Today, I'm offering a guest post from my friend Cindy of Once Upon a Loaf. She's a former Ann Arborite, so that alone would make her cool! That she's also too much fun, devoted an entire week to celebrating both her birthday and the glorious PB&J, and is just a fabulous person ... well, all the better for me and for all of you who are about to meet her!
First, I'd like to heap an enormous amount of thanks on the Food Floozie for asking me to guest post for her today. I could not be more thankful that I have connected with her through food, and found a new friend in the process. My family has followed Mary via her column for some time, and when my mother first turned me onto her I was, I admit, a bit intimidated by the thought of contacting her. I was in the process of launching Once Upon a Loaf and wanted to be taken seriously - just wasn't ready yet. She had it all, in my mind - she was funny, talented, endearing - and I can say now that I was dead-on about the Floozie. Thank goodness I eventually chucked my self-consciousness and can now enjoy her irreverence almost at will.
Things have been getting hairy around Casa Loaf - spring school, sports and extra-curricular activities for the kids, work and personal travel for their parents, races for me and the approaching boating, lawn care and gardening season have all converged on a super highway of busy-ness around here. You likely have your own highway running through the middle of your life.
As a result, I recently started searching for meatless weeknight meals that pull together in a snap - when I'm short on time, I don't want to have to chop and mix 100 different ingredients and clean up 10 different pans. I'd like plenty of real nutritional value, please - I won't trust my meatless ventures to a mysteriously manufactured commercial veggie option. I'd also like it to wow me with flavor, thank you. And since I'm training for marathon and half-marathon season and want to up my family's fiber intake at the same time, I want to focus on whole grains.
Enter portobello mushrooms and bulgur. I've got a love affair going with the former and had a box of the latter in my kitchen cabinet, intending to research recipes to start adding to the rotation using it, as I'd been reading up on its nutritional benefits (check out this article for a decent overview on bulgur if you're not well-versed). I'm also looking for iron via leafy, dark greens like spinach and kale.
With that, I'd like to introduce you to Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Feta and Almonds - not too many ingredients, and the mushrooms can be roasted while the bulgar simmers on the stove. Feta, chopped, roasted almonds (use slivered if you're really in a rush) and scallions kick things up a notch, and a salad of simple greens (spinach and kale here) with lemon and olive oil accompany it perfectly. If you'd like to add a bread component, pair these with Pesto Parmesan Dinner Rolls, made from a cold-rise dough that can be refrigerated overnight, and left to rise while you prepare the portos and greens.
A hearty and healthy weeknight dinner is now served.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Feta and Almonds
Approx prep: 25 minutes Bake: 10 minutes (mushrooms) Serves: 5
1 cup bulgur
2 chicken boullion cubes
3/4 cup chopped, roasted almonds
4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green portions separated)
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt, black pepper (to taste)
4-5 large portobello mushrooms
4 TBSP olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup feta cheese
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
6 cups mixed greens1/2 English or miniature cucumber, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Cook bulgur according to package directions but add two chicken bouillon cubes and stir occasionally as it's simmering to ensure bouillon disolves completely.
2. Transfer cooked bulgur to a bowl, cool completely. Chop scallions and almonds.
3. Add white portions of scallions, almonds and thyme to bulgur. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste.
4. Place mushrooms (stems removed) on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Rub with oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast, stem-side up, until tender - about 15-18 minutes.
5. Divide bulgur mixture evenly and fill with bulgur mixture, sprinkle with feta. Return to oven and roast until warmed through, about 2-3 minutes more.
6. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 tsp each of kosher salt and pepper. Add greens and cucumber and toss to combine. Sprinkle mushrooms with scallion greens and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with greens.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple magazine.