Monday, February 28, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms & Giveaway

I started making stuffed mushrooms after my cousin brought them to a family get-together.

But she doesn't remember making them.

That happens sometimes, doesn't it?


Light the corner of my mind....

(Can't help it...I'm sentimental!)

Reminds me of my childhood and my cousins at Bachan's house.

I have such wonderful memories of Bachan's house. We used to gather there at least twice a month. Sometimes it was every weekend. I still feel close to my cousins even though we don't see one another as often as I'd like.

And my cousins still make the best food!

My cousin doesn't remember making stuffed mushrooms.

But her sister remembers her making them.

And so does her husband.

She made them with bacon inside the filling, I'm making them these days with the bacon on the outside.


1 large package of mushrooms



Cream cheese




1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Clean the mushrooms by wiping off any visible dirt with a clean kitchen towel.

Snap the stems off the mushrooms and set them aside.

Place the caps on a baking sheet.

There's a monster one there on the left!

Dice the onions and garlic. 

If there are some people that aren't crazy about onions, saute the onions in a little olive oil until they're soft.

Otherwise, add them raw to the mixture, they'll cook in the oven.

Dice the waterchestnuts.

And the mushroom stems.

Cook the spinach until it is barely done.

I press a bowl into the colander to squeeze out as much water as I can.

Squeeze any remaining water out of the spinach and then chop.

Chop the spinach into small pieces--first horizontally and then vertically.

This is about four slices of bacon, diced.

I like the maple bacon.

I used to use a pound of bacon for a tray of mushrooms, adding it into the stuffing mixture, but since I became a vegetarian, I'll make a few mushrooms with bacon for my omnivores.

Cook the bacon to how you like it.

Fatty or crispy.

Drain on paper towels.

When I first became a vegetarian, it took a couple of weeks before I stopped wanting meat.

And then a few months later, I had a dream that I ate bacon.

I had that dream twice!

Crush some breadcrumbs.

Here, it's Mrs. Cubbison's Seasoned Dressing. It's what my mother always used, it's comfort food.

Add 1 cup to the mixture.

Soften a block of cream cheese in the microwave and add it to the mixture. That's going to bind everything together.

Add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.

I saved a little to sprinkle on the top of each mushroom.

Add a generous sprinkling of freshly ground pepper, salt & maybe some chili flakes.

Mix well.

Now you're ready to stuff the mushroom caps.

Spoon a scoopful of mixture into the caps.

Smooth and press the mixture, piling it a little high onto the mushroom cap.

About like that.

Tuck that wayward piece of spinach to tidy it up.

For your omnivores, roll the top in the bacon bits.

Press them into the cream cheese a little, so they'll stick.

I only made a few with bacon.

Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan cheese on top.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes.

When the mushroom caps become a little wilted, they're done.

There will be a little liquid on the bottom of the baking sheet, so use one with a rim so it won't dirty your oven.

That's it, you're done!

You can fill them with anything you like, anything that strikes your fancy.

The bacon looks good.

But I didn't eat any!

I wonder if I'll dream about it tonight...

Last week, I got a call one evening from Sue.

"I'm at Nijiya. Walk me through finding what I need for Egg Rolls!"

I wonder if I'll get any calls for these.


My cousin Channie was the Camp Director of all us cousins.

That's me with my head turned.

I was paying attention.

My brothers were not.

Sometimes Channie would have crafts for us to do. Our craft room was Uncle Mas's bedroom, way in the back of the house, away from the adults.

Chan would bring all the materials and give patient instruction.

Here's Tim with his totem pole.

This is my favorite picture of all us in front of Bachan's house.

(That's me in the pink on the left.)

Uncle Art must be taking the picture, and I don't know where my cousin Brian is, but he and Uncle Mas are also missing.

Whenever I go by the house on California Avenue, I think of my grandmother working in the yard and my grandfather sitting by the window in the kitchen, with the little hole in the screen so he could pay the Helms man for bread.

I think of Sunday dinners with my cousins.

I think of my cousins Tim and Brian waving "bye" to Lassie on my grandmother's new color TV set, then we'd all go outside running around playing "Last Tag" until we would be exhausted and our cars would be pulling out the driveway.

I was going to start singing the rest of The Way We Were (because it got me reminiscing about Bachan's house), but I almost forgot!

Today we're having our first GIVEAWAY!

Those that know me also know that I am a crafter.

In the spirit of The Pioneer Woman, and in the spirit of my grandmother--who could have made these pot-holders, I'm giving away six sets of pot-holders that I made myself.

