Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cheesy Barbecue Casserole




This is one of my husband's FAVORITE dinners.   Whenever I ask him what he would like for dinner, this is his request.  I've made it countless times and it never dissapoints.  We like to use Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce, but any kind will work just fine.  It's appx. 600 calories per serving, but you could lighten it up with ground turkey and low fat cheese.  A simple tossed salad compliments this perfectly.  It's very quick and easy to prepare and can be assembled ahead of time, then baked in just 40 minutes.   Enjoy!

Cheesy Barbecue Casserole
adapted from Betty Crocker's A Passion for Pasta, copyright 1999
Ingredients:

1 lb box Medium Shell-shaped pasta
1 lb Ground Chuck
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley (optional)
1 cup milk  
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
cooking spray
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.   Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.  Cook beef and onion in a large skillet, over med-high heat, until browned, drain grease.

Mix pasta, beef mixture, and remaining ingredients, except 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Spoon into baking dish.   Cook for 30 minutes until hot in center.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and continue baking for another 10 minutes. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchilada's


Obviously I was rushed to get this picture taken before we devoured our dinner, so please excuse the picture!   This is one of our favorite mexican recipes that I originally got from the Campbell's soup website.  The recipe originally calls for 1 can of cream of chicken soup to use in the creamy sauce.  Tonight I decided to try making my own creamy chicken soup base, using just butter, flour and stock.  It only takes a few extra minutes for this step, and tastes great.   The recipe also calls for cooked chicken, so you'll need to plan ahead.  I roasted several bone-in chicken breasts the day before, and used the meat in several different recipes this week.   Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken Enchilada's

For the chicken soup base:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning
black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in salt and flour, let cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in chicken stock.  Add poultry seasoning and pepper, keep whisking until sauce thickens about 10 minutes.  Should be thick like a canned soup base would be.   Let cool and set aside.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

For the enchilada's:

Need appx. 10 Fajita size flour tortilla's
cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chicken soup base (can subsitute 1 can cream of chicken soup)
8 oz sour cream
1 cup salsa (I used medium)
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Jack cheese
optional toppings:  green onion, lettuce and tomato


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

For the sauce mixture, mix chicken soup base, sour cream, salsa and chili powder in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, mix 1 cup of the sauce mixture with the shredded chicken and cheese.


Spread 1/4 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla.  Roll up and place seam-side down in shallow baking dish. Pour remaining sauce mixture over enchiladas.  Cover with foil. 
Bake at 350°F. for 40 min. or until hot. Top with tomato and onion, and serve over lettuce, if desired.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks



I've been in a bread making mood recently.   Yesterday I made homemade rolls to go with our chicken stew for dinner.  Tonight we're having spaghetti, so I decided to make garlic breadsticks.  I found a recipe for Divine Breadsticks over at My Kitchen Cafe and thought they sounded really easy.   I sprinkled garlic powder and parmesan on them before baking, then brushed with butter as soon as they came out of the oven.  Next time I think I will put the garlic powder in the melted butter instead.  Either way, they taste great!  Enjoy!

*Makes about 20 breadsticks depending on how thick or thin you cut them.

Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ cups bread flour  (may need a little more depending on humidity)
½ teaspoon salt
garlic powder and parmesan cheese  (to taste)
3 tablespoons butter, melted (for the baking sheet), plus a little more to brush on after baking.


Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix water, yeast and sugar in large bowl or stand mixer bowl.  Let stand for 5 minutes to proof yeast.  Add flour and salt, knead for three minutes, until dough starts to pull away from bowl.  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Spread melted butter onto an 11X17-inch baking sheet. Roll out the breadstick dough about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Twist slightly if desired and place about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic and parmesan cheese. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.  Brush with a little extra melted butter. 

Fresh out of the oven

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Nice Surprise!




What a suprise it was to login this morning and see that I've been nominated for a Beautiful Blogger Award!   Michelle at All Home Cooking. All Year Long was so nice to nominate me for this.  Thanks for putting a smile on my face today Michelle! 

