Categories
Main Dish

A one-pot meal won’t take up ‘mushroom’ in the kitchen

One-Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
This one-pot recipe for creamy mushroom pasta is a great dinner for the whole family.

Joey and I have completely different styles when it comes to cooking.

I’m a measurements person. He’s an “add it until it tastes right” person.

I subscribe to the “clean as you go” philosophy. He waits until the meal is over.

I search cookbooks and online for ingredients that meld well. He goes with his gut.

So, it was a little out of character for me when he walked into the kitchen to me scrutinizing a video on my phone while furiously scribbling down notes.

I watched a video of a person with the online handle of “Everything Delish” make what appeared to be an amazing creamy mushroom pasta, but after a long search, I realized that if I wanted to recreate the recipe, I was going to have to figure it out for myself.

I found her through her Pinterest page, if you’re interested in watching the video as well, and she has a website at everything-delish.com, although I couldn’t find this particular recipe on it. So, for the most part, the following is my interpretation.

One-Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
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One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta

This one-pot recipe for creamy mushroom pasta is a great dinner for the whole family.
Course Main Course
Keyword chicken, creamy, garlic, linguine, mushrooms, parmesan-reggiano, pasta, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into two-inch cubes
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 16 ounces mushrooms sliced (I used baby bellas)
  • 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 12 ounces linguine pasta dry
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup parmesan-reggiano cheese grated
  • 6 ounces parmesan shredded
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large pan with a lid over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Don’t worry about cooking it all the way through. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano, basil, onion powder, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Cook for several minutes, letting the garlic brown slightly.
  • Add in the chicken broth and milk. Raise the heat to a low boil.
  • Add in the dry pasta. Stir to incorporate it. A bit, then lower the heat to a simmer and place the lid on the pan. Let the pasta cook for about eight minutes or until it is al dente.
  • Remove the lid and stir. Stir in the flour, then add the cheeses and continue stirring regularly for five to 10 minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom to keep the cheese from sticking. Once the sauce reduces into a thicker, creamier consistency, stir in the fresh spinach. Let the pasta continue to heat through until the spinach is wilted, and serve.

This was so, so good. I was really nervous at first that the sauce wasn’t going to thicken, but after being patient, it finally got to a great consistency.

It also reheated really well out of the fridge, and Joey and I got several meals out of it.

When Joey figured out I was winging a recipe, he seemed a bit proud of me. I think maybe after a decade of marriage, he might finally be rubbing off on me.

Except for the whole kitchen cleaning thing. I’m not quite there yet.

This piece first appeared in print on June 3, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Appetizer Main Dish Side Dish

Mushrooms are easy ‘caprese’ for dinner

Caprese portabella mushrooms take the flavors of a caprese salad and presents them in a warm, pretty side dish.

On our honeymoon, Joey and I visited a great Italian restaurant in New York City. It was the most expensive meal of our vacation, with us spending a generous gift from a family member that was earmarked for just that purpose.

The place wasn’t all that fancy to look at, but when your waiter is so quintessentially Italian that he’s singing along with the opera music playing in the background, you know you’re about to experience something authentic.

We ordered a bottle of wine, and our waiter suggested an appetizer of some fresh mozzarella that was flown in from Italy the day before, so we decided to go for it.

He plopped a plate in front of us with a giant mound of mozzarella, garnished with fresh basil and tomatoes—and we had no idea how to eat it.

This week, we again enjoyed that flavor combination with a slightly less intimidating side dish, and it was delicious. I will admit this is on the pricier end of recipes from what I normally suggest, but if you’re looking for something special—or you find a good sale—keep this one in your recipe box.

This recipe comes from the blog “Fat Girl Happy.” You can find it at https://www.fatgirlhappy.com/caprese-portabella-mushroom-recipe/. The only difference we made was leaving out the suggestion of balsamic vinegar, and I put amounts to the ingredients.

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Caprese Portabella Mushrooms

Caprese portabella mushrooms take the flavors of a caprese salad and presents them in a warm, pretty side dish.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword basil, caprese, mozzarella, mushrooms, portabella, tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 5-6 portabella mushroom caps about two-inches in diameter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces fresh whole-milk mozzarella
  • about 5 ounces grape tomatoes
  • about 1/2-ounce fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup and lightly spray it with cooking spray.
  • Scoop out the insides of each mushroom cap and arrange them, with the insides facing up, on the cooking sheet.
  • Lightly drizzle the mushroom caps with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
  • Slice the mozzarella into equal slices—one slice for each mushroom cap—and place one slice into each.
  • Slice the grape tomatoes in half and place four to five halves on top of the cheese.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. (You may want to drain the sheet pan if there’s too much liquid on the pan, but we didn’t bother draining ours, and they were fine.)
  • Turn the broiler on high for one to three minutes or until the cheese starts to brown slightly.
  • Remove from the oven and top with the fresh basil and a little more olive oil and salt and pepper and serve while they’re nice and hot.

