If you haven’t picked up on it by now, our family Christmas celebration is a bit…unorthodox. We’re a blended family. I have three half siblings, all four of us are married and my three older siblings all have kids. To save hassle and struggle, my parents long ago decided that we’d have the celebration for our family the weekend before Christmas—leaving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day free for in-laws, other parents, grandparents, whatever.
The unorthodoxity doesn’t end there. We also nixed the traditional Christmas dinner a while back, too. With each of us going to multiple big, honkin’ turkey dinners during the month of December, we figured we didn’t need one more carbo-load. I love turkey and stuffing as much as the next girl, but it sorta loses its novelty if you have it every week for two months straight.
So instead, we do an appetizer buffet for our Christmas dinner. Every couple/family brings an appetizer or two, plus a dessert. It ends up creating this awesome spread of deliciousness that definitely won’t be repeated the next weekend. Because we’ve been doing this for so long, a few appetizers have become staples. I usually make my Christmas quiche, my sister usually smokes a salmon (she lives in Oregon, so Mr. Salmon flies with her, in her suitcase), we have beer-boiled shrimp, and my Dad always makes stuffed mushrooms.
As you can see, Dad’s stuffed mushroom recipe is incredible simple. Simple enough to take up less than one side of an index card. And it’s amazing, but as one of my favorite ABC Family Christmas movies says, there is more than one flavor to perfection. So I took to Dad’s base recipe with some flavorful aromatics to give it a bit of flair.
I’m only moderately ashamed to admit that this entire batch of stuffed mushrooms was gone within an hour of them coming out of the oven. We had a little help from my parents, but Craig and I did the vast majority of the damage. They are just so dang flavorful, delicious and… pop-able. These guys are the perfect little treat for drive-by eating. Stroll by the buffet table on the way to the way, pop a mushroom. Stroll back, pop another. Before you know it, the whole tray is empty. It’s like magic.
Oh! And my favorite hidden little secret about these mushrooms is that there is almost always leftover filling. Unless you happen to find the world’s largest button mushrooms, you’ll probably have some of the flavorful sausage filling kicking around once all is said and done. And that leftover filling makes for some insanely delicious meatballs. Saute them up, toss them with some tomato sauce and put them on a bed of hot spaghetti. Yum. Dinner is done.
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser app, these mushrooms will do the trick. Even mushroom haters can’t hate on mushrooms stuffed with delicious Italian sausage. Yum!
Parmesan and Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Makes: About 3 dozen
- Cooking spray
- 24 ounces large button mushrooms
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced sage
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- Wash and remove stems from mushrooms. Set mushroom caps aside. Dice mushroom stems finely and then combine with sausage, garlic, sage and parmesan. The best way to mix the combo is using clean hands.
- Overfill each mushroom cap with the sausage mixture—mounding a pile on top. Place in the prepared baking sheet. When all caps are filled, bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until sausage is cooked through.
- To make meatballs using remaining filling: form into desired-sized balls and saute in a hot skillet coated with olive oil until the meatballs are browned on all sides. Plop into warming tomato sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes more to finish cooking.