Seven Interesting Things About Me:
  1. My favorite food is potatoes!  Fried, mashed, baked, roasted.... the list goes on.  My family used to call me the potato bug. 
  2. I'm not a photograhper and I use a simple point and shoot camera.  If I'm organized enough and can get my dishes made during the day when we still have some natural light, then my pictures can turn out pretty well (I think).  Unfortunately, I'm usually making dinner at 5pm with 3 hungry kids at my heels and am lucky if I remember to even get the camera out! 
  3.  I'm a recovering neat freak.  It's a long process but having 3 children has forced me to bring my standards now a few notches... and then some!  Luckily they are all old enough now to have regular chores.
  4.  I cried at the end of Julie and Julia!  I can relate to Julia being a late-30 something, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.  Guess that's why I started this blog, to share my passion and have some fun along the way. 
  5. I hate Fish, any and all kinds! I've tried several different types and each time I have to spit it out because I can't even swallow it! So, you will not see me post any fish dishes here. Sorry.  
  6. I'm currently addicted to Tim Horton's English Toffee Cappuccino..yes, there is an empty cup sitting on the table next to me as I type.
  7. I've watched Food Network for at least 10 years, but it wasn't until Ina Garten came on that I actually started making the recipes I saw on t.v.  She is my culinary inspiration. 

Upon receiving this honor, I'm supposed to nominate seven other blogs for the same award. I nominate the following seven fabulous blogs:
  1.  The Cookbook Junkie.  This is the first blog I started reading.  I always look forward to seeing the interesting recipes/cookbooks she discovers.     
  2. Real Mom Kitchen.  Check out the incredible bread recipes.  Yum!!
  3. My Kitchen Cafe.  Great recipes and pictures.  I made several of her dishes already and they have all been wonderful.  I highly recommed the cinnamon rolls!
  4. Domestic Cents.  A blog about using domestic arts to live a simple, frugal life.  We all need to do more of this!  Can't wait to try the Oatmeal Bread. 
  5. A Feast For the Eyes.  She's an Ina fan and has a picture of herself with Tyler Florence, very cool!  Great pictures and some wonderful German recipes that I'm looking forward to trying. 
  6. Tried and True Cooking with Heidi.  Love the simple, kid-friendly recipes.  Check out her recipe for Cinnamon-Pretzel Twists.
  7. Full Bellies, Happy Kids.  Love the name... so true!  I've been inspired by several of the recipes from this blog, such as the Ham and Potato Casserole.  Good hearty food! 
If you've been nominated, will you pretty please pay it forward? Here are the guidelines:
  • Thank the person who nominated YOU. :)
  • Copy the award and post it you YOUR blog.
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 interesting things about yourself (yourselves).
  • Nominate 7 more bloggers for this award.
  • Post your link to those 7 blogs.


 Thanks!

 
Lisa


















Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lisa's Sweet and Spicy Chinese Chicken



We love Chinese food, but have been avoiding take-out food recently, in an effort to save money.   One of my favorite chinese dishes is Chang's Spicy Chicken, from P.F. Chang's China Bistro.  This is my take on the dish using a homemade sauce and help from the store with pre-packaged popcorn chicken.  I came across the idea of using the popcorn chicken over at RealMomKitchen.com.  What a brillant idea!  I would never bread and fry all those tiny chicken pieces myself at home, and using the popcorn chicken makes it so much easier.  Now, if you really want to save time, you could just use a store-bought bottled sauce and call it a day, but my sauce had a very nice balance of sweet and spicy and my family really enjoyed it. 


Lisa's Sweet and Spicy Chinese Chicken

1 bag frozen popcorn chicken (I purchased mine at Sam's Club)

For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup Sweet Chili Sauce (found in Asian section)
3 tablespoons Honey
2-3 dashes Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Ketchup
4 tablespoons Sweetened Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons Apple Juice
pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon Corn Starch

Cook popcorn chicken according to package directions. 