All you have to do is answer this question in the Comments section below with a sentence or two, or simply give us a shout out...

What is your fondest childhood memory that has to do with food?

Winners will be chosen at random by my son on Wednesday.

'Just a little 'thank you' for all the encouragement since I'm new to blogging.

No printable recipe for this one yet.


  1. My fondest childhood memory is of my dad making snow ice cream. I can remember helping my dad get only the best snow for it. It was great. I love your blog

  2. My fondest memory is helping my mom and sister's make tamales the day before Christmas eve every single year and then eating them on Christmas eve and for the next 3 weeks. Cuz we always made hundreds and had leftovers that just wouldn't go away.

  3. One of my childhood memories was being over at my friend Karolyn's house and her mom asking us if we wanted something to eat...It was cooked rice with sugar and milk (maybe it was breakfast?) anyway I wasn't a rice eater in those days(except for maybe rare minute rice with chicken)and I politely declined.

    Karolyn, I cooked your ribs yesterday and they were delish! I love, love, love your blog and have recommended it to lots of friends and family already!!!!
    Thank you Friend!
    Becky Selby-Brown

  4. My favorite childhood memory were mt cousins, aunt, uncles and sister coming over to my parents home for my dad's bday dinner. My mom would prepare items days ahead of time and cooked right until the time dinner was served. There would be over 10 different items for dinner with homemade soup, rice and delicious desserts. Oh how I miss those days and the get togethers.

  5. For those of you who don't know, Bachan is spanish for grandma......or is it German....ahhhhh. You'll be getting a call from me very soon, but I shouldn't have to go to Nijiya for this one.
    My favorite childhood memory is camping with my mom, dad, sisters and grandparents; Waking up every morning to Grandma (Bachan) yelling at Grandpa..."George, your burning the bacon!" Then my dad telling my mom to get her mother quiet, she is going to wake up the entire campground! it happned every morning around 7 am. Many camping trips in the Prowler, what great memories and always great food.

  6. Fondest memory is helping my dad in the kitchen making curry. He grew up in India, so he knew how to make a good curry. My dad was the oldest of 11 children and did a lot of cooking when he was young, but when he married he left all the cooking to my mom (who I consider one of the best cooks).
    He didn't know where all the ingredients were in the kitchen, so he would yell out what he needed and I'd get it. What a mess we'd make! But the curry was just the best!

  7. My favorite food & family memory was when I was 13 or 14 years old on Thanksgiving Day. That year my Grandpa George was in charge of the turkey and decided the best way to defrost a 25 pound bird was to leave it on the kitchen counter for 24 hours (YIKES!!). Well when my mom and my Auntie JoAnne found out they knew we couldn't cook and eat the bird but we couldn't tell my grandpa either because he would never listen and he'd make us eat it anyway. LOL.

    So we devised a plan.

    While my Aunt and my mom distracted my grandpa, my cousin Jenni and I snuck the turkey out of the house and put it in the trash. We then had to call up a bunch of neighbors and friends to "borrow" some of their turkey until we had enough to pass off as grandpa's bird. We told him that we carved the bird while he was napping. IT. WAS. HILARIOUS. Well it worked and we all complimented my grandpa on a very tasty turkey :). That was the best Thanksgiving ever.

  8. I think the statute of limitations is in effect. One of my favorite childhood memories was our family going to Ensenada with your family. We would camp in tents and find ceviche or soft tacos from vendors or cook seafood on our camp stoves.

    Your dad scored a dozen lobsters for about $1 each for us. They were in 2 burlap bags. As we passed through customs, we weren't supposed to tell anyone that they were in the car. So we just went through a long inventory of what we bought: blankets, onyx figuring, picture, chess set.... To my parents' relief, the border agent interupted us and told us to move on. Whew! My parents had made a pact that they would always be honest so that they would instill honesty in their children. Even in the little things: no lying to get into the theatre at a reduced rate. They didn't have to reneg on that pact on that trip.

    My dad brought a couple of lobsters to my Auntie Alice. I remember her screaming when the lobsters escaped the boiling water pot on her stove. My dad had to return to pick them up off the floor and cook them for her. Cooking live lobsters was one thing that no woman in our family was willing to do. Have things changed?

    Ah! Fresh lobster! In those days, we could even eat them with butter.

    Karolyn, we thought your dad was so cool because he could figure out how to do things like score lobsters in Mexico.

  9. my favorite childhood is my mom cooking these boatloads of tempura battered everything, my favorite was broccoli!! My mom really knew how to make us eat our veggies! She also fried fish, onions, sweet potato, russet potato, carrots, and shrimp. And these boatloads of tempura meant family party!! Our whole family would get together and bring some dishes to share, the tradition has not changed, we still see each other every major holiday and birthdays and the tempura still makes an appearance.

