Archive for October, 2012

Burger Option: Go Protein-Style with Portabella Mushrooms

Jessica from LifeAsMOM showcases how you can find healthy dining ideas while eating out and even bring some of the inspiration to your own kitchen table.

Late this summer, my husband and I decided to change our diets. We were both carrying a little extra something around the middle and feeling lethargic and well… puffy. At the beginning of August, we both downloaded a free calorie-tracking app and started paying more attention to what we ate.

Boy, was that eye opening! We had no idea that some of our favorite meals were so laden with sodium, fat, and calories. Yes, our bodies need sodium and healthy fats, but what we realized is that our regular diet was overloaded with both.

After a painful first week, we started to get in a groove. We found which foods were the most satisfying and how we could eat well, feel satisfied, and not overindulge in terms of calorie intake.

One of the things that changed was our eating out. No longer did our favorite fried chicken restaurant fit the bill. And my favorite burger joint with bottomless fries? Yeah, that had to go as well.

Luckily one of our go-to places for a quick and inexpensive meal, In-N-Out Burger offered the option of preparing our burgers “protein style.” Instead of a bun, they wrap our burgers in large leaves of lettuce. Our youngest son, clearly not on a diet, actually prefers his burgers this way. Protein-style is a favorite around here.

And it’s an easy one to recreate at home. It’s even tastier when you replace the bun with a grilled portabella mushrooms. I marinated mine before grilling and the flavor was fantastic. If you prefer to go meatless, just skip the ground beef and seasoning salt. It’s a fork supper, for sure, but definitely a health-conscious way to have your burger and eat it, too.

Portabella Cheeseburger Protein Style

Portabella Cheeseburger Protein Style

Serves 2


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 portabella caps, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Favorite seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese
  • Sliced tomato, lettuce leaves, other condiments


  1. In a one quart Ziploc bag, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the mushrooms and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, divide the beef into two portions and form each into a patty. Season to taste with seasoning salt. Set aside and preheat the grill.
  3. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until simmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the burger patties and mushrooms over hot grill until the meat is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 160º and mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. During the last minute or two of cooking, lay the cheese slices atop the burgers to allow them time to melt. If you’re going meatless, you can melt the cheese over the mushrooms.
  5. On each plate, layer one mushroom, burger, cheese, and sautéed onions. Serve with tomato, lettuce, and other condiments.


Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition

Swapability is not just for use at home, chefs enjoy swapping mushrooms into their restaurant dishes as well. Council Representative, Bart Minor, shares his experience going behind the scenes at the first Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition.

Signature Recipe Competition Winner

The Mushroom Council was proud to sponsor the first “Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition” in Orlando, Florida on September 24th. Similar to challenges from hit shows like Iron Chef and Top Chef, competitors were faced with the task of preparing a dish that showcased mushroom swapability, the process of using mushrooms to extend the protein and enhance the flavor of a dish.

Nineteen chefs were invited to compete onsite at the Restaurant and Lodging Show. Competitors were given two hours to create a mushroom swapability dish, after which, the dishes were presented to three judges – Chef Louis Perrotte CEC, AAC, Chef Roland Schaeffer CEC, AAC, and Chef David St. John-Grubb Ph.D. CEC, CCE, CHE, AAC, while Chef Hiroshi Noguchi CEC, AAC covered the floor judging.  The first place winner received $1000 in cash, while second place received $750, and third place received $500.

Competitors were very receptive to the idea of swapability, and a few chefs noted they even use it on a regular basis in their restaurants. While others like the idea of swapability, they would not use it in a ground meat application (they prefer to use less protein while increasing the perceived portion size with mushrooms – sautéed, roasted, or grilled). Here are some of the comments the chefs had regarding swapability.

Chef Deborah Buza | Salvation Army – Grant, FL
Recipe: Portabella Roulade with Mushroom Sauce, served with Almond Crusted Potato Gratin Cake, Mushroom Timbale with Tomato Compote and Garnished with Sautéed Mushroom Cap
“What I like most about cooking with mushrooms is all the flavors and the versatility – you can use them as a main dish, a garnish, and a component. I prefer to use portabella as they offer so many cooking options – you can grill, roast, bake, sauté. Mushroom swapability enhances the flavor of the protein – it adds that extra flavor.”

