Crazy About… Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon

Stuffed mushrooms 9I belong to the school of thought that believes bacon makes everything better (next week’s recipe: split pea soup with, you guessed it, bacon). However, if you don’t do bacon, you can make these stuffed mushrooms without. I grow spinach in the garden, so I’m always looking for ways to use it in yummy dishes. I mean, we have an abundance of it. Why can’t I just grow bacon? WHY?

These mushrooms are filling, so you can serve them as a starter or a side dish. I tried them both ways (The Husband was a willing participant) and they were sufficient as either and the ricotta cheese adds a delicious creaminess. Bacon.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Stuffed mushrooms 14 large mushrooms
200g streaky bacon
200g spinach, steamed until just wilted
150g ricotta
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt and pepper

 

 

Making It Happen:

Stuffed mushrooms 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Cut the bacon into small pieces. Fry in canola oil on medium heat until cooked. Set aside, reserving the pan juices, and reserving 4 tablespoons.
Meanwhile, cut the spinach into small pieces and steam until just wilted, about 1-2 minutes.

Stuffed mushrooms 62. Remove the mushroom stalks. Mix the spinach, bacon and bacon juices. Add half the cheese, cut into small pieces, to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

Stuffed mushrooms 83. Spoon the bacon and spinach mixture into the mushrooms. Slice the remaining ricotta and lay on top. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon reserved bacon over the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

 

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Monthly Mystery Munchies # 9: Butternut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

Haaaaaapy New Year! Ann and I ‘met’ last year, and we’ve been doing our Monthly Mystery Munchies since May. It’s been a wonderfully rich and valuable experience – I have learnt so much about food – from ingredients to cooking methods, and it’s one of my favourite parts of blogging. I can honestly say I fervently look forward to it every month, and I avidly check Ann’s blog to see what she’s created. One thing I do know, before seeing her recipes, is that her food is always fun, definitely interesting, and incredibly tasty!

Butternut salad 2So about the New Year. The Christmas holidays were wonderful, albeit very busy, but packed with overindulgence. My hips, tummy and butt are testament – don’t make me show you the evidence. Let me give you a glimpse into the severity: Christmas lunch is always a big deal. Although relaxed, we went all out. I mean it’s the one time when I have a real excuse, so why not? Well, hips. That’s why not. Anyways, there were seven of us this year, and this the meat we collectively made: turkey stuffed with pork and onion stuffing (moi), glazed gammon (my very talented mom-in-law), and, because that wasn’t enough for six adults and one little dude, my brother-in-law did a turducken. That was just the meat! Yeah, uh, time to detox, which leads me to this month’s theme – salad.

Butternut salad 4Before you start yawning from boredom, we decided that it would be a good idea to do something healthy, but not the traditional lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber. Because that would bore that crap out of me. This salad is so tasty. The sweetness of the butternut and peppers is balanced by the baby spinach leaves, and the feta cheese finishes it off perfectly. Natch, I made a vinaigrette. I do love mustard, so I did healthy salad dressing version, no cream or butter, just mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. All super healthy. I feel thinner already. I decided not to add meat to this salad, but you can throw in some shredded chicken or cubed beef – totally up to you. It’s easy and tasty, and in 40C heat, it’s refreshing to eat a cool meal instead of something steaming hot. Ann made an impressive 5-layer salad! Be sure to check it out! And again, happy 2016!

Butternut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Supplies:

1kg butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubed and steamed
250g baby spinach leaves
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 disc feta cheese

Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch paprika
Salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Making it happen:

Steam the cubed butternut, let cool and transfer to a salad bowl/dish. Add the chopped peppers and baby spinach leaves, and crumble the feta over the salad. Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over the salad.

Butternut salad

Savoury Mince with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Green Peppers

Savoury mince is one of those things that tends to ping on my ‘boring’ radar, but when made with the right ingredients, as well as a good balance of herbs, it’s something that will keep you coming back. It’s easy and versatile too, and I appreciate those qualities in a recipe. Serve it with rice, potatoes or pasta, which you can cook while the mince is simmering, and the whole thing will take you less that forty minutes!

Savoury Mince with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Green Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Savoury mince ingredients 1 2Ingredients:

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g chopped mushrooms
  • 2 chopped green (bell) peppers
  • 1 sachet (50g) tomato paste
  • 1 sachet (or cube) low sodium beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
Savoury mince 3 2
1. Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and green (bell) peppers, and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the juices in the pan.

 

Savoury mince 10 2

2. In the vegetable juices, simmer the mince for 2 minutes until partially browned. Add the tomato paste and simmer for a further 8 minutes.

 

 

Savoury mince 8 2

3. Re-add the vegetables to the mince. Drizzle in the Worcester sauce and sprinkle in the oregano, parsley, black pepper and beef stock. Stir thoroughly and simmer uncovered on medium-low for 15 – 20 minutes until it’s thickened. Serve with potatoes, pasta, in tortillas or, my preference, wild rice. This is also great for the kiddies and keeps well for a couple of days.