I love reading about food, which is why my blog contains lists of links to some of my favorite sites. Some of my favorites aren’t very weight watcher friendly, but they do contain gorgeous photos of cupcakes and exotic destinations. Others, like 101 Cookbooks, pack a double punch with gorgeous photos plus recipes that use real wholesome foods and can often be easily adapted to work well on weight watchers. While looking around on 101 Cookbooks the other day, I came across Heidi’s recipe for a mushroom casserole and knew that I just had to try it.
I didn’t really grow up eating mushrooms, although there are two exceptions to that statement. We often had casseroles that involved canned cream of mushroom soup with teeny tiny little bits of mushroom in it. This soup would sometimes masquerade as gravy on mashed potatoes or rice too. I remember that I loved that particular combination, and that could be why this casserole sounded so good.
The other exception involved the tiny little cans of sliced mushrooms. I loved spending Saturdays at my grandparents’ house. My memaw would often buy a Chef Boyardee pizza kit, and my brother and I would hang out on Saturday and make our own pizza. You know the kit, right? It’s the one with dried little package of cheese, the tiny can of pizza sauce and the crust mix? Are they still available? I haven’t looked for one in years. We always embellished the pizza by adding the little canned mushrooms, ground beef, lots of extra cheese, and, if we were feeling particularly fancy, we might even add black olives. I looked forward to pizza Saturdays, and, just like now, I was always so excited when the finished product came out of the oven looking all golden and bubbly.
When I started incorporating more veggies in my diet, I came to really love mushrooms– grilled, sauted, stuffed, roasted… devoured! When I saw this recipe, I knew what my “big batch” food needed to be this week. Heidi had a couple of suggestions to lighten the casserole up, and I changed a couple of other things as well. If you want to see the original recipe (and if you’ve never checked out 101 Cookbooks you totally should), please click on the link in the paragraph above. I’m going to put my version below as it is the one I used to calculate points using the magic gadget.
Mushroom Casserole adapted from the recipe on 101 Cookbooks
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 pound (8 ounces) mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 large red onion, chopped well
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. fines herbes
3 cups cooked brown rice at room temperature
1/2 cup egg beaters
1 cup 1% low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra fines herbes for sprinkling on the top
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms in the olive oil sprinkled with a couple of pinches of salt. Stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic and the fines herbes, cook for another minute and remove from heat. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.
In a large bowl whisk together the egg beaters, cottage cheese, sour cream, and salt.
Combine the rice mixture and cottage cheese mixture in the large bowl, stir until well combined and then turn out into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or until hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and fines herbes if you wish.
This makes 6 unofficial 4 point servings
I used a red onion in honor of Valentine’s Day, and also because that was the only kind of onion in my onion drawer. I never run out of onions! I don’t know how that happened, but I will be heading to the store this evening. That rates as an emergency in my book! If you have a yellow onion or, even better, a vidalia, that would be good too. Although, I will say that I like the color and sweetness of the red in this dish. I will probably use a red onion “on purpose” the next time I make this dish because I liked it so much.
Heidi’s recipe called for a sprinkling of fresh tarragon over the top of the finished casserole. I forgot to pick up tarragon at the store, but felt like I needed to give this a little punch. Since I lightened the casserole ingredients, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to infuse the rice mixture with a little extra flavor so I added some fines herbes, which is one of my favorite blends of herbs. It gives a little French flair to almost anything. It is typically a mixture of tarragon, parsley, chives and chervil. Chervil is such a funny word! Anyway, I think that fines herbes is pretty widely available, but if you can’t find it, you could toss in some thyme or rosemary, use the fresh tarragon on top, or just leave it plain. It would be good that way too. If you want to know more about fines herbes, click this link: link. It could be your fun fact of the day. Hey, you never know when you might find yourself on Jeopardy. I can see it now: This herb blend typically includes parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil. BUZZ: Alex, what is fines herbes? If you win big, don’t forget about me!
The smell of the casserole baking in the oven was amazing. This is a stick to your ribs kind of dish, and I decided to stick some to my ribs last night along with a salad made of romaine, a few pickled beets, some carrots, a few quartered grapes, a few roasted and salted pumpkin seeds and a bit of goat cheese topped with my favorite zero point salad dressing: some coarse mustard mixed with a little vinegar, salt and pepper. This casserole is going to be a great addition to my lunches this week! I’m so glad that I came across the recipe! Thanks, Heidi!
One more thing: Beadie over at What I Ate Yesterday is hosting a contest. The winner gets to try some Country Bob’s All-Purpose Sauce. I don’t think you can go wrong with something called “Country Bob’s.” I’ll bet Bob knows what he’s doing. If you are interested in entering, please click this link to visit Beadie’s site and enter. The contest ends Tuesday.