture taking and baking (talk about labour intensive cupcakes…I’ve realized there’s a reason I normally used boxed mix and pre-made frosting )! There was a moment of panic about ten minutes into whipping the meringue and butter where I thought it would never curdle and turn all frosting-y but it happened in the end! They did turn out amazingly, so maybe I’ll blog them some other time:

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I pretty well followed the original recipe, just drizzling the chocolate instead of dunking the cupcakes. I also doubled the cupcake and icing recipe…and made enough buttercream to frost my house…So if anyone has any ideas for four cups of frozen strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream (other than being a fat kid and eating it with a spoon), let me know!

Try them out for yourself (but they are labour intensive…they took me about three and a half hours!): http://what2cook.net/2013/05/18/chocolate-covered-strawberry-hi-hat-cupcakes/

On to today’s post: Sasuage Stuffed Mushrooms! The medic (my husband) and I are trying to get into a more healthy lifestyle, with healthier foods and more exercise so I changed this recipe up a little to make it somewhat more figure friendly than the original.

6-8 large portobello mushrooms; stems and gills removed

454g Italian sausage (I used pork but for an even healthier switch use chicken or turkey)

1/2 – 3/4c old fashioned oats; pulsed in a food processor

1/2 c chopped spinach, defrosted

4 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated

225g light cream cheese (one package of the non-spreadable stuff)

juice of one lemon

1/4 c (ish) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F.

Remove stems from mushroom caps and set aside, scrape out gills with a spoon (the fresher the mushrooms, the easier this step is). Place the caps, scraped side up on a tinfoil coated & cooking spray covered baking sheet:

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Remove the casing from your sausages, breaking up into small pieces and brown in a pan with the olive oil:

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Once your sausage is cooked through, drain off any excess fat and mix in your pulverized oats and spinach. The amount of oats you add is up to you and really depends on the amount of sausage you have. My package was 500g, so I used about 3/4c of oats, if you have a smaller package of sausages, use less oats! Set aside to cool. I used frozen spinach that I thawed out in the microwave and squeezed dry, but you can use fresh spinach wilted in a pan with a little water. You can also dice and sautee the mushroom stems if you want to add them to the filling as well. And feel free to change up the greens with whatever you have in the fridge (kale or Swiss chard both sound like good options to me).

In a separate bowl, mix together the garlic, cream cheese and lemon juice then add your cooled sausage mixture to the bowl and combine. Distribute among the mushroom caps based on the size of the cap (the bigger the cap, the more stuffing it gets!) and top each with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. I highly reccomend splurging on a block of good Parmigiano Reggiano cheese…like $10-15 for a piece is not unreasonable as far as I’m concerned. A little goes a long way because it has so much more flavour than the pre-packaged stuff. And when you get to the last bit of the rind (the part that’s stamped) don’t throw it out! Put it in the freezer – nothing makes bottled sauce taste like homemade faster than being simmered with a couple glugs of red wine and a chunk of parmesan rind!

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Bake for 15-18 minutes at 400F, until the filling is hot and the cheese is all melty. If you’d like to serve these as appetizers, rather than entrees, you’ll need 40-48 cremini or white button mushrooms, stems removed.

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We had it with quinoa and a super simple Greek salad (cherry tomatoes, quartered cucumber, orange bell pepper and cubed feta dressed with Renee’s Greek vinagrette).

Adapted from: http://www.johnsonville.com/recipe/sausage-stuffed-mushrooms.html

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