Archive for the ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ Category

Dinner Dilemmas Solved with ‘Shrooms

Mushrooms make dinner easy in these family-friendly recipes.

School is back in session and fall schedules are hectic! From carpool to homework, soccer practice to ballet, who has time to enjoy family dinner when you are being pulled in so many different directions? Solve your dinner dilemmas with mushrooms.

The Blend, or the act of combining mushrooms with meat, is one guaranteed way to get nutritious vegetables on the dinner table in a quick, easy and tasty way. If you only have minutes to get dinner on the table, prep the blended mushroom and meat mixture ahead of time and store it in the fridge (up to 1-2 days*) until ready to use. This is one simple way to incorporate low-calorie, low-sodium mushrooms into all of your dinner favorites – from burgers and tacos, to spaghetti and sloppy joes.

*Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Family-friendly recipes to add to the dinner menu:

Mushroom Pizza Rolls

Mushroom Pizza Rolls
These easy vegetarian pizza rolls make for an extra fun dinner! Store rolls up to four days in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds or enjoy cold/room temperature.

Turkey Mushroom BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Turkey & Mushroom BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
A blend of lean ground turkey and white button mushrooms creates a hearty filling in sloppy joes or to top on tender sweet potatoes. Skip the oven and simply microwave the potatoes until tender for an extra quick dinner.

Classic Blended Burger

Classic Blended Burger
Give the family what they want with this scrumptious burger. Mushrooms boost the juicy, umami flavor as well as vitamins and nutrients. Win-win.

Mushroom and Beef Tacos
Add a flavorful twist to taco night by blending half the beef with finely chopped mushrooms. Put out everyone’s favorite toppings for a fun DIY taco bar!

Blended Chili & Macaroni
This beef and mushroom chili is quick, easy and kid-approved. Add in elbow macaroni for a delicious, one-pot meal.

Mushroom Steak Sandwich with Cheese Whiz

Mushroom “Steak” Sandwich with Whiz
Mushrooms have a “meaty” texture and are a great alternative to beef in this creative and tasty take on the traditional steak sandwich.

A+ Back-to-School Mushroom Recipes

Recipes-Aug-BlogBack-to-school season is right around the corner, which means schedules are about to fill up with science projects, after-school sports, homework, band practice, carpooling and school dances. Is your head spinning yet? While life may seem chaotic and unpredictable, your meals don’t have to be. We’ve taken the guesswork out of meal planning and rounded up a collection of easy, healthy mushroom dishes the whole family will love! (No school-age kids at home? No problem. You’ll still enjoy these simple, yet delicious recipes!)

Tips:

  • Cut down time in the kitchen by purchasing pre-cut veggies.
  • Blend mushrooms with meat to make meals go further (plus boost flavor and nutrition).
  • Opt for meals you can make ahead and freeze – freeing up your time during the week!

Crimini Mushroom Nuggets

Zesty Crimini “Chicken” Nuggets
The next time kids ask for chicken nuggets, swap in these crispy, baked crimini nuggets (served with their favorite dipping sauce).

cheesy skillet-017-BLOG

Cheesy Beef Skillet
The Blend turns this one-skillet dinner into an umami-packed, delicious and quick meal idea for busy families.

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese with Mushrooms

Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese with Mushrooms
A lunchtime favorite! Combine sweet, tangy barbeque pork with cheesy macaroni, then add roasted mushrooms for an umami-rich surprise!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins
Take-and-go blended breakfast muffins make hectic mornings manageable. Blend mushrooms with Italian sausage for a flavor-winning combo.

Hummus Stuffed Mushrooms-BLOG

No-Bake Hummus Stuffed Mushrooms
No-cook stuffed mushrooms are perfect for packing in a lunchbox or enjoying as an afterschool snack.

Muffin-Meatloaf4 (1)-BLOG

Muffin Tin Meatloaves
These make-ahead, bite-sized blended mini meatloaves provide a fun way to eat dinner – plus a serving of vegetables!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins

Incorporate The Blend into your morning – or brunch – routine starting with these baked sausage and mushroom frittata muffins from Aggie’s Kitchen.

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen

I started making baked frittata muffins for my family about a year ago and we are officially hooked! They are so simple to put together and the variety of fillings are endless, making them even more appealing in my opinion. What I love about frittata muffins is that they are portion controlled, making them perfect for a light breakfast, snack or for offering at brunch where other foods will be served. A dozen of these savory Baked Sausage & Mushroom Frittata Muffins would round out a brunch menu quite nicely if you ask me. My favorite part of a brunch menu is the opportunity to try a little bit of several things, so these muffin-sized frittatas will fit right in.

Using The Blend concept, I was able to cut back on the amount of Italian sausage I used in this recipe with chopped mushrooms. Such a winning concept since you can basically please all the meat eaters in your group, yet know that what you are serving is a little bit more nutritious – without sacrificing texture or flavor. I used baby bella mushrooms in this recipe, but white button mushrooms would be great as well. Enjoy!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins

Ingredients:

2 fresh Italian chicken sausage links (about 1/3 pound), casings removed
8 0z whole baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, chopped
9 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella
cooking spray

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan liberally with cooking spray.

