Monday, September 14, 2009

I was looking through my Mom's GoodHousekeeping because I always look through all the recipes when she gets them and I came across an article on things to do with applesauce. I thought this dressing sounded super clever with the applesauce!

Autumn Vinaigrette
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt/pepper as needed

Well I didn't have any tarragon vinegar lying around (does anyone???) so I decided to try it with red wine vinegar. I think I used the wrong kind of vinegar because that's really all it tasted like (and I'm a vinegar lover!) I also don't think it mixed wonderful w/ the more summery salad I was eating but I'm still intrigued by this idea and want to try it on a more appropriate autumn salad and possibly play around with the vinegar a little bit. Okay now the word vinegar looks weird because I've typed it so much...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Olive Garden Stuffed Mushrooms (Copycat)

*comments after recipe

Olive Garden Stuffed Mushrooms
8-12 fresh mushrooms
1 (6 ounce) can clams (drained and finely minced, save 1/4 cup of clam juice for stuffing)
1 green onion, finely minced
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely grated Romano cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated mozzarella cheese for stuffing
1/4 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese for garnish
1/4 cup melted butter
fresh parsley for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Gently wipe and stem mushrooms; pat dry
3. Combine clams, onions, garlic salt, minced garlic, butter, and oregano into bowl and mix well
4. Add Italian bread crumbs, egg, and clam juice and mix well
5. Add Parmesan, Romano, and mozzarella cheeses to the stuffing and mix well
6. Place approx. 1 1/2 teaspoons of the stuffing mixture into the mushroom cavity and slightly mound
7. Place the stuffed mushrooms in a lightly oiled baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup melted butter over the top of the mushrooms
8. Cover and place in over for about 35-40 minutes
9. Remove cover; sprinkle the 1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese on top and pop back in oven just so the cheese melts slightly
10. Garnish with freshly diced parsley. Serve hot

Makes 4 servings.
1 serving = 297 calories, 12.2g saturated fat, 391mg sodium, 14.6g protein

I wouldn't consider this a "healthy" dish but its not horrible either so if you're okay with the nutritional values or you're making it for a party go ahead! However this is The Healthy Bite so there are some easy suggestions to make this a bit healthier (along with my "two cents" about the recipe).
-First of all this is a great way to get those mushrooms in! Lots of B vitamins (great for metabolism and energy) and selenium (promotes antioxidant activity). My aunt suggested your basic white mushrooms and that is what we used but I personally love the flavor of brown mushrooms (baby portabella or crimini) so use whatever mushrooms you like!
-Don't be scared of the clams or clam juice!! Really even the people who don't like clams like this recipe. And because you mince them you can't even tell they're there.
-We used a bag of mix cheese instead of buying 3 different cheeses so it saved us some money. You might already have all 3 cheeses, in that case go for it. My suggestion if you want to cut back on the saturated fat and calories is to cut the cheese in half. Or even keep the cheese in the stuffing the same but don't sprinkle the 1/4 cup over the top.
-Also to cut back on the saturated fat and calories: spray w/ Pam instead of oiling your baking dish. And you do NOT need to pour 1/4 cup butter over the top...your mushrooms will bake fine if you don't and you'll let go of some of that unneeded stuff
-For all those fellow mushroom lovers out there, these are a great hors d'oeuvres at a party or side dish for dinner