On Friday I was meandering through the produce section at Meijer's when I noticed a few fellow shoppers gathered at the mushroom corner. I joined them to discover that the 8-ounce packages of mushrooms were on sale for $1 a package! And these weren't just some middle-aged mushroom cast-offs going cheap; these were so young, lovely, big-capped, and healthy-looking that I started instinctively grabbing along with the others around me, visions of stuffed mushrooms dancing in my head. The packages were buy ten, the eleventh one free, so I snagged eleven then one more for an even dozen. (I like a sense of symmetry).
Now at first I didn't really have a solid plan in my life for the mushrooms - as I said, the whole thing had been more instinctual than intellectual, kind of doing what comes naturally. I mean, how often does a prize like that that waltz your way?
But as I continued on through Meijer's with these mushrooms I knew that if I held on to them and ultimately led them down the aisle - the check-out aisle, that is - then I'd be making a commitment. A commitment that would have to be consummated within a day or two, since once I'd brought these mushrooms home, they'd have to be stuffed, and soon, or else they'd surely turn on me.
Then the light of inspiration lit up my brain:
I remembered that my daughter Claire's wedding is a few months out. I could stuff the mushrooms, freeze them and serve them up at Claire's wedding shower!
The rest of my shopping trip was a joyous one, scooping up all the things I'd need for the upcoming event between the mushrooms and me, up to the moment of check-out when these mushrooms became mine, all mine.
I planned the event for Sunday afternoon and would like to have had as big a stuffing party as would have been possible back in the day when all my kids lived at home (Maria, Claire, Tommy and Theresa: remember our old stromboli brigades where we'd throw together fifteen or twenty of those bad boys in an afternoon?), but this turned out to be a small affair, with only my son Tommy attending.
Still, it was a happy success, the mushrooms were stuffed,baked, and frozen and afterwards Tommy and I celebrated with a chili dinner.
My nephew Randy swung by for dinner and to help with clean-up afterwards. It was a memorable day!
And to any of you our there who might one day be fortunate enough to meet up with the mushroom deal of your dreams, I offer this:
Easy & Fabulous Stuffed Mushrooms
12 whole fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems fine.
2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet. Fry until any moisture has disappeared. (Be careful no to burn the garlic). Set aside to cool.
3. When mushroom mixture is cool, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and onion powder. Fill each mushroom cap with stuffing - be generous! Arrange mushroom caps on the baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 25 or 30 minutes, until the mushrooms are a little browned on top.