Mushrooms

Mushroom, Shallot and Goat Cheese Quiche

Fall is in the air — or at least, football is — and I’m more willing to turn on my oven.

Around this time of year, I also start wanting something savory and more substantial for breakfast than just yogurt. Good fuel before an early kickoff on Saturdays, and a bit more filling on a weeknight.

Enter the quiche. Versatile, simple, hearty, and portable. All you need is a couple eggs, cream (don’t substitute milk or half-n-half), and whatever vegetables, cheese, meat, and herbs you have hanging around. (Here’s one for spinach and bacon quiche).

Have a great weekend, and happy cooking!

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Mushroom, Shallot and Goat Cheese Quiche

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 pkg (8-10 oz) crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled (or substitute your favorite cheese)
3 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots. Season with salt and pepper; saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms; season again with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high; sauté until browned and softened, 5-8 minutes. (Be sure the liquid absorbed into the mushrooms,  released, and then evaporated.) Add thyme; sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Pour mushrooms into a bowl to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread mushrooms across a 9-inch pie plate, discarding any liquid. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine cream, eggs, and additional salt and pepper; beat lightly to combine. Pour over pie plate. Carefully transfer plate to oven. Bake for 35 minutes, until center has puffed up uniformly and top is lightly golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese

I’m not big on resolutions, but I do like goals. One of mine for 2014: eat more vegetables, more consistently. This recipe was borne out of a desire to do just that, especially during lunch, when salads leave me feeling unsatisfied and searching for sugar two hours later.

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I first made this easy bolognese with family over the holidays, and loved that it was hearty and filling on a cold day. Even my crunchy-vegetable-hating brother seemed to like it. At home, I took the recipe a step further by substituting spaghetti squash for traditional pasta. I had never cooked spaghetti squash myself, and it was surprisingly easy.

I divided the mixture into 6 portions and froze half for easy lunches down the road. Great with a green salad or even a cup of soup!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese

Serves about 6

1 medium spaghetti squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup diced mushrooms (I used half a package)
1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
1/3 cup (or more) shredded Parmesan cheese (Omit if observing a Paleo diet)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash spaghetti squash rind, halve lengthwise, and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place rind side up on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until fork-tender. When cool enough to touch, shred the squash with a fork, working the width of the squash. Place shredded squash in a colander; drain and discard excess liquid. (Make ahead: can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.) 

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and garlic and saute until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat, until meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil; reduce to a simmer.

Toss squash, sauce and cheese in a large bowl. Season to taste.

Sausage, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

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It’s Daylight Savings Time (or is it the end of Daylight Savings Time? I can never keep them straight), and that means it will be dark before I even leave work. And when that happens, I lose interest in cooking at night. Just give me some takeout (or worse yet, junk food) and a glass of wine, and I’ll curl up on the couch with the cat and fall asleep. And then I have no leftovers for lunch the next day. Rinse and repeat…

There are worse problems, but this cycle isn’t great for my wallet or my health. I try to nip it in the bud by cooking more on the weekends and stocking up for the week. I love soup and salad at lunch, which leave me feeling full but not heavy. This one is economical, and easily adaptable to your tastes and preferences. Omit the Half & Half to make it dairy-free, or try substituting chicken for the smoked sausage.

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Sausage, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Serves 4

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup wild rice (or wild & long grain rice blend)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
8 oz. sliced cremini or white mushrooms
8 oz. reduced-fat smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized medallions
1/2 cup Half & Half
Freshly ground pepper and salt

In a medium saucepan, combine broth and rice. Cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onion and celery and cook 2-3 minutes. Add sausage and mushrooms. Cooking, stirring occasionally, until sausage is browned and vegetables are semi-tender. Add rice and its broth to the sausage and vegetables. Simmer, uncovered, until rice has “bloomed.”

Add Half & Half and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.