Category Archives: mushroom

Philly Cheese Steak Mac and Cheese


This recipe came about from the request of several people on my Facebook page. I had an impromptu survey asking what Mac and Cheese everyone would like to see me come up with and this was the overwhelming winner. I mean it was a landslide! I was excited. I love Philly Cheese Steaks and Mac and Cheese so the idea of smooshing them together made me a very happy camper. I mean, is there such a thing as too many Mac and Cheese recipes? I think not! I am thinking I should create a label for the blog for just my Mac and Cheese recipes. I am very curious to see how many I have!
For many people, myself included, Mac and Cheese is a comfort food. We know it might not be the lowest calorie dish (ssshhhhh if we don’t say it out loud it isn’t true!), but it isn’t a dish we have all of the time so we can splurge in those times when we just need a warm hug for our tummy right?

I really thought long and hard about this recipe. I mean there are so many views on what a true cheese steak is. Most people I know that are from Philly love the original cheese steak. It is just cheese and steak, usually the cheese being a cheese wiz type product. Some prefer the provolone instead. I have been reminded by my best friend, who is from Philly, that if you order a cheese steak in Philly you do not get onions, mushrooms, and peppers on it. They are items you have to request. So I guess my recipe does not reflect a true authentic cheese steak but I love onions, mushrooms,and peppers, so this is my loose interpretation. To my wonderful Philly fans, you are welcome to leave out the veggies, I will not be offended. But I am telling you, yummmm yummmmm, this was great with those veggies I promise!!
It was hard for me to not just eat this off of the spoon!!
Philly Cheese Steak Mac and Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded white American cheese
1/2 cup shredded Provolone cheese
1 cup shredded yellow Cheddar cheese
3/4 pound good quality deli roast beef, sliced as thick as bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bell pepper, chopped (any color, I mixed green and red)

10 to 12 cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Butter flavored non stick spray

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, peppers, and garlic. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have softened and given up their liquid. Add the roast beef and continue to cook until the beef is heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Heat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter to pot and melt, whisk in flour 1 minute then milk. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, thicken sauce 5 to 6 minutes. Melt 2/3 of the combined cheeses into the sauce.

Preheat broiler.

Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Toss hot pasta with chopped meat and veggies to combine, stir in cheese sauce and coat. Transfer mac n cheese to casserole and top with remaining cheese. Spray the top with the butter flavored spray and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Brown under broiler 3 to 4 minutes, serve.


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Cream of Mushroom Soup with Port Wine


This recipe comes from a friend of mine from England. She used to frequent a restaurant close to her home quite often and told me over and over again how wonderful this soup was. How she would actually dream about it! She wanted to make it at home but had no idea where to start. I finally told her to just ask the chef for the recipe. She doubted that he would do it but went a ahead and tried. To her huge surprise he was more than happy to help her out! I have unfortunately lost contact with her now, but this recipe will always be special to me because she shared it with me. 

I don’t know why I had to but this soup was just calling to me, begging me to make it, and who am I to tell food no right? I love love love cream of mushroom soup. I grew up eating the good ol’ Campbell’s version and it became one of my favorite comfort foods. Once I had my surgery the canned version was no longer an option to me because of the high fat content, it made me sick. I was very sad for a while, until I remembered I had this recipe!! 
This is of course a much more “adult” version of cream of mushroom soup. Cooking the mushrooms down in the port wine give this soup such a deep, rich, earthy flavor. Mmmm I am craving it again just thinking about it! Thank goodness I have some leftover in the fridge because I know what I am having for lunch!! 
Thanks Karen my love, for sharing this soup with me and many wonderful memories!!

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Port Wine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups (about 1/2 pound) cremini mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped, 2 cups sliced and 2 cups finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (plus some for garnish if wanted)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup tawny port wine
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken stock (save 1/2 cup to thin soup at the end if needed)
1 cup half and half
2 cups heavy cream
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large sauce pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme and cook till the mushrooms have released most of their water, about 5 minutes.
Add the port wine and continue to simmer until the liquid is almost gone, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour   until it is all incorporated into the reduced wine. Slowly whisk in the 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the half and half, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4

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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.