In a large nonstick skillet, brown and crumble Italian chicken sausage. Add shallots and chopped mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add chopped spinach and cook for another 3-4 minutes until spinach is completely wilted. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 9 eggs. Add milk and continue to whisk until eggs and milk are blended. Stir in mozzarella cheese.

Using a tablespoon, add sausage, mushroom and spinach mixture evenly into each muffin cup. Carefully pour egg mixture into each cup, using the spoon to gently lift the sausage mixture so that egg mixture reaches the bottom of cup.

Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully run a knife around edges of egg muffins to separate from pan. Let cool for another 5 minutes then remove egg muffins completely from pan. Serve with fresh fruit and other brunch favorites!

Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen Baked Sausage and Mushroom Frittata Muffins by Aggies Kitchen

The Blend Was a Hit at the School Nutrition Annual Conference

Over the past year the mushroom industry, food service directors and meat processors have been hard at work hoping to bring The Blend to the forefront. The outcome of these efforts were obvious at this year’s School Nutrition Conference, and Council Representative Kathleen Pries, was there to share all the benefits of blending with knowledge seeking directors.

The energy, excitement and enthusiasm at the SNA ANC in Boston, Massachusetts last week was palpable. School food service directors from across the nation were eager to visit the Mushroom Council booth to learn about fresh mushrooms and blending.

Located in the United Fresh Pavilion, the Mushroom Council had the opportunity to work with other likeminded exhibitors to bring school foodservice directors real solutions to increase fresh produce consumption in schools. The Fresh Produce Pavilion showcased a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to schools, as well as highlighted the produce industry’s commitment to helping schools meet the new fruit and vegetable requirements for school lunch/breakfast.  With the new “Smart Snacks in Schools” requirements going into effect, and continuing media attention on healthier school meals, it is more important than ever that the fresh produce industry be fully engaged with schools.

To demonstrate how meatless options can be just as tasty, and how The Blend can enhance school meals, we sampled Spicy Mushroom Meatballs, Mushroom Blended Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties, and Meatless Portabella Cheesesteaks. Attendees were thrilled to hear student’s favorite meals can be made healthier without losing taste, volume or texture. But we weren’t the only ones showing off blending, three additional companies showed mushroom blended products totaling 11 products on the show floor for school foodservice directors to sample and add to their menu.

The presence of mushroom blending at this year’s School Nutrition Association Conference was especially important given the current debate on regulating nutrition requirements in the school lunch program.  Concepts like The Blend demonstrate that districts can serve healthier versions of foods kids love without sacrificing taste or acceptance.  The acceptance with districts, processors and industry influencers of mushroom blending is a huge opportunity to continue to improve student lunches.

We at the Mushroom Council are tremendously lucky to be included in the groundbreaking group of individuals and organizations that form the School Nutrition Association. We would like to thank everyone at the conference for a truly memorable week!

Mushrooms Take Center Stage on School Lunch Trays

Wouldn’t it be great if your child’s cafeteria served healthy, nutritious food prepared just like the meals found in the finest restaurants? Council Representative, Kathleen Pries, is on the front lines of the mushrooms in schools effort, and tells us why kids are gobbling up mushrooms at lunch time!

What if we told you your kids’ love mushrooms? What if we told you they eat them every day for lunch, without complaint, and even ask for seconds? That’s right, since their official introduction to the National School Lunch Program; mushrooms have been gaining popularity as one of the trendiest ingredients to be featured on the lunch tray!

Meal regulations now demand a greater variety of fresh, low fat, low calorie, nutrient dense foods be served to students during breakfast and lunch.  Mushrooms, being both nutrient dense and low fat, instantly improve any dish they are paired with and have become a go-to ingredient for school foodservice directors. Mushrooms blended with meat in school entrees like tacos, burgers, sloppy joes and meatballs instantly reduce fat, calories and sodium while adding moisture, flavor and an extra vegetable serving to students. It’s no wonder why school foodservice directors are turning to mushrooms to help meet new USDA meal pattern requirements!

Mushrooms at Cincinnati Public Schools
School foodservice directors, such as Jessica Shelley of Cincinnati Public Schools, serve mushroom blended burgers to students. Serving mushroom blended burgers allows Jessica to top the burgers with turkey bacon and cheese creating a more appealing presentation to her students. Students are encouraged to visit the salad bar to top their burger with a variety of fresh produce, including mushrooms!

Mushrooms in Schools

Mushrooms at Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
Since mushrooms are grown indoors, they are in-season 365 days a year. Chef Robert Rusan from Maplewood Richmond Heights School District uses fresh mushrooms year-round, serving a student favorite; vegetable pizza. His home made whole wheat crust is topped high with fresh veggies including mushrooms, peppers and onions. The color and visual appeal of the fresh pizza often outsells the student favorite pepperoni pizza option.

Tri-Mushroom Flatbread

Blending is trending, so be sure to keep an eye out in your child’s cafeteria for the many delicious changes to the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program.