Chicken and Mushroom ChowderAre you an avowed mushroom lover? I was enticed by the hearty notion of the “Chicken and Mushroom Chowder,” from I customized the recipe to make six servings. I do adore mushrooms and this soup provided such a thick, mushroomy, stew -- very satisfying and very delicious. I used vegetable-bouillon broth rather than chicken broth. I cubed my chicken breast meat, sprinkled salt and pepper, and sauteed the cubes in canola oil for a few minutes. I used long-grain white rice. The amount of mushrooms (1 1/4 lbs.) is quite an intimidatingly large pile in the soup pot, but they do deliver such an amazing amount of goodness to your soup. I added 1 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper to my soup pot. If you admit to loving mushrooms (and chicken!), you must consider this soup recipe.

Stuffed Portabella MushroomsAnd speaking of mushrooms … I imagine the portabella as the big fat queen of the group. She needn’t try too hard to impress her minions with her bigness, her roundness, her heartiness. She’s meaty and easy to cook. The recipe for “Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms,” from The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan, asks you to complicate the “queen’s” simplicity with elements such as spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes, and couscous. Well, I’ll tell you that it’s quite a tasty experiment. You’ll achieve nice spinach flavors, and, of course, that great mushroom smell and taste. She is, after all, the queen of mushrooms.

The recipe suggests using couscous or brown rice. I took this flexibility seriously, and realized that any cooked grain should do. What’s lying about, leftover in your fridge? I used 1/2 cup of cooked spaetzle! A 450-degree oven is a hot one, so I made sure to line my baking sheet with aluminum foil, to ease the clean-up. These are dramatic mushrooms. Dave really enjoyed them. Portabella lovers are never ashamed. So if you are indeed one, do prepare these and enjoy that marvelous, meaty bite of mushrooms plus all that other stuffing.

RECIPES: have a mushroom party, with this thick and hearty stew/soup and a stuffed portabella queen
soup in about an hour; portabellas in about 30 minutes
soup is silky rich and portabellas give you the bite that you desire

Next time, I want to try another great meal combo. I’ll cook the “Jollof Rice and Beans,” from Robin Robertson’s Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes, along with the “Asparagus, Peas, and Basil,” from the April 2008 issue of Gourmet. Return to my site on Monday, June 23, to see what happens with this meal.