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Southwest Stuffed Portobello Caps

24 Jul

Last night, I was in a little bit of a pickle.

I had planned to make Avocado Chicken Parmesan, but when I got home I realized that we were completely out of Panko.  And pasta sauce.  Oh yeah, and Parmesan.  I must’ve just had avocados on the brain all day because the bunch I bought the other day are perfectly ripe!  At that point, I’ve got chicken ready to go but we lacked anything to go with it.  After assessing the items left in my fridge (we are desperately in need of a grocery store run), I found some giant portobello mushroom caps.  Immediately I knew this was perfect, because you can sort of modge podge together a stuffing to go in them.  Its almost impossible to go wrong.

I remembered that I had grabbed these at the store, but had yet to try them:


I knew I had a can of black beans in the pantry along with some quinoa.  I have been a little late to the quinoa party.


I know its loaded with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, B2, and manganese.  I get it.  (PS – Check out the vintage print on my pantry shelf liners.  At one point, the walls were covered with the same pattern, too.)  I had been served quinoa a few times and I just wasn’t impressed.  I think you have to find your own seasoning formula for quinoa, otherwise its not that appealing.

Southwest Stuff Portobellos



  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 3 chicken sausage links (or protein of your choice), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 can of black beans
  • chicken broth
  • cooking spray/olive oil
  • Spices: chili powder, cumin, coriander, ancho chili powder, Lawry’s

1.  Prep: Preheat the oven to 450F and wipe the portobellos with a damp towel.  Prep a cooking sheet by spraying it with cooking spray.  Then, spray the mushrooms caps as well.  (You could use olive oil here, but I find that it makes mine too moist and they fall apart.)

**Steps 2-4 can be completed all at once to save time!**

2.  Since the chicken sausage was pre-cooked, I just sauteed it in a skillet to reheat it.  Then I cut it up and set it aside.

3.  I drained and rinsed the can of black beans, then mixed together a teaspoon of olive oil, cumin, coriander, and Lawry’s to taste.  I popped them in the microwave for about 3 minutes, until the beans were tender.  Then, I combined them with the chicken sausage.

4.  I cooked the quinoa in chicken broth to add instant flavor, then when it was finished cooking, I seasoned it with chili powder and ancho chili powder.  Then, I combined it in with the chicken mixture.

5.  Once all the ingredients are combined, top the mushrooms and add some cheese if you want to.  These would have been excellent with some queso blanco, but all I had was shredded cheddar.  They would have been just as good without cheese, though, too!

6.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.

I topped mine with avocado and a little bit of plain Greek yogurt.  Delicious, healthy, and accidentally gluten-free!


Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops and Other Nonsense

20 May

Well, I am using this post to procrastinate from something I should be doing – research for grad school.


I realize this is a little bit late, but earlier in the week I made something yummmmyyyyyyyy!!!

Do you remember what it was?

Okay, okay….I’ll remind you what it was!

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with Mushroom & Shallot Sauce

Uh, yeah.  I made that.  I’m a boss bitch.


I kind of used a smush between SkinnyTaste’s Mushroom & Shallot Sauce and my own pork chop.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

2 bone-in pork chops                     10 oz. baby bellas, sliced
1 c. panko bread crumbs              1/4 c. shallots, sliced
1.2 c. Parmesan cheese                 1 c. sodium free chicken stock
1/4 c. flour                                       1 T. dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten                                   2 T. fresh parsley

First thing is first – preheat your oven to 425°F. 

Season your porkchops with salt and pepper.  Then dip them in a shallow dish full of the flour.  Dip them in the egg and them dip them in the panko & Parm mixture.  I place anything I bread on a cooling rack and then on a cookie sheet (yeah, like the stuff you use for baking) and put it in the fridge for AT LEAST 30 minutes.  I just feel like the breading stays on better that way.

When I’m ready, I heat up a few tablespoons of canola oil in my 10″ skillet and brown over medium heat.  It should only take about 2 minutes per side.