In a large saucepan, heat the garlic and green onions in oil, over medium heat (do not brown the garlic).  Add the next 7 ingredients and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.  To thicken sauce, mix corn starch with a little water and add to sauce.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes. 

In a large bowl, coat chicken with sauce.   Serve over rice. 





Monday, January 25, 2010

Chinese Potstickers



When I left my corporate job 4 years ago, my co-workers gave me a couple of books as going away presents.  One of them was the Good Housekeeping Light and Healthy Cookbook.  Guess they knew I'd have a lot more time for cooking!  This recipe is the first one I tried from the book and we just love it.  It takes a little time to assemble, but they can be made ahead of time and frozen, then fried up easily whenever the craving strikes.   Enjoy!


Chinese Potstickers
adapted from Good Housekeeping Light and Healthy Cookbook, copyright 2003 Hearst Communications

1 8oz package coleslaw mix
8 oz ground pork
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tbls. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbls. seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp. corn starch
36 wonton wrappers
1 large egg white, beaten
Soy Dipping Sauce (below)


Prepare Filling:  In a 2-qt. saucepan, heat 1 inch water to boiling over high heat.  Add coleslaw mix and heat to boiling.  Cook 1 minute; drain.  Immediately rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  With hands, squeeze out as much water as possible.  Finely chop cabbage.  Squeeze out any remaining water.  Place in a medium bowl. Stir in ground pork, green onion, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch until well blended. 

To assemble:  Brush eash wonton wrapper lightly with egg white.  Spoon 1 tsp on filling in center of wrapper.  Bring two opposite corners together over filling; pinch and pleat sides together to seal filling.  Repeat with remaining wrappers, egg white and filling.

In a deep non-stick 12-inch skillet, heat chicken stock over high heat.  Place all potstickers in pan in a single layer, bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer until all potstickers are cooked though, 5 minutes, and bottoms start to brown.  Gently remove from pan.  Serve with dipping sauce.

Soy Dipping Sauce:

In a small bowl, stir 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. 1 chopped green onion and 1 tablespoon sugar, until blended.    Makes about 1/2 cup. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Homemade Croutons using Leftover Hotdog Buns



Most of the time when we have a few leftover hotdog or hamburger buns, I throw them in the freezer, then forget about them until they are too freezer burned to use.  Here's a quick and easy way to use up those buns before they go bad.  It's extremely easy and quick to prepare.  Much better than prepacked croutons!  Enjoy!

Hotdog Bun Croutons

2-3 leftover hot dog or hamburger buns 
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
garlic powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Cut up bread into bite size pieces.  Spread out on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if using).   Mix well (I use my hands to do this).  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until browned and crispy. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Turkey Burger Sliders - White Castle Style










I saw another blog post for this recipe recently that looked so easy and delicious that I had to give it a try.  I decided to use lean ground turkey breast, instead of beef, since I already had that in the fridge.  I was concerned that it may be too dry, so I rubbed a little butter on the bottom of my baking dish first.  This worked out very well.  The minced onions softened nicely and the meat was quite flavorful.  I used Kings Hawaiian Butter Rolls to serve these on and I have to say, topped with some dill pickle slices, they tasted better than White Castle...less greasy, and more meat!  This only takes minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to bake.  Enjoy!


Turkey Burger Sliders-  White Castle Style

makes appx. 16 sliders

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/3 cup dried minced onion
2 lbs ground turkey
6-7 slices american cheese
salt, pepper and garlic powder
Kings Hawaiian Butter Rolls, sliced in half
Dill pickle slices (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rub the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter.  Sprinkle the minced onion flakes in the bottom of the dish.  Press the ground turkey into the dish (on top of the onion) to form one big patty.  Lightly season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Using a drinking straw, poke holes all over the meat patty.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove from oven, drain excess grease.  Top with cheese slices and return to oven for 2 minutes until melted. 

