Category Archives: Appetizers and Starters

A Collection of Appetizers to Make Your New Year Happy

Happy New Year to all of you fabulous foodies!! I thought I would take a little bit of time to not only wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year full of love, health, and of course awesome food, but also share with you several recipes for appetizers from my friends all over the blogoverse. A sort of one stop shopping for last minute party planners. Or maybe you will find something you just can’t live without! 

Jamaican Saltfish fritters

Pizza Balls


This is another one of those recipes I saw on Pintrest and just felt like I had to put my own spin on it. Actually my daughter found it. She lives in California now so we both have boards on our Pintrest accounts for each other. If we find something we think the other one would like we pin it to those boards. It is kind of like a Pintrest Christmas. You open it up and SURPRISE look what I found for you!
So I took a look at this and thought it sounded like a good idea, I just wanted to change it up. I have told you all I am not a baker by any means, but I have had really great luck with my pizza dough so anytime I get a chance to make it I jump. The original recipe called for refrigerator biscuits and, although it is much simpler to do it that way, I though pizza dough would taste so much better. I mean garlic pizza dough vs biscuit dough? In my mind there was no question. 
Then the original had no sauce in it. You dipped the finished rolls in sauce, but there wasn’t any inside. I had just made a huge batch of homemade marinara sauce so I figured I would give that a try. If you don’t want to make the sauce you could use jarred pizza sauce, but I will say that the marinara is super easy, it tastes better, and you can make a big batch and freeze it for another day like I did.
Another thing I switched was the meat. They used two pieces of pepperoni but Kevin is a sausage lover. I actually wish I had put a slice of mush room inside as well, but the sausage was really good. I switched the cheddar jack cheese for fresh mozzarella. I just love fresh mozzarella and use it when ever I can. 
Kevin wasn’t home to take pictures of the dough making or cutting process, but that is pretty straight forward. But I can show you the process of constructing the balls.
After you cut the dough (I used a large mouth glass but if you have a bigger biscuit cutter it would work well)
Spread it out with your fingers a bit.
Add a small dollop of the sauce.
Place a bit of sausage in the middle. I used a quartered slice of link sausage but a scoop of bulk sausage would work as well.
A little chunk of fresh mozzarella.

And started to fold it over into a ball. One side..
Two sides….
Three sides…
A ball…TADA!
Pinch it’s little bottom and then place it pinched side down in a baking dish sprayed with non stick spray. Bush tops with melted butter and then sprinkle with a bit of garlic powder and dried basil.
Someone is patiently waiting for his Pizza Ball…who said he was getting one? I don’t know.

I made a half batch so that is why the dish isn’t full, but don’t they look pretty all toasty and golden brown out of the oven?

Add a bit of the warmed up marinara sauce on the side for dipping and you have got yourself some seriously good balls!

Pizza Balls
Adapted from recipe found at Riches to Rags
2 links of Italian sausage, or 1/2 pound bulk sausage, cooked
4-ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
Marinara sauce (see recipe below), or jarred pizza sauce
Garlic pizza dough (see recipe below)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Garlic powder, for sprinkling
Dried basil, for sprinkling
For the Pizza Dough:
1 1/8 cup warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and dried basil, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work the additional 1/2 cup flour (you don’t need to use all if it is not needed) in to the dough, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a roll pin or your hands, cut into desired size discs. Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes. 
For the Marinara Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Recommended San Marzano)
2 6 ounce cans of tomatoes paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the minced garlic and cook one more minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomatoes paste, water, chopped oregano, and the bay leaf. (Add more water if sauce seems too thick). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer.

