One of my strengths – just one, mind you, there are many – is developing recipes that are ultra-versatile. I almost never post a recipe whose main ingredients can’t be substituted by at least one other option. Being so flexible is what really helps to keep my grocery bills down. By buying a limited number of proteins and lots of vegetables, I can follow some of the same basic recipes with different ingredients and have the option of substituting an ingredient on the fly if I have something about to be past its prime or lounging in the freezer. The best example of this? Stuffed veggies. I’ve already posted my zucchini boats, so allow me to introduce you to…stuffed portabellas!
I saw these “stuffing portabellas” at Trader Joe’s and knew they’d be great choice – any time you can make vegetables the bulk of a dish instead of meat or grains, it’s an instant health-booster. And because you’re stuffing something, you’re using less filling by default. I also grabbed a pack of the TJ’s spicy chicken sausage. Want a glimpse into my mind while grocery shopping? I see the chicken sausage and this happens: “there are 4 of these in this pack that costs right around 4 dollars that’s 1 dollar a sausage I’m going to use them in stuffed portabellas and quinoa with vegetables and in some pasta if I have any left over they’re going to be my main meat for the week that’s only 4 dollars!” Then they go in my cart. That’s really what happens. Exhausting, right?
Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms (serves 2 for dinner, but can be made as appetizers or party food!)
6 small portabella mushroom caps
2 stems from the mushrooms, chopped
1 spicy chicken sausage (sub with literally any other sausage or ground meat, or leave it out entirely)
1/3 cup zucchini, diced
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
Salt and Pepper
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems from portabellas, and line mushrooms on a baking sheet. Drizzle mushrooms with olive oil and roast 10 minutes.
Step 2: While the mushrooms roast, chop the two stems, zucchini and chicken sausage.
Step 3: Saute sausage, zucchini and stems about 7 minutes or until tender, remove from heat and stir in parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: Remove mushrooms from oven. Water from the mushrooms may have gathered in the top – just flip over and dump out! Stuff the mushrooms with the sausage mixture, top with mozzarella, and pop back in the oven for about 5 minutes – just long enough for the cheese to melt. Serve, and enjoy!
I had these for dinner with some oven roasted tomatoes (just put them on the other end of the baking sheet that’s holding your mushrooms!) and some pan-roasted broccoli. The real trick to eating healthily on a budget is to use few and fresh ingredients – when you’re eating fresh, whole foods there’s enough flavor in that alone that you don’t need any extras. Plus, using fewer ingredients means buying fewer groceries, and spending less money. You were wondering what my other great strengths were? We’ll start with reiterating the obvious…