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One of my favorite sides/appetizers is stuffed mushrooms. I have tried them from many different restaurants, but the majority of them seem to be lacking in flavor. The secret to a delicious stuffed mushroom recipe is spice, spice, and more spice. These mushrooms aren't flaming hot, but they do have enough spice to really brighten up their flavor.
You can use any variety of mushrooms you like, but I personally prefer baby bellas. They are flavorful and firm, allowing them to withstand being stuffed without going mushy.
As far as Parmesan cheese goes, I DETEST the powdery kind you find in a plastic container in the pasta aisle. If you want a ton of flavor, use real Parmesan and grate it yourself. There is a huge difference in both flavor and consistency.
What you need:
12 whole baby bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Panko bread crumbs (optional)
How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil, a silicone mat, or lightly coat it with olive oil.
2. Remove the stems from the caps of the mushrooms. Very finely chop the stems.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and garlic in the oil until all moisture has disappeared. Take this slowly so you won't burn the garlic. Let this mixture cool.
4. Once the mushroom mixture has cooled, stir in all of the remaining ingredients. The mixture will be very thick, so use a little elbow grease here.
5. Using a spoon, fill the caps of the mushrooms with equal amounts of the mixture.
6. If you want a crunchy topping, toss a handful of Panko bread crumbs with a little melted butter and sprinkle on top.
7. Bake the mushrooms for roughly 20 minutes, or until hot and a little liquid begins to form underneath the caps.