Stuffed Mushrooms – Bacon, Cheese & Butter (Oh My!)

I’ve lived in Chicago for less than a year, but that’s more than enough time to fall in love with it. I have really hit the ground running (to use some of the corporate lingo that I’ve picked up) to make the most out of this city. I’ve seen some fantastic shows, eaten at some amazing restaurants, drank the local beer, seen the best of Chicago’s sports teams play, shopped on Michigan Ave., and the list goes on. There is just so much to do here, and I absolutely love doing things!

For as much as I love the city life, I also absolutely love coming home to my small hometown to visit. I love being able to cook out on the patio that overlooks an actual yard, visit the Starbucks that made me and drive fast on country roads.

Last weekend, I got to go home to visit my family. As always, I had an absolutely lovely time! Every time I go home, we have cocktails on the back porch, my dad grills a delicious dinner and my mom is always the advocate for game playing (sometimes she even convinces my dad to join in).

This time, my mom and I got to do some cooking of our own. We were going to make stuffed mushrooms. My mom had several packages of mushrooms in the fridge because a friend of hers saw that they were on sale and bought them for my family. (How cute is that?!) So I wanted to share this stuffed mushroom recipe with you all! From my kitchen in Rochester, to yours wherever you might be. We thought they were amazing.

Stuffed Mushrooms

24 fresh mushrooms
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

Clean mushrooms. Remove the stems, and set aside.

Place mushroom caps, stem side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F. (NOTE: the photo below was taken after I took them out of the oven and flipped them over. Be sure to bake them flipped on the other side.)

Chop enough of the stems to make 1 cup. In a medium saucepan, cook the chopped stems, green onion, garlic and butter until tender.

Stir in breadcrumbs, cheese and bacon.

Spoon the mixture into mushroom caps.

Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Makes 24 mushrooms.


Mini Cinnamon Chip Cheesecakes

Fridays are always the same: work, P.J. Clarke’s, movie. Every Friday. Even at P.J. Clarke’s, very little changes on a weekly basis. I get a Blue Moon, Kenny gets a Guinness and we’ll occasionally tag in a Hoegaarden. We change up the appetizer, but we always oder the cinnamon cookie sundae. It’s a warm, cinnamon chip Carol’s cookie topped with ice cream and caramel. It’s amazing. In January, I shared a recipe I tried for cinnamon cookies inspired by this very dessert. While those little guys were good in their own way, they were not quite Carol’s. The main reason why was that they lacked cinnamon chips, which I simply could not find anywhere!

Well, good news: I found them!

Well, my mom found them to be completely honest. I’ll definitely be making cinnamon chip cookies to share with you guys next week.

This weekend, though, I am making something different. I was at home in Rochester, IL for one of my best friend’s baby shower and to spend time with my family. It was an absolute blast! My friend is an absolutely beautiful soon-to-be mommy who is due in a month and looks like she just has a soccer ball up her shirt. It was great seeing her! I came home and spent the evening on the back porch. My cousins from Colorado were in town too so we got to cook out and play board games with the family. I had so much fun!

My plan for the weekend was to make mini key lime cheesecakes in my new mini springform pans. When Mom reminded me that she had found the cinnamon chips, I was torn. I was already set on cheesecake, but I was so excited to use the new chips. I glanced at the back of the bag of chips and knew it was meant to be when I saw the recipe for Creamy Cinnamon Chip Cheesecake. So, I fused my cheesecake craving with my excitement for the chips and my new mini pans, and here’s what I came up with!

Mini Cinnamon Chip Cheesecakes

Note: I halved the orginal recipe and changed baking times and temps to make three 4-inch cheesecakes. Follow the directions on the package for a normal cheesecake.

3/4 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

1 package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 (8 ounces each) packages sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup cinnamon chips plus 1/4 cup more for topping

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.

Press into the bottom and sides of each springform pan. Bake at 300 for 7 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until blended.

Add sour cream and beat until smooth.

Add the eggs and beat until blended.

Fill each pan half full with batter. Top with cinnamon chips.

Top with another inch of batter.

Bake at 300 for about 1 hour.

Pop off the sides of the pans. Melt remaining 1/4 cup of cinnamon chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Let cool just slightly and then place in a Ziploc bag. Snip the corner of the bag and pipe the melted cinnamon on the cheesecakes. Chill at least 4 hours before serving.