Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mushroom Series: Mini Mushroom Pizzas

For the next part of our Kitchen Pride mushrooms series, I made an appetizer because I wanted to make more than just main courses. When I made this recipe, I had been craving pizza, plus I got a good deal on the turkey sausage and marinara sauce so it all seemed to fall together well. It can be challenging to make pizza when you are on a grain-free diet, but if you are creative you can come up with some great options. These mini mushrooms pizzas are so good even folks who eat grain will like them because they're basically the topping of the pizza...mushrooms, meat, peppers, sauce, cheese, olives. Basically, they're a bite of the best part in my opinion! These were good hot and at room temperature, so they're perfect for a party. You could even double or triple the recipe in a 9x13 pan. These would also be great as an after school snack, even if they are leftover.

You could easily convert this recipe to a main course by using portabella mushrooms. Prepare 2 large or 4 small portabella mushrooms the same way as below, but for my personal taste I like to use a spoon to scrape the gills out of the inside of the mushrooms. I find keeping the gills makes the pizzas a bit soggy. For this recipe I used Kitchen Pride's baby portabellas (aka: cremini; see the package below), because in my opinion baby bellas have a bit more flavor than white button mushrooms, but both could be used. Just make sure that the mushrooms are on the larger side (about 10-12 per 8 oz or about 1 1/4" across) so you have room to fill with the stuffing. Also, I chose to peel the outer skin from the cap. This is a trick my mother taught me; I like how it exposes the white flesh of the mushrooms and it makes cleaning the caps really easy. I save this skin, along with the stems, for my stock pot. I have a big container in the freezer to collect scraps like this, and the addition of mushrooms to broth add a nice savory note.

Mini Mushroom Pizzas
Printable Recipe

8 oz baby bella (aka: cremini) mushroom caps (about 12)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 lb sausage, casings removed (I used turkey sausage)
1/2 cup marinara sauce, either low sugar store bought or homemade
3 slices (about 3 oz) provolone cheese (I like Applegate Farms brand)
black olives, to garnish (optional)
olive oil, for the pan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lightly grease a glass baking dish (approximately 9x9) with olive oil. To prepare the mushrooms, remove the stems. Brush the outsides of the caps clean with paper towel, or as an optional step gently peel the outside by pulling at the thin skin at bottom edge that was close to the stem and moving towards the top of the cap. Arrange the mushrooms stem side up and set aside.
3. In a medium skillet, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook until translucent, the crumble in the sausage and cook until browned. Blend in the marinara sauce.
4. Using a small spoon, stuff the caps with the meat mixture, piling it up.
5. Place the mushrooms in the oven and bake for 15 min, or until the sides of each mushrooms yields slightly when pinched.
6. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and top each with a piece of provolone cheese and an olive slice. Place back in the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 4 or 5 minutes. Serve warm from the oven or room temperature.
  • Servings per recipe: 12
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 58
  • Fat: 3.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 13.7 mg
  • Sodium: 179.8 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 2.1 g
  • Fiber: 0.5 g
  • Protein: 4.2 g

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mushroom Series: Creamy Beef and Mushroom Soup

Here is my first recipe in a series featuring Kitchen Pride's mushrooms, which they kindly sent to me. I was so excited to try their Mushroom Medley, which features white, baby bella, portabella, and shiitake mushrooms. I thought they would be great in a soup because each different mushroom would provide its own layer of flavor. I have been wanting to make this soup for a while! The inspiration for this soup was my favorite canned soup when I was a kid, which was Campbell's Beefy Mushroom Soup. I'm not sure if they still make Beefy Mushroom because I don't go down the canned soup aisle much anymore. Basically, it was a beef-based broth soup with tiny bits of mushroom and beef. My mom used it in her broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole instead of cream of mushroom soup and I loved it. This homemade version is a bit more grown up because of the mixed mushrooms, red wine, and touch of cream. As an extra step, I pulsed my immersion blender into the soup to create a thicker texture and also create little pieces of mushroom and tiny shreds of beef, just like the canned soup had.

