Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Mushroom Stew

Bring on 2015 and a fresh start!

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I love the new year. It’s a chance to start over. To resolve to better yourself. And if you don’t like to make resolutions then just enjoy that you are just getting closer and closer to warmer weather, which is what I live for.

This year I’ve resolved to eat ‘smarter’. I am on a mission to be more conscious about what I eat and how much. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year and I would like to loose another 15 or pounds before our wedding in June. But even aside from that I want to be more careful about what I put into my body and be more considerate regarding how it could potentially negatively effect how my body feels.

We’re about 2 weeks into the new year and so far so good. I have my moments when I eat a cookie but then I try to balance the sweet out with more paleo meals or salads. I’m just hoping to keep this up and settle in on something that feels good and is good for me.

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Lately, I’ve noticed that I keep seeing an old New York Times article getting shared and shared over and over again on Facebook. I think it has to do with the New Year as people are looking for some insight to a better life in the new year.

The article talks of how the people on these Greek island live significantly longer than most people, it’s known as “The Island Where People Forget to Die”. People are reaching their 80’s, 90’s and even to 100 at a greater rate than the rest of the world. They are not immune to cancer and other illnesses exactly, but if the are living longer than other cultures before getting ill.

They live their lives at a different pace than the rest of the world. They enjoy slower days that are filled with friends and families while they tend to their gardens and livestock. The food that they harvest is the focal point of the meals. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are diet staples, as well as goat and fish. Rich olive oils and red wine are, of course, enjoyed as well.

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But if you don’t live on Ikaria and want you experience some of their cooking yourself then get the Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die cookbook by Diane Kochilas. Kochila divides her time between New York and Irakia, her family’s ancestral island. She has first hand experience cooking the foods native to the famous Greek island. She has foraged for mushrooms, dried vegetables, and made cheese, which she has made into incredible meals.

This cookbook shares the foods of the people living on Ikaria in a creative way by mixing in story telling with the recipes. And photos too!! The recipes are focused on Mezedes, which are small plates that are perfect for snacking while catching up with a friend, salads, soups, beans and legumes, meats, and fish. There are some sweet treats in there too. (I swear that one day I’ll make Loukoumades!)

There were so many recipes that I tagged to make but the one that first jumped out to me was the Mushroom Stew as I wanted something comforting for the cold weather. It was a perfect pick!

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The stew is easy to prep, I think it took me just a few minutes to cut up the onions and while they were cooking I sliced kale into very thin ribbons. And as that was cooking I sliced the mushrooms. Super simple.

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The recipe calls for red wine but if you don’t want to use it or have it on hand then feel free to substitute in beef broth. Skip the wine and it will be a great Whole 30 meal. Yum!

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The Mushroom Stew is healthy and hearty. It’s rich tasting but not rich for you. The flavors are earthy and it has great texture. It’s great served with mashed potatoes, rice, freekeh, or crusty bread. Just be sure to have something to absorb the flavorful broth.

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Embrace the ingredients, recipes, and lifestyle of the people Ikaria and you’ll live a long and happy life. Oh, so you can’t take midday naps? Well, at least make this amazing Mushroom Stew! Enjoy!

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Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Makes 4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) mixed mushrooms, such as white button, oyster, boletus, porcini, chanterelles, portobellos,
  • 1/4 Cup Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large red onions, coarsely shopped (yields approximately 2 Cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 pounds sweet greens, such as chard, spinach sweet dandelions, sweet sorrel, kale, and/or wile fennel  (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup dry red wine, or beef broth
  • 1 Cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 3  Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh or dried oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh or dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process

  1. Slice the mushrooms, into 1/4″ thick slices, as needed, depending on the size of the mushroom.
  2. In a very large, wide pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion once the oil is shimmery. Cook until translucent and soft, about 6 minutes. Stir a bit so they don’t brown.
  4. Add the greens, and cook for about 8-10 minutes until they are wilted.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the red wine and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, all spice, oregano, and the salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until everything is tender.
  8. Enjoy with rice, mashed potatoes, freekeh, quinoa, or slices of toasted bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. A glass of red wine doesn’t hurt either!

Sourced from Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die

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While I received this complimentary cookbook for review, all opinions are my own.

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Vegetarian Wontons with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce- SRC

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One day while Autumn and I were shopping at Trader Joe’s, they were sampling their vegetable dumplings. Since dinner time was fast approaching I grabbed her a sample for her to try. Well, no surprise here, but she loved it. I actually, politely, asked for another sample for her since she enjoyed it so much. It was just enough to carry her over so we could finish shopping and head home.