Form pizza balls as per pictures above and bake at 425 for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Goblin Eggs for Trick or Treat #SundaySupper #Halloween Party

I was so excited when I saw the theme for this weeks #SundaySupper was Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe part of the reason is that, even though we were broke, my Mom made such a big deal about Halloween. From figuring out a homemade costume, to decorating the house, to giving out the candy and trying to scare the trick or treaters. It was just tons of fun.
Pumpkins were always the highlight of Halloween. When I was a kid we of course just carved them. Now there are all sorts of stencils, patterns, and tools to help you get it done. Remember the days of a steak knife and tablespoon? Ahh the good ol’ days. But we have made the most of what is available today.
Now as an adult, with adult children, I don’t have to figure out costumes anymore. But I do enjoy decorating the house and having fun with the trick or treaters. Since we just moved I decided to play nice this year and put out all of our “cute” Halloween decorations. Next year we will do it scarey!! 
I came up with this idea from the Easter egg days. You knew if there was a crack in the shell of the egg there would be color on the white when you opened it up. Well one year the kids decided to do it on purpose. I can tell you it made for some interesting looking egg salad! I think my kids would have enjoyed these. Plus it is a great reason to make deviled eggs, which my kids love!

Goblin Eggs

1 dozen hard boiled eggs, shells extremely cracked
6 cups hot water
1 tube green food coloring gel
1 tube blue food coloring gel
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 tube red food coloring gel
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl add the hot water, green food color, blue food color, and vinegar. Stir to combine well and allow the gel color to mix. Add the eggs and allow to sit for at least 1 hour. 

Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs and carefully peel the shells away. Once all of the eggs are peeled, cut each egg in half, placing the cooked yolks in a medium bowl. Arrange egg white halves on a plate.

To the egg yolks add the mayo, pickle relish, mustard, salt, and pepper. Once you have the mixture to taste, add the red food color a little at a time until the desired color is attained.

Spoon some of the egg yolk mixture on to one of the egg white halves and top with another to make a deviled egg “sandwich”.


We would love to have you join this special Sunday Supper and bring your halloween party recipes.  So many amazing recipes and this group is just a blast to be around.  Our #SundaySupper chat will begin on Twitter at 7pm Eastern Time.   Grab your Bewitching Brew and Ghoulish Grew and join the fun!

Bewitching Brews:

Ghoulish Gruel:

Haunted Snacks:

Spooky Sweets:

Join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper.  We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 pm(Eastern) for our weekly #SundaySupper  live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.

Sriracha Hot Wings

I know I have mentioned we like things hot around here, about a million times right? But this is a true example of our love of all things spicy/hot. We use Sriracha like ketchup here. I mean it seriously goes on everything, OK well maybe not pancakes but there isn’t much else it doesn’t go on. Have you heard the Frank’s Red Hot commercial with the old lady that say’s, “Frank’s Red Hot…I put the sh*t on everything”? Well we could easily do that commercial here, and we wouldn’t even need to be paid, OK well maybe free hot sauce for life but that would be it!

In the past, my ex and I used to have people over to watch the wrestling pay-per-views. Yesssssss I know it is fake, and silly, and all of that. But it was an excuse to have a party, and whenever we had a party there was a hot wing throw down. I think the hottest wings we came up with were a 2 winger. Which meant that you could only eat 2 wings before you had to drink something. They were that hot! Oh the things we do in the name of fun.
These are by no means that hot, but they are spicier than regular hot wings. I used to use Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce before trying this. Now we will never make them any other way. This is a super simple variation of my Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings. So they are “lighter” than your typical fried hot wings. You might want to make 2 batches though because they go fast!!

Sriracha Hot Wings
2 lbs chicken wings
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 to 1 cup Sriracha sauce (found on the Asian isle of your market)
In a plastic storage bag, add the flour, cayenne, garlic powder, and salt. Shake to combine and then add the chicken wings to the bag. Seal the bag and shake until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Remove the chicken wings from the bag one at a time and place them on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Whisk melted butter and hot wings sauce together. Carefully dip each wing into the sauce and return to the baking sheet.
Place baking sheet on the center rack in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the coating it nice and crispy, making sure to turn the wings half way through. Remove from oven. Can be served with low calorie ranch dressing is desired. We just eat them on their own.

Food Star Friday – Crab Stuffed Mushroom "Throwdown"

My Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Paula Deen’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Happy Food Star Friday everyone! Today I am doing a little twist to my regular Food Star Friday post. I decided to have some fun and do a recipe “Throwdown”. I love Paula Deen, even if her food hasn’t been the healthiest in the past. I just love her sense of humor, love for her family, and basically her joy of life. I do have to admit though, another thing I love is her crab stuffed mushrooms!! I know, I know, not the healthiest thing in the world. But hey, like I say, all things in moderation. I don’t eat them everyday so if I have a few here and there (like once a year maybe) I don’t think it is that bad right? However, I decided that I wanted to try to make one of my favorites a little healthier so I can enjoy them a little more than once a year.

