Archive for November, 2012

How Mushrooms Dominated The Thanksgiving Table

 In honor of the holiday season, Mushroom Council representative, Bart Minor, shares how mushrooms took over his Thanksgiving table with a flair of nutrition and flavor this past holiday.

As president of the Mushroom Council you would expect my Thanksgiving dining table to be adorned with delectable, savory mushroom dishes – and indeed this past Thanksgiving it was, but not for the reason you would expect.

Taste and flavor plays a large role in my family’s choice to serve fresh mushrooms, but there is one other factor that enticed them to include delicious mushrooms in this holiday meal – the health benefits.

Mushrooms are one of nature’s hidden treasures when it comes to health benefits.  When it’s time to head into the kitchen, fresh mushrooms can be incorporated into several holiday entertaining dishes through the process of swapability, which replaces a portion of meat with chopped fresh mushrooms. This savory fungi provides an extra serving of vegetables and delivers important nutrients including niacin, selenium, and riboflavin. Mushrooms also have vitamin D, ergothionene, and potassium.*

We enjoyed everything from mushroom appetizers, to a turkey filled to the brim with mushroom stuffing. My all-time holiday favorite also made its way to my table thanks to my sister’s green bean and mushroom casserole. At the end of the meal we were all happy, healthy and thankful.

What’s your favorite holiday meal?

*Less than 10 percent of the daily value.

Mushroom Sun Dried Tomato Tart

With the holidays right around the corner, Paula from bell’alimento  created a tart recipe that can be whipped up for any special occasion or even a weeknight meal.

When you’re looking for a multi-tasking dish, that can open as an appetizer, or take center stage as an entrée, a savory tart is your answer. This vegetarian beauty is perfect for just about any occasion that you can imagine. You can even bake this as individual mini-tarts for a special presentation. It’s a terrific addition to the brunch table, too – mimosas anyone?

The mushrooms make it “meaty” and filling and the flavor factor is bumped way up with the addition of onions, herbs and plump sun dried tomatoes that have been plucked from a jar of oil. The egg, cream and cheese take it over the top.  Experiment with different mushroom varieties to put a different spin on flavor. Shiitake, white button or crimini mushrooms would all be delicious, or you could even try a combination of all three.

It comes together quickly with a little help from the refrigerated crust aisle. Planning a party this holiday season? Go ahead and impress your guests with this tantalizing tart!


  • 1 – 9” refrigerated pie crust.
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 12 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup stock
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt/pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sliced sun dried tomatoes


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Spray a 9” tart pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place pie crust into tart pan. Remove, discard excess. Prick bottom with tines of fork. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms, cook for approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic, stock and parsley. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer. Add lemon juice and season with salt/pepper.

4. Pour mushroom mixture into crust.

5. In a small bowl add cheese, egg and cream. Mix to combine.

6. Sprinkle the sun dried tomatoes evenly over the mushrooms in the crust. Pour egg mixture over. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until set.

7. Cool slightly prior to serving. Garnish with additional parsley or green onions.

Lemon-Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushroom Medley

During the holidays, a spectacular side dish can easily steal the show from the main event. The girls from We Are Not Martha combined brussels sprouts, bacon and mushrooms in a recipe that is sure to be the star of your table.

It’s no secret that I love bacon. And brussels sprout. And, who are we kidding, the reason we’re all here, mushrooms, too! Combining all of these delicious ingredients into one dish is a recipe for success. During the holiday season, you’ll frequently find roasted brussels sprouts on the menu in our home. I absolutely love playing around with the flavors; sometimes I’ll do an Asian-inspired sprout, other times I’ll roast them plain with a basic dressing of olive oil and sea salt.  I’ll often roast an entire pan of them, with the full intention of having some for leftovers, and find myself eating them all in one sitting. Whoops! When mushrooms and brussels sprouts are combined, there is no need to think about leftovers.

For this dish, I used a mushroom blend of shiitake, oyster, and baby bella mushrooms along with bacon and finished with a lemon-glaze, to brighten the earthy flavors of mushroom and sprouts.


  • 4 Cups brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon shallot, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 3 strips of bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup assorted mushrooms (I used shiitake, oyster, and baby bella), roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Begin by lightly coating the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil. Once the sprouts are cleaned and halved, place them in the roasting pan. Add the chopped mushrooms, bacon, and shallots into the roasting pan.
  3. In a ramekin or small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Lightly whisk the cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the melted butter and pour the butter mixture into the roasting pan. Lightly toss the sprouts to make sure they’re coated nicely with the butter.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes or until the sprouts are golden brown and crispy.

