Simple Beef & Mushroom Stew

Simple beef and mushroom stew, that doesn’t taste so simple. The secret is a Danish seasoning called Gehakt that elevates every savory meal to a new level. (I love the smell, so perfectly spicy and warm. It’s perfect to compliment almost any dish this time of year.) Don’t worry if you don’t have it, just add a pinch each of ginger, mace and nutmeg; taste along the way and adjust the flavor as needed. Serve with mashed cauliflower for a special dish on a weekday. Enjoy.

  • 1 pound stewing beef, cubed if not already
  • 1 8 oz. container button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 Campari tomatoes, quartered and halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • a generous sprinkling of Gehakt or pinches of ginger, mace and nutmeg
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

In a large Dutch oven, combine the butter, oil and onions. Let them sweat on low heat until translucent. Pull them towards one side of the pot and add in the beef cubes. Let the beef cubes lightly brown on one side and then give them a good toss. Next, add in the mushrooms, tomatoes and seasonings and give the pot a good stir. Cover and let it simmer on low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.  You’ll see the tomato skins separate, just pull them out with a fork and discard. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serves 4.


Porcini Scented Beans with Balsamic Portabella Mushrooms

I love mushrooms and I found these great porcini mushroom bouillon cubes at Fairway and they make just about everything extra special and this includes a good old pot of beans. Pair them up with super flavorful balsamic portabella mushrooms for a little fancy feast. Enjoy!

  • 2 1/2 cups Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • a few allspice berries
  • 1 porcini mushroom bouillon cube
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 4 tablespoons for the mushrooms
  • 4 portabella mushrooms, sliced or a 6 oz. package
  • a small shallot, thinly sliced, about 4 heaping tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • a few capers in brine, given a quick rinse

In a Dutch oven, combine the beans, water, bay leaf and berries, cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Skim the surface of any foam. Once it comes to a boil, add the tablespoon of olive oil and the bouillon cube and dissolve, lower the heat to low and simmer for an hour and 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Add any sea salt if needed. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining olive oil and the shallots on low heat until the shallots are translucent. Add in the mushrooms and lightly brown on one side, about 3 minutes or so. Turn and add in the balsamic vinegar. Allow the mushrooms to soften and the balsamic vinegar to reduce, about another 3 minutes. Toss in the capers and adjust the seasoning as needed. Drizzle with a fruity balsamic vinegar to finish the mushrooms or have a balsamic glaze at the table so everyone can top their own mushrooms. Discard the bay leaf and berries and garnish with any fresh chopped herbs you have on hand. Great as leftovers. Serves 4.


Eggplant, Oyster Mushroom & Bean Ratatouille

This is a nice recipe for a weekday dinner and is great for meatless Mondays or Fridays. It’s on the table in less than an hour and is a good wholesome meal, especially when paired with a brown rice medley and a side green salad to start the meal. A good ratatouille is always great to have in the fridge for leftovers, especially for those nights when you want a good homemade meal for dinner, without the effort. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound Chinese eggplant, about 5
  • 2 1/2 cups good marinara sauce*
  • 3 1/2 oz. oyster mushrooms, bottoms trimmed and bunches broken up
  • 1 cup cooked Great Northern beans, cannellini beans or small white beans
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

Cut each eggplant in half, lengthwise and drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt. Grill the eggplant at 500 degrees, a few minutes per each side, until there are some grill marks on them. Once they are grilled, slice them diagonally about an inch in size. Combine the eggplant and sauce in a heavy bottomed pot so the eggplant are in one layer. Bring the sauce up to a boil on high heat, once it does, lower the heat to a low setting and simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally. Add in the beans and mushrooms and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve with brown rice on the side to complete the meal. Makes 4 servings. Double the recipe as needed.

*Make sure it states gluten-free on the jar, if gluten is a concern of yours.

A Side Dish of Sauteed Mushrooms

It may not be the prettiest dish to look at (just dim the lights and use lots of candles, lol) but there is never a holiday, where it’s not on the table. I’m a mushroom lover and it’s a simple dish that I always loved cooking and eating. (Make sure to use a wooden spoon, when tossing and stirring the mushrooms. I’m giving you advice that my mom would give me but when I would ask why? There would be no real answer except it tastes better, lol. But I’ve found the answer, wooden spoons and spatulas are gentle enough on your enamelled cast iron pots, while being substantial enough to handle what is in them.) You can always add some herbs like rosemary or marjoram to make them more special. This goes great with yesterdays’ post, “Pistachio & Coriander Crusted Prime Rib.” If there are any leftovers, you can toss them with cooked cheese tortellini and top with grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese. Enjoy!