This soup would be really great as a first course in smaller portions or as a meal and is perfect for those cool fall days that are approaching.

Please look for Kitchen Pride's mushrooms the next time you are in the store. Here is what the label looks like:

Creamy Beef and Mushroom Soup
Printable Recipe

1 tbsp pastured butter, or other oil of choice, divided
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-oz package mixed wild mushrooms, such as cremini, button, shiitake, and portabellas, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
1 lb lean cubed beef stew meat, preferably grass-fed
2 tbsp low-sodium tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
64 oz low-sodium beef broth
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream, optional (or coconut milk)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat a large saucepan or 4-qt stockpot over medium heat. Melt in half the butter (or oil) then add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until tender; remove to the side.
2. Heat remaining butter (or oil) and raise heat to medium-high. Season meat with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and brown on all sides; you may have to work in batches.
3. Blend the tomato paste into the browned meat and rendered juices until it becomes a slightly darker red in color and coats the meat. Return the cooked vegetables to the pan, add the wine, broth, sage, and thyme. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce to simmer over medium to medium-low heat. Cover with a lid and simmer 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Once the beef is tender to the bite, season to taste with salt and pepper. As an optional step to slightly thicken the soup, take about a cup out and puree it in a food processor or blender and add it back to the rest of the soup. Or, do a few quick pulses with an immersion blender.
5. Remove the pan from heat and blend in the cream. Serve immediately.

  • Servings per recipe: 4 main-course servings
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 377.7 
  • Fat: 19.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 8.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 129.0 mg
  • Sodium: 194 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 10.3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: 5.1 g
  • Protein: 36.8 g

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

I love to eat eggs for breakfast, but there's nothing wrong with taking a break from the usual for a while. I've been tinkering with a recipe for pumpkin pancakes for a while, and this formulation is one that I ended up loving. The reason I like it so much is that it's not too carb-heavy. Note there is very little sweetener added. I purposefully added the minimal amount of honey to keep these higher on the protein side. I found them to be nice with just a little butter on top, but they're not so sweet on their own that they can't handle a little maple syrup. I actually dislike cloyingly sweet foods in the morning, so these were a real winner. These pancakes reheat really well, which is great because pancake making can be quite the undertaking when you are cooking for one. One batch can last a long time, and I if they don't reheat well it can be a real bummer. I tripled the batter and let it sit in the fridge overnight, and the pancakes tasted just as great as they would if the batter was fresh-made.

Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Printable Recipe

For the dry ingredients:
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond meal
2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

For the wet ingredients:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cooked pumpkin puree
2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Coconut oil, or other oil of choice, for cooking

1. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
2. In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. You can put the mixture into the refrigerator at this point if you want to make the batter a day ahead.
3. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush with oil, then add the batter. Lightly pat each pancake until they are about 1/4"-1/3" thick. Allow them to cook until they are browned on the bottom, then flip and cook through. Pancakes can be made ahead of time and re-heated.
  • Servings vary depending on the size of pancakes. I made 4
  • Servings per recipe: 4
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 113.5
  • Fat: 8.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 92.5 g
  • Sodium: 243.2 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 5.4 g
  • Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Sugar: 1.9 g
  • Protein: 6.0 g

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sauteed Cabbage with Sausage and Mushrooms

Here is another one-pan meal loosely based on a recipe from The Everything Paleolithic Diet Book. The original uses a little bacon and Brussels sprouts, but I decided to use it as a guideline to make a more hearty dish. This is a really inexpensive meal and a great way to stretch higher quality meat. Plus these sautes where you have everything in one pan make mealtime so easy. I actually made this recipe as an egg-free option for breakfast. While I love eggs, a little variety never hurts, plus I know there are folks who are allergic to eggs, so this might be a good option for them. For other variations, you could substitute bacon for the sausage and add caraway seeds in place of the vinegar, which will also give a slightly sour taste.