Like I explained in my posts for Manic Monday and my Crab Salad Sammies, we found ourselves pleasantly surprised by a gift of 4 very large and very fresh dungeness crab last week. I was so excited. As we were cleaning them I kept nibbling. They were so tender and sweet I almost wanted to just dig in and eat them plain, but I had known, almost from the minute the crab hit my kitchen, that I wanted crab salad sandwiches and stuffed mushrooms. Once I got down to the business of planning the recipes I realized that I was very torn. I knew I loved Paula Deen’s crab stuffed mushrooms but have been trying to make things a bit healthier. So that was when my son suggested a “throwdown” between the two recipes. What a great idea right? It was a way to really be able to compare the two recipes side by side and get honest opinions.
Everyone was in the kitchen as I combined the stuffing for each recipe, commenting and wondering how it would go. Once the mushrooms hit the oven we all adjourned outside to not only beat the heat of the kitchen, but to relax and enjoy a cold drink. One the timer went *DING* the relaxing stopped. Into the kitchen we all piled to take a peek of the little beauties as they came out of the oven. Everyone wanted to grab them right then and there but I chased them outside so I could get the platters set up and the crab salad sandwiches made. As soon as I got the food on the table outside (and took my photos) they dove in.
What was the verdict? Everyone of course loved the creaminess of Paula Deen’s, well they do have cream cheese in them, but I was surprised to hear them say they loved mine as well. Mine had more crab in it so that flavor came though. At the end it was a tie. They said that there would good things about both and they would want them both again *sigh* the whole point of the “throwdown”, to have a winner!
So I guess I will need you to check them out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
1 pound of very large mushrooms, stemmed and the ribs carefully scraped out to make room for the stuffing
4 tablespoons butter
5 green onions, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1 pound crab meat, picked clean of shells
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (I used Old Bay)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Chop stems and set aside. Spray a shallow baking dish with butter-flavored spray.
Melt butter in skillet, add reserved chopped stems, green onions and red bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. Combine cooked ingredients with bread crumbs, crab meat, seafood seasoning, salt, and pepper. Fill each mushroom with as much as possible. Top each mushroom with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until mushroom caps are tender and cheese is crispy.


Food Star Friday – Chicken Nachos with Green Chili Cheese


This week for Food Star Friday I was able to combine a recipe for something I have wanted to make for quite some time, with one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. Today’s post is Tyler’s Ultimate Chicken Nachos! I mean what could possibly go better together than a big plate of spicy nachos and a night time NASCAR race? On top of that we had my Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas to wash it all down!

Tyler Florence is one of my favorite Food Network stars. Yes, the fact that he is pretty dang cute doesn’t hurt but I really do like his food. I have made several of his recipes for Food Star Friday. They never disappoint.

This weekend was a strange one. Lately I have been just flying by the seat of my pants when it comes down to what we are eating. Not knowing how many I am cooking for, or what time they will be here, and honestly being a bit burnt out from the week, has just caused me to slack off a bit. For some reason I decided to jump on the ball and get a menu plan going!

I knew I had to come up with a drink for Tipsy Tuesday, and with my son (the bartender of all bartenders) being out of town, I knew I had to really plan something good to drink. I guess that got my creative juices flowing and away I went! I still have a few things left on the plan, including a couple of desserts! I know, I am so excited!! I never make dessert, so this will be a true treat.

Now on to the nachos. These were very very good. It takes a little bit of work but not a whole lot. I had preshredded my chicken when I brought it home from the store. I bought two rotisserie chickens because the recipe called for a 3 pound chicken, and the ones at my store were just a little over 1 1/2 pounds. By shredding it as soon as I got home it saved sooooo much time when I got down to the nitty gritty of making this recipe. I plan on doing that will all of my chicken that needs to be shredded. Just do it when you are already in the shopping/organizing/putting away mood.

These didn’t last very long. I would love to have some more right now with one of those jargaritas!!

