October 19, 2017

Sausage & Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

sausage pumpkin shells

Whoo, that’s a long title!  And I’ll be honest – this does take a bit of time to prepare.  But if you have an extra hour on a Sunday night and want to make a delicious dinner with generous portions that you can eat the whole week through and not stop loving – try these Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel.

I was going to post my take on this recipe, since I made a few changes for my family, but I didn’t take careful note of my measurements. Food blogger fail!  So I’m just giving you the recipe I found at A Beautiful Bite.  I do want to note that I switched out cottage cheese for ricotta in this recipe, and it worked great.  Just buzz it in the food processor for a few seconds and it’s indistinguishable from the pricier ricotta.  Also, I ran out of sage and I had to garnish with parsley.  In any case, this recipe was a big hit, and it reheats well, so we’ll be seeing this again in our house.

 Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with Pumpkin Sage Béchamel

(Recipe Courtesy of A Beautiful Bite)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta shells, cooked al dente
  • 32-ounce ricotta cheese (or use cottage cheese)
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (I used sage breakfast sausage)
  • 2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated for topping (I skipped this)

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  2. Cook shells according to directions on box.  Drain and let cool.
  3. While shells are cooking, brown sausage in a large skillet.  Remove from skillet and place meat on a paper towel to drain.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat to cook the onions in.
  4. Cook onions in fat over medium heat until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for just a minute.  Add mushrooms and sage and cook for another four to five minutes.  Remove from heat and add cooked sausage.   Allow to cool for several minutes.
  5. Stuff shells with ricotta mixture, then top with sausage mixture.  Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish.  Set aside while you prepare béchamel sauce.
  6. In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for several minutes.  Add milk, pumpkin, yogurt, Parmesan, and ricotta.  Cook for a few minutes to thicken.  Add sage, salt and pepper.
  7. Pour béchamel over shells.  Top with extra grated Parmesan.  Bake at 350*F for forty minutes.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

When I was a kid, my Mom made two quiches as part of her dinner menu rotation:  a spinach quiche, and a sausage mushroom version.  I loved them both.  And I was going to make one for this week’s Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour blog post and then I realized:  I don’t need a crust!  I can turn my Mom’s quiche recipe into this Sausage Mushroom Frittata, which is just as tasty, saves calories when you don’t include a crust, and cooks up quicker to boot!

You can use any kind of cheese you like.  I think my Mom used Swiss, but my girls don’t like it, so I used Monterey Jack.  You can also mix some cheese into the egg mixture for a richer taste, but I wanted mine to be a lower-calorie meal.  I used bulk breakfast sausage (the kind you get in a tube, by the bacon), but you can use any kind of sausage.  Serve a slice of this frittata hot, with maybe a side salad and a piece of nice bread.  You can also have this for breakfast, of course, with some fruit or toast.  Get crazy – get cooking!

Sausage Mushroom Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces bulk sausage
  • 8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk (or use half and half for a richer taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 or more slices of Swiss or Jack Cheese

Directions:

  1. In an oven-proof skillet, cook the sausage, crumbling it with your spoon as it cooks.  After 3 minutes, add the mushrooms.  Season them with a little salt – this helps draw the water out of the mushrooms.  Cover and simmer on medium for five minutes.
  2. Lift the lid and let all the water in the pan cook off.  If the pan looks dry, you can add a tiny bit of olive oil or butter and mix that in.  If it looks like the sausage left enough fat to lubricate the pan, go to Step 3.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn on the broiler in your oven.
  5. Pour the eggs over the sausage mixture and stir a few times.  When the edges look set, put the cheese on top of the eggs and place the pan in the oven.   Make sure it’s not too close to the broiler!
  6. Broil for about 3-5 minutes.  Keep an eye on this!  Take it out when things look golden and bubbly.  Slice and serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff GCH resizeThis recipe is one of my favorites in the “Comfort Food” category.  Beef Stroganoff is easy and filling, especially if you serve it over rice or noodles.  We just eat it straight from the bowl, paired with a salad or roasted vegetables.