  • 2 1/2 pounds button mushrooms, sliced about 1/2 inch thick*
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (equalling about 1 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

In a heavy 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven, combine the onion and butter and saute on low heat, uncovered until the onion is softened about 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and give them a nice toss and salt them. (I add them in two batches.) Cover your pot and give them another toss after about 10 minutes. Cook on low heat covered for an hour, stirring occasionally. Your pot will be filled with them but once they cook, they reduce down to about a third, so if you are serving many people, you might want to double the recipe. For a family of mushroom lovers, it’s a good idea. After the hour is up, make sure your mushrooms are tender. (If tossing in any herbs, do so at this point.) Increase the heat to medium-high for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquids have evaporated. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

*I usually wipe down the mushrooms with a damp cloth but running them under water won’t hurt to remove the dirt. Then trim the bottoms, if needed. You can alternatively quarter the mushrooms, instead of slicing them.

Sage Turkey Cutlets with Mushrooms & Beans

Ahh…the beginning of November. Visions of Thanksgiving dinners are dancing in my head and I can’t wait for all the flavors of that day. And you don’t have to wait till Thanksgiving day and have these treasured flavors tonight. Herb-y sag-ed turkey and sweet mashed potatoes with a little creamy gravy. Beans add a little extra creaminess to the dish but you can always skip them if you are not a fan. The best part of this meal, is it doesn’t take hours to make, about an hour tops! And if you are craving that pumpkin pie at the end of this meal, you can always make Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt! Enjoy!

  • 1 pound turkey cutlets
  • 10 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked great northern beans
  • heaping 1/4 cup flour
  • pinch ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 champigion mushroom bouillon cube, (or any type of mushroom)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3 small sage leaves
  • ground black pepper
  • sea salt

Combine the flour, ground sage, salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Dredge the turkey cutlets in the flour and set aside. In a Dutch oven, melt the butter on medium heat, until sizzling. In batches, add the turkey and brown for a few minutes on each side. Once brown, set aside. Add the mushrooms and stir until they get a little brown. They can burn, so keep an eye on them. Dissolve the mushroom bouillon in the hot water and pour over the mushrooms. (You can use 1/2 to 3/4 cube of the mushroom bouillon, to reduce the sodium.) Scrape the bottom of the pot, to bring up any brown bits. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Once the broth is boiling, lower the heat to low and add the turkey, any accumulated juices, the sage leaves and marjoram. Simmer for 10 minutes covered, occasionally moving the cutlets around, so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. After 10 minutes, turn the cutlets over and add the beans, simmer for another 10 minutes, until the broth thickens to a light gravy. Serve with quick mashed sweet potoates. Cook 4 sweet poatoes, cut into similar sizes, and cook until fork tender. Add in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk, salt and ground pepper, mash until combined well. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Makes 4 servings.

Potato Gnocchi with a Tomato, Pumpkin & Mushroom Sauce

Potato gnocchi have my heart, always. On a chilly, rainy and foggy autumn night,  potato gnocchi can put a smile the face and warm the belly, like nothing else. I found these dried wood ear mushrooms at a health food store and I couldn’t leave without them, I had to give them a try and thought they would look great on a plate during Halloween…on a dark and creepy night…Muuwaaahhaaa…( couldn’t resist. lol)

  • 1 pound potato gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 4 tablespoons good marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light cream
  • 1 sage leaf
  • 1 heaping tablespoon dried wood ear mushrooms *
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese *optional

           *You can use any dried mushrooms you like, if they are larger, just chop them down to size.

First begin by rehydrating your mushrooms, according to the package instructions, about 30 minutes in hot water, until the mushrooms get soft. Just add enough water to cover them by about an inch. Cook your gnocchi according to the package instructions, about 2-3 minutes, until they float, drain and set aside. Into the same pot, melt the butter and add the pumpkin puree, marinara sauce, cream and sage. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add the mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of the mushroom liquid and the gnocchi, until heated through. Pass around a wedge of Parmesan cheese, so everyone can help themselves. Serves 2-4. If serving 4, round out the meal with a soup and salad, I don’t know about you, but gnochhi are addicting and a nice big bowl makes a rainy and chilly night, all the warmer. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Rosemary Mushrooms

The cooler weather has me craving good old comfort food, that sticks to your ribs and leaves you happy. And gnocchi never disappoint! I had about a cup of pumpkin puree left over from making my “Corn & Pumpkin Soup with Wild Rice” (October 2nds’ post) and wanted to make gnocchi. I never made them before and was excited and I used Hank Shaws’ recipe that was featured on Simply Recipes and it came out great! What a nice recipe! I adapted it a little bit because I was in a rosemary and mushroom mood, and when a rosemary and mushroom mood hits, you gotta go with it! lol Nice recipe to make on a weekend where the leaves and temperatures are falling outside but the temperature inside is nice and warm from the gnocchi boiling away on the hot stove. Enjoy and happy weekend!