In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and place rolls, cut side down, cook until very lightly browned.  Serve with a slice of pickle on each burger (if using). 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Banana Bread



This recipe comes from the cookbook that inspired my blog's name, the Joy of Cooking.  We had breakfast for dinner last night and I made this bread to go with our eggs, sausage and hashbrowns.  I had to laugh because the recipe says, "cool completely before slicing",  Yeah right!   I let it cool just enough to remove it from the pan, then we devoured it!  The lemon zest was a nice addition, something I haven't done before when making banana bread.  The recipe calls for an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, but mine was slightly larger, therefore the cooking time was only 45 minutes.  Just make sure to check your bread when the kitchen starts to smell incredibly good and the edges of the bread are light brown.  Enjoy!


Banana Bread
from the Joy of Cooking, copyright 2006 Simon & Schuster

Makes one 81/2 x 41/2" loaf

Ingredients:

1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest 
2 large eggs
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
Optional:   1/2 cup chopped nuts  

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan with butter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl (I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer with the paddle attachment), beat the sugar, butter and lemon zest until creamy.  Beat in the eggs and banana.  Add the dry ingredients in about 3 parts, beating until smooth after each addition.  Fold in nuts,  if using.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 45min to 1 hour (depends on pan size) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly, then unmold.    Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Red Rice



We have mexican food (nachos, tacos etc.) usually once a week.  I like to make this rice to go with our ground beef (or turkey) because it allows me to serve less meat per person.  For our family of five, I typically cook up 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of meat, and will have enough left over to use for a second dinner or a few lunches. This rice is easy to make, inexpensive and much healthier than the pre-packaged versions.  I always have the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator. 

 The original recipe comes from the 2008 Christmas Edition of Cooking with Paula Deen.  It calls for fire-roasted tomatoes, but I just use regular canned tomatoes.   I hope you'll give this a try, you'll never buy the boxed stuff again!


Red Rice
adapted from Cooking with Paula Deen, Christmas 2008 Edition

Makes 10-12 Servings 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced  
2 cups long-grain rice
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes    (fire-roasted, plain, chili-ready, use whatever you have on hand)
3 cups chicken broth
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro  (optional)


Directions:

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook for 4-5 minutes or until onions are tender.  Stir in rice, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add tomatoes, broth, chili powder, salt and dried cilantro (if using).  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Fluff rice with a fork.  Serve immediately. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baked Corn Dogs



My kids love corn dogs, but I can't stand the traditional store-bought deep-fried ones.  There's something about the batter in those that tastes wrong to me.  These however, are quite tasty and I feel much better about serving them, because I know exactly what went into making them.  I only use Hebrew National All-Beef Hotdogs because they don't have any artifical ingredients and taste great.  The corn bread dough for this recipe has a sweetness from brown sugar that I really enjoy.  I serve these with a honey mustard dipping sauce, which complements it perfectly.  Enjoy!



Baked Corn Dogs
slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine (found on Foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:


1 cup milk    (I was out of milk, used 2/3 cup half-n-half and 1/3 cup water)
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and kneading
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
9 reduced-fat hot dogs, halved crosswise
1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

Warm the milk to about 110 degrees in a saucepan;  pour into a medium bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast and let soften for about 2 minutes. Stir in the olive oil, brown sugar and cornmeal with a wooden spoon. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and cayenne pepper; stir to make a sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. ( I've also done this in my Kitchen-Aid with the dough hook).  Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly oil a large baking sheet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 9 pieces. With a rolling pin, roll-out each piece into a rectangle, slightly longer than the hot dog.  Place a hot dog on the dough, and roll-up lengthwise.  Place on the baking sheet, seam side down.  Brush the dough-wrapped dogs with the beaten egg.  Bake until golden, appx. 15 minutes.



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Easy Homemade Dinner Rolls




There is an italian restaunt in town called Antonio's, that serves the BEST bread I've ever eaten in a restaurant.  Soft, chewy, warm, and dripping with garlic butter.  When these rolls came out of the oven, my first thought was "they're just like Antonio's, without the garlic!"  Wow, I'm in trouble!  I had one right out of the oven, then ate two more with the Cheddar Corn Chowder that I made for dinner.  If you've never made bread before, I would highly recommend giving these a try.  The recipe calls for short rising times, so they won't take all day to make.  I made these in my Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer.  The dough hook does all the hard work for you. 


shaped and ready for second rising


hot out of the oven, smells like a bakery!

