Archive for August, 2013

Mushroom Blendability Steals the Show

It’s becoming more and more obvious that The Trend is to Blend! The Blend once again took center stage at this year’s Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference in Monterey, CA, and council representative, Bart Minor, was there to see mushroom blended beef & turkey burgers win top honors for the second year in a row.

Chef Demo Station PMA

It’s not very often produce makes its way to the center of the plate. Often viewed as a side dish or an accompaniment, produce deserves its chance to shine. This year’s Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference showed chefs, foodservice operators, and other industry members how to embrace the idea of having produce as the center of the plate, and mushrooms were the star ingredient.

Guests were welcomed to the event with a spicy Jamaican Jerk Mushroom Wrap, and wow was it delicious! The wrap perfectly showcased just how easily (and seamlessly) mushrooms can be substituted for meat.

Winning Award at PMA

Highlighting produce within entrées can sometimes be difficult for foodservice operators, but The Blend was highly recognized as the solution – it’s easy, healthy and doesn’t sacrifice flavor. Guests loved mushroom blendability so much it took top prize, for the second year in a row, in the “Reverse Action Station” Chef Demonstration Lunch. Most were very surprised to learn the beef burger they were enjoying was made with 50% mushrooms.


At the end of the day, we were happy to showcase the many benefits of mushroom blendability to a group of very prominent foodservice operators, and even happier to walk away with our prize for “Best Overall Appearance, Value, Innovation and Showcasing Produce as Center of the Plate.”

Mushroom Cheesesteak Stir Fry

Dine and Dish turned a sandwich staple into a stir fry meal perfect for a transition into fall comfort.

Mushroom Cheese Steak Stir-Fry by Dine and Dish

One of my all-time favorite restaurants in Kansas City is a casual dining place that features a sandwich called the Zephyr. The Zephyr is a version of a cheesesteak sandwich, with tender bell peppers, flavorful onions, strips of sirloin steak and a provolone cheese “sauce” that pulls the sandwich all together. In addition to the traditional cheesesteak ingredients, the Zephyr has sautéed sliced mushrooms on it that makes it divine. This sandwich contains several of my favorite ingredients, all cooked together in one amazing sandwich.

School is back in session and as I do every August, I am craving simple dinnertime solutions. I decided to turn my favorite sandwich into a simple stir fry for school nights. It’s all the goodness of The Zephyr sandwich, with the simplicity of a plate of stir fry. Topped with a creamy cheese sauce, this is one favorite you’ll be coming back to time and again!

Cheesesteak Stir Fry


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Vidalia Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon season salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 ounces Provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups brown rice, cooked


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir fry for 3 minutes, or until vegetables become tender.
  2. Add sirloin steak to the skillet, sprinkle with season salt and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness.
  3. In a separate saucepan, add cream cheese, provolone cheese and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until heated through, melted and smooth.
  4. Place individual servings of brown rice on each plate. Top with steak and vegetable mixture. Spoon warm cheese sauce over steak and vegetable mixture. Serve hot.


Back to School with Mushrooms

With freshly sharpened pencils and brand new notebooks in hand, the kids are finally heading back to school! The bittersweet end of summer marks a new beginning for children and adults alike, offering a “second chance” at implementing new routines. This fall, we urge you to head back to school with mushrooms in mind. Between activities, recitals, homework and going to school itself, most parents are operating a mile a minute trying to keep up with their child’s extracurriculars. So how are you supposed to treat your family to their favorite foods, while keeping your schedule intact?

Nutritious eating doesn’t have to be time-consuming or boring! When creating your family’s school year schedule, the challenge lies in finding quick, nutritious meals that can please the even the pickiest eater’s palate. The secret to incorporating nutrient-filled mushrooms into your family’s diet is as easy as making a simple swap in some of their favorite meals. The truth is, at the end of a long day no one wants to spend hours preparing a meal.

Keeping fresh mushrooms on hand makes it easy to whip up a nutritious and tasty meal. A handful of mushrooms go a long way in boosting the nutrition of virtually any plate!

