Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

People ask all the time, “Does it really rain in Seattle all the time?”  Seattle may be known as the rainy city, but it does not rain all day, every day.  Rainy season definitely starts in November and sticks around until April or so.  But it’s more overcast, grey, misty, than it is Midwest-style downpours.  Think cozy days, curled up on your couch with a cup of tea, a good book, or a movie.  AND you can still go hiking, running, biking, seriously…Seattleites do not let a lil rain stop them from being uber-active.  I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS CITY.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

We moved out here for my pharmacy residency and I never expected that this city would win my heart over.  I knew I wanted to live in the PNW for a chapter of my life, but this city is so much more than a few pages in the book of my life.   It’s where our relationship flourished, where I got my first big-girl Pharmacist dream job, where I made a family of friends, where I pursued my dreams and started a food blog.  It is where my heart is.  Seattle is my home.  I know super sappy, but I encourage anyone and everyone to come explore this corner of the U.S.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

When you live in a city that has a surplus of cozy weekends, you tend to make a lot of hearty meals.  Hearty meals do not need to be cheesy, creamy, and rich.  I get just as much satisfaction, probably more, from a good soup or stew.  Ahh yes…what you’ve all been waiting for…the food.  This is a food blog after all.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

Italian sausage and pasta are kind of meant to go together.  I love this combination and adding whatever veggies I have on hand to add some nutrients and vitamins to the dish.  Mushrooms accompany sausage very nicely and I love the earthy taste the root vegetables provide.  I only had one carrot on-hand, which is why I added the parsnip.  I love when last miute substitutions work out nicely :)  After all parsnip is pretty much carrot’s cousin.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

I enjoyed two steamy bowls of this goodness.  Love when a meal makes you crave seconds before the last drop is enjoyed.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players: 

1 lb Italian sausage
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
32 oz beef stock
1 large carrot, scrubbed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 parsnip, scrubbed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
10 crimini mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
2 T fresh sage
10 oz fresh tortellini pasta (I used spinach and plain cheese-filled)
freshly grated parmesan as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the Italian sausage, break apart into smaller pieces, and cook until meat has browned (~10 minutes).
  2. Add the onions and garlic, cooking an additional 3-5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes and beef stock.  Bring to a boil then add mushrooms, carrot, parsnip, and spices.  Replace lid on pot and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir the soup and add tortellini.  Replace lid and cook an additional 7 minutes (until pasta is cooked and floats to top of soup).
  5. Allow soup to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Serve with freshly grated parmesan sprinkled on top.

Brussels Sprout and Mushroom Hash

Brussels Sprout and Mushroom HashApologizing in advance for this quick post.  It’s been a whirl-wind of a weekend!  On Friday we celebrated the 2-year anniversary of Andrew trekking across the world to visit me in South Africa (now that’s a story for a differed post).  Saturday was dedicated to family and friends with a morning work out, brunch, dinner and a burlesque show (if you’re ever in Seattle you MUST check out Triple Door theater downtown).  And today was all about errands, house-keeping, and Teek of course!

Brussels Sprout and Mushroom Hash

Fast-forward to this recipe.  It’s quick, comforting, simple, yet has a complex flavor profile.  AND IT HAS BACON.

Brussels Sprout and Mushroom Hash

Brussels sprouts and bacon is a classic combination. Usually I roast the brussels sprouts, which requires more time than sauteing them.  Another perk of this recipe: you can use one pan to do all your cooking = minimal clean-up required. Cha-ching! It’s an amazing side to your favorite protein or if you’re anything like me you will just eat it by the forkful out of the pan :)

Brussels Sprout and Mushroom Hash

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

3 pieces of bacon
12 oz brussels sprouts
1 C sliced crimini mushrooms
1/3 C poppy-seed dressing
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. Cook the bacon in a medium sauté pan according to instructions.  Remove bacon from the pan and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Keep the reserved bacon fat in the pan.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, remove stems from brussels sprouts, slice in half, and rinse.  Transfer to food processor and pulse until shredded.  Leave some pieces of brussels sprouts larger.
  3. Transfer the sliced mushrooms to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Then add the shredded brussels sprouts, continue cooking for 7-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally (the mushrooms should be cooked at this point).  Remove pan from heat.
  4. Crumble the cooked bacon.  Add the bacon and poppy-seed dressing to the pan, ensure that vegetables are coated evenly in dressing.  Serve warm.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

I am always on the look out for a tasty and healthy appetizer.  I love making bite-size treats to enjoy as hor d’Oeuvres for a dinner party, when I am having friends over for a girl’s night, or even as an accompaniment to a nice glass of wine, an episode of Game of Thrones  and some good puppy snuggles.  The latter being my ideal date night in with my main man–Teek.  Don’t judge…I hopped on the Game of Thrones band wagon (seriously obsessed with the multiple story lines going on).

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

I was introduced to this recipe during our recent trip to Anchorage for Thanksgiving.  Andrew’s sister is a vegetarian and his mom wanted to make Thanksgiving as vegetarian-friendly as possible (minus the Turkey).  She found this recipe, as well as many more amazing Vegan treats here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/vegan-thanksgiving-recipes .