Easy Dinner Rolls
from The Sisters Dish blog -  Mollys Rolls

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk (heat in the microwave for 30 seconds)
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 T salt
1 egg
All-purpose flour (I ended up using a total of 4 1/2 to 5 cups)


Directions:
 In mixer, with dough hook attachment, combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly (about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix.  Mix in oil and egg. Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl.

Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes (I let mine rise for an hour).   Form rolls as desired and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Let rise an additional 30 minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Brush hot rolls with melted butter.  Makes appx. 2 dozen.

Cheddar Corn Chowder with Chicken



This might become my new favorite soup.  It starts with bacon, which is definitely a good thing, then adds two of my favorite veggies, corn and potatoes.  Yum!  I came up with this recipe by combining elements of some other recipes, to make my "ultimate" version of corn chowder.  The soup could easily be lightened up by cutting out the bacon and cheese and using milk, instead of the half-n-half.   I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.  Oh, and best of all.... my daughter who has a taste aversion to almost all veggies, actually cleaned her bowl, had seconds, and asked for thirds!  I told her there was carrots in the soup (she can't stand them) and she replied "they're grated", like it's no big deal. 

*  Note-  this recipe uses cooked chicken, so plan accordingly.

Lisa's Cheddar Corn Chowder with Chicken

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tbls. spoon olive oil
2 tbls. butter
2 carrots grated
1/2 a large onion, chopped
32 oz box of chicken stock (I use Kitchen Basics brand)
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, but into bite-size pieces
1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 cups frozen corn
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup Half-n-Half
1 cup grated cheddar (I used medium)

Directions:

In a large soup pot, add bacon to 1 tbls. olive oil, cook until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon.  Drain fat, reserving 1 tbls. in pan.   Add butter to pan, along with the onions and grated carrot.  Cook until onion is tender, but not browned. 

Add the chicken stock, diced potatoes, bay leaf, dried parsley, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, appx. 15 minutes.  Add the corn, chicken, half-n-half and cheddar cheese.  Heat through.  Taste for seasonings, adding more salt if necessary. 

** If you would like a thicker consistency, mix equal parts softened butter and flour, adding to hot soup and cook until soup thickens.  **

Monday, January 4, 2010

Red Velvet Cake Balls



If you've been around the food blogosphere the past year, you've probably heard of Bakerella.  She first caught my attention with her appearance on the Martha Stewart Show last year.  When I came across her post for Red Velvet Cake Balls, I was very excited.  Red Velvet cake is my husband's most favorite dessert of all time.  These are so delicious, but what makes them even better is how easy they are to make.   A box cake mix, can of frosting and some chocolate candy coating are all you need.  Run to the store and get the ingredients now.   You must try these.   Really! 


Want to see the inside of one?   Looks pretty good, huh?


Red Velvet Cake Balls



1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate) 

Directions:

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting.
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet.
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.  Let sit until firm. 







Ina's Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms




Mushrooms and sausage... two of my favorite pizza toppings come together into a fantastic appetizer.  I took these delicious morsels to my brothers house on New Years Eve and everyone loved them.  My brother said they taste like pizza without the crust.  Well said, I think.  I used button mushrooms, as per the recipe, but I think they would be good with cremini, or as a main course, using portabello mushroom caps.  I used Bob Evans Italian Sausage with a dash of red pepper flakes added, and regular onion, instead of green onion.  These are perfect little bites.  Enjoy!

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms
adapted from Ina Garten's recipe on Food Network.com

Ingredients:

16 extra-large white mushrooms   
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced   ( I used 1/2 cup regular onion, chopped)
2 garlic cloves minced
2/3 cup panko crumbs
5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
 Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.

Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing is browned and crusty (appx. 40-50 minutes).