Tag Archives: mushroom

Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

With the last remnants of winter hanging by a thread, I will succumb with one final post to the Gods of Comfort Food. Yes, as we all bid a fond farewell to cold weather veggies I thought I would share one of my favorites that I don’t get to make all that often anymore (my kids are not fans of mushrooms). This recipe although time consuming can be made ahead and re-purposed into a second meal or appetizer, which makes it so much more appealing in my eyes. So this might not be one of those recipes that you make on the fly, but may be the perfect capstone to a Sunday evening family meal.

As we’re trying to eat a bit more meatless, I noticed that the Wynn Las Vegas has revamped their menus to include vegan and vegetarian recipes at each of their eateries. What better way to get a little bit of Vegas at home?  Ok, so maybe it’s not the same, but I started with my classic mushroom risotto (one of the dishes on the Wynn’s menu), and then I decided to add some fresh spinach for a bit of texture and freshness.

Shopping List:

  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup of red onions, diced
  • 2 cups of your favorite mushrooms, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 cup of baby spinach torn into bite sized pieces
  •  1 cup of Arborrio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of cream cheese

Instructions:

1. In a medium saute pan on medium heat melt the butter and olive oil together. Once melted toss in the smashed garlic and onions. Lower the temperature to low and stir the onions and garlic occasionally for about 20-30 minutes until the onions are nice and caramelized.

2. Remove the onions from the pan at this point and add the chopped mushrooms to the same pan to cook over medium heat until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms to the onion mixture and then toast the rice in the same pan for about 2 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and add 1 cup of stock and stir the rice occasionally for about 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process of one cup of liquid every ten minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is chewy.

4. Finally, add the cream cheese, the spinach, and the mushroom and onion mixture into the rice. Stir it all so that the cheese is evenly distributed.  Serve with a few sliced almonds on top and Viola!

Serves: 4 entree portions

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Save the Day Chicken Lettuce Cups

P1070235One of my biggest daily challenges is to try to get a healthy meal on the table that the whole family will enjoy, while still shuttling kids to their afterschool activities. But often after working and then doing homework with the kids and driving them to their stuff, I succumb and just throw together some pasta and sauce or end up ordering takeout. I know it’s a bad habit.

Sometimes I will actually plan out the meals for the week on Sunday, and then head to the grocery store, and then chop up some of those fruits and veggies so they are ready to go. That of course is always the plan, but often the weekend fun and busy week gets in the way of my best laid plans. Continue reading Save the Day Chicken Lettuce Cups

Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer. I mean really, what’s not to love, the fruits and veggies are wonderfully vibrant and flavorful, the weather is awesome and I don’t have to rush out of the house everyday to work. But, I also look forward to the cooler temps of the fall when it’s socially acceptable to fill my plate with a pile of carbs and gobble it all up.

This sauce is a speedy sauce that you can whip up in a matter of minutes to put a quick dinner of pasta on the table, and it’s delicious. Thanks, Jamie Oliver! Continue reading Jamie Oliver’s Bacon and Mushroom Cream Sauce

Everything-Pizza Pasta Bake

One of my favorite all-time comfort meals has to be pizza with everything on it. Now, I didn’t always like it this way, and for sure I don’t always like this filling version of pizza. But it definitely has a solid place in my heart. I don’t know, I think it’s something about the blend of the spiciness of the meats and the freshness of the veggies all smothered in cheese.

Ok, so this recipe won’t be going on your Trying-to-Get-in-Shape-for-the-New-Year Diet, but it certainly is a great make-ahead meal that you can twist to suit your family’s tastes. Also, it’s a lot easier than trying to master making fresh pizza dough in a flash.

Shopping List:

3 links of mild or spicy, fresh Italian sausage

1/2 cup of sliced pepperoni, cut in half

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms

1 green pepper, diced

4-ounce can of sliced olives

1 (16-ounce) box of your favorite dry pasta (as a side note, the kinds that have nooks and ridges are best to allow the sauce to cling well)

4 ounces cream cheese, block style

2 cups of your favorite Marinara sauce (click here for mine)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

5 fresh basil leaves

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

1.Start the pot of water to prepare your favorite pasta noodle shape. Follow the directions on your package of noodles once your water is boiling. See my suggestions above for types to use here.

2. In a large saute pan on medium heat, squeeze the sausage out of the casing and cook it until it is no longer pink. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Just about this time your water might be boiling, so go ahead and pop those noodles in and set a timer.