  10. My fondest memory is making gingerbread cookies with my mom. We made a double (maybe triple?) batch of cookies and they were gorgeous! The cut out really nicely and we decorated them with all kinds of sprinkles and candy and fruit. And they tasted so awful. It was hilariously tragic. So we had to just set them around the house as decorations.

  11. Definitely mom's homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Thanks!

    Chris M.

    zekks at yahoo dot com

  12. My mom used to make these amazing bacon-wrapped meatballs using a muffin pan when I was about 4-years-old. I miss them so much.

  13. Well, I don't know if I count at all since I'm all the way down in Costa Rica, but the best food related memory I have is of my dad peeling oranges.

    When I was little and the 5 of us (mom, dad, brother, sister and me) were all still living together, we used to go to a beach for new years every single year. We would camp with my mom's side of the family (her brothers and sister and their families, as well as a couple of friends who were like aunts and uncles to us). There were so many kids there, and they would set up a camping space that resembled a house, with a big kitchen full of tables and all. The youngest of us would obviously get up earlier than anybody else, except my dad. We all knew when we got up that my dad would be sitting on a chair on the sand, watching the sunrise and peeling huge oranges from my grandad's farm, so we would go make holes in the sand to bury the peelings, and wait for our big delicious orange while watching the sunrise all together sitting quietly, just watching the sea and the sun... That hasn't happened in almost 20 years, and my brother doesn't really remember, but I'll never forget zipping the tent open and watching my father's silouette against the barely lit sky...

  14. Those stuffed mushrooms look spectacular! How heavenly! Thanks for the detailed instructions and the delicious-looking pictures! Great post and good job!

  15. I loved getting together with my grandpa, grandma, aunts, uncles, and many cousins for Thanksgiving. We always had so much food. I think I loved my grandma's fresh, warm dinner rolls the best. But I was just a kid so I didn't care about the food so much back then. I was there to play with my cousins!

  16. i have one memory from when i was probably about 5 and auntie cherie came to visit us in LA and auntie karolyn came over to spend the day with us, and i think grandma might have been there too. well my parents were out and left me with the aunties (and grandma?). somehow i ended up volunteering to cook bacon fried rice for everyone. i think it was the first time i had ever cooked for guests and probably the first time cooking in front of an audience. i dont remember how it well or badly it went, only that i had managed to impress ;)

  17. i have beautiful memories with my grandmother baking bread. huge round breads that smelt and tasted divine. a slice of that bread with homemade apricot preserve...sighing...

  18. One of my favorite memories is being in the kitchen with my mom every Sunday cooking our Sunday family dinners. She loves trying new things so we would experiment with everything we made. We ended up making some really good meals by adding random ingredients.

    This stuffed mushroom looks amazing and I look forward to trying it!

  19. Okay here goes again....

    My favorite memory is homemade ice cream during the summer time in Kentucky when I was a kid. My mom made this all the time. It was usually on a weekend and family members came over. My mom either made strawberry (made from the strawbeeries picked from my Pa's garden) or banana (one of the few fresh items bought at the gorcery store). We used to take turns turning the crank since the only iced cream freezer was one powered by hand. My Pa worked for the highway department so he would supply the rock salt. It was the road salt used to defreeze the highways in the winter time and was kept in a white canvas bag. We were not allowed to eat the ice from the freezer since it was mixed with peices of asphalt (for obvious reasons)! It wasn't until I moved to California and actually bought rock salt at the gorcery store (usually in the Kosher section) and found out rock salt is crystal clear rather than white salt mixed with black road debris! THen,it was free and it worked so who knew the difference at the time! It wasn't until later that we had an electric freezer and used that. Since then I have gone through mnay electric freezers since I still make homemade ice cream (it's especially good with Sue's German Chocolate Cake! LOL!)S
    adly, I cannot say the same about my Mom. In her Alhezmer's condition she has trouble remembering her recipe and cannot make it so that it comes out thick instead of cold and soupy. My brohter has since 'borrowed' her freeezer with the promise that he will make the ice cream when she comes to visit.
    Don't worry friends, I do not use road salt!

  20. My fondest memory is gathering in the basement at my grandma and grandpa's house with my sisters and all of my cousins to play bingo with grandpa. He would be the caller and we just adored him. He would make popcorn on the stove top with the perfect amount of salt and butter. I miss my grandpa, but everytime I smell skillet popcorn, it brings me back to those wonderful times!