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

I decided to re-create the recipe and made a few subtle changes since we are not vegan.  Substituting the non-dairy cream cheese for real cream cheese, adding a little extra garlic and cayenne pepper (since I love spicy food), and topping the mushrooms with panko bread crumbs.  The added crunch from the bread crumbs is the perfect finishing touch!  I still used the nutritional yeast instead of a grated cheese, since I loved the flavor it provided.  However, you could easily substitute a parmesan or cheddar cheese in these mushrooms and even add some crumbled bacon for a non-vegetarian option.  The possibilities with this recipe are endless, but one thing is for certain: THEY ARE DARN GOOD.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

When two people polish off 16 mushrooms, you know you’ve got a winner recipe ;)

Enjoy and as always,

Bon Appeteek

Recipe from Homemade Levity’s Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

The Players: 

16 crimini mushrooms
1/4 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 C fresh spinach
2 T reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 C dry white wine
1 T nutritional yeast
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/8 t cayenne pepper (I added 1/4 tsp to spice things up)
1/4 red bell pepper, minced
Optional garnish: panko bread crumbs

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Rinse mushrooms and remove stems from mushroom caps.  Place mushroom caps hole side facing up on a baking sheet and set aside.  Dice the mushroom stems. (Note: if you gently apply pressure on the side of the stem and pull sideways, the stem should pop out easily)
  3. Meanwhile heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Add onions, garlic, and mushroom caps to pan.  Cook until onion is translucent ~3 minutes.
  5. Add soy sauce, wine, and fresh spinach to the pan and continue cooking until spinach has completely wilted down ~3-5 minutes.
  6. Transfer veggies to a food processor then add yeast, cayenne, and cream cheese.  Pulse to combine.
  7. Add red pepper to veggie and cream cheese mixture and pulse 1-2 additional times to combine pepper with remaining filling ingredients.
  8. Spoon ~1 (heaping) tsp of the filling into each mushroom cap (Note: each mushroom should be filled so that there is a mound of the cream cheese mixture on top) Garnish each mushroom cap with a sprinkle of panko bread crumbs.
  9. Bake the mushroom caps for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto

DSC_0686

I apologize in advance for this rant: I HATE how some bags of fresh spinach go bad quickly.  If there is one leaf in the pre-washed bag that is wet the rest of the spinach will start to wilt in no time.  I always double-check the bag at the grocery store to determine whether the leaves look too damaged in hopes of preventing the spinach from going bad quickly.  Thankfully we eat a lot of produce (side, smoothies, salads, snacks) and wilting spinach is not a problem I encounter often.  If the spinach starts to get “mushy” (technical term) I usually add it to my smoothie or make creamed spinach.  The thing I hate more than veggies that don’t stay fresh is wasting food.  So I get creative with my uses of wilted spinach.  A friend had posted a picture of creamy kale risotto a while back and I determined that this would be the next role for spinach that has outlived its salad making potential.

Spinach and Mushroom RisottoI don’t add water to my fresh spinach when I wilt it down over the stove top.  The spinach releases enough moisture on its own.

Spinach and Mushroom RisottoLook at that gorgeous green color!

Some dishes just sound intimidating.  Risotto was definitely one of them for me.  But it does not have to be.  Risotto does take more patience and time then cooking plain rice, but risotto is rice dressed up for a night on the town…and the result is totally worth the wait! At least that’s what I tell Andrew when I am taking longer to get ready ;)

Spinach and Mushroom RisottoI used 6 crimini mushrooms because it was what I had left from the package, feel free to add as much or as little as you would like to the dish.

Let’s be honest I like to drink wine while I cook…so why not add wine to the food and take the risotto flavor up another notch.  My rule for cooking with wine is: only add wine that you would drink to your food, if you wouldn’t enjoy drinking it why would you enjoy eating it?  Risotto does not have to be made with wine, if you omit the wine you will need to add more stock to ensure that the rice cooks properly.

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto

You can really get creative with risotto and add other produce or protein sources to make this side dish an entree.  The spinach flavor with the meaty bite of the crimini mushrooms was a great combination in this dish, I’m excited to add this to my repertoire of mushy spinach recipes.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players:

1 vegetable bouillon cube
4 C water
8 oz fresh spinach, washed
1 C jasmine rice (or arborio rice), do not rinse
1/2 C red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C dry white wine
1 C fresh grated parmesan
1/4 t nutmeg, grated
extra virgin olive oil
fresh cracked pepper

The Rules:

  1. Add the bouillon cube to the water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and cover with lid to keep warm. (Note: You can substitute already prepared vegetable, beef, or chicken stock, bring to a boil and set aside)
  2. Add the spinach to a large pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until wilted (~3-5 minutes).
  3. Transfer the spinach to a food processor or blender. Add half of the minced garlic and pulse until a spinach paste is formed.
  4. Using the same pan that you cooked the spinach in, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook until onion is translucent.
  5. Add rice to the pan, stir to coat rice in oil, and toast for 2 minutes.
  6. Add wine to the rice mixture, cook until most of the wine has reduced, stirring rice occasionally to ensure it does not stick to the pan.
  7. Add mushrooms to the pan. Set timer to 20 minutes and add 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock to the rice mixture.  Stir and cover with lid.
  8. Every 2-3 minutes add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vegetable stock, stir, and cover with lid.  Stop adding stock to the rice mixture when the rice is no longer absorbing the cooking liquid and it appears creamy. (Note: it takes me 3 to 31/2 cups of stock to get to this point, but it may vary depending on the rice you use).
  9. Remove pan from the heat and incorporate spinach puree and nutmeg to the risotto.
  10. Add freshly grated parmesan and cracked pepper, give a quick stir, serve immediately, garnished with some fresh parmesan.