Day for mushrooms; with meat, without

Leif K-Brooks/Wikimedia Commons Fresh mushrooms with nice caps lend themselves well for stuffing with meat or vegetable-based fillings.


Whenever I am at a party and the host or hostess is serving stuffed mushroom caps, I am drawn to those delicious appetizers like a moth to a flame. I have always loved mushrooms and used to pick them in woodlands and meadows.

But then I started getting leery and wondering if I would ever pick a poisonous one by mistake. I was confident in my identification skills up until the time I heard about a university professor who was an expert in wild mushrooms, having died from eating a bad one. Then I heard about another expert who also died from consuming toxic fungi.

So here I am now, buying my mushrooms from stores. I am happy to share my favorite recipes for stuffed mushrooms. There are two with meat and two without, so hopefully there is something for everyone. Crab stuffed mushrooms

24 large mushrooms

2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

4 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 tablespoons bread crumbs

4 ounces crab meat, rinsed and tossed with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 1/2 teaspoons cognac

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1. Remove mushroom stems. Combine 2 tablespoons of the Romano cheese with remaining ingredients in a bowl; beat with mixer for 5 minutes. Fill mushrooms with a 1/2-inch crown left on top.

2. Lightly butter a large baking sheet and arrange stuffed mushrooms with a space between. Bake 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms from oven; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Romano cheese. Preheat broiler.

3. Place mushrooms under broiler until cheese melts and is golden. Yields 24 servings. Sausage stuffed mushrooms

Adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe. 36 large fresh mushrooms (enough to total about 2 pounds)

1 pound bulk pork sausage, seasoned any way you like

1/4 cup chopped chives (may use dried ones)

2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

3/4 cup original Bisquick mix

1/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1. Preheat oven to 350. Remove stems from mushrooms; finely chop stems.

2. In a 10-inch skillet, cook sausage, chopped mushroom stems, chives, onion and garlic until sausage is no longer pink; drain, reserving drippings. Stir Bisquick mix and bread crumbs into sausage mixture until mixture holds together. (If mixture is dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons reserved drippings.)

3. Spoon about 1 rounded tablespoon sausage mixture into each mushroom cap. In ungreased 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan, place filled mushroom caps; sprinkle with cheese.

4. Bake about 15 minutes or until hot. Serve immediately. Makes 36 appetizers. Vegetarian stuffed mushrooms

8-ounce package baby bella mushrooms

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped, fresh tarragon (or use about 1/2 teaspoon dried)

3 green onions, finely minced

1/4 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

1/8 cup grated Asiago cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

Olive oil for brushing 1. Preheat oven to 425. Carefully remove stems from mushrooms, then chop them up finely either by hand or in a food processor. Zap them in the microwave or cook them in a pan on the stovetop until excess moisture has evaporated.

2. Place the stems in a bowl, then add the parsley, tarragon, scallions, Parmesan-Reggiano, Asiago, egg, bread crumbs, cream cheese, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Mix until it forms a smooth mixture, and season to taste.

3. Brush each mushroom cap with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay them on a sheet pan, and fill them generously with a spoonful of filling. Bake for 15 minutes, until the stuffing has browned. Chickpea salad stuffed mushrooms

This one is vegan friendly. The filling is also great for sandwiches. 1 can chickpeas, drained and coarsely mashed

10 to 12 Cremini mushrooms

2 to 3 romaine lettuce leaves, finely chopped

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon vegan-style mayonnaise product

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1. Remove mushroom stems and discard. Set caps aside.

2. Drain and rinse chickpeas. In a bowl, combine chickpeas, romaine, onion, vegan mayo and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste

3. Fill each cap with chickpea salad mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.