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She enjoyed the samples so much that I grabbed some vegetable dumpling bags so that I would have them on hand for dinner. They work perfectly as they are quick to prepare, as 2-3 only take about a minute in the microwave. Plus, they the easy for her to grip to feed herself. I break a cooled dumpling into 3-4 pieces which she immediately picks up and shovels into her mouth. So cute!

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Well, it’s great to always have something that she loves on hand for her to have for dinner, but my issue with these delicious dumplings is the amount of sodium they have. You know, infants, in fact kids under 2 years of age, are only supposed to have 370-400 mg of salt a day. The Trader Joe’s dumplings have soy sauce in the filling so they are on the borderline of what is acceptable for Autumn.

Well, Amy from Fearless Homemaker has come to my rescue! While I was looking around for a yummy recipe for this month’s Secret Recipe Club post I came across her recipe for Vegetarian Pot Stickers. They sounded great and I loved that not only would we be able to enjoy them but Autumn would too. In fact I didn’t add any salt to the mixture making these really healthy for us and her Autumn.

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Dumplings are so much fun to make!! I haven’t made them in years but it all cam right back to me, just like riding a bike. It was fun to do the filling, sealing, and folding. When doing it just be sure not to put in too much filling or you won’t be able to seal the wonton skins properly.

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I fried the ones that Price and I ate but the ones for Autumn were frozen and then when I was serving them were put into a small microwave safe bowl and microwaved until they were just warmed through. She loved them!

I did get a bit lazy and didn’t make the whole batch of wontons so I just kept the filling so that we could just give her that on her highchair table. Basically the filling is sooo good. I want to try some egg roll wrappers next time and maybe jazz things up further with some ground chicken in there as well. yum!!

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Be sure to check out all the great recipes that Amy has on her blog. Plus, she shares very cute updates on her young daughter, . She is just a few months older than Autumn so I love checking out what she is up to on there and on Instagram so that I have a peak at what is to come in the next few months. So much fun!

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 Vegetarian Wontons with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce

Makes 24-48 wontons, depends on the size of wonton skin you use

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced/grated ginger
  • 8 oz diced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I used Gourmet Garden’s cilantro paste)
  • 1 12 oz package wonton/dumpling skins
  • wok oil for frying

for the dipping sauce

  • 1/3 cup thin soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon sambal

Process

  1. In a wok or large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon wok oil over medium heat. Sautee the red onion and ginger 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mixture is soft. Stir in the cabbage, carrots, green onion and cook until the cabbage is soft.
  3. Remove from heat and drain, if needed.  Add the cilantro when the mixture is cooled.
  4. Lay out the wonton wrappers/gyoza skins on a clean surface. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wonton wrapper
  5. Either fry or steam the wontons to cook them.
    1. To fry the wontons, place a 2 Tablespoons of wok oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a few wontons to the oil and brown all sides.
    2. To Steam the wontons, pour just enough oil to cover a large skillet ( about 1 teaspoon). Heat the oil over medium heat, add the wontons. When the bottoms get golden brown, add 1/4 cup of water, then immediately cover. This only takes a few minutes so be sure the water does not completely evaporate allowing the dumplings to stick to the skillet
  6. To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve along side of the hot wontons.

Adapted from Fearless Homemaker

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Check out all the other FANTASTIC bloggers who are participating in SRC today!. Such great recipes!! 🙂

Check out my 2+ years of Secret Recipe Club posts!!!!

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Dinner in 20: Pasta with Veggies and Cream Sauce

I have not been the mood to do anything lately. Well, that is not true. I want to scrapbook all day, every day. I just don’t feel right not being able to be creative. Thinking about how far behind I am working on Project Life makes me want to break out in hives. I left off at week 12… it is now week 26. kill me. And no, I don’t have to continue, but I want to. When I work at it I feel good, I really enjoy it. So I just need to get set up for it, and find some time, and I’ll feel like myself again.

 

 

Being so disinterested in cooking I have been gravitating towards quick fix dinners. Salads have been gracing our table a lot lately but this Pasta with Veggies and Cream Sauce dish was a big winner. I had just restocked the fridge and pantry from moving so I didn’t have to run out last minute to grab something. I love when that happens. I also love Philadelphia Cooking Cream. We use a lot of this to add to pasta dishes, casseroles, or on eggs. It adds a lot of flavor to dishes easily. I’m not singing their praises because they are sponsoring me, I just really like the cooking creams. Man I would love to be sponsored by them, that would be so cool since we go through so much of this stuff. Ha!

Pasta with Veggies and Cream Sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients

Process

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions for al dente pasta.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, saute the red pepper and mushrooms together in the olive oil. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the cooking cream to the vegetables and mix together until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the cooking cream onto the pasta when you serve it.

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive. 

