Archive for June, 2012

Crimini and Pork Meatballs with Chipotle Tomato Sauce

Our Mushroom Council representative, Bart Minor is back to share how mushrooms are a nutritious addition to any meal!

One thing I cannot get enough of is recipes – I subscribe to almost every type of food related newsletter out there! But to be honest, I very rarely keep to the exact recipe; I like to put my own spin on it and make it my own.

More and more I find myself adding mushrooms to my recipes. Not only do they have nutritional benefits, but they add flavor, and really bulk up a meal. Sliced mushrooms make a delightful addition to a salad. Sautéed mushrooms perfectly complement a steak.  And my favorite technique is adding finely chopped mushrooms to meatballs.

Adding mushrooms to meatballs is just as filling as the full meat version, and is a great way to get the kids to eat a serving of veggies (without even knowing it!). Are there other recipes you find yourself adding mushrooms to?

Crimini and Pork Meatballs with Chipotle Tomato Sauce

Crimini and Pork Meatballs with Chipotle Tomato Sauce

Yield: 10 portions

Serving size: 3 – 1 oz.  meatballs


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 cup white onion, small dice
½ cup roasted poblano peppers, small dice
1 pound raw pork
3 tablespoons Lawry’s Salt Free Mexican Seasoning
½ teaspoon McCormick Culinary Coarse Mediterranean Sea Salt
1 oz. thinly sliced green onion
1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs

Chipotle Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup white onion, minced
½ poblano peppers, minced
1 tablespoon Lawry’s Salt Free Mexican Seasoning
½ teaspoon McCormick Culinary Chipotle Pepper
2 cups chicken stock, unsalted
3 cups tomato sauce, no salt added
1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons Lawry’s Salt Free Lemon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

To make the sauce: Heat oil in a pot. Sauté onions and peppers until the onions begins to caramelize. Add seasoning and stir until fragrant. Stir in chicken stock, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes. Using a hand blender, blend mixture until smooth. Stir in lemon-pepper, sugar, vinegar and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and refrigerate or warm on low-heat until needed.

To make the meatballs: Preheat a convection oven to 350°F. Heat oil in sauté pan and cook mushrooms until browned, approximately 6-8 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan. Add onions and cook until lightly caramelized, approximately 6-8 minutes.

Combine mushrooms, onions and roasted peppers in a food processor and pulse until mixture is finely minced. Allow mixture to completely cool in fridge.

Combine cooled vegetable mixture with pork, seasoning, salt, panko crumbs and eggs. Mix well to evenly combine. Scoop out 30 meat balls and round by hand. Place meatballs on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake meatballs for 15 minutes or until an internal temperature of 155°F is reached. Remove from oven and combine with Chipotle Tomato Sauce.

Grilled Mushroom Flatbread Pizzas

Kelsey from The Naptime Chef shares how she translates flatbread into a canvas for mushroom mastery and how it taught her daughter to love mushrooms.

In the summer we are dedicated grillers. We grill nearly anything and everything we can for each meal. Recently we’ve gotten into grilling flatbread pizzas. They can be topped with a variety of ingredients and it’s a fun way to get the kids involved with dreaming up new flavors for a favorite meal.Our favorite toppings for these pizzas are mushrooms, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and garlic. It is earthy and salty, with a subtle bite from the chopped garlic.

“This Grilled Mushroom Flatbread Pizza is not only a favorite dish of mine, but also of my daughter’s – it has helped her learn to love mushrooms!”

The best part about these fun pizzas is that they can be made to suit anyone’s taste. Some other mushroom topping ideas might include olive oil, ricotta, mushrooms and thyme, or diced mushrooms with slivers of potato. The possibilities are nearly endless. Here is how you can start making your grilled flatbread pizzas, and get your mushroom grilling on. Enjoy!

Grilled Mushroom Flatbread Pizza


1 store-bought flatbread

1 cup sliced mushrooms, cooked

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup fresh mozzarella, thinly shredded

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

½ cup tomato sauce


1) Heat the grill to a medium flame.

2) Brush both sides of the flatbread with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place directly on the grill. Grill each side for about 2 minutes, or until grill marks appear and the bread gets crispy.

3) Remove the bread and quickly add the tomato sauce, garlic, cheese and mushrooms. Return to the grill and keep the bread on the indirect heat until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot!

Mushroom and Peppers Grill-Fry

Have you ever felt like you can smell the scent of summer in the air? In today’s post, Erin Chase from $5 Dinners shares how her Mushroom and Pepper Grill-Fry recipe will spark a backyard picnic.

There’s just something about the smell that escapes from the grill. Something about the scent as your neighbor cooks out that makes you wish you weren’t going out for dinner or that you’d not made pizza that night. There is something about chopping the vegetables and getting all the food ready out on the patio table. The unique flavor a grill infuses into the food that’s cooked upon it. And the pleasure of enjoying your feast in the shade of the backyard trees. Summer.

I’ve got a delightful, light and simple grill-fry recipe using baby bella mushrooms for you this week. You’ll find that this recipe uses the marinade twice…both for the vegetables and the noodles. Because the mushrooms are swapped in for chicken, beef or pork, there is no risk of contamination. I love when I can make ingredients work overtime!