3. Remove the sausage from the pan, but continue to leave the pan on medium heat and add the mushrooms and green peppers to the pan. Cook these about 5 minutes or until the peppers are beginning to soften, but have not totally changed color.

4. In a separate small sauce pan over medium heat, stir the marinara and the cream cheese until they make a nice creamy pink sauce. Then take it off the heat.

5. Now, add the pasta and all the toppings into the large pot you used for the noodles, and stir in the sauce. Make sure to cover the noodles well and distribute the sauce.

6. In a buttered, or sprayed with cooking spray, 9 x 13-inch pan spoon in all the mixed up pasta. Top with the shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the cheese melts.

NOTE: If you make this ahead and store it in the fridge, just make sure to take it out of fridge and let it come to room temp for about 30 minutes before you need to put it in the oven. When you’ve got it ready to put it in the oven to rewarm, spray some foil with cooking spray and cover the dish. Warm it until the center is warm throughout, about 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

A Collection of Salads: Pasta, Hearty, Bean, Slaw and Spinach

Thai Carrot Slaw

We all know that summer truly came to an end a few weeks ago when the kids (and teachers) went back to school, but with the official change of seasons this week I thought it would be nice to compile some of my favorite salads that I’ve posted this summer along with a few new ones that I haven’t yet photographed.

Now, I have to preface this list with the fact that these are not the only salads I make. In fact, these are strictly my party salads (one’s that I serve at a party or bring to a potluck) and salads for lunch. For dinner I rarely make such a filling side dish, but often use spinach or romaine with a few other simple ingredients and a favorite dressing or a fast homemade one to round out my veggie intake.

Israeli Couscous Spa Salad

Pasta Salad My favorite recreation this year is probably a Trader Joe’s inspired Israeli Couscous Spa Salad. For over a year I was buying a pre-made salad similar to this one at the market when I realized that I could reinvent this salad at home pretty easily. As a result I decided to combine it with some Waldorf-like ingredients to make a really fresh and filling meal and not so much like the romaine based one at the food chain.

Hearty Salad One that stands the test of time for my family is the Marinated Mushroom Salad, which is so simple and hearty that you could certainly toss it with some cooked pasta to make a meal too. The great thing about this one is that the ingredients like bacon and garlic add a lovely robust flavor to the meal and it’s darn easy to make, I mean you just pile it all in a bowl and let it sit at room temperature until you’re ready to serve it. That’s why this one always makes an appearance at holiday meals.

Marinated Mushroom Salad

Bean Salad Another hearty one is the White Bean Picnic Salad. The flavors here are so fresh and clean that they pop against the creaminess of the white beans. The nice thing about this one is that you control the sodium since you’re not using canned beans. But hey, you certainly could cut down on the time involved by using a canned low sodium white bean of your choice. I’m not against using those  types of shortcuts that make our lives simpler, but in this case I was trying to cut the salt down in our diet. That’s the great part about eating flavorful food, you don’t need as much of that other stuff, like salt, if you’ve wonderful food.

White Bean Picnic Salad

Slaw Ok so eventually I move to slaws. As far as slaws go, they’re normally too sweet for me, and the mayo in most of them really grosses me out. So I tend to toss my coleslaw mix with a store-bought Asian Dressing, but I also like to make this Thai Carrot Slaw, which would be really fun for a Halloween party.

Spinach Salad So my favorite spinach salad has to be one that I copied from the Marriott Desert Springs Spa. They no longer have this one on their menu, weep weep, but I ordered it so many times before they took it off that I have got the flavor profile down, and now I feel that I own it.

I haven’t taken any pictures of it, crazy since I just made it for our back to school party, but I thought as I was accumulating ideas I couldn’t ignore this one. It’s pretty simple. Here it goes. In a serving bowl combine one pound of baby spinach, one sweet potato (peel it, cube it, then steam for 4 minutes in the microwave) , a kid-sized box of raisins, a couple of handfuls of pecans toasted, a handful or two or dried cranberries and a few slivers of red onion. Toss with your favorite dressing. A sweet one like a honey mustard works well. To mix your own Honey Mustard vinaigrette simply combine 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Or… I often use my go to party dressing in a pinch, Girard’s White Balsamic Vinaigrette. This one serves 3-4 as a meal.

As summer’s end officially makes it’s mark on the calendar, we all know the weather hasn’t followed the rules this year, so go ahead and continue to make some salads as a light dinner. Maybe this collection will give you a few more in your repettoire.