Sorry, the lighting in my kitchen gives everything a nice jaundice tone.

(Side note: I just googled “funny jaundice” and that shit is not funny.  At all.)

Pop the browned pork chops in a baking dish and put them in the oven.  They are going to cook for 15 minutes, so now you are going to get busy with the sauce.

I ASSUME you already have your veg prepped…

If you don’t know who that is a picture of, leave this blog and never come back!

Just kidding, most people my age don’t give a crap about Julia, my hero ♥

See how I procrastinate?

So the Mushroom and Shallot Sauce:

In the same pan that your pork chops were just browning in, place your slide shallots and cook them for about 3 minutes (until they start to look edible).  Immediately add the 1 c. chicken stock to “deglaze the pan.”  My pan didn’t have too much that needed deglazing, so I just added the mustard, mushrooms and pepper to taste.

It SHOULD look kind of like liquidy mushroom soup.  Skinny taste said cook for 3 minutes, but I found that my mushrooms weren’t as soft as I like them.  Also, I found that most of the chicken broth didn’t reduce.

So…I added a tsp of flour and it thickened right up:

I know that looks like gravy, but it does not taste like gravy.

I’ve been spoiled with mushrooms because I make amazing mushrooms.  I normally just cook them in oil and then simmer with wine until they reduce to deliciousness.  These mushrooms were different.  They complimented the pork chop well, because of the breading.  However, I think next time I will just stick to my old mushroom standard!

So there you have it – 15 minutes to Heaven:

Yeah buddy!

Speaking of Texas, is anyone else as excited as I am for tonight:

Farm To Table 2012: Recap 2

28 Mar



Web/Phone Unknown
Sold in Pgh area

Sold in local grocery stores


It may just be my opinion, but I like to save the best for last.  A small non-profit farm was at the conference called Quiet Creek farm.  It reminds me a lot of the Robert A. Macosky Center at SRU, an educational farm where you can go to learn how to be more self-reliant in ways you perhaps couldn’t do by reading.

Here are some of the wares they were peddling to raise money for the farm:


I, as someone who has never purchased dehydrated mushrooms, was interested to know that all you have to do is simply soak them in warm liquid for 10-15 minutes.  They reconstitute well AND you can use the liquid in your cooking.

The nice young lad from Quiet Creek Farms did a Shiitake demonstration on FTT Day 2.  It was super cool!

Basically, he showed us how they innoculate substrate (aka hardwood) with a healthy bark.  The bark should be healthy so that invasive fungi and bacteria can’t ruin your mushroom crop.  Before the demonstration, we had a chance to check out the logs they had innoculated and were selling.  The ones on the left were one year old and hadn’t flushed yet.  The one on the left is a 2-year old log which has obviously flushed.

Basically, you want to find a log approximately 3-4 feet in length and about 4-6 inches in diameter.  Its best to innoculate within 2 weeks of cutting to reduce the chances of bad fungi ruining your creation.

During the demonstration, he mentioned that a healthy log can sprout shiitakes twice a year!  These logs can be used year after year.  At the farm, there are 7-8 year old logs which are extremely lightweight.  The mushrooms feed on the nutrients deep inside the log.  Pretty cool stuff…

Here’s the DIY:

First, you have to drill holes into your log, which can be done using 1 of 2 drills:

Or, for the more experienced toolmonger, an angle grinder, which goes about 400 rpms and is really scary.

He told us to drill holes in an off-set diamond pattern 4″ over and 2″ offset.  He said the holes do not need to be any deeper than 1.5 inches.  (Think maxing out your cookie sheet while you are baking cookies, people).

Once the holes are cut, mycelium (white blotchy stuff that looks like sawdust) or mushroom plugs can be inserted.  You just cover the holes and any holes in the bark/areas where branches were cut/top/bottom with beeswax.  Lock that baby down like Fort Knox, cuz you don’t want some wandering fungus to steal your Shiitake gold!