Roasted Broccoli- The perfect side

The thing I miss most about our old apartment is our little yard with grill. We had to ditch all the behind for this new place but the one thing we would not give up was grilled broccoli. Since we no longer have a grill we have been roasting it. Sometimes you just need to improvise and change things up to make one of your favorite foods stay with you.  And since we had a gas grill (don’t judge, I have no patience to heat coal up on a nightly basis) I can’t tell the difference. Bliss.

 

I swear that grilled/roasted broccoli is life changing. I had it at a BBQ for the first time and I swear the world stopped for a moment and everything went into slow-mo around me as I inhaled a plate of it. Screw the steak, give me grilled broccoli. Roasting it produces the same crunchy bits on the floral part of the broccoli. The stalk still has some bite to it as well that makes you shudder at the thought of steaming broccoli ever again (unless you downed it in cheese). I’ve had it with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled over it once I’ve taken it out of the oven but swear the best way is just to have it with some lemon juice on it. I love lemon juice on it so I use 1/2 a lemon but you can adjust to your own taste, as well as the amount of juice that comes out of the lemon.

 

Roasted Broccoli

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 large crowns of broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1 lemon

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Place a rack just above the center of the oven.
  2. Trim 1/4″ off the bottom stalk of the broccoli. Cut the broccoli into tree like segments.
  3. Add the broccoli to a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the broccoli pieces, mix to coat. Evenly sprinkle the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper evenly over the broccoli, mix to coat.
  4. Evenly spread the broccoli on a baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, mixing at least once at the half way point.
  6. When you remove the broccoli from the oven, squeeze 1/4-1/2 the lemon over the broccoli immediately.

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive. 

Shrimp Sriracha Stir Fry- SRC

This month has just flown by! I can’t believe it is already the end of December, and reveal day for Secret Recipe Club!!! For this month I was given Sarah’s blog, A Taste of Home Cooking. Price is always active in enjoying what I make but more often than not I just cook and he goes with the flow. This time, I decided that he should be able to pick the recipe off of Sarah’s blog. So he scrolled through the several years of posting to find something that we could make together. In the end the Chicken Sriracha Stir Fry recipe won out.

 

 

We are both big fans of stir fry’s so this was a great pick for us from Sarah’s blog. Plus it’s very affordable since the majority of the recipe is vegetables. We could have gone with chicken or even tofu, which is so super inexpensive, but we treated ourselves with the shrimp since it was on sale. The marinade and sauce were so flavorful from the Sriracha. I love the spice it provides to a dish, so it being used heavily in this recipe was great for me. In fact, I increased the original amount used since we like it so much, but you can scale it back for what ever you prefer. Just like the fact that I love fish sauce so I used that instead of the oyster sauce in the original recipe- just use what is prefect for you and make this your special stir fry.

 

 

The key with any cooking endeavor is to be prepared, but it’s so much more important with something like a stir fry. The longest part of any stir fry meal is the prep. The cooking time is so fast that you can’t try to juggle cutting things as you go. Take your time in the beginning and set up you mise en place for a successful, and fun, cooking experience.

 

Shrimp Sriracha Stir Fry

*Serves 4-6*

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of raw, peeled, deveined shrimp 31-35
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 10 oz of sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound of  green beans, trim ends off
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil, I prefer House of Tsang’s Wok Oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • rice or noodles, angel hair pasta works just fine

Marinade for shrimp:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha

Sauce for Stir Fry

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

Process

  1. Prepare the marinade for the shrimp in a medium sized bowl.  Coat the shrimp for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  2. In a separate bowl, prepare the sauce for the stir fry by mixing together the cornstarch, water, Sriracha, soy sauce, fish sauce, and ginger.
  3. In a large wok heat 1 tablespoon of wok oil over high heat, add the onions and green pepper strips. Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the onuions are translucent and the pepper is tender. Remove to a large bowl.
  4. Let the wok get back up to temperature, then add another 1 tablespoon of wok oil. Add the green beans. After 3 minutes, add 1/4 cup of water and cover for another 3-5 minutes. Once the green beans are tender add them to the bowl of vegetables.
  5. Again, heat the wok back up and add 1 tablespoon of wok oil, then add the mushrooms. Stir fry until they are cooked and soft.
  6. Wipe wok out with wet paper towels. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon wok oil over high heat. Once hot, add the ginger and garlic; after a few seconds, add marinated shrimp. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is fully cooked.
  7. Add the rice or noodles to the wok and then pour the sauce in. Mix to prevent sticking and to fully incorporate the sauce into the rice or noodles. Add the vegetables back to the wok just to mix together.

Shrimp Sriracha Stir Fry PDF

Secret Recipe Club

Check out my previous Secret Recipe Club Posts:

November: Vegetable Enchiladas

October: Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Check out the rest of the reveal day posts!