Portabella Roulade with Mushroom Sauce by Chef Deborah

Chef Jenelle Buza | Ritz Carlton Naples – Naples, FL
Recipe: Shiitake, Oyster & Maitake Mushroom Agnolottis on Tomato Compote with Mushroom Sauce
“I enjoy cooking with mushrooms because of the depth of flavor they add to any dish. You want to be able to hit every spot on the flavor spectrum – sweet, salty, sour – to create that umami effect. I like the idea of swapability as long as you cook the mushrooms properly. You have to know the technique to execute it properly; there is nothing worse than a recipe that is soggy because the water was not sweated out before combining.”

Shiitake, Oyster & Maitake Mushroom Agnolottis by Chef Janelle Buza

Chef Erick Rodriguez | Universidad de Guayaquil – Ecuador
Recipe: Mushroom Puree with Stuffed Ravioli and Sautéed Asparagus
“I like the flavors and versatility of preparation in the kitchen – you can sauté, roast, grill. I like white button mushrooms and often use them in my entrees.”

Mushroom Puree with Stuffed Ravioli and Sautéed Asparagus by Erick Rodriguez

Chef Sally Wilson | Johnson County Community College – Overland Park, KS
Recipe: Sautéed Mushroom Strudel, Pheasant Breast with Mushroom Sausage, Butternut Squash Puree with Goat Cheese, Glazed Broccoli Rabe with Batonnet of Carrots, Pheasant Ragout with Figs and Olives

“What I enjoy most about cooking with mushrooms is the many ways you can use them. You can do anything with them and incorporate them into any dish. I really enjoy cooking with crimini mushrooms and lobster mushrooms – they add such a nice flavor and are really colorful.

Sautéed Mushroom Strudel, Pheasant Breast with Mushroom Sausage by Chef Sally Wilson

Despite all of the delicious and creative preparations, in the end, there could only be three winners. Congratulations to our top three competitors:

1st Place Winner: Chef Deborah Buza
2nd Place Winner: Chef Jenelle Buza
3rd Place Winner: Chef Erick Rodriquez

Thanks to all of the chefs who participated in this fun and landmark event for The Mushroom Council.

Would you order a mushroom swapability dish on a restaurant menu?

The Mushroom Council Travels to FNCE

Earlier this month, the Mushroom Council journeyed to Philadelphia, PA, to attend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) to connect with registered dietitians and celebrate ways to incorporate nutritious mushrooms into more meals.

From expo booths to educational sessions we could go on and on, but we’ll defer to registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner’s roundup of 5 Top Food Trends from FNCE and this great recap of the event from Food and Health Communications that shares 50 interesting findings from the conference. And guess what? Mushrooms made the list not once, but twice. First, with our beautiful display of mushroom varieties from nearby Kennett Square (the Mushroom Capital of the World) and again for the delicious Swedish Meatballs we sampled at our booth. With mushrooms earning rave reviews in Philly, we wanted to share the recipe with you so you can enjoy a taste of FNCE in your own kitchen.

Considering Kennett Square was only a hop, skip and jump away from Philly, we worked in a little day trip with 40 registered dietitians. First we toured a nearby mushroom farm for a first-hand look at how mushrooms are grown. Then, we ventured to the Farmhouse restaurant for a three-course mushroom meal, complete with a mushroom dessert! Check out photos from our entire trip on Facebook.

Tips for Easy, Healthy Dinners

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. demonstrates that healthy, fall dinners can be accomplished without spending hours over the stove.

Dinner can be daunting task, but a little planning can go a long way. Establishing a routine that works for you and your family is a must, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat the same meals week in and week out. The good news is that simple meals can be healthy without being bland. Nutritious dinners don’t require costly ingredients, nor do they necessarily take hours to prepare and clean up.

Here are some simple strategies I’ve learned to get dinner on the table with minimum fuss.

Go with family favorites. I find dinner is more relaxed when I know that everyone likes what I’ve made.  Of course, you can’t always please everyone in the family, but you can come close. Poll family members about their favorite dishes, and what entrees they’d like to try.  Check out the recipe below for a new family favorite in our household.

