Friday, December 28, 2012

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

Did you all survive Christmas?  We made it through and it was nice to be home with our little family and not have to spend the day traveling. We even got a nice little snow storm the day after, so I stretched my time off work one extra day. But, we're back to reality now and looking towards New Years.  I made these mushrooms to take along to a Christmas party, but they would work just as well for a New Years party.

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorites, but I don't make them often because they are a little bit time consuming. They can be made a few hours ahead of time, and then baked just before serving. I baked them for closer to 30 minutes than 50, so start checking yours around the 1/2 hour mark. The taste is over-the-top delicious.  The filling is creamy and full of flavor.  I had quite a bit of stuffing left over, so you can be generous as you fill them up. I'm pretty sure the platter was empty in no time!

Source: Ina Garten

  • 16 extra-large white mushrooms
  • 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.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Fudge Oatmeal Bars: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 12)

Christmas is just around the corner and this week is our final post for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog hop. I noticed as I was searching for a cookie to make this week, that there is one ingredient I have left out in my first 11 treats - peanut butter! This worked out nicely because I am also involved in a cookie swap through the cooking board I frequent and I am told that the person I drew loves peanut butter.  So, these cookies bars they are headed to another part of the country to be enjoyed by a mystery recipient who shall remain unnamed because I am not sure the package will arrive before the post goes live. ;)

This recipe combines candy and a cookie into one.  There is a thick peanut butter fudge layer between 2 layers of oatmeal cookies and topped with candy.  I used the entire peanut butter fudge mixture between the layers, but you can adjust to your liking.  With the full amount of chocolate fudge in the middle layer, you'll probably agree that they are better cut into smaller squares as they are quite substantial. You'll need a tall glass of milk to finish one of these.

I have to thank Brenda, from Meal Planning Magic, once again for organizing the hop each week.  I really enjoyed seeing everyone's recipes each week. There are so many new recipes I need to try.

Source: Pink Parsley

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Reese's pieces, for the topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 1/2 cup of the butter with the sugar until well-combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredient (flour through oats), and mix at low speed until just combined.

Press two-thirds of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the pan, and set aside the rest for the topping.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, condensed milk, chocolate chips, and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat until the chocolate and butter are melted, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Spread most of the chocolate fudge mixture over the oatmeal layer, using a spatula to spread evenly. Save the remainder for hot fudge sauce, or use it all for a thicker layer.

Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the fudge, then sprinkle with the candy.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until the topping is starting to brown. They won't seem cooked all the way through yet at this point. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 12 hours to set completely. Cut into squares and serve, or store at room temperature.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Buddy the Elf Cookies - 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 11)

One of our newest traditions, the Elf on the Shelf, has quickly become one of my favorites. Caitlin is very into it this year and can't wait to look for Elfie every morning. We have a girl elf, because Santa would only send a girl elf to our house, you know.  When Eflie appeared the first day, she brought a special treat and a suprise for each of the kids.  Caitlin got the movie Brave, and Ryan received some Puffs and much needed boy bibs. He no longer has to wear the pink Sleeping Beauty bib to eat his bananas. ;) I don't think Santa wanted him to wait until Christmas to get them.

(excuse the bedhead)

You never know where Elfie is going to be or what she might get into. We've found her playing dress-up with the Princesses, replacing the stockings on the mantle with underpants and diapers, using Caitlin's shoes as a sled to slide down the banister, and last week, she got out my mixing bowl and put in a couple boxes of SnoCap candy.  Hmmm.  The next day she added marshmallows, m&m's and poptarts! What was she trying to tell us? We put all of our clues together and figured out that she wanted us to make her Elf cookies! Everyone has seen the movie, Elf, right? These cookies have all of Buddy's favorite things. In case you are wondering, Pop Tarts in cookies actually work! My only tip is to not let them get too dark in the oven. I had one tray bake closer to 16 minutes and they were starting to taste like a burnt Pop Tart.

I think these cookies might have just been added to our list of Christmas Traditions. What are your favorite Christmas Traditions?

There's only one week left in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!  Browse the other treats below in the Blog Hop.  Thanks again, Brenda, at Meal Planning Magic, for all of your effort!

Source: Spork or Foon

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 /2 cup (1 stick) + 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups quick or old fashioned cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup mini-marshmallows
  • 1 cup Sno-caps
  • 4 S'mores Pop Tarts, chopped
Maple Syrup Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F.

In large bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until creamy (you can use an electric hand mixer as well). Add eggs one by one and beat until fully incorporated. Add vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Add oats. Add in sno-caps, Pop Tarts, M&Ms and marshmallows.

Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scooper, place rounded circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool for 5 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Drizzle glaze on top and Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

For the Glaze
In a medium bowl, combine maple syrup, vanilla and powdered sugar, whisk until smooth.

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