The Day after Thanksgiving: Leftovers Reinvented

Leftovers serve a different purpose in every family. There are some “midnight” eaters who simply can’t wait until breakfast to enjoy another spoonful of stuffing or sneak a sliver of pumpkin pie. On the other hand, there are the “inventive” families who are thinking of soups, pizzas, sandwiches and more to recreate the Thanksgiving components in new ways.

No matter how your family utilizes the essential leftovers, there are specific ingredients that were purchased for Thanksgiving prep, that are now lying around the kitchen. Mushrooms are a key ingredient to several aspects of the Thanksgiving meal, whether in soup, appetizers, or sides, there are likely a few leftover white buttons or portabellas sitting in the fridge waiting to be used in new ways.  If you’re tired of the stuffing and turkey, put a mushroom spin on leftover day.

Mushroom Scramble Mug

If you’re planning to shop all day you’ll need fuel. Toss a few leftover mushrooms and other veggies with some eggs for a quick scramble in a mug that will have out the door in no time at all.

Mushroom Parmesan Melts

Along with mushrooms, there is always leftover bread after Thanksgiving. After a heavy meal, sometimes you just want to keep things light, with a topping of a sautéed mushrooms and parmesan cheese.

Mushroom Quinoa Casserole

If you’re hosting gluten-free visitors for the weekend, treat them to a quinoa inspired casserole that everyone will love.


What is your favorite way to use leftover ingredients from holiday feasts?

Holiday Survival Tips

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. discusses tips for success to keep this holiday season balanced, enjoyable and most importantly delicious. 

With three children and a career, I’m always trying to find balance in my life, and even more so during the holiday season.  If I’m not careful, the extra shopping, cooking, and cleaning will sap my energy and throw my schedule way out of whack.

I’m not alone, of course. Families across the country are faced with too much food, not enough sleep, and a lack of time to exercise from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Here are some tips to stay sane and healthy during the holidays.

Eat breakfast every day. Eat a balanced breakfast to prevent overdoing it later on.  Examples include: eggs scrambled with sliced mushrooms in a whole wheat pita pocket and a piece of fruit; whole grain cereal, low-fat milk, and 100% fruit juice; and oatmeal prepared with milk with ¼ cup California raisins and ¼ cup sliced almonds mixed in.

Plan. Everyday life happens between holiday celebrations, so don’t forget about planning simple, balanced weeknight meals to help you and your family eat right. Utilize ingredients, like mushrooms, that you already have on hand for party appetizers and incorporate them into nightly meals.

Take “Me Time.” It’s easy to run out of steam during the holidays. Set aside at least 30 minutes daily to sit quietly, read, or exercise. You’re not wasting time; you’re investing in your stamina.

Sleep on it. Make sleep a priority for yourself and your family. Chronic fatigue means poor food choices and higher caffeine intake, which, in turn, affects sleep. Most adults need about 7 to 8 hours a night, and kids require upwards of 10 hours.

Put it off.  I like to defer some get-togethers until January, when life calms down considerably. It’s OK to put off parties with friends and neighbors until the New Year so that you have more time to sleep, eat, and enjoy December.

Avoid all-out sacrifice. Forgoing the seasonal foods you love is no fun! Take very small portions of the foods you must have from the holiday table. The first few bites are always the best.

Snack strong.  When you don’t have time for sit-down meals, rely on snacks with protein and fiber to fill in food gaps. For example: Greek yogurt and fruit; a wrap filled with mushrooms, broccoli and other wholesome veggies; and a hard cooked egg and whole wheat crackers.

Don’t bank calories.  You can save up some calories during the day to spend on eggnog, mashed potatoes and gravy or a mixed drink. Just don’t arrive hungry to holiday gatherings.  When you’re famished, your willpower to eat healthy is diminished.

Shop on a full stomach. Stay focused at the mall by eating before you shop.The hungrier you get, the greater the chance for impulse purchases and for doing some serious dietary damage at the food court.

BYOA.  Do you overdo it on appetizers and then you’re too full for a meal? Me, too. Bring your own starter, such as stuffed mushrooms, fresh vegetables and low fat dip, or fruit, so that you know you’re munching on something light and healthy.

Minimize the damage. Eating “perfectly” is not the goal during the holidays. So you overate and had too one too many cocktails… Time to move forward. Get a good night’s sleep and do better tomorrow.