These were heavenly. We ate them as a side dish to some expertly prepared chicken breasts Joey made for us. It was a great dinner.

As for our Italian meal in New York, Joey and I discreetly glanced around at neighboring tables to see how we should dig into our mozzarella appetizer. Everyone else had opted to dive in with forks, so we did, too.

It was really good, although it was way more fresh cheese than the two of us could handle in one sitting, with entrees on the way as well.

That restaurant was one of the highlights of our trip, and we reminisced about it while we enjoyed our portabellas the other night. We’re no substitute for an Italian chef, but we certainly didn’t go hungry.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 24, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish

Your spaghetti may be the ‘bella’ the ball

Mushroom and garlic spaghetti is not too tough to make but looks nice on the plate and tastes even better.

I recently unpacked a few boxes of books that were stored away and uncovered some cookbooks I hadn’t looked through in awhile. 

They’re now all neatly in a row on my new bookshelf, so I suspect they will be getting some use in the coming weeks and months, but as I looked at each one before finding it a good spot on the shelf, I was reminded of how my mom taught me to choose whether or not I should purchase a cookbook.

The problem with cookbooks—and online recipes, for that matter—is that it’s impossible not to be pulled in by the cover image. It always looks delicious, and it always looks like something I would love to eat.

Instead of looking at the photos, though, Mom always says to open the cookbook to somewhere in the middle and look at the recipe on that page. If the steps require a bunch of specialty cookware or the ingredients list is super exotic, put the cookbook back on the shelf—you’ll never use it.

Despite that directive, I will often bookmark online recipes that look expensive or complicated as long as I think I can do enough substituting to make it happen. That was the case with this week’s recipe.

The recipe I tried came from the online magazine “Kitchn.” You can find it at https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-mushroom-and-garlic-spaghetti-dinner-243627. I added extra garlic and decided to introduce spinach into it. I also simplified the ingredients a bit. The original calls for cremini mushrooms, which tend to be more expensive, and I used parmesan instead of Pecorino Romano cheese, since that’s what was easily available in my local grocery store.

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Mushroom and Garlic Spaghetti

Mushroom and garlic spaghetti is not too tough to make but looks nice on the plate and tastes even better.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword garlic, mushrooms, pasta, spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms sliced (I used baby bellas, but use what’s available)
  • 8 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves loosely packed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. When it is done, drain it but reserve about 3/4 cup of the cooking water for later.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat one tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and some salt and pepper. Saute, stirring regularly, for about five minutes until the mushrooms are browned to your liking.
  • Add the remaining butter, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute one more minute.
  • Add the pasta, cooking water, spinach and parmesan to the skillet and stir for about two minutes or until the cheese is melted and coats the pasta.
  • Serve immediately with more cheese on top.

You wouldn’t have to add the red pepper flakes if you’re not a fan of spice, but it was pretty mild overall, so don’t let them make you nervous.

We had some leftovers, too, and this reheated pretty well, although it was much better straight out of the pan.

And with using some less luxury ingredients, I was able to make this for dinner very economically. I’m sure a professional would tell me I lost out on some high-quality mushrooms and flavorful cheese, but we still had a great supper, and I’ll leave those ingredients to the pros when I’m ordering off a menu.

As it stands, it turns out my mom was right yet again. But, of course, that’s certainly no surprise to me.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 10, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Warm soup goes beyond the ‘kale’ of duty

Autumn rice soup is a nice meal for a cold day.

I started following a few folks on Instagram who post beautiful food pictures regularly.

One is Karin Pfeiff Boschek, who does some of the most spectacular pie crusts I have ever seen. Another is food stylist Judy Kim, who not only posts many of her gorgeous food photos but often chronicles the behind-the-scenes set up for her photography sessions.

I continue to try to improve my food photography, despite terrible lighting in my kitchen and my propensity to bake late into the evening, but sometimes, even though the photo of the recipe I try looks extremely appetizing online, mine just doesn’t turn out the same.

This week’s recipe was one of those. Truth be told, it was definitely my fault. The recipe calls for wild rice rather than the normal, long-grain variety, but as we all know, sometimes the local grocery store just doesn’t carry whatever specialized ingredient you’re looking for, so you have to improvise.

What I did not consider was that my cooking time would need to be adjusted and that the colorful soup photo I saw online would not be quite as pretty with only white rice.

With that in mind, I still really liked my end result—even if it wasn’t a picture-perfect soup—and I adjusted the cooking time below to reflect what I wish I would have done.