If you like mushrooms a lot, please check out my posts to come because I kindly received some mushrooms from Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms, a Texas product. I'm currently creating a series of posts with their mushrooms!

Sauteed Cabbage with Sausage and Mushrooms
Printable Recipe

8 oz nitrate-free sausage (I like Pederson's), cut into rounds
4 tsp bacon grease rendered from nitrate-free bacon, or other oil of choice, divided
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small head of green cabbage, hard core removed and sliced
1/2 tsp dried sage
dash cayenne pepper
2 1/2 tsp unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat. Once it is browned, set aside.
2. Add half the oil to the pan, then add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
3. Add the remaining oil, then add the cabbage and start sauteing. Season with sage and cayenne. When the cabbage begins to soften, return the sausage and mushroom mixture to the pan. Cook until the cabbage becomes very tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper to your liking. Add more cayenne if you want the saute to be really spicy. Toss in the vinegar at the last minute, then serve immediately.
  • Servings per recipe: 4
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 256.9
  • Fat: 17.9 g
  • Saturated fat: 5.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 44.1 mg
  • Sodium: 430.4 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 13.3 g
  • Fiber: 4.8 g
  • Sugars: 0.8 g
  • Protein: 20.8 g

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ginger-Orange Chicken and Broccoli

The semester started last week, so I am on the lookout for easy recipes that will leave leftovers for my lunches. I have several Paleo cookbooks, one being The Everything Paleolithic Diet Book, which has a lot of quick and easy recipes. For a quick review of the book, I have found many recipes to be quick and easy, which is the best part. The introduction is not too long and follows fairly closely with the recommendations of Loren Cordain's The Paleo Diet book. As I read the book more, I do see some errors in the text. Examples include one swordfish recipe where there is dill in the title, but neither the recipe nor the instructions use dill, instead they use rosemary. Also, there is an edamame and lentil recipe in the book, which have to be misprints because the intro to the book clearly states that legumes are off-limits for this diet. Also, I have found vegetable and canola oils in a few of the recipes, which are also not recommended. I assume some of these recipes were pulled from previous books, which is why they contain these ingredients. They can easily be substituted, but if you are starting out with Paleo maybe these mistakes will not be clear and you will be misguided. On a personal note, I have had to tinker with pretty much every recipe, altering the seasonings and methods to get the recipe just right. For instance, their spaghetti squash recipe just plain did not work...the squash was mostly raw after their cooking instructions. It's normal to have to alter recipes to your taste, so I will concede to that fact. I'm glad I have this book because it give me inspiration and guidelines, however it's important to note the errors in the text.

One of the recipes I altered to make a one-pan meal was their ginger-orange chicken. The original didn't have any vegetables, so I added some broccoli, which I thought would be nice with the orange and ginger flavor. I also added coconut aminos to help make a nice sauce. The sauce reminded me of an orange chutney because of the heat of the garlic and ginger, and I used a lot of the pulp in the orange so it created a nice texture. Leftovers were great because it gave the sauce a chance to flavor the chicken more thoroughly.

Ginger-Orange Chicken and Broccoli
Printable Recipe

2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, divided 
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
2 scallions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 orange, zested and juiced (retain the pulp in the juice for more texture in the sauce)
2 tbsp coconut aminos
12 oz frozen broccoli florets, thawed (or use leftover steamed broccoli)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir-fry until golden brown. Remove from skillet.
2. Add the remainder of the oil, then add the scallions and stir-fry one minute before adding the garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Stir-fry about 30 seconds, then add the orange juice and coconut aminos and use to deglaze the pan; scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Reduce the sauce by simmering until it is slightly thickened.
3. Return the meat to the skillet and add the broccoli. Toss the chicken and broccoli in the sauce and cook for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

  • Servings per recipe: 4
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 273.6
  • Fat: 8.9 g
  • Saturated fat: 6.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 82.2 mg
  • Sodium: 277.7 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 15.6 g
  • Fiber: 3.9 g
  • Sugars: 7.3 g
  • Protein: 36 g
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