Feature Friday: Fast and Nutritious Back-to-School Meals

Mushroom Stuffed PitaGet your pencils, books and lunches packed, it’s back to school time!

Can you believe that it is almost September! And you know what that brings; the common parent challenge – what to pack in the children’s lunch bags that is fast, delicious and nutritious! A good place to start is fresh fruits and vegetables.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends children ages 4-13 eat 5-6 servings of Fruit & Vegetables a day. One hundred grams (100 g) of fresh mushrooms counts as 1 serving of Fruits & Vegetables. Not only are they low in calories and fat, they also provide vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein, all important in keeping your child going throughout the day.

So when pack your children’s lunch bags for the first day of school, add these fast, tasty and nutritious mushroom snacks:

· Mushroom Dippers
Send along fresh whole or thick sliced mushrooms for dipping instead of crackers or chips. Vary the dip each day for a different flavour.

· Mushroom Pita Pocket
Mix sliced mushrooms with shredded cheese, chopped vegetables of your choice, and low-fat Italian dressing. Seal in a plastic container and send along with half a whole wheat pita. Stuff the pita with mushroom mixture at lunch time for a fast and tasty meal. Get the full recipe here.

· Mushroom Guacamole
In a sealable container, mix finely chopped mushrooms with mashed avocado, a sprinkle of lemon juice, and garlic. Send along with whole wheat tortilla chips or pitas for dipping.

· Mushroom Pizza
Make a mock mushroom pizza with an English muffin, tomato sauce, sliced mushrooms, cheese and pepperoni. Send along in individual containers so that they can assemble the pizza at school. Eat cold, or heat in a microwave until warm.

Mushroom Monday Challenge

Mushroom Monday ChallengeLast Monday I was pretty successful with this challenge. I had a quick mushroom breakfast which consisted of Mushrooms & Scrambled Eggs on Toast, I threw a couple of sliced mushrooms into my salad at lunch, and had tasty Stir-Fried Beef with Mushrooms and Asparagus for dinner. I didn’t include mushrooms as a snack (or a dessert… which I am still not sure about), but other than that, I did great!

For more Mushroom Monday inspiration, I have decided that I will share my recipes that I make at home. Most of the time I try to make the delicious mushroom recipes that are in our library, but sometimes I just throw whatever I have on hand into a pan. You will be able to find these recipes on my Recipezaar Page, and I will also share some here on the blog.

Stir-Fried Beef With Mushrooms and Asparagus
Prep Time: 6 min. Cooking Time: 25 min.

This was my first “Mushroom Monday Challenge” dinner. I love stir-fries, and this one comes together in a snap. You can always use any vegetables that you may have on hand if you are short what’s listed in the ingredients. Red or green peppers could be used if you don’t have asparagus, even a little sliced carrot would be delicious.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 beef steak, any kind, cut into 1 inch chunks (16-24 oz)
1 small onion, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated (optional)
1/2 lb asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 heads baby bok choy
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup water
2 cups cooked white rice

Method
1. Cook the rice, as per package directions, while you prepare the stir-fry.
2. Add 1 tbsp to a large deep frying pan. Heat oil over high heat, about 30 seconds. Add beef to pan and cook until medium, or 3-5 minutes. Remove beef from pan, and set it aside.
3. Lower the heat to medium, and add the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add onions, garlic, and ginger (if using). Stir and cook for 30 seconds, then add asparagus, mushrooms and bok choy, cook 3-4 minutes or until vegetables have softened.
4. Return beef to pan. Add soy sauce, sugar (if using), and pepper, toss to coat everything in sauce. Add 1/4 water, and raise heat to high, cook until water has slightly reduced and sauce starts to thicken.
5. Serve stir-fry over hot white rice.

Remember you can leave your experiences in the comments section of this post, email me, or blog about the Mushroom Monday Challenge on your own blog.

Enjoy!

posted by Brittany

Feature Friday: Grilled Mushrooms Panini Video

Recognize this recipe? I gave you a little “behind the scenes” peek of it all the way back in January while we were on set filming. Finally I get to share the finished video with you today as our Feature Friday!

Grilled Mushroom, Cheese and Spinach Panini
Preparation Time: 10 mins. Cooking Time: 12 mins.

Panini literally means little breads, but in Italy it often refers to a sandwich. This delicious and nutritious panini is easy to prepare using several ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Fresh mushrooms add a thick meaty texture to this vegetarian meal. You can use goat cheese and arugula for a different flavour profile. This recipe makes the perfect lunch or light dinner, it can be served with a side salad or soup for a complete meal.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms 250 g
1 large clove garlic, crushed 1
1 tsp dried basil leaves 5 mL
1/2 cup chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained 125 mL
2 cups grated old Cheddar cheese 500 mL
4 oval panini rolls (about 4″/10 cm), halved 4
1 cup baby spinach leaves 250 mL

Method
In a medium frying pan heat oil over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until just until starting to brown. Stir in garlic and basil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside. In a small bowl mix cheese and tomatoes; spread evenly on bottom half of each roll. Arrange the mushrooms, and spinach leaves, evenly on top of cheese. Top with the other half of each roll and press firmly.Place in preheated sandwich grill* (according to manufacturers directions) cook about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and cheese has melted. Cut sandwiches in half to serve. Makes 4 servings.

