My name is Yvo, and I have a cheese problem.
Okay, not really, but the realization that I have in my cheese drawer something like $80 of various cheeses and, counting my blends, like 15 different kinds… well, it amused me. I told this to a friend who responded, “The fact that you have a cheese drawer already signifies there’s an issue.” Whatever. Where do YOU keep your cheese, then, genius?!
(Yes, I buy pre-shredded blends, because it makes my life infinitely easier and because I’m cooking with them, I don’t feel the quality of the cheese deteriorates that much. And if I had to buy 4 different soft cheeses to hand-grate/shred, I wouldn’t keep them pre-shredded, and my life would be hell everytime I wanted to make a quick something or other.)
You may not be able to see it clearly, but there are 7 different types of cheeses in that picture. Only 5 if you count the blend as one by itself. I wound up not using all of the cheeses – only using two different kinds – but yeah…
Here’s what I actually wound up using…
two portobello caps (Trader Joe’s, $2.50, not bad)
Polly-o Mozzarella cheese
sauce (yes… I used jarred.. we’ll talk more about that later)
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
Heat a bit of oil in a skillet; add garlic. Try not to overbrown it like I did mine, oops. Add a cleaned portobello cap and season (salt, pepper).
Flip it and season the other side. Continue sauteeing lightly until just about looking cooked on the outside (it’ll cook more in the oven).
Layer some sauce in the bottom of a pan. I used my cute lil pan perfect for a one person lasagna.
Add some cheese on top of the caps. Like my artsy shot? Like how much cheese I put?
For real, that’s how it should look. Now, this comes down to aesthetics. I do this knowing it won’t look so great for pictures. I’ve actually made this dish for the blog twice before – first time here, second time here – and though adding the cheese after the sauce looks marginally more interesting, it’s a lot easier to eat when the cheese is oozed into the gills of the mushroom and, well, the sauce is on top of that. Trust me. Or make it however you’d like. It will still taste good.
Add some more sauce, then add lots of grated cheese. I used Pecorino Romano here, but use what you like.
Bake for 20 minutes or so at 350. It depends. I started with cold sauce so I think I went to 25 minutes before it bubbled up a bit. If you start with heated sauce, and you cooked your mushrooms nearly all the way through, you just need to melt the cheese(s), really.
I served mine atop a bit of spaghetti that I accidentally drowned in more sauce and of course with some roasted broccoli. You won’t miss the meat. I promise.
Since I punk’d out last week with no recipes, I’m going to give you more this week. Plus, can’t really be pandemonium with only one recipe, right? Even if it has loads of extra pics.
Red bell peppers (cut into strips)
Onion (cut into strips)
Portobello mushrooms (cut into strips… $2.50 at Trader Joe’s)
You can’t get easier or more delicious than this, seriously.
A bit of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, throw in the peppers and onions. Salt and pepper.
Now here’s the “hard” part. Start adding seasonings – cumin, turmeric, paprika – until it smells about right. Don’t ask me what right is. I just do this until it smells the way I think fajitas should taste and smell. Then I add cayenne pepper to about how spicy I would like it. This is very subjective. That’s all I can tell you. But I will also say that if you start to do this, and begin to maser eyeballing spices like so, you will become very comfortable with your own tastebuds and figuring out what works (and occasionally, what DOESN’T) for you. And that isn’t a bad thing.
Add the Portobellos and stir that all around. Let those seasonings coat the goodness within. This doesn’t take that long. Stir it around a bit until everything’s just about as soft as you like it.
Heat up a corn tortilla. I didn’t heat this one up enough – I like them to start to blister a little and smell like grilled corn – but it’s all good. Layer on some of your goodness.
Add whatever toppings you like. Salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, whatever floats your fancy, go for it. I only added a little bit of shredded cheese and sour cream (see, the pre-shredded cheese makes this a very quick meal to prep).
Roll it and eat that taco or fajita like a pro.
What are you waiting for?
And because I’m especially nice, I’m going to offer you one last recipe, of which I didn’t take pictures. I alluded to portobello stuffed shells a week or two ago. All I did was take baby bellas and chop them up, then sautee those in butter with garlic. Then I mixed that into ricotta with an egg or two, stirred it altogether with salt & pepper, and proceeded to stuff shells with them. Simple and delicious.
Now, you may recall that I mentioned making a quick, meatless sauce for those shells. Yeah… my normal quick sauce couldn’t work cuz that starts with ground beef. The meatless version sucked hard, and y’know, I’m not always in the mood to tweak recipes.
Enter… Mezzetta. The PR for this company recently contacted me to ask how I’d like to try some of their new sauces. I’m always game to try something new, especially when they told me that the sauces are made with Napa Valley wines. Hey, I like Napa Valley. I like wine, too. I was curious about the statement that using wine to cut the tartness in the sauce leads to this being less cloyingly sweet than jarred sauces generally are. They sent me the above two jars in some neat packaging (although it was a bit too MUCH packaging, to be honest… I do have a green side!). Oh, and the sauces are completely vegetarian.
If you’ll look at the ingredients above for the plain marinara, there’s nothing that I wouldn’t add myself in there. That really pleased me. The creamy marinara was much the same, with I think one freshness-aid, probably because it’s got cheese in it and needs to stay shelf-stable. But really? Look at those ingredients! That’s pretty awesome, yeah?
And for the taste? I dipped a spoon in and tried some plain, and it was pretty good. Maybe I should add wine to my sauce instead of meat and see where that takes me. It wasn’t overly sweet, and it didn’t steal the show in the portobello parmesan – it just hit the right tone. It was great on my spaghetti, too. The real kicker was when I was eating and found a big white chunk of garlic in there – I knew it wasn’t from the garlic I’d cooked the mushroom caps in to begin with because mine had browned pretty well, and this was white. It wasn’t that big – smaller than a peppercorn, about half that size – but it definitely showed that real garlic went into this, not garlic powder or anything subpar.
I don’t say this often about pre-processed food – especially something that really is pretty easy to make (although apparently I’m too stupid to be able to make a meatless version! haha) – but this stuff is really good. I would recommend picking some up if you see it and keeping it in your cupboard for when you’re in a real bind. Or if you really don’t like to make pasta sauce – this should be the sauce you stock. I’m serious. I totally intend to make more things using these sauces as the base – pizza, pasta dishes, maybe a veggie lasagna… the possibilities are endless!!!
I’m a little paranoid since the last time I posted about a product I’d tried free of charge, someone accused me of selling out and being a shill and all that wonderful stuff. But I really believe that this product is absolutely delicious and worth you trying at least once before you tell me how wrong I am or what a corporate whore I’ve become.
As always~ have a great weekend and happy eating!!!
Disclaimers: I received no monetary consideration for this post. For the first recipe, I modified a Food Network recipe to achieve that one. The second one was a creation from my own mind, no influences. The third one was also just something that I made up in my mind and tried out that worked. No one dictated my choices here and it was a coincidence that I failed at making my quick red sauce vegetarian and then was sent these to try. Had I not liked the product, I was free to either write that, or not write about it at all.