Monday, January 12, 2015

Spinach, bacon, and cheese stuffed mushrooms

My dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes; it runs in his family so it didn't come as a shock. This new diagnoses means we're all making changes to how we eat: no more cookies sitting in the cookie jar, no more random baking cupcakes just because, no more constant eating out. We're being smarter eaters and hopefully that'll pay off in the long run, not just for my dad but for us all. Obviously we haven't gone as strict in our diets as he is, but we are trying really hard to make more foods that he can enjoy. One of those foods are stuffed mushrooms.

I'm a huge fan of mushrooms. I'm not always the biggest fan of meat so mushrooms are a good meat substitute because they're filling. Our grocery store sells these large portobello mushroom caps stuffed in different varieties. After buying the store prepared ones a few times I thought I'd give it a try making them myself. After looking through a few different recipes via pinterest and not finding exactly what I wanted I decided to just make one up with an oysters Rockefeller vibe.

Take 3 large mushroom caps (you'll notice I started with 4 but then realized that was too many for my stuffing) and with a damp paper towel gently wipe down. Mushrooms are fragile and absorb water like a sponge, so you need to take a little bit of time doing this. Lightly spray each side of each cap with an olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the caps on a baking pan with a little bit of an edge and lined with foil. It doesn't really matter which way you place them because they're going to cook in the oven on 375 for 4 minutes on each side.

In a saute pan over medium heat you're going to put a couple of pats of butter, (this is the one time in your cooking life when more butter is not good because you don't want the filling to be soggy), and a pinch or two of minced garlic. Next add 12 ounces thawed and drained spinach. Mix it around and let the spinach soak up all the butter.

Add a couple of handfuls of bacon bits or if you're really invested you could precook some slices and crumble it yourself - clearly I wasn't that invested. Now add your shredded parmesan cheese. I think a good rule of thumb is to add what you added of bacon plus an extra handful. The cheese is what's going to help it all stick together so you want to be generous but not so generous that it's oozing out everywhere.

By now your mushroom caps should be done in the oven. When you take them out, I bet you noticed the bottom of your tray has a bit of liquid. This is totally normal, because like I said mushrooms are like sponges so as they cook they're expelling their liquid. I suggest taking a paper towel or 5 and gently soaking up this liquid. If the individual caps look very liquidy you can also gently soak some of that up too. This will help make sure you're mushrooms don't get too soggy. You can also gently cut the stems away if you wish.

Now fill each mushroom cap with your spinach mixture. For good measure I added an extra little bit of bacon and cheese to the top of each stuffed mushroom. Now put them back into the oven to finish cooking. I put mine in for 8 minutes, but you could put it in for a little less because all you're really trying to do is get all the cheese to melt; everything is already cooked.

These make a great side dish or an entree served with a salad. Do you have a great healthy recipe you love to make? I'd love if you'd share it so I could expand my glossary of healthy dishes.

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