  • 1 cup of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted flour plus more for dusting
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon finely minced rosemary plus 1/4 teaspoon finely minced for mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 1 porchini mushroom bouillon cube *optional
  • chives for garnish *optional

First combine the pumpkin, ricotta cheese and eggs. Stir in the rosemary, pepper and sea salt. Put your mixture in the middle of a large board. Using a fork, add in the flour, little by little. I did about 1/2 a cup at a time. Once the dough was too thick to mix, I used my hands to incorporate the flour. If doing this, it’s best to have a buddy next to you, adding in the flour for you. The dough will still be sticky but form it in a ball and transfer it to a board that is coated with flour. If you can, roll your ball in flour or with your hands rub more flour on the surface of your dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 4 pieces.

Take each ball and form into about a foot long log, rolling and pulling the dough along. Cut your log into about 1/2 inch strips. As you cut it will flatten the dough so squeeze the ends of each cut strip with your fingertips to make it more of a gnocchi shape.

Bring your water to a boil and add in your bouillon cube. If not using the bouillon, that’s fine, you can use sea salt. You want enough water in the pot, so the gnocchi have room to cook. Drop in your gnocchi, a little at a time, in about 8 batches. I rolled, cooked along the way, each gnocchi roll was cooked in 2 batches. But for ease, having all the gnocchi formed and then boiling them is best. Cook them for 2 minutes each until they start bobbing up towards the surface. You want the broth boiling on high heat. Using a strainer spoon, take the gnocchi out and let them drain in a colander. Cook all of your gnocchi and set them aside, reserving a little bit of the cooking liquid. To make your rosemary mushrooms, in a large, heavy bottomed pan, combine the butter and the shallots. Saute on low heat until softened for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add in in the mushrooms and saute for ten minutes, until they get lightly browned. Add in 2 tablespoons of the broth, if not using broth, you can skip this step. Continue cooking your mushrooms for another 15 minutes. Once your mushrooms are soft, increase the heat to high, until most of the liquid is evaporated. It doesn’t take that long, but it really depends on how much liquid the mushrooms have released. Add in your gnocchi and the rosemary. Season with sea salt and saute until the gnocchi are browned a little bit. Add in the heavy cream and stir until the cream has thickened. Garnish with chives and enjoy nice and hot! This makes 4 servings.

Ziti with Creamed Cucumbers, Mushrooms & Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sauteed cucumbers tossed in a creamy sauce with sun dried tomatoes and earthy mushrooms combined with ziti hits the spot quickly on a busy night! It’s a special little dish that will put a smile on your face. :)

  • 1/4 pound ziti rigati, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and quartered to about the length of the ziti
  • 5 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cut julienned sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 3 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a colander salt the cucumbers and let them sit for about 20 minutes to draw the liquid out of them. Take a paper towel and pat them dry. In a dutch oven, melt the butter until it sizzles on medium heat, add in the cucumber until they brown lightly. Stir in the mushrooms until they brown and cooked. Next stir in the sun dried tomatoes with a little of the olive oil and saute for a few minutes. Add in the heavy cream and bring to a boil until it thickens. Season as needed with salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir in the cooked pasta and combine well. This serves 2, top with fresh Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Raspberry Mushroom Sauce

I love raspberry wine and combining it with chicken is delicious! Great for a romantic dinner. This recipe takes an hour, so save this recipe for a night you get home early, or save it for a weekend dinner. Light a candle, and enjoy the rest of the bottle of wine with dinner…

For this recipe you will need…

  • 2 bone in, skin on, chicken breasts
  • 6 button mushrooms + a few dried ones, if you have on hand
  • 1/2 cup of red raspberry wine, I’ve tried Tomasello and it’s delicious
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry spreadable fruit spread, all fruit sweetened with fruit juice, I used Polaner
  • 1/4 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper your chicken breasts, and place in a small roasting pan. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter till just melted, add your red onion cook till soft, then add your mushrooms, (make sure they are dry). Cook your mushrooms until soft and then add your wine and jam, whisk until the jam is blended into the mixture. Bring it all to a boil, cook for a minute or two, and then add this raspberry and mushroom mixture to your pan of chicken breasts. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, so the skin browns nicely. When the timer rings, carefully remove the chicken breasts and strain the liquid, setting aside the mushrooms and onions. In a separate pan, you can make your roux. (On next try making this, I’m going try thickening it with cream, and see how that comes out, keep you posted!)  Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and add your flour to it, cook until light brown. Add the reserved cooking liquid to the roux and bring to a boil, it will thicken and then you can add your mushrooms and onions. Heat through and top your chicken breasts with the sauce and freshly ground black pepper. A light side dish that went really well with this, is sauteed sliced seedless cucumbers and dill. Hope you enjoy! :)