Stop to shop.  I don’t like going to the grocery store, so I shop for food just once a week.  After you know what you will prepare for weeknight meals, decide what ingredients you need. It’s much easier to “get it and forget it” when it comes to ingredients than it is to run to the store multiple times during the week. Frequent trips waste time and gasoline, and you may end up buying more than what you had intended.

Cook once, eat twice. There’s no reason to cook every night. Roast a chicken or turkey for Sunday night supper. Use leftovers to make quesadillas for Monday night and soup for another weeknight meal.  Prepare a large pot of chili or pan of lasagna and freeze the rest for two more meals in the coming weeks.

Have a Plan B.  For the times when my dinner-making plans go awry, I rely on go-to meals that take minutes to make, and are nutritious and delicious. They include:

• Portabella mushroom burgers with sharp cheddar cheese and a slab of juicy tomato on whole grain buns with fruit and a green salad.

• Spinach and feta cheese pie (I keep one in the freezer), rice, fruit, and milk.

• Frozen turkey meatballs over pasta, green salad, fruit, and milk.

Make it easier on yourself.  When you’re strapped for time, rely on produce that makes life easier, including sliced mushrooms, pre-washed salad greens, and cubed butternut squash. I always keep frozen peas,corn, and fruit canned in its own juice on hand, too.

Use a slow cooker. It’s comforting to know you’ve got dinner covered with a slow cooker dish started earlier in the day. With slow cookers, you fix the food and it’s ready when you want it. Here’s a recipe I recently tried from Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking by Kimberly Mayone and Kitty Broiher, MS, RD. It’s easy to make, delicious, and my family loves it. I serve it with regular egg noodles; if you’re going gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta or rice.

Beef Stroganoff

Serves 4 (about 1 ¼ cups each)


  • 1 ¼ pounds sirloin tip steak, trimmed of visible fat and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (optional)


  1. Add the steak, onions, and mushrooms to the slow cooker crock; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch until starch is dissolved and mixture has no lumps. Pour it into the slow cooker crock; then stir in the beef bouillon, salt, and garlic. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours (or 4 hours on HIGH).
  3. Turn off the slow cooker; stir in the sour cream.
  4. To serve, spoon the Stroganoff over noodles or rice. Garnish each portion with fresh dill, if desired.

Recipe used with permission.



Blogger Ambassador Spotlight: We Are Not Martha

Every Tuesday, inventive and creative mushroom recipes are being shared right here, thanks to our team of enthusiastic blog ambassadors. Our blogger ambassadors share an authentic love of mushrooms, each bringing a personal style to the table that is worth a deeper look. Each month we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our ambassadors and the culinary creativity they bring to our favorite fungi. This week get to know the gals from We Are Not Martha.

We Are Not Martha is a two person blog managed by two lovely foodies, Sues and Chels. They’ve been best friends since second grade, and their love for the kitchen has always been a unanimous connection (along with their cooking idol, Martha Stewart.) Rather than diligently following complex recipes that required hours in the kitchen, they wanted to be hosting, entertaining and enjoying the company of their friends and loved ones. That’s when We Are Not Martha was born as a combined effort of two best friends, sharing recipe successes and failures, while having fun along the way. As two women who love simple entertaining ideas, mushrooms versatility for appetizers, entrées and more is never far from their mind. Take a look at some of their favorite mushroom inspired dishes!

Mushroom Lover’s Eggs Benedict
Brunch doesn’t have to be a complicated event, just a tasty one. This Mushroom Lover’s Eggs Benedict is the perfect way to say hello to Sunday morning without all of the fuss.

Broccoli Soup with Sautéed Mushrooms
Put a spin on “Mushroom Soup” by using mushrooms as a topper instead of in the soup base. The bright green color of the broccoli soup, with the balance of sautéed mushrooms will make a lively addition to any table.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mushrooms
Whether you’re planning for the Thanksgiving table or looking for a fun recipe for girls’ night dinner, this recipe embodies the comfort of fall, with the health benefits to match.

Mushroom and Chorizo Tacos
Mushrooms get a hint of spice in Mushroom Chorizo Tacos! Perfect for a week night dinner or a themed party night.

If you’re interested in discovering more mushroom recipes from We Are Not Martha, be sure to give them a follow on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook and check out their contributions to our “Mushroom Love” Pinterest board.