Vegetable Stuffed Portobello’s

I’ve been trying to cook lighter lately, and sometimes that can be challenging when cooking for a man too.  Both John and I love mushrooms, but they are usually “in” something.  This time, I decided to make them the star.  This dish is incredibly simple, with fresh, clean ingredients.  The meaty mushrooms are hearty and filling, and the fact that this dish is primarily vegetables is pleasing to the health-conscious individual.
I’ve included directions for a simple garlic pasta, but there are many things that would pair well with these mushrooms, or even use younger crimini mushrooms and serve as an appetizer.
By the way, these are delicious for lunch the next day!  🙂

Ingredients:

Mushrooms:
●10 (or so) 3-inch portobello mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed
1 zucchini, chopped
●1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
●1 6-oz jar of artichokes in brine, drained and chopped
●1/2 cup onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ cups mozzarella
●1 tsp dried oregano
●sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Garlic Pasta:
●Angel Hair Pasta (about 4-5 servings)
●3 cloves of garlic, minced
●3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Arrange mushroom caps upside down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.    

Mound the filling into the mushroom caps, distributing evenly.  Try to use all the filling, it will cook down quite a bit.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until heated through and golden brown.

Meanwhile…

Cook angel hair pasta according to package directions.  In a saute pan, cook garlic in olive oil on medium heat until golden brown.  Toss pasta and garlic oil together and salt to taste.  Serve immediately with hot mushrooms.

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Sweet Chili Cucumber Bites

This recipe is for our brother, Jamin.  I catered one of his art shows a few years ago, and he wouldn’t stop talking about these tasty little bites for a long time after that.  I was flattered!  Now every time I make them, I think of Jamin, and this recipe will forever be dedicated to him.  I hope you enjoy them as much as he does!  ~Joanie

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Ingredients:
2 Cups pre-cooked & chilled chicken breast meat, finely chopped
3 TBS Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce
2 TBS Lemon Grass Paste
2 TBS Lemon Juice
½ Cup Chopped Cilantro
2 Large Cucumbers

Directions:
Combine chicken, sweet chili sauce, lemon grass paste, lemon juice and cilantro, stir until ingredients are incorporated.

Wash, peel, and slice your cucumbers into about ½ inch thick coins.  Using a melon baller or a metal measuring spoon scoop out a portion of the seeds and flesh to make a well.

Top each cucumber with a scoop of the chicken mixture.  Garnish with cilantro or lemon zest.  Serve chilled and enjoy!

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Joanie:  This recipe is definitely one of my most requested!  I don’t know if this qualifies as a true bruschetta since there is no olive oil in the recipe, but it’s still delicious!  You could substitute olive oil in place of the butter, but I have yet to try that.  This would actually be a perfect recipe to use Janna’s Homemade Butter.

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Ingredients:

1 narrow baguette, French or the like

2 cups fresh diced tomatoes

1/3 cup minced red onion

Fresh basil, approx 20 large leaves (dried will NOT do!)

1/2 cup butter

Fresh garlic cloves (I use 4 or 5 large cloves, I like a strong garlic flavor)

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

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Start with red, ripe tomatoes.  Finely dice yield approximately 2 cups.  Set aside in a bowl.

Mince red onion, add to tomatoes.

Chiffonade basil leaves by stacking them, rolling them lengthwise, and slicing them into thin ribbons.

Add basil to tomato mixture.  Salt to taste.  Set aside.

Heat oven to broil.

Slice baguette on the diagonal to desired thickness.  I like mine about 3/4 inch.   Arrange on a baking sheet and gently toast them on broil in your oven.  WATCH THEM CAREFULLY so they don’t burn.  You want these to be slightly golden and crusty.  They will go back into the oven for final step so don’t let them get too dark.  Remove when toasted.

In microwave safe bowl, add 1/2 cup of butter and minced garlic.  Microwave until melted and creamy.  Give butter mixture a stir, then add generously to each slice of toasted baguette.  I like to make sure the garlic pieces are evenly distributed on the bread.  Don’t go cheap on the butter!  This adds SO MUCH flavor to the recipe.  Next, use small slotted spoon to add tomato mixture to each slice of bread.  Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Place back in the oven and broil.  Again, WATCH CAREFULLY!  They are ready when cheese is melted and bruschetta is hot.

Most of this batch was eaten within minutes, so this is all I could get for a picture!

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