Roasted Garlic Pork Chops and Rice


When I walked into my hotel room at the BlogHer Food conference this past weekend I was greeted by a bright blue Progresso bag and balloon. My first thought was “How festive” my second thought was “Ohh what’s in the bag?”. The answer to that question is a can of their new Recipe Starters cooking sauce. I had never seen this before and to be honest with you my first reaction to it was “Oh another soup to cook with”. I have mentioned many times how I try to stay away from any cooking with condensed soup because they contain so much sodium and fat. So I tossed the can back in the bag and didn’t look at it again until I got home.

Monday I pulled the can out again and started to read the information on it. Hhmmm only 5 grams of fat, 430 mgs of sodium, and only 70 cals per serving? That is a far cry from the 28 grams of fat, 1955mgs of sodium (yes I said 1955!), and 258 cals per serving that the average condensed can of cream soup contains. Well with those stats alone I was very excited to give it a shot.

A lot of people have asked for quick meal recipes so I wanted to come up with something that would be good for a working parent that needs to get a nice meal on the table for their family in 30 minutes. This product made that goal so very easy! I still can’t believe it is only 70 calories per serving, it tastes like it should add so much more!! I can’t wait to try the others!

Now on with the show……

Salt and pepper your pork chops and get them in the pan for a little sizzle time.
In the mean time slice and dice a few mushrooms and an onion. You also need the zest of a lemon but I got trigger happy with the camera and forgot to get that in here.
Don’t forget to turn those chops over. They only need a couple of minutes on each side for now.
Now the mushrooms and onions hit the playground.
Here comes that pretty blue can.
After it comes to a bubble slide the chops back into the hot tub, cover and let cook while your rice is finishing up.
And WALA!! Supper in 30 minutes or less!

Roasted Garlic Pork Chops and Rice

3 tablespoons olive oil, seperated
4 thick cut pork chops
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 small onion, diced
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 18-ounce can of Progresso recipe Starters Creamy Roasted Garlic cooking sauce
2 cups white rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)
In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper and sear them on both sides in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and reserve on a plate covered with foil. 
Place the rice in a medium sauce pan with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.
Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan along with the onions and mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms start to give up their moisture, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Progresson recipe Starters Cooking Sauce and add the lemon zest. Stir to combine well and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a bubble and return the pork chops to the pan. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, cook for 20 minutes.
To serve place a large scoop of rice on a plate, lay pork chop across the rice and spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired.

Not Your Momma’s Tuna Casserole


This casserole has seriously become one of my favorite casseroles of all time. It is inexpensive (hello, canned tuna) and sooooo very tasty!

It came from my desire to revamp some of the recipes from my childhood. Everyone’s Mom used Cream of Mushroom soup for just about every casserole they made right? You know I have an issue with that just because you lose control of the sodium and fat content of your dish. No I am not a control freak, OK well maybe just a little, but mostly I don’t like hidden anything in my meals. By using fresh mushrooms and making a bechamel sauce you have a “cream of mushroom” feel but it is so much healthier.

The other thing I love about this recipe is you can pretty much throw any veggies at it you like. Have some leftover broccoli or red bell pepper? Go for it! Artichoke hearts would be awesome in this as well. You can also change up the cheese you use. Also, I used panko bread crumbs for the topping of mine but I know many people use crushed up potato chips. I read a little blurb in one of my food magazines about using salt and vinegar chips on top. I didn’t do it but it sure sounds good!

Other great things about this recipe, you can make this ahead and keep it in the fridge until the night you want to make it. Take it out to warm up at room temp while you are preheating your oven, pop it in and away you go. The only thing I would change if you make it ahead is do your bread crumbs the night you bake the casserole so they stay nice and crunchy. Also this reheats wonderfully and tastes just as good the next day!

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Not Your Momma’s Tuna Casserole
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (12 ounce) package uncooked wide egg noodles (I use No-Yolks)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained and flaked (I use tuna in oil, it saves the flavor of the tuna)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish with non stick spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and the noodles. Cook as package directs for al dente. Drain and return the noodles to the pot.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add butter. Once the butter is melted, add your onions, celery, and garlic, cook until soft, about 5 mins. Raise the heat to medium-high and add your mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms begin to brown and release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add mixture to the pot with the noodles

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to cook about 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth. Add some freshly ground nutmeg (just a bit) and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the tuna and peas. Pour into pot with the noodles and mushroom mixture. Stir to combine and pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the shredded cheese

In a small sauce pan or skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook just till they begin to brown. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs over the top of the casserole.

Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

Spaghetti Bolognese


I love pasta almost as much as I love Mexican food. Any shape or size, give me a sauce and some Parmesan cheese and I will have at it! Unfortunately not all of my family shares in my love. However, since I do the cooking I am able to pop it on the menu as much as I want. One of the perks I enjoy about being in charge of the kitchen. Plus I can just say “Hey I am a food blogger. I have to give the people what they want”. That seems to quiet them down. 

I  had been wanting to try a bolognese sauce for quite some time. I was just worried because everyone I talked to made it seem like it was such a hard sauce to  make. Once I tried it I asked myself what in the heck took me so long! Yes, it takes a while to make but trust me, it is well worth the work. The sauce is so creamy and rich. It is just a huge hug for your tummy!

This was one pasta that everyone enjoyed. Don’t pass up the ricotta cheese on top either. It was icing on the cake! I will keep this on on the list of recipes to do again. I know you will love it too!

Spaghetti Bolognese

  • 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
  • 1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry red wine 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti (I used tagiatelle pasta though) 
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • Fresh ricotta cheese

Reconstitute the mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender, drain and coarsely chop.
Puree the mushrooms, pancetta, onion, celery stalks, carrots, garlic, together in a blender.
In a heavy-bottomed pot add olive oil, bay leaves, herbs and cook gently until fragrant, then add vegetable puree and continue to cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
Raise the heat a bit and add the ground pork and beef; brown until the meat is no longer pink, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and simmer until the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, and wine and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Slowly simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring now and then, until the sauce is very thick. Taste again for salt and pepper.
When you are ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm. Drain the pasta well and toss with the Bolognese sauce.
Serve with a good scoop of fresh ricotta cheese and garnish with some shredded basil, grated Parmigiano and a drizzle of olive oil.

Beef Stroganoff Over Buttered Egg Noddles with Herbs


Last night I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with things. Christmas, my father’s passing, just having a hard time getting my body and my mind motivated to get up and do anything but stress and worry. Then in the middle of all that the light bulb I have in my head went BING and the little voice said, “Psssssttttt hey….you…….ya YOU……get up off of your butt and get in the kitchen! You know it will make you feel better.” Ya know, that little voice is so frickin’ smart sometimes it is scary!

So I drug myself to the grocery store and what do ya know? I started feeling better! Weird how that works for foodies huh? For some reason Beef Stroganoff just popped into my head and I knew I had to make it so I was on a mission. Through the store I scurried looking for my ingredients, excited about getting home and cooking. It was so cold outside and I knew everyone would love some nice creamy Stroganoff over some buttery egg noodles yummmmm!

This recipe takes a while but it is not labor intensive. You chop and drop and then let the food and stove do all of the work for you. Once it is over your reward for a few hours of drooling due to the wonderful smells coming from your kitchen is a fantastically warm, filling dinner that is like a big hug for your tummy!

Beef Stroganoff Over Buttered Egg Noddles with Herbs
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dry Marsala Wine
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 (1-pound) package wide egg noodles

Heat the beef stock with the carrot, 3 thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Pat the beef dry and season it with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Fry the meat in batches so that it is browned on all sides. Lower the heat to medium and return all the meat to the pot. Add the onions and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until the alcohol has burned off, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stock, discarding the carrot, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Cook, partially covered, over a very low flame for 2 hours.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and remaining thyme sprigs and cook until the mushrooms are browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the meat is done, remove it from the heat and fold in the mushrooms, sour cream, and mustard Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Drain the noodles well, toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the stroganoff over the noodles; garnish with more sour cream and chopped parsley.

Serves 6Pin It

Food Star Friday – The Ultimate Beef Stew


Wow, where did this week go? I can’t believe it is Friday already. They say time goes by faster as you get older but it seems to me that if it starts going any faster I am going to need a 5 point harness and a helmet!! Anyway, aside from that (and the fact that Christmas is only 52 days away ACK!!) Friday means that it is another Food Star Friday here at Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen. Today’s recipe is Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Beef Stew.

