Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

March 13, 2011

Red credits me for being able to come up with food ideas with the ingredients on hand. (Ehhmmm…, that’s probably because I’m either reading hard copy cookbooks or surfing through hundreds of food blogs on the internet). One weekend, I just saw a pack of mushrooms sitting in the refrigerator; and my mind was spinning trying to think of what to make with them without having to go out and get some more ingredients. I finally decided to make these sausage stuffed mushrooms because we try to make one night a week to be a movie and appetizer night. These little morsels were amazing; so delicious and the house smelled incredible when the filling was being prepared. I didn’t have “extra-large” mushrooms, so I only made half of the filling; but still ended up with tons of leftover filling.  I looked through several other recipes while making this; and a couple of them used a couple other type of cheeses that I didn’t have in hand. But I loved this version with cream cheese instead of mascarpone. I wouldn’t change a thing! Oh, and since I only had about 16 small to medium size mushrooms, I only baked them for about 30 minutes and they were perfect. Happy eating!

Adapted from Ina Garten, through Food Network

Ingredients
16 extra-large white mushrooms
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons wine or medium sherry (Did not use them)
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage removed from the casings
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2/3 cup panko crumbs
5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy (I used cream cheese)
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 themushroom 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 for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

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Pan-Fried Onion Dip

February 6, 2011

I was flipping through my stacks of cookbooks the other night and saw this recipe for onion dip. It sounded so tasty that I had to make it that night. Fortunately, I had all of the ingredients in the house đŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure how much this recipe was going to make (it says 2 cups, but normally Ina’s recipes make A TON of batches).Therefore I made a half of the recipe! Yes… you heard me, I decided to just half the recipe. But then after trying it, what was I thinking? Red and I loved this dip recipe so much that I made a full batch the next night! It was that amazing!!!!

The onions were slowly caramelized in the pan, and made them very sweet and tender. This was one step that I would definitely not short-cut (it took close to half an hour total) because it was totally worth it!! The second time I made it, I also chopped the onions strings shorter than what the recipe called for to make it easier to eat. I also didn’t wait until the onions were completely cooled to room temperature before mixing them; and they mixed just fine with the sour cream and cream cheese (make sure the cream cheese is room temperature though!). This dip recipe is fabulous–if you need a new dip recipe to love!!

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Ingredients
2 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup good mayonnaise

Directions
Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

Yield: 2 cups


Fried Mashed Potato Balls

January 10, 2011

Holidays at our house always means tons of food and leftover mashed potatoes! I have a rotating mix-in for the mashed potatoes, depending on who’s making it, but they’re usually choke full of butter, garlic, and sour cream. This recipe was just something that I came up with on my own while trying to rejuvenate our leftover mashed potato. It is great addition for breakfast, brunch, and of course dinner–and even better for just an afternoon pick me up snack. Sometimes I add different things like leftover bacon bits or ham, or cheese… but they’re also great just with a handful of chopped green onions. I have always made them with panko instead of regular bread crumbs, which I think really helps the mixture stay together and not fall apart during frying. They’re so addictive and versatile that sometimes I throw in extra potatoes when making mashed potatoes to ensure that I have leftover for these….Happy eating!!

EDIT: A great sauce to accompany these wonderful little snacks is Garlic Mayonaisse that I used  with my Sweet Potato Fries w/ Basil Salt.

Ingredients
3 cups stiff mashed potatoes (preferably cold)
2 medium-size eggs
1/4 cup of sliced green onions
1-1/2 cups of panko
Oil for frying

Directions
Heat about 1-1/2 inch of flavorless oil to about 375 degree in a shallow frying pan (you want something with a pretty good surface area since the balls need to be fried in smaller batches to ensure that they’re not crowded).

Beat the two eggs lightly in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in the mashed potatoes and green onions. Using a 1-1/2 inch ice-cream scoop, make potato balls. Roll them onto a plate of panko.

Fry the potato balls a few at a time, and let each side turn into golden brown color, about 2-3 minutes total. Don’t attempt to flip them until the crust is developed and browned. Then flip to the other side, and let brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 28 potato balls


Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

December 28, 2010

This is probably the easiest, yet the most loved and requested appetizer among my friends and family. Every single guest who comes for a visit at our house requests this appetizer.  I love how easy this dish is to make, and can be prepared ahead of time. I will just have all of the ingredients mixed together a few hours before I need it, and just before the guests arrive, I can throw this into the oven. As the guests are arriving and settling in –this dip is ready to be served. I don’t usually have a lot of leftover and I love serving it with baked tortilla chips. This recipe makes about four cups, and I say that it serves about six guests. In reality, I have seen four of us devouring this to the last bit. So if you have several spinach and artichoke dip lovers, it may be good to double the recipe.

I do want to warn you though, this is not for the faint of heart. I do try to make it ehmm… a little bit lighter by using light sour cream and mayonnaise, and don’t go overboard with the cheeses. If you don’t have a dip recipe you love yet, I encourage you to give it a try. Happy eating!

Adapted from Paula Deen via Food Network

Ingredients
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
2 (14-ounce) cans whole artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese (or sometimes I use cheddar, whichever I have on hand)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Heat the spinach in a microwave oven on high for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Drain the artichoke hearts and coarsely chop them.

Combine all the ingredients except the jack cheese in a large bowl. Stir well. Scrape into the greased casserole dish and sprinkle the jack cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered.

Serve with bagel or tortilla chips.

Yield: 6 servings