*If sandwich grill is not available heat a well seasoned ridged grill pan OR a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place sandwiches in pan and place another heat-proof pan or skillet on top of sandwiches; weight down with canned goods and cook 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn panini over and repeat for other side. Lower heat after sandwich is browned to melt cheese.

Tip: Substitute other crusty rolls or Kaiser buns for panini rolls OR substitute 8 slices (½”/1 cm thick) French, Italian or Sour dough bread.

Variation: Substitute ½ cup (125 mL) softened goat cheese (about 4 oz /120 g) for Cheddar and baby arugula leaves for spinach.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 484, Sodium: 733 mg, Protein: 22.1 g, Fat: 26.9 g, Carbohydrates: 39.6 g, Dietary Fibre: 3.4 g

Feature Friday: Grilled Oriental Mushroom Salad Video

The weather is warming up and the sun is shining bright, could that mean that grilling season is finally upon us? Well, Mushrooms Canada has the perfect recipe video for this very occasion, Grilled Mushroom Oriental Salad. Simple to prepare and packed full of flavour, this recipe is a big crowd pleaser.

Grilled Mushroom Oriental Salad
Preparation Time: 15 mins. Cooking Time: 6 mins.

Assorted fresh mushrooms and a zesty oriental style dressing are the stars in this warm zippy salad – perfect for lunch or to accompany grilled meat. This mushroom recipe is not only easy but healthy too.

Ingredients
3 tbsp each vegetable oil and soy sauce 45 mL
1/3 cup rice vinegar 75 mL
2 cloves garlic, minced 2
1 tbsp Dijon mustard 15 mL
2 green onions, chopped 2
1 tbsp finely minced gingerroot 15 mL
1 lb. assorted sliced fresh Mushrooms (white button, crimini, portabella, shiitake, oyster) 500 g
3 tbsp teriyaki sauce 45 mL
16 cups mixed salad greens or baby spinach 4 L
1 tbsp sesame seeds 15 mL

Method
In small saucepan, mix oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, mustard, onions and gingerroot; set aside. Pile mushrooms in centre of large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce. Fold edges and ends to seal well. Barbecue on high heat about 5-6 minutes or until steaming. Heat dressing on barbecue or stove top just until boiling. Divide salad greens evenly among 4 large salad plates. Top with warm mushroom slices and drizzle with hot dressing. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 main course servings.

Tips: Prepare dressing in micro proof bowl or glass (2 cup/500 mL) measuring cup and heat in microwave until boiling. Mushrooms could be cooked in 425º F (220 ºC) oven instead of barbecue.

Variation: Substitute roasted garlic teriyaki sauce for plain teriyaki sauce.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving): Calories: 193, Sodium: 1310 mg Protein: 8.3 g, Fat: 12.6 g, Carbohydrates: 16.6 g, Dietary Fibre: 5.4 g

posted by Brittany

Feature Friday: Creamy French Mushroom Soup Video

Mushrooms Canada has another delicious new cooking video up on our YouTube Channel called French Mushroom Soup. This easy to make, creamy soup is rich in mushroom flavour, and makes the perfect starter for a dinner party. A splash of white wine adds a nice contrast that will leave your guests wondering how long you slaved away in the kitchen on this one.

French Mushroom Soup
Preparation Time: 10 mins. Cooking Time: 30 mins.

Subtle herbs compliment the rich mushroom flavour in this decadent soup. It makes a perfect starter to a luncheon or dinner party.

Ingredients
1/4 cup butter 50 mL
1 lb. fresh Mushrooms, thinly sliced 500 g
1/3 cup flour 75 mL
6 cups chicken broth 1.5 L
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves 2 mL
1 bay leaf 1
1/4 cup chopped green onions 50 mL
2 large egg yolks 2
1/2 cup whipping cream 125 mL
White pepper to taste
2 tbsp minced parsley 25 mL

Method
In large heavy soup pot, melt butter over medium heat; sauté mushrooms for 5-6 minutes or until mixture from mushrooms has evaporated; sprinkle flour over mushrooms and cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add thyme, bay leaf and green onions; reduce heat and cover. Simmer 15- 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. In small bowl whisk egg yolks with cream; stir 1cup (250 mL) hot broth into cream mixture and then return all to saucepan. Heat over low heat until hot about 5 minutes; add pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Makes 8 servings

NOTE: If table cream is substituted and allowed to boil it will curdle.

Variation: Add ¼ cup(50 mL) medium sherry.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving) Calories: 162, Sodium: 739 mg, Protein: 3.8 g, Fat: 12.6 g, Carbohydrates: 7.4 g, Dietary Fibre: 1.1 g

If this sounds right, you might also like:
Fresh Mushroom and Squash Bisque
Mushroom Soup Au Gratin
Cream of Mushroom Soup

– Brittany