Blending finely chopped mushrooms with meat can also allow for a nutrient-filled way to enjoy traditional ground beef favorites. Blended mushroom recipes are a not only a cool way to fill half of your plate with veggies as MyPlate suggests, but a welcome addition to any meal because of their savory flavor.  By embracing the blendability of mushrooms, family favorites can become wholesome staples in your household.

Here are some of our favorite kid-friendly recipes, which will have your little ones jumping for joy:

As an added bonus, dinnertime can transform from a simple meal time into an educational experience that kids can actively participate in. Invite kids to help you cook! While you get an extra hand in the preparation, kids can keep measuring and counting skills sharp – it’s the perfect complement to the new math lessons they pick up at school. This back to school season, keep mushrooms in mind as your perfect partner in preparing quick and tasty weeknight dinners.

Salami, Spinach and Mushroom Stromboli

Just in time for a new school year, Paula from Bell’alimento shares a recipe for Salami, Spinach and Mushroom Stromboli that will have your family rethinking pizza night.

Salami and Spinach Stromboli by Bell’alimento

If you like pizzas then you’ll LOVE Stromboli.  We like to think of them as the stuffed cousin of a pizza. Similar to pizza toppings, the stuffing possibilities for strombolis are limitless. One of my favorite combos is stuffed with salami, spinach and mushrooms.  It’s a crowd pleaser, and you’ll definitely be “stuffed” after eating it.  If you wanted to go meatless, simply leave out the salami and bump up the mushrooms.  It’s a delicious and easy meal to kick off a new school year with, and with endless topping ideas you’ll never need to fear the ultimate dinner debate.

My homemade pizza dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas (or strombolis) which means more options, more toppings and more fun. Pizza night just got a whole lot more exciting.

Salami, Spinach and Mushroom Stromboli
Serving Size: 4


  • Prepared pizza dough
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced salami
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 ounces fresh mushrooms – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat mat (or parchment paper).
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll pizza dough onto silicone mat (or parchment) and form into a rectangle. Top with salami, spinach mushrooms and cheese. Starting on the short end, roll up the dough. Place seam-side down.
  3. Lightly brush top with olive oil. Bake approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

Mushrooms: A Part of your Healthy Burger

An American favorite, cheeseburgers have long been among the most popular flame-cooked fare, and have recently been making surprise appearances as… wait for it… healthy food!

New and innovative ways to enjoy healthier cheeseburgers have resulted in an influx of ingenious recipes containing ingredients outside of traditional ground beef. This new take on a conventional treat has allowed foodies everywhere to experiment with tradition, step outside of the box and create recipes that are both delicious and pack more of a nutritional punch than traditional cheeseburgers.  Often times, enjoying the “healthy” burger option is more delicious than the real thing!

Subbing lean meats and veggies in for ground beef is not only more nutritious, but can often result in a more economic burger. One way to make your cheeseburger go further is to blend your meat of choice with finely chopped mushrooms. The hearty texture and savory flavor of mushrooms make them an extremely compatible addition to meat, adding flavor only umami can provide while reducing the patty’s calories, fat and sodium.

With Labor Day, the last hurrah of summer grilling, quickly approaching experiment with The Blend the next time you find yourself grilling. Check out the recipes tab for more tasty blended meals. Some of our favorite blended burgers include:

As a low-calorie alternative to meat in cheeseburgers, mushroom cheeseburgers are a perfect example of a burger that is “Too Good to Be Healthy”. Do you serve up a cheeseburger that is commended as “Too Good to be Healthy” by your family and friends? Joy Bauer, The Today Show’s Nutrition and Health Expert, is hosting a cheeseburger contest that provides the perfect opportunity to let your favorite mushroom cheeseburger shine! The creators of the top three entries are invited to appear on The Today Show and “battle it out” in a taste test to see whose healthy cheeseburger reigns supreme.  Entries are accepted through 8/16 (TODAY), so make sure to review the Rules & Regulations and represent mushrooms by entering your original mushroom cheeseburger for a chance to win a trip to New York!