By now you all know I have been pretty obsessed with making soups, stews, and chowders. I just can’t help it. The temperature dropped so quickly here in Western Washington. We had about 6 wonderful weeks of summertime with temps in the 80’s a lot of the time. Then it was like someone just flipped a switch and the temps dropped into the 50’s and now 40’s! To me, when it is that cold outside, there is nothing better than a nice warm bowl of soup that warms you to your toes. So when I was deciding what to make for Food Star Friday I knew it was going to have to be something soupy or stewy.

Tyler is one of my favorite Food Network Stars. He is the chef guest for the FoodBuzz Festival in San Francisco today thru the 6th. I wanted to go sooooo bad. But I am working toward going to the BlogHer Food Blog ’12 Conference in Seattle June 6th through the 8th, so no go for this girl. I knew this would be the perfect time for me to make this stew, it is one of my favorites.

This is the recipe I modified for my Pork Stew so if you haven’t yet, check that one out too. It is guaranteed to fill you up and keep you warm!

Season your beef cubes with a good amount of salt and pepper
Toss the little beauties into some flour, making sure to shake off the excess before you pop them into the pot.
Get them nice and browned all over yummmmm I want some!
Next is my favorite part (apart from eating it) add a whole bottle, yes you heard me a WHOLE bottle of your favorite dry red wine. I used a Cabernet.
Once your little beef beauties have sucked up some of that wine, add your herbs and all the other yumminess.
Then in goes the beef stock and all those glorious mushrooms.
The result? Some of the best darn beef stew around!!
I apologize for the poor picture quality. Cooking with one hand and taking pictures with the other just doesn’t work very well. But hopefully you can still see how wonderful this stew is.
The Ultimate Beef Stew

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for frying, plus more to drizzle
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 pounds beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch pieces (this cut is also called chuck shoulder pot roast and chuck roast boneless)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle good quality dry red wine 
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 orange, zest removed in 3 (1-inch) strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 9 small new potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups frozen pearl onions, a large handful
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, cut in 1/2 (I sliced them)
  • 1/2 pound garden peas frozen or fresh
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Crusty bread to sop up the broth
Preheat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the oil and butter.
While the pan is heating, arrange the flour on a large dish. Season the cubed beef with some salt and freshly ground black pepper and then toss in the flour to coat. Shake off the excess flour and add the beef chunks in a single layer to the hot pan, being careful not to over crowd the pan, you might have to work in batches. Thoroughly brown all of the cubes on all sides. Once all the meat has been browned remove it to a plate and reserve.
Add the wine to the pan and bring up to a simmer while you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon being sure to loosen up all those tasty bits. Once the wine has gotten hot add the browned meat, thyme, smashed garlic, orange zest strip, ground cloves, freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste,bay leaves and beef stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the liquids start to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours.
After 2 hours add halved potatoes, sliced carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms, along with a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Add the frozen peas during the last minute of cooking. Season with salt and pepper and remove the thyme sprigs.
To serve, place in bowls with the crusty bread.

Serves 4 to 6

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Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups with Mushroom and Garlic Alfredo


I have been wandering through the bloggosphere trying to find new recipes to appease my family and distract them from the fact that they have been fed soup or stew at least 5 or 6 nights out of the last week and a half or so. I mean I figure if I can make 3 or 4 awesome meals for them they won’t realize when I slip back into my addiction right? Well it sounds good on paper at least.

I ran across a blog called I The Cook. Have you read her blog? If not I will tell you it is a MUST read. She has some very tasty recipes and her presentations make me drool! She had a post called White Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups and after wiping my chin I decided that I wanted to make them. Of course I had to put my own spin on them (I swear I can never NOT tinker with a recipe) but you have to check out her original version as well.

I have made lasagna roll ups in the past but I was really excited about trying this new twist. Especially since I had just been working on a Mushroom and Garlic Alfredo sauce. I immediately knew this would  be the perfect marriage. So imagine how happy this this little cook was when the meal was met with an enthusiasm I could not believe.

