Dinner – Stuffed Mushrooms

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Another day, another recipe.  We are having stuffed mushrooms for dinner tonight so I took some time this afternoon to prepare them making sure I measured the ingredients and took a few photographs.

This is my recipe but please make sure you read right to the end for ideas, substitutions and variations.

I bought 3 large mushrooms for this recipe as GMan and I have 1.5 each.  The best ones are open but not too flat so that the stuffing is somewhat confined by the edges.

Here are the ingredients I chose before I started.

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Using the point of a sharp knife remove the stalks of the mushrooms.  Chop the stalks as finely as possible

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When I am making something like this, the first thing I do is to look carefully at the finished volume that I am aiming for.  Based on my best guess I used the following quantities:

Chopped mushroom stalks
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 heaped tablespoon of besan (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
1 teaspoon powdered onion
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered celery
1/2 teaspoon of homemade ‘tabasco’ sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the above ingredients then add 3/4 cup grated cheese, 10 cherry tomatoes (chopped) and a small piece of capsicum (finely chopped).

The consistency of the mixture should now be crumbly but hold when squashed together.

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Press the mixture into the mushrooms.

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I will cook these in the microwave for about 8 minutes then top with a little extra flaxseed meal and grated cheese and finish under the griller.  They will be served with lettuce cucumber and grated carrot on the side.

Now for the really interesting part – what you can change!  Just about everything!

If we strip this recipe right back you will discover that it consists of a container – the mushroom, in this instance, and the filling which can be split further into the bulk and the flavour.

The container – I use mushrooms because we love them and they are nutritous.  They are relatively expensive and if you are on a really tight budget I would not necessarily recommend them.  Capsicums are another option – especially if you can pick up a bagful at a reasonable price.  Although most recipes for stuffed capsicums show them upright with a ‘lid’ at the stalk end I find it easier to cut them lengthwise and serve them filled and open.  You could also use a large zucchini/marrow split lengthwise with the seeds scraped out.  It would need to be partially pre-cooked before stuffing.  Half a butternut pumpkin is another possibility.  The pumpkin or large marrow could be cut into wedges to serve rather the individual serves as with mushrooms or capsicums.

The bulk – I choose to use almond meal and flaxseed meal due to the fact that they are gluten-free, we like the flavour and texture and they provide a range of nutrients.  They can also be expensive.  Other options include quinoa, rice and soft breadcrumbs or any combination you choose that suits your family’s tastes and your budget.  If you are using rice, a short grain rice that will stick together would be a good choice.

The flavour – sky is the limit here and you can let your imagination run wild.  The main thing is to remember to keep any pieces fairly small so that the mixture will stick together.  In addition to the things I used you might like bacon (although smoky paprika is an excellent substitute), chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley or other fresh herbs.

I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to try stuffed vegetables as an addition to your menu plan.

Please let me know what you think.


Living Life

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No blog posts for 5 days!  What have I been doing?

I have been doing the routine things that keep our life ticking over day by day and week by week.  This has been interspersed by a couple of interesting diversions.

A couple of weeks ago we managed to go to IKEA on a busy day trip to Brisbane.  Our mission was to buy some new chairs for our outdoor setting.  We bought 8 chairs as the table we have is quite large.  GMan has made a start on assembling them and did 2 the other night.  This is what they look like.

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The old ones are the director-style chairs and they are impossible to keep clean as our cat believes that each one of them is his bed and they end up covered in grey cat hair!  I plan to make removable cushions for the new chairs so that we can have padded seats with the benefit of being able to easily remove and store them when not in use.

I have mentioned before that I menu plan our evening meals.  It is difficult to emphasise how much easier this makes shopping for and preparing meals.

Here is my plan for this week.

Saturday – Dahl with brown rice and steamed carrots and broccoli

Sunday – BBQ eye fillet with sweet potato chips, roasted beetroot in caramelised balsamic and crumbled goat’s cheese and green beans with red wine viniagrette and toasted sesame seeds

Monday – Vegetable quiche (adaptation of zucchini quiche) and salad

Tuesday – Tumeric chicken with brown rice and salad

Wednesday – Stuffed mushrooms with side salad

Thursday – Hamburger patties with home-made tomato sauce, fried mushroom and onions and salad

Friday – Baked potatoes topped with refried beans and cheese plus salad

Salad will be lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and capsicum with the addition of cheese on Tuesday and Thursday.

Sunday’s meal was actually lunch as we had guests.  It put a lot of restaurant meals to shame.

I had time this morning to prepare the mushrooms before I went to work so all I needed to do when I arrived home was to microwave them until cooked then top with a little extra grated cheese and finish them off under the griller.

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Any plan needs to be flexible and menu plans are no exception.  I try to make choices based on our activities and needs but sometimes those change.  I cook the baked potatoes in the slow cooker for 4 hours so I would need to be at home to turn it on at about 3pm.  This was going to be OK as I planned to work from home on Friday, however, I need to go to Brisbane and may not be home by 3pm so I have decided to make that meal for Sunday and we will have an antipasto platter and salad on Friday as we need to eat fairly quickly before heading out on Friday evening.