This recipe comes from the blog “Gimme Some Oven.” You can find it at https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cozy-autumn-wild-rice-soup/, where the recipe author also posted instructions to make this soup in a pressure cooker. I added extra seasoning and garlic to my version. I also opted for using regular rice instead of wild rice.

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Autumn Rice Soup

Autumn rice soup is a nice meal for a cold day.
Course Main Course, Soup
Keyword kale, rice

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 2 medium-sized carrots diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 1 pound sweet potato peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk I used skim
  • about 3 cups loosely packed kale chopped into bite-sized pieces and the stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large Dutch oven with a lid, heat one tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.
  • Saute the onion until it is translucent. Add in the carrots, celery, sweet potato, mushrooms and garlic, and stir regularly, letting them cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock, rice, bay leaf and Old Bay and stir to combine, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot a bit to loosen any stuck-on bits.
  • Keep the pot on medium-high heat until it just starts to slowly bubble. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes and give it a good stir and check the rice’s doneness. If it’s not quite how you want it, continue to let the pot simmer, covered, checking on it every five minutes or so until the rice is where you want it.
  • While the rice is cooking, melt the remaining three tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and let it cook for about one minute. Whisk in the milk and stir frequently, making sure to break up any clumps and letting the mixture thicken significantly.
  • When the rice is done and the cream sauce is thickened, add the sauce and kale to the Dutch oven and stir to combine.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and serve when it is heated through.

If you decide to use wild rice for your version, the original recipe calls for a 45-minute simmer time. I tried that with my long-grain rice, and while the flavors were still nice, the rice was pretty mushy, and I didn’t end up with the amount of liquid in my soup that I should have had at the end.

This wasn’t one of Joey’s favorites. The kale stays quite crisp, despite being added to the hot soup, and he was not a big fan of the texture. If you’re not a kale enthusiast, you could easily add fresh spinach instead.

And be prepared that your soup might not photograph as nicely as you want. I don’t think my concoction would have a chance of appearing on Karin or Judy’s Instagram feeds, but it was nice to have a warm bowl of soup on a cold day—pretty or not.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 28, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Side Dish

Make ‘mushroom’ for lots of fresh veggies this summer

Mixing fresh vegetables and sausage with some simple seasonings makes for a great summer dish.

I’ve mentioned before that my gardening ability is pretty sad to say the least.

Part of that is due to my inability to figure out how much water to dump on my plants, and part of that is due to a thieving squirrel, who convinced me for most of a summer that my tomatoes were vanishing into thin air just before they were ripe enough to pick.

Thank goodness for good friends, local grocery stores and farmer’s markets now that I’ve mostly given up my goals of urban farming.

And with it being the time of year for gardens to begin bursting with lots of great veggies, I’ve started getting really impatient to put them on our dinner table as much as possible.

This week’s recipe is one that Joey and I decided to create while standing in the produce department of our local grocery store last week, so while I’m sure there are dozens of recipes much like it online, we really just made this one up as we went along.

A couple thoughts: if you’d rather make this a vegetarian dish, ditch the sausage and toss in some more veggies. The mushrooms give this a nice, meaty flavor all on their own. Also, once zucchini and summer squash is ready, it would be an amazing addition to this as well, cut into 1/2-inch rounds or half moons.

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Summer Vegetables and Sausage

Mixing fresh vegetables and sausage with some simple seasonings makes for a great summer dish.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword bell pepper, mushrooms, sausage, tomatoes, vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 bell peppers any color
  • 8 to 10 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces whole baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 about 9 ounces bratwursts or sausages of your choice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • black pepper to taste
  • garlic salt to taste
  • onion powder to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Wash and prepare the vegetables. Slice the bell peppers into 2-inch by 1/2-inch pieces. Slice the mushrooms in half. Leave the tomatoes whole.
  • Slice the sausages into 1/2-inch rounds. (We used a chicken, spinach and feta sausage that was out of this world.)
  • Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread all the ingredients out on it. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle on your seasonings.
  • Use your hands to coat the ingredients in the oil and seasonings and spread everything out into as much of a single layer as you can.
  • Bake for 12 minutes and then give the ingredients a stir. Bake for another 12 minutes or until the sausage is done all the way through and the tomatoes are starting to burst.
  • Serve immediately.

We had leftovers of this and ate it a couple nights later after mixing it with a little marinara sauce and serving it over spaghetti. It was awesome.

There wasn’t much spring to enjoy this year, but at least that means summer gardens can get underway.

For my part, I’ll stick to keeping some flowers alive this year and get my veggies elsewhere. That sneaky squirrel will have to go bother someone else for his meals this summer.

This piece first appeared in print on May 24, 2018.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.