I know Christmas decor has been up in stores for awhile and some radio stations already have 24/7 Christmas music but I just felt the excitement of all of the upcoming holidays this week.
It’s like the excitement you feel when you’re looking forward to that girls’ trip you’ve had planned with your besties or a special anniversary trip with your sweetie. Planning and dreaming about it is just as much part of the experience as taking the trip. The anticipation is half the fun.
For me, that buzzing of holiday excitement doesn’t happen just because I see Christmas decor in the stores. It happens when I realize how close they are — next week! Thanksgiving is kicking off the holiday season and I, for one, am stoked for some family time and PIE. :)
These mushrooms were a spur of the moment idea and a Saturday night experiment with my hubby. After a little tweaking, I really loved how they turned out! Bits of bacon are stuffed inside (always a nice surprise for your tastebuds ;)) and then topped with a garlicky, spinach filling and covered with allll the cheese. Mmm, I think I need to go make some more…
Bacon & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms; Recipe or Not
- 10 oz. mushrooms with stems (I used baby Portobellas)
- 1 handful spinach leaves
- 1-2 slices cooked bacon or turkey bacon*
- 1 c. shredded fontina cheese (you could also use mozzarella or Parmesan)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 t. dried thyme
- pinch of salt
- 2 T. olive oil, divided
Preheat oven to 400º. Clean the mushrooms well, removing any dirt that may be on them. Carefully remove the stems by twisting gently at the base. Set the stems aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the mushroom stems, spinach leaves, garlic cloves, dried thyme, salt, and 1 T. olive oil. Pulse until there are no longer any large pieces of mushroom or garlic and the consistency is fairly smooth. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil, drizzle on 1 T. olive oil and spread around with clean hands. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet, tops down. Tear or chop the bacon into really small pieces and place in the cavity of the mushroom. Next, cover the bacon with the mushroom/spinach mixture. Gently press & stuff to get as much as you can in the mushrooms. Top with the fontina cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the mushrooms are tender.
*If you’re going to prepare a whole package of bacon, I recommend baking it. Then you can continue working on the mushrooms and filling while it bakes instead of having to keep an eye on it.
One thing I love about food is the emotional connection we have with it.
That may sound hokey but doesn’t it seem like any time you eat chicken pot pie (or chicken noodle soup) you feel just a little more at peace and that all is right with the world? Anything you’ve been worried about fades to the background… at least for a moment. But sometimes a moment is all you need to see things in a new light.
Just some veggies, chicken, broth, flour, and butter… it’s remarkable to me that a simple dish has the power to affect us that way.
The sweet potato & corn lend a slight sweetness to this savory dish. There’s only one pie crust giving just enough richness to keep that comfort food status but isn’t overly rich. I’ve written chicken in the recipe but you could sub in leftover Thanksgiving turkey if you need to use it up.
Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Corn; Recipe or Not
- 1 pie crust (If you want to make your own, I used this recipe.)
- 1 sweet potato, diced (about 1-1.5 cups)
- 1 small yellow onion, diced (small = about the size of a tennis ball)
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 lb. cooked & shredded chicken
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 t. dried parsley
- 1/4 t. ground sage
- 1 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 c. milk (can use non-diary milk)
- 2 T. cornstarch
- 2-3 T. olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
If you’re making the pie crust yourself, do that first and store the crust in the fridge for later. Heat the olive oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat. (If you have cookware that is stovetop & oven safe, use that.) Once the oil is heated, throw in the sweet potato, onion, celery, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Let this cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Next, preheat the oven to 375° and add the chicken, corn, parsley, sage, and another pinch of salt & pepper. Cook for a few minutes to let the corn thaw.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the chicken broth or milk making sure there are no clumps. Add the cornstarch mixture, chicken broth, and milk to the pot; cook for a few minutes. Give the filling a quick taste and add more salt & pepper if needed. If you’re not using oven-proof cookware, carefully transfer the pot pie filling to a 9″ pie pan or baking dish. Get the pie crust out and roll it into a circle that will cover the pan. Carefully cover the baking dish with the crust and trim up the edges. Put the baking dish on a larger sheet pan in case the pot pie bubbles over in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is flaky and brown.
Tip: To make transferring the pie crust easier, fold it in half on a vertical into a half circle. Fold the half circle in half so the dough is folded over on itself and is a triangular shape like a large piece of pie. Put the folded over, pointed edge in the center of the pan then carefully unfold the crust to cover the whole pan.
Need some helpful tips to make Thanksgiving dinner a success?
Watch my interview with Offers.com talking about helpful appliances, tools, and tips to take the stress out of Thanksgiving cooking.