My family is always supportive of what I do. They give me their opinions, good or  bad, because they know how important it is to me to make sure the things I create are the kind of recipes that everyone will love. I am lucky that, for the most part, they love what I do. This was one of those meals though that if you left your hand near the food too long you might have pulled it back minus a finger or two! So words were not necessarily. But once they stopped eating and took a moment to breath, the reaction was this was one of the best recipes yet.

The only thing I would have changed was the amount of sauce. I didn’t feel it was quite enough so I doubled the recipe. If you are not a “saucy” kind of person go ahead and just do half. I just love this sauce so  much it has gone on to my list of things I want to can. I now have Chili Verde, Marinara Sauce, and Mushroom Garlic Alfredo on that list.

Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups with Mushroom and Garlic Alfredo

For the lasagna:
1 pound chicken breast
2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parley leaves, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 lasagna noodles, cooked slightly al dente
For the sauce:
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 cremini mushrooms, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy cream
Pepper to taste
Fresh ground nutmeg, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Salt and pepper the chicken and drizzle with olive oil. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Shred chicken with two forks. Raise the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large pot of salted water boil the lasagna noodles to al dente. Drain and reserve.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium- high heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute them about 5 minutes, your nose will tell you when they are getting there and they will get nice and brown. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the butter and once it melts add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and nutmeg. Stir to combine and pepper to taste. Simmer until thickened. Remove from heat.
In small greased casserole pan, spoon enough of the Alfredo sauce to cover the bottom.
In a large bowl combine the shredded chicken, ricotta cheese, parsley, eggs, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Combine well. Lay out the lasagna noodles and place about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture on the noodle. Carefully roll the noodle and place seam side down in the casserole dish. Continue with the remaining noodles. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. 
Serves 4 

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Rachael Ray Wednesday – Chicken with Wild Mushrooms and Balsamic Cream Sauce


Let me start this off with I knew Jessi’s wouldn’t even think about eating this one, I hoped, but knew it was a pipe dream. This girl can NOT stand mushrooms. Something that I don’t understand since pretty much everyone else in our family likes them. Seth isn’t jump up and down in love with them, but he at least will eat them. Not Jessi, nuh uh, no way are you getting a mushroom anywhere near this girls mouth! So, as soon as she saw that there were 36 mushrooms in this recipe, well she got a bowl of Ramen and was happy. 

Kevin and I on the other hand were having a very hard time leaving the mushrooms in the pan until the end of the meal! I just love sauteed mushrooms, as does Kevin. We kept standing over the pot impatiently waiting for them to cook, and balsamic cream sauce? Oh My Gosh!!! Heavenly!! I could have made a meal of just the mushroom and sauce over the orzo pasta. Kevin was just smelling the balsamic out of the bottle and said it smelled so good he wanted to take a drink! There is nothing like a nice aged balsamic, so yummy.

On the chicken side of things, I suggest using chicken cutlets or boneless skinless chicken thighs, depending on your preference for light or dark meat. The issue with the whole breast half, is the typical one, they dry out. I am not a big fan of white meat chicken unless it is in a cutlet or chopped up in something for that very reason. But this is not because of my prejudice, the chicken did come out dry even though I cooked it exactly as the recipe called for.

So this is a pretty easy recipe. The hardest part is slicing all of those mushrooms on one cutting board! Kevin had done all the other prep work so there was garlic, shallots, and thyme on one corner of the board and I took over the rest with all of my mushrooms!

I think this one is a keeper just for the sauce alone. I will definitely make it with thighs next time though.

Chicken with Wild Mushrooms and Balsamic Cream Sauce


Coarse salt
1/2 pound orzo pasta
2 tablespoons EVOO
4 6 ounce boneless,skinless chicken breast halves
Coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 cremini mushrooms, sliced
12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
12 white mushrooms, sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the orzo. Cook until al dente.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the EVOO. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

Return the skillet to the heat, reduce the heat a bit, and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms are brown, season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic, shallots, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the shallots are wilted. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for 2 more minutes. Whisk in the stock, balsamic vinegar, and cream. Turn the heat up to high and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until thickened. Slice the chicken on an angle. Add the chicken back to the skillet to heat up with the parsley, about 1 minute,

To serve, pile the orzo on a dinner plate and top with the sliced chicken and the sauce.

serves 4

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