My Husband’s Aunt Jodi is a real Queen Cook in the Kitchen. Whenever she makes these for family gatherings, we all rush to grab one, two, or five before they are all gone. I always end up stuffing myself with them, and they end up becoming my meal. So, it dawned on me, why not make them a meal? By substituting high fat ground pork with a more lean and clean sausage, and upping the flavor with fresh herbs and salty cheese, the end product has become a crowd-pleaser for sure.
These come in under 300 calories, while still providing 24 grams of protein EACH! Seriously, that’s a lot of protein. If you are an athlete, or a Mom or Dad feeding athletes, this meal packs a punch for those busy bodies. For us women, its recommended that we have anywhere for 44-78 grams of fat if we are following a 2,000 calorie diet. Each of these mushrooms, equal to one serving, only contain 17grams of fat. So, when you combine all that nutritional goodness, with tons of flavor, and there is NO REASON no to make these!
How you go about cleaning mushrooms is very important. DO NOT RINSE THEM UNDER RUNNING WATER! They will soak up the water and become super rubbery and tough. Yuck! Instead, remove the stems and use a wet mushroom brush, or a damp paper towel to rub off any soil or debris from both the caps, and the stems. Then set on a paper towel top side down to let any moisture soak into the towel.
I had never heard of a “Mushroom Brush”, until my mother-in-law showed up to my house with 3 of them. (Trust me, one is enough.) I use it for the mushrooms, as well as to clean the outside of sweet potatoes, and get those little “hairs” off of squash. Then, I just throw it in the silverware basket of the dishwasher and… done. (Find out more about it on my “Tools I can’t bake (or cook) without“.
My version of Aunt Jodi’s Stuffed Mushrooms are great made ahead of time. Just follow the recipe through step 4, then cover with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. Then when you are ready to cook them, pull them out of the fridge, pour in the broth, and pop them in the oven! They are also great for leftovers when reheated. They maintain their shape and taste phenomenal!
The ingredients are simple, clean, and flavorful. You may be thinking, “How is eating THREE different types of cheese healthy?” Well, it is because its a small amount of each. You get tons of flavor with minimal fat. Plus, if you are like me and detest drinking milk, cheese is an important way to get calcium into your diet.
Because these are low in starches, I like to serve it with a side of homemade sweet potatoes. I roast the potatoes first, then throw them into a food processor with SKINS ON (That’s where most of the fiber and nutrients are). Add a little agave and a smidgen of reduced fat butter, mix it all up, and you have a beta–carotene rich side!
Ingredients:4 Large portabello mushrooms 1 (1/3 lb) chicken sweet Italian sausage 2 (2/3 lb)chicken spicy Italian sausage (TOTAL 1 lb of sausage) 2.5 oz cream cheese ¼ cup Monterey Jack cheese- 1/4″ cubed (2 oz. or a 1/4 of an 8 oz. block) Scant ¼ cup shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese ½ cup green onions, thinly sliced 1 tbsp finely minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried) 2 tbsp tomato paste ¼ cup whole wheat Panko Bread Crumbs (SEE THE ONES I LIKE TO USE) ½ tsp garlic powder ½ tsp paprika ¼ tsp sea salt ¼ tsp black pepper ½ cup chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375⁰
1) To clean the mushrooms, DO NOT RINSE THEM UNDER RUNNING WATER! They will soak up the water and become super rubbery. Yuck. Instead remove the stems and use a wet mushroom brush, or a damp paper towel to rub off any soil or debris from both the caps, and the stems. Set on a paper towel top side down. (If you skipped my intro, I’m not mad. Haha! Just scroll up and see how to clean them!)
2) Place cleaned, de-stemmed mushrooms into an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan, bottom side up, and set aside. Dice the stems into small pieces, about 1/8″.
3) Remove the casings from the sausage, and place the meat into a large bowl. (Discard casings, in case you weren’t sure.) Add the diced stems and other ingredients, from cream cheese through black pepper, and combine with your hands. They are the best tools in the kitchen! Make sure to squeeze the cream cheese so that it gets spread out through the rest of the mixture.
Mix until its all combined.
4) Divide the sausage mixture between all four mushrooms, keeping the filling inside the rim of the mushroom cap. (If you are making these ahead, this is the time to cover them pan with plastic wrap, and put them in the refrigerator.)
5) Add Chicken broth to bottom of the pan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25 to 35 mins. Mushrooms should be soft (not mushy) and the sausage should be heated through to 165° when checked with a thermometer.
Let rest for 5 minutes and serve along a side of sautéed vegetables and/or a nice salad. 🙂