You can put your log in the basement, shed, garage, wherever you have that is 60% in the shade.  Just protect the log from wind and sun and spray it lightly with water to mimic being in the forest.

Even though they take 8-10 months to fruit initially, we bought one anyway 🙂

And for those of you Dahn-towners, it was fun to carry this 20-30 pound baby from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the Federal Courthouse, where we were able to park for free because the MIL has super special powers.  (I assume you know that its medium far to carry a piece of forest.)

Here is our log sitting on the side of Grant St. while people stared at me and yelled: “Nice log!”

If they had gone to the conference, they would have been yelling “Nice mycelium!”


Bottom Line of the last 2 posts:  Farm to Table is an amazing experience and I learned a ton of cool stuff.  I think we were also able to chose a CSA finally, got some great swag, networked our little butts off, GOT A SHIITAKE LOG, and overall had a great time.  Next year (schedule permitting, of course), we will try to make it to the food tasting.

Did anyone make it to the tasting and want to brag a little?

Lightened Up Beef Stroganoff

24 Feb

If you are a new cook like I was, then you know what it’s like to completely screw yourself.  And by that I mean by starting a recipe and realizing halfway through that should have read the ENTIRE recipe before you started.  What I’ve learned to do is to read through the recipe, tackle my prep work (cutting, slicing, etc.) and then assembling all my ingredients.  That way, I know exactly what I need, am able to put things away as I go, and then I also know if I’ve skipped something.  Real talk now, we’ve all done it.

She♥ knows I have a weak spot for random cooking magazines, so on Valentine’s Day gave me Cuisine Lite.  This little mag contained a recipe for a lightened up beef stroganoff.  Hello!  Comfort food at 240 calories a serving?  Despite the warm weather, it is still winter and I am still craving comfort food.

So last night, it was time…

Thundercats Are Go!!!!

That means, assemble the ingredients…obvi.  And preheat the oven to 235°F while you’re at it, doll 😉

Above, I’ve got:

1-1/4 lbs. beef top sirloin, cut into chunks (you could just buy beef tips for stewing if its cheaper)
kosher salt and black pepper
vegetable oil
8 oz. button mushrooms
8 oz. crimini mushrooms
2 cups diced red onion
all-purpose unbleached flour (why would you buy bleached flour?)
tomato paste
dry sherry
beef broth
chicken broth

Start by seasoning the beef with the salt and pepper.  Add 1 tsp. of vegetable oil to a pan and brown the beef tips in 2 separate batches over medium heat.

Once the meat is browned (I have a gas range and it took 5 minutes per batch), move the tips to a bowl and set them aside.

Add 1 tsp. more of the olive oil and brown the mushrooms.  This pan was a horrible choice because I ended up crowding the mushrooms.  I inexplicably picked this pot out of the cupboard.

Once the mushrooms are done browning, just as with the beef, set them aside in a separate bowl.

Add the last 1 tsp. of olive oil into the pot and cook the 2 c. of onion until soft.  Then add 1/4 c. flour and 2 T. tomato paste and cook until it just begins to brown.

Now, my favorite part!  Add 1/2 c. sherry to the pot and begin to deglaze the sides, pulling up all the yummy brown parts that are burnt onto the sides.  This is how you max out the flavor of the dish.  You will want to deglaze this a medium-low temperature until almost all of the sherry is gone.

Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup beef broth to the pot and transfer to an oven-safe pot.  (I used a cheap dutch oven that I was given years ago.)

After the contents were removed from my cooking pot, I deglazed again just so that I could take a photo for you dolls:

It needs to be in that oven (325°F remember!?) COVERED for 45 minutes.  Then you will add the mushrooms and bake another 15 minutes.

WARNING:  This dish will make your house smell friggin amazing.

I followed the recommendation and served with buttered noodles, tossed in dill.

восхитительный … DELICIOUS!


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