Chicken Nachos with Green Chili Cheese
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock, at room temperature
  • 4 cups shredded Jack cheese
  • 1 (1-pound) bag salted corn tortilla chips
  • 1 (3-pound) whole roasted chicken, meat finely shredded, skin and bones discarded

Quick Salsa:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, hand shredded
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream and guacamole, for serving

Bring a pot of water to a boil; add the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, and garlic. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatillos are soft. Drain and cool slightly, then put them in a blender. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Puree for a few seconds to blend, and then pour in about a 1/4 cup of water and process to a coarse puree; taste and season with a generous pinch of salt. You should have about 2 cups of this salsa verde.
Make a roux by melting the butter over medium-low heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Just as the foam subsides, sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to remove the starchy taste from the flour; don’t allow it to brown. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and simmer for 8 minutes to thicken. Once you have a good base, fold in 2 cups of the shredded Jack cheese; mix until completely melted into a sauce. Stir in the prepared salsa verde until incorporated; remove the green chili cheese sauce from the heat.
Make a quick salsa by combining the cherry tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl; season with salt and pepper, tossing to combine.
To build these awesome nachos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Get a very large oven-proof platter and cover it with a few handfuls of tortilla chips, follow with a portion of the shredded chicken, a coating of the cheese sauce, and a nice sprinkle of the remaining shredded jack. Make 3 or 4 layers of the nachos, depending on the size of the platter. Bake the nachos until they are all hot and gooey, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Spoon the tomato salsa over the top of the nachos and serve with the sour cream on the side.

Halibut Ceviche


Hello my wonderful friends out there in Foodieland! I know I have been absent for a long time (it feels like forever for me). Lots going on in my life and unfortunately cooking took a backseat to most of it. I finally buckled down and decided I needed to get back in the saddle so I sat down to create a menu for the week. I had glanced over the store fliers and saw that my local Albertson’s had fresh halibut for $15.99 a pound! I know that seems like a lot even on sale, but halibut can be upwards of $28.00 a pound later in the season, and seeing as it is my all time FAVORITE fish you know I was jumping up and down like a little kid that just found the toy they want in the Toys R Us catalog!!

I finished up my weekly menu (which includes another halibut dish aside from this one) and hurried off to the store to purchase all of my goodies. I wandered through the store for about an hour getting other ideas as I saw the fresh meat and produce they had available. WOW I didn’t realize how MUCH I missed being in my kitchen! Then rushed home to get everything put safely away.

Last night I actually made two recipes.Carne Asada and the Halibut Ceviche. I will post the Carne Asada tomorrow. So the first thing I had to do was get the marinade going for the meat. You don’t want to get your ceviche going until it is about 3 to 4 hours away from meal time. Even though the fish only “cooks” in the citrus juices, it can over cook and be kind of rubbery.

A side note, I discovered ceviche on a trip to Puerto Vallarta many many years ago. They made it with a white fish and served it on little mini tostada shells (it was heavenly!!). So you can make this with any firm fleshed white fish you would like. I think cod would be nice. Since I can’t find mini tostada shells here in Western Washington, we usually eat it with tortilla chips, but stay tuned for Thursday’s post because I will let you know the fun way we mixed it up this time!

Halibut Ceviche

  • 2 pounds very fresh (sushi-grade) white-fleshed ocean fish
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 6 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 or 2 serrano peppers,  finely diced (I used 3 small ones for a nice spicy batch)
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper,  finely diced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper,  finely diced
  • 1/4 tablespoons red onion,  minced
  • 3 cloves garlic,  minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves,  chopped
  • 1 tablespoon good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Tortilla chips (appetizer) or tostada shells (for a main dish)
Cut the fish into 1/4-inch dice. Place in a glass dish with the lime juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, peppers, onions, and garlic, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the cilantro, olive oil, and salt. Fold gently to mix. You can serve the ceviche in martini glasses for a nice appetizer.

Makes about appetizer sized servings

The Versatile Blogger Award 2012


It is so flattering to be recognized by my peers. As food bloggers we put our heart and soul into what we do because that is our passion. So when someone I respect singles me out for an award it is such an honor. That is what Candi from The Devilish Dish did by giving me this award. Thank you so very much Candi for putting a smile on my face and making my day!!