Now before you think I’m crazy for using so much wine in a stew, remember that all the alcohol cooks off. You will not get tipsy from your entree, I promise!  Make sure you use a wine that you will want to drink, because this recipe leaves you enough for a glass or two with dinner.  You can use red – like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, or pinot noir – or white – like pinot grigio or chardonnay.  Don’t use anything sweet, though.  Nice and dry is the secret.  And if you are really, really opposed to wine…you can use beef broth instead.

This recipe also calls for dried mushrooms.  I get big bags of dried, sliced shiitake mushrooms at the Korean supermarket.  Any Asian grocery store should carry dried mushrooms for cheap.  If you can’t find them, you can use fresh button or cremini mushrooms.  The difference will be the cooking time – you’ll need to sauté them for longer so that you can cook most of the water out of them.  Just experiment until it looks right – it’s not rocket science.

Ready for a fall stew that will warm your belly and delight your tastebuds?  Let’s go!

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup dried, sliced mushrooms (or use one pound fresh mushrooms, sliced)
  • 2 cups dry red or white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh snipped dill (or use 1/2 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, but nice)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt (or use sour cream or creme fraiche)

Directions:

  1. If using dried mushrooms:  In a bowl, pour in one cup of the wine.  Microwave for about a minute so it’s hot, or at least very warm.  Add the dried mushrooms to the hot wine to rehydrate them.  Place another bowl on top so the mushrooms stay submerged in the wine.  Let steep until Step 3.
  2. In a large pot, brown the ground beef.  You don’t need to add any extra fat, since the fat will melt out of the meat.  When brown, remove beef with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  Leave the fat and juices in the pot.
  3. Add the sliced onion to the pot and sauté over medium.  If using fresh mushrooms, add them together with the onion.  If using dried mushrooms, add the mushrooms AND the wine they were soaking in when the onion starts to turn golden, about 8 minutes.
  4. When the mushrooms and onion are soft and golden, add the beef back to the pot, along with the other cup of wine, the dill, paprika, and mustard.  Cover with a lid and turn the heat to low.  Simmer for 5 minutes to combine.
  5. Turn off the heat, stir in the yogurt, and serve hot.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Barley Shiitake Risotto

Barley Shiitake Risotto resize

Sometimes I have to peek in my pantry and decide, “Enough is enough!”  Time to use up those odds and ends of things.  I had about a cup of barley left in a bag, so I went in search of a recipe for it.  I found one, made some tweaks, and now I present to you:  Barley Shiitake Risotto!

Barley has a fantastic texture:  firmer than rice, closer to a chewy and delicious wheat berry.  It is wonderful in stews and soups, but it is strong enough to be a star on its own.  This recipe calls for dried mushrooms.  You can use any kind of dried mushroom.  I buy dried shiitake mushrooms at the Korean market, and they’re much cheaper there than what you’ll pay for dried mushrooms at a regular grocery store.  For the broth, I made bone broth…but you can use any kind—chicken, beef, or even vegetable broth, that you like.  The original recipe called for grated parmesan, which I didn’t have.  I used a very hard white cheddar.  You can use any hard cheese you like – if you can grate it, you can use it here!

This is not a forget-it-type recipe.  You do need to stir it every few minutes to get the right texture.  Just start this on the stove while you’re making a salad or prepping the rest of your dinner and it will all work out…I promise!

Barley Shiitake Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (or other dried mushroom)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup barley
  • 4-5 cups broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated hard cheese (parmesan, very firm white cheddar, or other cheese)

Directions:

  1. Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl.  Pour over the white wine.  Put another bowl on top of the mushrooms so that they remain submerged in the wine and microwave for 30-60 seconds.  Let the mushrooms rehydrate while you work on step 2.
  2. Mince the onion fine.  In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil, and add the onion.  Stir over medium heat.  You want the onions to turn golden.  Meanwhile, in a smaller pot, heat the broth to a simmer.  Keep it simmering over low heat.
  3. Mince the garlic, and add garlic and barley to the pan with the onions.  Stir to combine, cooking for 3 minutes.
  4. Squeeze the mushrooms over the bowl and chop.  Add the mushrooms and the wine from the bowl to the barley.
  5. When the wine is almost all absorbed, add a ladle-full of broth.  Stir to combine.  Repeat this process, adding more broth every five minutes or so, when the last addition of broth is nearly absorbed.  You don’t want the pan to get dry, but you don’t want to make soup either.  This should take about 30 minutes for all of the broth to be added, stirred, and absorbed.
  6. After all the broth is added, taste a bit of the barley.  It should be firm and chewy.  If it’s still dry and not al dente, add more stock or water.
  7. When barley is done—chewy and al dente—season with salt and pepper.  Stir in grated cheese and serve hot. (Garnish with extra cheese and take a photo – optional.)

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

Chicken and Rice

 

Chicken and Rice resize

This is a recipe I learned when I was in 7th grade Home Economics. (Do they still offer that in schools?)  I liked it so much, I brought the recipe home and asked my Mom if I could make dinner for the family for the first time.  I did – and it was a success!  How’s that for boosting your kitchen self-confidence?  Your kids can make this too:  Chicken and Rice!

There are any number of variations you do make:  add onions or garlic to the rice.  Sauté the mushrooms in wine and herbs before you add them to the casserole.  Marinate the chicken in Italian dressing first.  Parboil brown rice and use that instead of white rice.  The sky is the limit, or you can keep it simple.  I made it like this last night and my whole family loved it.  Yours will too!

Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of milk (see below)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375*F.  In a large casserole or baking dish, spray some cooking spray on the bottom and sides.  Evenly place the six chicken thighs in the dish.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, empty the can of cream of mushroom soup.  Fill that empty can with milk and mix with the soup.  Add in the rice.  Chop the mushrooms and add to the soup mixture.  Add salt and pepper, stir, and pour over the chicken.  You want the rice mixture to be evenly distributed in the dish.  Depending on the size of your dish, that may mean it nearly covers the chicken, or not even halfway.  Just spread it out so it lies pretty flat.
  3. Cover the dish with foil and bake for an hour.  Check for doneness – you want the thighs to be 175*F.  Serve hot!

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

 

Double Mushroom Pot Roast (Crock Pot)

Double Mushroom Pot Roast resize

I feel like I should apologize for the photo. It’s very…brown.  There’s really no good way to photograph this recipe.  It’s not glamorous.  But it is the easiest and most delicious thing that has ever come out of my Crock Pot!  I present to you:  Double Mushroom Pot Roast!

The secret ingredient is dried mushrooms.  I use dried shiitake mushrooms, because they’re cheap and plentiful at my Korean market.  You can try this with whatever dried mushrooms you can find.  I use a big handful, about 6 or 7 big mushrooms.  For the second dose of mushrooms, regular button mushrooms or creminis will do the trick.  Use whatever large beef roast you like.  Chuck roast is always a favorite, and for this one, I used something called a “seven bone roast” that was also flavorful.

If you want your house to smell amazing when you walk in the door after work or errands, make this in the morning and revel at how easy and delicious it is that night.

Double Mushroom Pot Roast (Crock Pot)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large beef roast, preferably chuck, about 3 pounds
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • handful of dried mushrooms
  • 8 ounces fresh button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a very large Crock Pot, drop in the sliced onions and dried mushrooms.  Set to LOW and the timer for 8-10 hours.
  2. In a large pan, brown the roast on each side.  When browned, place on top of mushrooms and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cover.
  3. After 8 hours, remove the roast from the Crock Pot to a large serving platter or bowl.  In  a large pan, cook the button (or cremini) mushrooms and spoon a bit of the juice from the Crock Pot over them to keep them from sticking.
  4. When the mushrooms are done, pour them over the roast.  In the same pan, pour in the contents of the Crock Pot – the juice, onions and mushrooms.  Cook for 5 minutes on medium to reduce a bit.
  5. Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix to blend.  Pour this mixture into the pan and stir into the onion mixture.  Stir frequently to prevent the gravy from sticking to the pan.  When thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes, pour over the roast and serve.  Season heavily with salt and pepper.


Explore, experiment, enjoy!
 — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!