Mushroom and Peppers Grill-Fry


  • 8 ouncesbaby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • Pepper
  • ½ pound cooked pasta noodles, such as spaghetti, thin spaghetti or angel hair
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced

Special Equipment

  • Grill basket for vegetables


  1.  Toss the baby bella mushrooms, broccoli florets, yellow and red pepper chunks and red onion chunks in a bowl. Mix in the crushed garlic cloves, soy sauce and canola oil. Let sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Season with a little pepper before tossing in the basket on the grill.
  2. Cook the pasta noodles as directed and drain.
  3. Drain the marinade and save it for the noodles. Toss the marinated vegetables in a grill basket over medium heat over the grill. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, tossing every few minutes, or until broccoli turns bright green and peppers begin to soften.
  4. Meanwhile, soak the cooked noodles in the soy sauce marinade until vegetables are done cooking. Drain the marinade off the noodles and toss them with the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the top.
  5. Serve Mushroom and Vegetable Grill-Fry over noodles of your choice.

My Father’s Gift: Good Food, Great Memories

In honor of Father’s Day, Elizabeth M.Ward, M.S., R.D. reflects on the values her father instilled in her as a child, specifically the importance of healthy eating and family meal times.

Last month, in honor of Mother’s Day, I wrote about how my mother and my grandmother passed down their love of good food and healthy eating to me, and how I try to do the same for my three girls. My father was also an influential role model who, along with my mom, helped me learn to love a variety of foods and value family meals.

 When I was a child, most dads steered clear of the kitchen. Not mine. He loved to cook so much that I thought all fathers did! It wasn’t until high school that I found out otherwise.

When I was growing up, my family was slightly ahead of the curve because my mom worked full-time outside the home, just like my father did. While my mother did the grocery shopping and prepared most of the food, my father would often help with weeknight dinners by setting the table and getting the meal started. But his Sunday meals are what I remember best.

My dad thought long and hard about what to serve every week for the big mid-day meal, which often included beef, pork or poultry, a potato dish, and a variety of vegetables, including stuffed mushrooms, which he adored. (My mom made dessert.)

His Sunday dinners gave my mother a break from the lion’s share of food preparation. Dad always made more than enough food, and the leftovers provided a meal for the next day, a practice I follow to this day to take the stress off of weekday meal preparation.

His food was delicious, and his table manner excellent. He was a great conversationalist who liked to linger over a meal. Dad wasn’t particularly formal or militant, but he did require everyone to be seated before we began eating, probably in deference to my mother who was usually running around getting the last elements of the meal on the table.  My father savored his food, and he ate slowly, another beneficial habit I picked up from him. None of us left the table until he was done eating.

My father was ahead of his time in terms of the huge contribution he made to how I ate as a kid and how I eat as an adult. He was an adventurous eater and that made me want to try new foods, too.

These days, dads do more than ever for their children. With expanding roles as caregivers, who also grocery shop and prepare meals and snacks, dads play a big part in their children’s food choices. In some households, moms may still hold sway over what’s served, but don’t underestimate the power of dads, many of whom like to cook and play an active role in the kitchen.

My dad was far too young when he passed away years ago. Memories of great meals and good times are his legacy. Thanks, Dad!


Tri-Color Pasta and Portabella Salad

Summer entertaining is in full swing and this colorful pasta salad from We Are Not Martha is perfect for celebrating the sunny season.

Once the warm weather hits, my appetite goes through a major shift. I go from craving heavy, comforting foods to lighter, healthy dishes almost immediately. The days are longer, the temperatures are near-perfect, and when it comes to food, all I can think about is making something as quickly as possible so I can get back outside to enjoy the nice weather and the company of friends. I often ask myself, what I can cook in my kitchen without using the oven so my apartment doesn’t become sweltering hot. No air conditioning will do that to you!

My mind almost always goes to a quick salad, but something with substance that won’t make me feel like I need to take a long nap – which of course, brings my mind directly to mushrooms. Mushrooms are my go-to ingredient when I want a meaty meal without actually eating meat! And I love a pasta salad for many reasons, one being that you can almost always add in whatever you’d like to create a special dish, and another being that you can easily and affordably make large batches of it to serve at parties. The perfect summer side dish or light lunch!

Tri-Color Pasta and Portabella Salad


  • 1 13-ounce box of thin spaghetti * I recommend  whole wheat for additional health benefits
  • 6 ounces portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large orange pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese
  • Roughly two handfuls of fresh arugula


  • 4 ounces white wine vinegar
  • 1 ounce olive oil
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Dash of dried oregano


  1. Prepare/boil your pasta and drain. Set aside. To prevent the pasta from sticking, drizzle a bit of olive oil over spaghetti, and toss.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing, and set aside.
  3. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a sauté pan. Once heated, add all of the peppers, half of the diced onion, and all of the mushrooms. Continue to toss in pan until the onions are just softened. Make sure not to overcook as you want the peppers to still be a bit crunchy. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Once the vegetables are ready, combine both the pasta and the vegetables in a serving bowl. Toss in the arugula and the other half of the onion. I like a bit of crunch in my pasta salads, which is why I only cook half of the onion and add the other half in raw.
  5. Finally, drizzle your dressing over the salad and toss to combine, making sure to scoop to the bottom to pick up any mushrooms that may have fallen! You wouldn’t want to miss out.

This Tri-Color Pasta and Portabella Salad can be eaten by itself (which I’ve done many times for lunch and dinner!) or it can be served as a refreshing side dish for any of your festivities. Over the years, I’ve realized that I enjoy bringing mayonnaise-free pasta salads to summer gatherings because I’m not as worried about transporting them or leaving them out too long. I prefer this particular pasta salad served cold, but it can also be served warm. It’s quick, simple to make, affordable, and most importantly delicious.