Now I get to pay it forward by choosing 5 blogs to give this award to. This is a very difficult choice because I know so many wonderful bloggers now. But I will pick 5
There are so many more that I could list! I wish it wasn’t just 5. But please make sure to check out other wonderful blogs by clicking on the links to the left hand side of my blog!!

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings


I love chicken wings. They are one of my all time favorite football munchies. I used to fool myself that they really weren’t that bad for me. I mean
chicken = protein,
celery = vegetable,
Ranch dressing = uummm dairy, ya that’s it, dairy.

But once I really started to pay attention to calories and all that fun stuff (plus watching The Biggest Loser), I realized that one serving of 10 buffalo wings could run as much as 1590 calories and 107 grams of fat!!! Which breaks down into 159 calories each! YIKES!!! I sadly walked away from my beloved buffalo wings thinking that I would never return again.

Then I began my cooking adventures. I started taking old recipes that I loved, or comfort foods I treasured, and trying to make them even just a bit more healthy. Why I never thought of changing things up with my wonderful tangy buffalo wings I have no idea. I am a little slow at times, but I get there eventually.

Now these wings still have a bit of butter in them, but by bypassing the deep frying process we are saving a ton, and I mean a TON of calories and fat. Wanna know how much? We cut that figure in half!! 10 baked wings? 786 calories BooYaaaa!! OK, no, they still aren’t the healthiest things under the sun, and I don’t recommend eating them every week. But it is nice to know that we can indulge once in a while without feeling like you have to sacrifice your whole entire days worth of calories just to eat 10 little buffalo wings right?

You can make these as hot or mild as you want by playing around with the cayenne pepper. I used 1 teaspoon and Jessi said they were a good heat level for her (remember she is my non-spicy girl). If I had made them for just Kevin and I, I would have used at least 2 teaspoons if not a touch more.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
2 lbs chicken wings
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup hot wings sauce (Recommended – Franks Red Hot)
In a plastic storage bag, add the flour, cayenne, garlic powder, and salt. Shake to combine and then add the chicken wings to the bag. Seal the bag and shake until the chicken is thoroughly coated. Remove the chicken wings from the bag one at a time and place them on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Whisk melted butter and hot wings sauce together. Carefully dip each wing into the sauce and return to the baking sheet.
Place baking sheet on the center rack in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the coating it nice and crispy, making sure to turn the wings half way through.
Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dipping condiment (low cal of course)

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Food Star Friday – Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms


For Food Star Friday this week I decided to go a bit small, as in appetizer small. With my household being huge football and Nascar fans, it is nice to whip up a few nibbles to have around so when the mood strikes you there is something tasty to put in your tummy. Football + beer + good food = the perfect Sunday right? To all my non football friends out there, don’t worry I am not obsessed with any other sport so once football season is done I will be back to normal, well normal for ME hehe.

There are so many great appetizer recipes out there  by all of our favorite food stars I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to make. Then I ran across these babies by Ina Garten. I love stuffed mushrooms and haven’t had them in forever. The last couple of times I made them with crab and cream cheese. I liked the whole sausage idea and the fact that she used mascarpone cheese instead of cream cheese. I am really becoming quite the fan of mascarpone cheese VS cream cheese. Oh I am not hating on the cream cheese or anything, I just like the change of pace. It is lighter and a bit sweet, can be used in sweet and savory dishes, just a nice new taste.

The only downside is that you get to taste that yummy stuffing and then it goes into the mushrooms and has to bake for 50 minutes! Aaahhh I must have been in the bathroom when they were handing out patience when it comes to food I swear. But they are worth the wait. Kevin and I went to work on them as soon as they were cool enough to bite, actually even before then. I burned my tongue a bit, like I said, no patience.

The only thing I would change about this recipe is the olive oil. Of course mushrooms themselves carry a lot of  moisture, but I felt it really didn’t add anything to the recipe and made the mushrooms kind of wet. I would however still drizzle the mushroom caps with the Marsala  wine. You don’t want to cut out ANY of the flavor for these bad boys!

 Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 16 extra-large white mushrooms ( I used creminis)
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.
Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.