Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms

A great handheld snack for any occasion !

Ingredients

  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed (we used hot Italian sausage)
  • ¾ cup chopped pepperoni slices, divided
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages baby portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Take a rimmed baking sheet out and line it with aluminum foil.
  2. Take a large skillet out and set the heat to medium. Once the skillet’s hot, add in the Italian sausage, ½ cup of the pepperoni, and the minced onion, stirring now and then for 7 minutes or however long it takes for the sausage to be fully cooked and crumbly. Drain off the grease afterwards. Add the cream cheese and pizza sauce to the skillet, stirring until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture looks smooth. Take the skillet off the heat.
  3. Spoon the skillet mixture into the mushroom caps (keeping the filling even with the top of the mushroom or maybe a little over) and place it on the lined baking sheet. After filling the caps, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and what’s left of the pepperoni over the top and stick the sheet in the oven.
  4. Let the mushrooms cook for 20 minutes or until the cheese looks golden brown (20 minutes worked for us). Serve right away (we found if you let them cool down a little before eating them, they’re a lot more enjoyable).

If you eat them right after they’re done cooking, you’ll have the water from the mushroom come squirting out and it dilutes the flavors to the point of it just tasting “meh” but if you let the mushrooms cool down a little so the juice doesn’t come bursting out when you take a bite, that’s when you can really taste the flavors of the filling. Using hot Italian sausage adds just a little bit of heat that wouldn’t have been existent in the dish otherwise. The Italian sausage and pepperoni adds some texture to the dish, the cream cheese provides a creamy tanginess and the pizza sauce adds a little sweetness.

We got this recipe from a Cooking with Paula Deen magazine.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote the Paula Deen magazine.

Take care everybody !

Southwestern Nachos Potato Skins

We came across a 2010 issue of Food Network magazine where they made a themed potato skin for every team in the NFL and their toppings for the Arizona Cardinals themed potato skins was just too scrumptious to pass up without trying !

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes (we used 5*)
  • Melted butter
  • Salt and pepper, for seasoning (we used kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
  • Salsa (mommy used Pace Picante medium chunky salsa, I used La Victoria Thick’N Chunky Salsa Verde Medium that was pureed**)
  • Pickled jalapeño slices
  • Chopped scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional) (we used Kraft Mexican Four Cheese)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your potatoes and pierce them with a fork. Stick the potatoes in the oven, directly onto the oven rack and let them cook for one hour or until the potatoes are tender. Pull them out and let them cool (we let them cool for 15 minutes and found they were still hot so we cut them in half lengthwise and found that after an additional 15 minutes, they cooled down enough). Set the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Once the potatoes are cool, cut each potato into 4 pieces lengthwise and scoop out enough flesh until it’s only a ¼-inch thick shell. Take melted butter and brush both sides*** of the potato skin with it, seasoning the skins afterwards with salt and pepper. Stick the potato skins back in the oven, skin-side up, until the skin feels crisp, around 15 minutes or so should do the trick. If you want cheesy skins, flip the potato skins over, sprinkle the cheese over them and stick them back in the oven**** for an additional 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients into the potato skins and enjoy !

*Some of our potato skins fell apart so it really is a good idea to bake an extra potato just in case something goes wrong with one of the other potatoes.

**The picante salsa is red so it really pops better against the other toppings. Mommy like the flavor of the picante salsa with the other toppings and I enjoyed the salsa verde more even though it didn’t stand out color wise since it’s green.

***We brushed both sides of the potato with the butter when we stuck it in the oven and it dripped down to the bottom of the oven and created so much smoke ! We had to turn on the fan over the oven and lower the window so the smoke could go somewhere. It really freaked our cat Ghost out (he even hissed at the stove at one point) so we turned the heat off after 5 minutes and just left them in there for the remaining 10 minutes.

****After the butter fiasco, we decided to take a baking sheet out and line it with aluminum foil. We put the potato skins on the lined baking sheet, skin-side up, and spread the cheese over them afterwards. We put the baking sheet in the oven for the 5 minutes (oven still turned off but had plenty of residual heat) and it came out with the cheese melted and no mess to clean up like we would have, had we put the skins directly on the oven rack.

This is such a great game day snack even with the problems we ran into ! The skins might have been crispier had we left the oven on but otherwise it was still delicious. You can pick it up with your hands to eat and the skin’s firm enough that the toppings don’t go spilling everywhere. You get some heat and acidity from the salsa and pickled jalapeño slices, a freshness to the dish from the scallions and cilantro, the sour cream adds a tanginess as well as tempers the heat from the salsa and jalapeño slices, and it’s nice having that cheese flavor come through as well in the dish.  You can really change up the flavor of this simply by changing the salsa ! If we make this again in the future, we’ll probably skip spreading the melted butter over the flesh side of the potato skin.

We weren’t paid in any way to mention Food Network, La Victoria, Pace salsa or Kraft.

Take care everybody !