Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms... Mouth Watering!


We've been trying a lot of new foods around our house lately. Mostly because we're desperate for something other than spaghetti and chicken parmesan (poor people food) which we eat on more of a regular basis than I would like to admit. We've started digging into our minds, and the take-out menus of our favorite restaurants, for a little more inspiration of some good food that's easy (and cheap, did I mention that) to have around the house! 

Let me preface this by saying that I NEVER eat mushrooms, so this was a huge leap for me. As an example, I will pick out every single mushroom in chicken piccata... just because they are mushrooms. I think I might have turned a corner this week with these little guys, because I'm starting to think a little differently about mushrooms. (I just try to force myself to look at them as something other than fungus. Nice visual, huh?) 

Before you get started on these, just remember that these are totally adaptable to your tastes. To make them a little more rich add chopped crab meat, for a little tang, add a little lemon juice... you get the idea. However, we thought they were perfect just the way they are. 

What you'll need: 
  • 12 Whole Fresh Mushrooms - I used stuffing mushrooms from Meijer. 
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves of Minced Garlic
  • 1 8 oz. Package of Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese - I prefer to use a block, because the pre-grated stuff doesn't melt as well. 
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (Optional - I did NOT use) 
  • 1/4 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs or Panko

How it's done:

1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. 

2. After cleaning the mushrooms with a damp paper towel, carefully break off the stems.  Chop the stems into tiny pieces (or use a food processor like I did!) Mince garlic and add to the mushroom stems.   

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushrooms to the skillet, and fry until all moisture is gone. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Once finished, set it aside to cool. 

4. In your food processor (or large bowl with mixer) combine cream cheese, parmesan cheese, pepper, onion powder, and cayenne. 

5. Once the mushrooms and garlic have cooled completely, add them to the cream cheese mixture and combine well.  The mixture should be thick! 

6. Pipe the cream cheese mixture into the mushroom caps, filling them generously. Top them with a sprinkle of italian bread crumbs or panko. (I used bread crumbs, but wished I had used Panko, the flavor of the panko is richer and crispier than the bread crumbs.) 

7. Place the mushrooms on the greased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes. When the tops start to brown, and a puddle of water begins to form under the mushroom, they are done. 

8. EAT AND ENJOY!!! :):):):):)

Just for the record, all of mine did not turn out perfectly. If they lean just the slightest bit in the oven, the cheese had a tendency to spill out.  That's okay though, they still tasted wonderful!!!