Columnist’s note: Welcome to Taste of Home recipe test, every week I pick the recipe to be featured in the paper, and give it a try. To note, my cooking level should be considered average and is matched with a style that could only be described as unabashed with little to no reservations.
Initial thoughts: I have really got to step away from the recipes with cream cheese, as my clothes are fitting tighter just thinking about all the calories this wonderful creation holds. However, with Thanksgiving upon us (back off, Christmas zealots, let the turkey have its day), I thought this was the perfect time to feature some varied dishes for the upcoming holiday. I look forward to this day with the unprecedented glee of a recently-elected politician, I make sure to have only liquids 12 hours before we eat for maximum satiation, and of course, wear loose and comfy clothing because nothing emphasizes a full stomach more than the material of a fitted tee shirt. Back to the dish, I thought this looked like a nice addition to the usual holiday fare, and in my entire 23.9 years of Thanksgivings cannot recall ever having stuffed mushrooms.
To the store: I thought that this recipe would be fairly cheap to make until I was standing in the grocery store in front of the shelf holding the sun dried tomatoes. As I was studying the price tag I started putting together the calculations, and have resolved to start picking recipes that are more in my income bracket. According to my receipt, compared to my bank account, I am eating caviar on an imitation crab budget. I pulled my bootstraps up and bought them because I had already submitted the recipe to production. I was committed. Arriving in the cheese section I could not find fontina, so I pulled up a Google search and the internet gods informed me that provolone cheese works in a pinch.
In the kitchen: This past Saturday was an exciting day of last-minute yard work at my new house; for the first time in my life I got to experience the joys a using a riding lawnmower. I know how to use bobcats, tractors and can even ride motorcycles, but nothing could compare to the tranquility of the riding lawn mower. I practically went into a therapy session between me and me. If anyone sees me on my riding lawn mower next summer, do not disturb. I am making massive life decisions and cannot be interrupted until everything is trimmed within an inch of its life.
After surveying my handy work on the property like a queen overlooking her kingdom, I got to work in the kitchen. I fried my turkey bacon crispy (I personally like turkey bacon and won’t hear any flack about it) and while it was doing its thing I prepped the rest of my vegetables and cream cheese. A note about chopping olive saturated tomatoes: DON’T. This is a huge pain and is like trying to chop rubber, get out your kitchen shears and get snipping. Work smarter not harder here. I am impressed to say that this is the only review so far that has actually taken less time than it says it will on the recipe. Between preparing and cooking this took no more than 30 minutes, and for how tasty they were made it feel wildly unfair. Like I should have been slaving away for hours covered in dirt from picking wild mushrooms, curing my own turkey bacon while pining away for my love who is at war, whom I have not received a letter from in months. You get the picture. I ate them right out of the oven and the exorbitant price I paid for sun dried tomatoes was worth it.
Final thoughts: These little flavor bombs fired off all the right taste buds and will be a nice change up between normal turkey day dishes, and if any of these premature harbingers of Christmas come at you with their peppermint flavored everything, feel free to aim one of them right at their head so they can scurry back to their place in line on the calendar A.K.A. Dec. 1. The Official Taste Tester came over and declared that, “from a mushroom hater herself they were better than expected,” and if they were served to her, she would eat them with no complaints. I will take that as a win.
Arla Nelson is an advertising representative at the Delta County Independent. She can be reached at 970-874-4421 or arlan@deltacounty