Archive for April, 2013

Mushroom, Herb and Cheese Whole Wheat Pasta

Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking shares a light and refreshing mushroom pasta dish, just in time for patio dining season.

Mushroom Herb Pasta by Whats Gaby Cooking

I often experience serious cravings for pasta, most likely because I only ate pasta for the first 10 years of my life. Thank goodness I was on the swim team; otherwise I would have turned into one giant carb.

Back in the day it was always spaghetti noodles with some garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Nowadays I like to do a throwback to my inner child and enjoy the same dish, dressed up with some seriously sautéed mushrooms and herbs.

I like to cook the mushrooms for about 10-15 minutes over medium heat so the flavors develop and they begin to caramelize.  Then they get topped with some freshly cut herbs, tossed into a whole wheat spaghetti bowl and topped with lots of shredded Parmesan cheese.

It’s a simple weeknight meal that I always make double batches of so we can enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.  You could even try pairing the pasta with blended mushroom meatballs, for a double dose of mushroom love.

Mushroom, Herb and Cheese Whole Wheat Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, any variety will work, cut into thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 10 ounces dried whole-wheat pasta
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and caramelized. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the garlic and shallot and sauté for a few minutes more until the shallot is just translucent.
  4. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
  5. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the cooked pasta and remaining water to the mushroom mixture and toss to combine. Adjust salt and pepper as needed and top with basil and Parmesan cheese. Toss everything together to combine and serve. 

Introduce Your Friends and Family to the Mushroom Taco this Cinco de Mayo

Mushrooms have been an authentic part of Mexican cuisine since the pre-Spanish days. Council Representative, Bart Minor, tells us how he’s converted mushroom haters into mushroom lovers with his mushroom blend tacos – just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

We all have a friend that at one time or another, said they don’t like mushrooms. No matter how many times you inform them of the many nutritional benefits, the flavor enhancing properties, and the fact that they are available year round, you are met with a list of many excuses.

The truth is these friends will come around. How you ask? Serve them mushroom blended tacos on Cinco de Mayo. Mushrooms have been an integral and authentic part of Mexican and other Hispanic cuisines since the pre-Spanish days, commonly used for their meaty texture and versatility. The mushrooms natural meatiness allows it to blend seamlessly with ground meat, while boosting flavor and adding a serving of vegetables.

My mushroom tacos have successfully converted several of my friends to mushroom lovers… well, at least they love the fact they are lower in fat, lower in calories, and less expensive! Make tacos for your friends this Cinco de Mayo and see if you can’t turn this celebration of Mexican culture and cuisine into a healthier, more delicious, and sustainable lifestyle move for you and your family!

Mushroom and Chorizo Tacos by We Are Not Marthas

Mushroom and Chorizo Tacos
Recipe Courtesy of the Mushroom Council and We Are Not Martha

Put a spin on tacos by blending spicy chorizo and hearty mushrooms for a quick and easy flavor-packed dinner.

Yield: 6 tacos
Serving Size: 1 taco

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Mexican chorizo, casings removed and crumbled
  • 1/2 C onion, chopped
  • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 medium potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 habanero pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • Whole wheat tortillas, lightly toasted
  • 1/4 C cilantro, finely chopped (for topping) 
  • 2 oz. cotija cheese (for topping) 
  • 1 avocado, diced (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add crumbled chorizo. Cook until mostly heated through (or mostly cooked through if chorizo was uncooked) and then add chopped onion, mushrooms, potatoes, and habanero.
  2. Cook, while stirring, for about 4-5 minutes, until ingredients begin to soften and brown up a bit. Mix cumin in.
  3. Serve chorizo mushroom mixture on a lightly toasted whole wheat tortilla. Top with cilantro, cotija, avocado, or absolutely anything you want.

 

How to Get Livelier Taste When Lightening the Plate

Chef Jackie Newgent, RDN, shares her favorite tips on how to make tastier springtime meals.

With summer around the corner, spring is the time we often look to lighten up our meals. But going lighter doesn’t mean you need to accept blah breakfasts, bland lunches, or boring dinners. In fact, health-friendlier meals can mean more deliciousness.

So here are a few of my favorite and simplest strategies for heightening taste. I suggest focusing on one of these culinary tips a week. Eventually, you’ll find yourself naturally including all of these approaches as part of your lively meal repertoire. I promise, your taste buds will thank you.

Mushrooms and Spices by Cheeky Kitchen

Image Courtesy of Brooke, Cheeky Kitchen

1.  Reach for Umami

Umami is the name for savory or “meaty” taste. But you don’t actually need meat to get it. A few ways to up the umami in your dishes is by incorporating more mushrooms, fully ripened tomatoes, naturally brewed soy sauce, or green tea.

Tip: Sauté sliced mushrooms with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of fresh rosemary until the mushrooms are softened. Use the mushrooms as the “meat” of a sandwich—or make a better burger by blending finely chopped sautéed mushrooms with less meat, and grill.

2.  Feel the “Heat”

To create more depth of flavor, try a little bit of a spicy ingredient. I’m not talking about food that’ll make you sweat. I’m talking about a pinch of minced jalapeño pepper, splash of hot sauce, or dab of curry paste, for instance. Add just enough to create pep. Try it with mixed dishes, veggies, soups, dips, and desserts.

