Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Leftover Tuesday: Stuffed Mushrooms

The key, I'm discovering to Leftover Tuesday is finding a vehicle for a fair amount of random ingredients. Often it's a grain-based vehicle--a tortilla or bagel or piece of bread. Today it's the humble (yet amazing) mushroom. 

What we had: spaghetti sauce, crushed tomato sauce, a little bit of tuna mixed with Miracle Whip, some apple sauce, hearts of palm, marinated artichoke hearts, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, 3/4 avocado, 4 deviled egg halves, and some green onions that I forgot to take a picture of. 

When I discovered the mushrooms, I knew I had a win and I separated our food into... 

a) things I thought wouldn't work as well with mushrooms. These things went back in the fridge, except for the applesauce, which I fed to Emma. 

And b) things I thought would be lovely in a stuffed mushroom. (Okay, the eggs wouldn't go in it, but I thought they'd be a nice side for the mushrooms. Also, upon further thought I realized the avocados were a no go as well.

I also had a block of cream cheese and some spinach. I don't feel like I had to add either of those things, but I thought they'd make really nice additions so I did.

What I did:

1. I removed the stems of the mushrooms and chopped those babies up. In fact I chopped everything really tiny.
 2. I threw them into a skillet with a small pat of butter and sauteed them for a few minutes. To this I added the green onions (chopped small) and sauteed. Then I added the artichokes, the hearts of palm, the spinach (1 C--chopped very small), 1 ounce of the cream cheese, and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Oh, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. This was the perfect amount for about 7 mushrooms, which is what we had

3. I stuffed this mixture into the empty mushroom caps (you can see them below). I licked off the spoon. It was a good choice.

4. I placed them on a baking sheet and baked at 375 for 15-20 minutes. 

These were more of a side than a main course. Our main course today was hot dogs roasted over the fire pit. Let's hear a big cheer for spring and for cleaning up the sticks that are all over the yard. With our hot dogs, we had these and the deviled eggs. I also made a salad with the remaining hearts of palm and the avocado, but I was too full for it, so that will be lunch tomorrow.

Other leftovers that might have been good in stuffed mushrooms: a bit of sour cream, vegetables (especially something like broccoli or spinach), onions of many varieties, hash browns, different bits of cheeses, bacon or ham, bread or cracker crumbs, and probably many other things. You want a little bit of something cheesy and creamy and a little bit of something vegetable. And then you can go nuts with the other stuff.

The result:
They were very very good. Yeah, I know I keep saying that about the stuff I make for Leftover Tuesday, but I swear it's true. Don't worry; one of these days I'm going to blow it good.
-Besides the fact that they tasted just awesome, they were also not so over the top unhealthy as some stuffed mushrooms can be. The cream cheese and the Parmesan cheese were mostly there just to hold the veggies (about 2 C when raw and unchopped) together. That means that for each mushroom, you got the equivalent of  what would have been 1/4 C vegetables (if they were raw and not cooked/wilted) stuffed into that tiny one-mushroom space. And then you were eating the mushrooms too.
-The only problem with this leftover meal is that, while it used the leftovers we had, it didn't really use them up. I still had artichokes, hearts of palm, and the avocado (not to mention the leftovers that didn't make the mushroom cut). Also, I ended up opening a bag of spinach and using just a bit of cream cheese. I didn't have to, but I do think those two ingredients took these from being okay to being over the top delicious. I think I'll make spinach artichoke dip this week with the rest of the cream cheese, the spinach and our leftover artichoke hearts. And I just bought some lettuce and so can use the avocado and hearts of palm in very good ways. So it all works out. Still, the stuffed mushrooms weren't as completely efficient as, say, a burrito shell at using up all the stuff we've got. Nevertheless I count this as a total success and wish I had more mushrooms right now. They were delicious.

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