Researchers are discovering more and more health benefits from mushrooms. This vegetable has lots of phytochemicals, natural compounds that may help prevent cancer. Some of the most commonly purchased mushrooms are crimini, the small, brown ones, white button mushrooms, and Portobello, and all are ranked high in antioxidants like string beans, red bell peppers, and carrots. Eating mushrooms may be associated with reduced inflammation along with a stronger immune response.


 



Researchers are discovering more and more health benefits from mushrooms. This vegetable has lots of phytochemicals, natural compounds that may help prevent cancer. Some of the most commonly purchased mushrooms are crimini, the small, brown ones; white button mushrooms; and Portobello — and all are ranked high in antioxidants like string beans, red bell peppers and carrots. Eating mushrooms may be associated with reduced inflammation along with a stronger immune response.



Substituting mushrooms for beef is a simple way to help lose weight by cutting calories. There are approximately 45 calories in 1 cup of broiled or grilled Portobello mushrooms.  Trade mushrooms for beef in your recipes, like lasagna and chili; they impart a meaty flavor. Mushrooms add a savoriness to whatever you add them to: soups, stews, gravies, eggs, rice, pasta and many others.



When purchasing mushrooms look for caps that are firm and moist, but not slimy. When preparing them do not rinse them; wipe with a damp paper towel for crisp roasted mushrooms.



How to prepare a Portobello mushroom.  Wipe the cap with a damp paper towel. Place it stem up on a cutting board. Bend the stem back and forth until it breaks off. This may be chopped up and used in the recipe or discard it.  Scrape off the brown gills; if you leave them on, whatever you’re cooking will turn brown. Stuff and broil or grill them, cooking them plain with a brushing of a little olive oil, adds to the flavor and is a simple recipe.



Quick, Easy and Simple Recipes for Mushrooms



Sauté a large Portobello mushroom in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and substitute for meat in a burger.



For a simple side dish slice raw button mushrooms and toss with lemon juice, fresh chopped parsley and EVOO.



Mushroom Soup



Serves 4-6  (1-cup servings)



1        pound fresh button mushrooms, sliced



1        pound sliced baby Porotbello mushrooms, sliced



5        tablespoons butter



1        medium sweet onion, finely chopped



6        cloves garlic, minced and smashed



1/3 (one third) cup all-purpose flour



3        cups chicken broth



2        cups half-and-half or heavy whipping cream



1        cup whole milk



½ (one half) teaspoon dried thyme, crushed



½ (one half) teaspoon dried basil, crushed



Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste



1        tablespoon Worcestershire sauce



1        cup dry white wine (Optional)



In a large soup pot or Dutch oven sauté mushrooms in butter, in small batches, until tender, and set aside until all are coked. Return cooked mushrooms to the soup pot, add onions and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir until blended.



Gradually stir in chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Sir in cream, white wine and Worcestershire sauce, thyme, basil, salt and pepper, cook for another 3-4 minutes, do not boil. Heat through.



Stuffed Mushrooms



Serves 4



1        pound large button mushrooms



2        tablespoons EVOO, olive oil



2        tablespoons butter



1        small sweet onion, minced



2        cloves garlic, minced and smashed



½ (one half) cup dry white wine



1        tablespoon lemon juice



1        cup flavored bread crumbs



1/3 (one third) cup Parmesan cheese, grated



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wipe off mushrooms with damp paper towel and remove stems, reserving them. With a pastry brush coat outside of mushroom caps lightly with olive oil. Place in a shallow baking pan large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a single layer.



Chop the mushroom stems finely and set aside. In a skillet add olive oil and butter and sauté onion and garlic for about 3-4 minutes. Add mushroom pieces and cook another two or three minutes.



Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, ¼ (one fourth) cup of white wine, and bread crumbs, stir to mix well, add Parmesan cheese and blend well. Mixture should be moist for it to stick together, add more wine if necessary. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Pour remaining wine over mushrooms so it will form a sauce in the pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through. Spoon pan sauce over mushrooms and serve,



Mushroom and Cheese Omelet



Serves 2



4        large eggs, room temperature



¼ (one fourth) cup milk



¼ (one fourth) teaspoon seasoned salt



1        cup cooked button or cremini mushrooms, sliced



2/3 (two thirds) cup mozzarella cheese, grated



In a skillet sauté mushrooms until a golden brown, remove from skillet and set aside.



In a bowl whisk together eggs, seasoned salt, and milk. Pour into seasoned skillet over medium high heat. Roll skillet to even out egg mixture, lower heat. Top egg mixture with evenly distributed sautéed mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. Let top dry a bit and cheese is melted. Fold over in half and let finish cooking until desired dryness. Serve hot and cut omelet in half crosswise for 2- servings.



Pasta with Mushrooms



Serves 4



2        tablespoons EVOO, olive oil



1        small sweet onion, chopped



1        pound white or button mushrooms, sliced



¼ (one fourth) cup water



Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste



12      ounces pasta, like farfalle or spirals, cooked



3        tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped



1        tablespoon lemon juice



½ (one half) cup Parmesan cheese, grated



In a large skillet sauté onion in olive oil until tender about 5 minutes. Add slice mushrooms and sauté until slightly browned. Add water and stir, mix in parsley and lemon juice. Stir in cooked and drained pasta, toss to mix well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and stir to blend well. Serve hot.



Portobello Burgers



4        large Portobello mushroom caps about 4 ½ (four and one half) inches



¼ (one fourth) cup spicy Italian dressing



4        slices cheddar or provolone cheese



¼ (one fourth) cup mayonnaise



1        teaspoon Dijon mustard



4        sandwich rolls, split



4        Romaine lettuce leaves



1        large red tomato cut in 8 thin slices



Scrape gills from mushroom caps, if desired. Brush Italian dressing over caps.



On a grill or broiler rack, cook mushrooms uncovered for 6-8 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Top each mushroom with a slice of cheese. Warm or grill rolls before using. Place mushroom on half of the roll, then top with cheese and broil or grill for 2 minutes until cheese is slightly melted. Top with a mixture of mayonnaise and mustard. Add lettuce leaf and tomato slices.



Mushroom and Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash



Serves 4



2        acorn squash



2        cups cooked brown or white rice, divided



2        cups sautéed mushroom slices, like button or creminis (baby portobellos)



1        small sweet onion, finely chopped



2        tablespoons EVOO, olive oil



1        clove garlic, minced



Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste



Prepare rice according to package directions; one cup dry rice will yield 2 cups cooked rice.



Poke holes into the acorn squash and microwave for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender. Remove, halve from top to bottom, and scoop out seeds. Set aside.



In a skillet sauté onion in olive oil for about 4-5 minutes, add garlic and sauté another 2 minutes, add salt and pepper, to taste. Add cooked rice, mix well, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until heated through. Scoop into squash halves. Serve hot.



This dish may be made as a side dish by scooping out all the cooked squash into a bowl and adding sautéed onion and garlic along with the cooked rice. Stir to mix well and serve hot.



 



 



Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.