Wednesday, September 19, 2012

From Appetizer to Entree

Sunday was Mom and Kristy’s Birthday…Woo-Hoo!  Happy Birthday to them! 

 It was also the Jets vs. Steelers – and you’ll come to know in this house (and in my brothers) we’re Jets fans.  Know what that means?  Yup – Mom got to celebrate her birthday watching the Jets game.

We had a tailgate party at Andy and Elena’s house!  Elena sure does know how to throw a spread – there was so much food to pick on during the game! 

Dave and I contributed Hot Wings and Stuffed Mushrooms.  Since Dave made the wings, he can write about it…I’m here to tell you about my stuffed mushrooms!   

Ingredient List:

3 containers of white mushrooms – trying to get them all medium sized
½ of a medium onion, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Olive Oil
Classico Pesto
Parmesan Cheese
Mascarpone Cheese
3 links of sweet Italian sausage, remove casings
1 large bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
Pork Rinds (or if you’re not on a carb free diet – bread crumbs!)
Red Pepper Flake
Salt and Pepper to taste

First, I’m going to make my “bread crumbs” for this dish…Dave is currently going carb free, so rather than breadcrumbs I’m making what I call ‘Dave Crumbs’. 

In my food processor, I put in one large bag of Pork Rinds (yes, I know they sound gross…and eating them plain, they are gross…but we’re adding flavor and you’d never know the difference mixed in the recipe!) along with a large tablespoon of Classico Pesto and a large handful or two of Parmesan Cheese.  Give that a whirl until it’s all combine and put into a zip loc bag.


In a sauté pan, on medium heat – add a drizzle of olive oil and break up your sausage and add to the pan.  You’ll want to brown the sausage about ½ way through before adding the vegetables… so while that is cooking:

 Put into a food processor your garlic first (mince then remove) and then your onion (same direction) and set aside. 


Remove all the caps from your mushrooms stems…put the caps on a baking sheet (that has been coated in olive oil) and add the stems to the processor.  If you have any damaged mushrooms, or ones that are too small – throw them in the processor as well.

Add your onion and garlic to the now slightly browned sausage along with a pinch of Red Pepper Flake; some salt and pepper to taste (Keep it light on the salt, as you’ll be getting enough from the Parm that we’re adding too).  


Brake up your sausage as you stir as you want small slightly larger than pea size pieces; and while the onions get soft, pulse your mushroom stems until finely minced.  Add to the heated pan along with a heaping tablespoon of the Classico Pesto and combine.  You’ll sauté this for about 8-10 minutes to soften and cook the mushroom mixture. 

 Then, add in your very well drained chopped spinach...
 And then the container of Mascarpone cheese, a handful of Parmesan Cheese as well as two handfuls of the Dave Crumb mixture. Combine this mixture over the heat…if you feel its too loose, add more of the “bread crumbs” or if you feel its to dense you can add a splash of chicken stock to loosen it up.

Take off the heat and set aside to cool.  Once cool to the touch – spoon into the mushroom caps.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushroom caps have softened and the filling starts to brown.

Now…The really cool thing about this dish…is how easily it can be turned into an entrée!

This is how I would do it…

Instead of 3 containers of white mushrooms – I’d buy 1 container of Baby Bella mushrooms and then a package of 4 Portobello mushrooms.

You’ll mince the whole package of the Baby Bella’s along with the stems of the Portobello mushrooms in the food processor…  (some people <me> rather the ribs of the Portobello to be scraped out, so just use a spoon and do so).

Everything else remains the same!  Then you stuff the Portobello’s, bake them for 20-30 minutes (or until the Portobello becomes soft).

I’d serve this with a salad, but it would be hearty enough for a lovely early autumn meal!

Try it out, my friends…whether it’s an appetizer or an entrée – it’s delicious!

Now...I can't close this blog with out mentioning Elena's 'Smores Cupcakes she made to celebrate Mom's birthday...they were DELICIOUS!!!  She got the recipe off of Pinterest - Now - I'm not much of a baker, but even I want to make these!  I'll post that recipe soon...but Look at them!!

Until Next Time…


  1. Your Awesomest NeiceOctober 2, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    They were the BEST cupcakes ever!

  2. awesome Niece... They were the BEST cupcakes EVER! Now you, me and your Mom need to make tons of stuff... like great grandma's rabbit ears...and Yaya's cookies... We have our hands full for this holiday season! Love you bunches!!