Tip: Prepare seasonal veggies any which way you like—grilled, stir-fried, or steamed. Then just toss with a drizzle of Gochujang (it’s a Korean sweet and spicy sauce). No other ingredients required.

3. Go for Spice Intrigue

Spices provide flavor panache and fragrant interest. So take full advantage of your spice rack. This is especially important to consider when preparing calorie-conscious cuisine to keep full-flavorful. Be playful, but start with just a smidgen of one or two spices at a time—not the whole rack at once, of course!

Tip: Pick opposites by adding a “sweet” spice to a savory dish for taste intrigue. Sprinkle ground cinnamon or ginger onto grilled chicken breast or kebabs.

4. Get Fresh with Herbs

I include fresh herbs in an integral way for healthful recipes, not just as a garnish or afterthought. They provide refreshing and distinctive aroma. Since most flavors actually come by way of your nose, this is one key to tasty fare.

Tip: Enhance salads by using herbs as part of the greens or the dressing. Toss in a small handful of fresh mint or basil leaves along with your leafy greens. Or whirl together equal parts extra-virgin olive oil, golden balsamic vinegar, and fresh cilantro or tarragon for an easy herb vinaigrette.

5.  Try Acidic Pairings

Pairing wine to food can boost the overall taste appeal of your meal. The same can be said of matching an acid ingredient—like vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice—to your foods. Consider pairing these acids as you might pair wines to food. Try red wine vinegar with Italian food or lime juice with Mexican food. It’s magical how a simple squirt can heighten flavor.

Tip: Pick up some kale, tatsoi, spinach, or other dark leafy greens from the farmers’ market. Wilt or sauté the greens and add a sassy splash of lemon juice or aged balsamic vinegar; it delightfully balances bitterness.

Need more ways to boost flavor in your food? Just ask us below—or connect with Jackie on Twitter @jackienewgent.

Golden Polenta with Creamy Mushrooms

Shaina from Food for my Family is always delighted to find mushrooms in her refrigerator; their hearty texture makes a natural pairing with her Golden Polenta Cakes.

As I am walking through the produce section of the grocery store I inevitably come across the mushrooms. Staring at them, I seemingly always reach for them even when I have nothing intended for them on the dinner menu for the week. They call to me from there on the shelf, and they end up in my cart more often than not for having them means cheeseburgers become mushroom and Swiss burgers, sausage gravy becomes sausage and mushroom gravy. The stir fry contains mushrooms. Soups invite them in.

Really, there hasn’t been a time when I’ve been disappointed to find a bag of mushrooms in the refrigerator, purchased without purpose. They can make the most dull of days seem like an opportunity.

Such is the case with my polenta, or rather, the leftover polenta I found myself with after dinner one day. The next day the polenta waited in the refrigerator, and the mushrooms sat next to it getting friendly. Who was I to disagree with the fated pairing?

Creamy mushrooms are the perfect addition to golden polenta slices. While I used leftovers, there is no reason you couldn’t as easily make the polenta just for this purpose. It pairs nicely alongside main courses, but it shines as a simple lunch option, too.

Golden Polenta and Creamy Mushrooms by Food for my Family

Golden Polenta with Creamy Mushrooms

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 batch Creamy Gruyere Polenta (leftover)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. After making creamy polenta, pour part of it into a 9″ loaf pan, pressing firmly into the bottom and covering. Chill in the fridge until firm.
  2. In a small sauté pan melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add in the green onions and parsley and cook for 3 minutes until aromatic and softened. Add in the mushrooms, olive oil, and the salt. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are cooked through and starting to brown around the edges. Drizzle the lemon juice on and stir in. Remove from heat.
  3. Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and cut into slices. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Toast the slices until golden brown. Remove to plate. Top with mushrooms and serve immediately.

A Day Dedicated to Mushrooms

Portabella Mushroom Love Note

Every day offers a reason to celebrate the food we love, but when there is an official day designated to the mighty mushroom, it’s important to take the celebration up another notch.  April 16 is recognized as the Day of the Mushroom and we’re honoring our favorite fungi in the most delicious way possible – multiple mushroom recipes.

Take a look at a few of the mushroom highlights below and on the full Pinterest board.

 

  • Roasted Portabella Eggs Benedict – April 16 also happens to be National Eggs Benedict Day. Celebrate two occasions in one dish with this tasty brunch or brinner (a.k.a Breakfast for Dinner) treat!
  • Chipotle Mushroom Sub Sandwich with Chunky Pico De Gallo – It’s easy to get stuck in a sandwich rut, but Poor Girl Eats Well brings vibrant flavors to life in this delightful sub, and with the hearty mushrooms you’ll barely notice it’s meatless.
  • Creamy Mushroom and Kale Quesadillas – Simple and delicious with under ten ingredients, this quesadilla from Eat, Live, Run is perfect as an appetizer (but who really wants to share)?
  • Mushroom Tacos with Salsa Verde – Even the kids will get into the mushroom love today when you replace a portion of ground beef with mushrooms in these blended tacos. 

Happy Cooking! If you have a mushroom recipe to highlight leave us some love in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook.