Sunday, October 28, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Portobellos with Tomato and Feta

I am going to start off by admitting that mushrooms are a little weird. It's like...what the heck are they, really? A fungus?! A fungus that reproduces with spores, like some alien invader? They have a thick, meaty texture, but they aren't animals? They have gills, but they aren't sea creatures? They are high in vitamins and grow out of the ground, but they aren't vegetables?

Over all, mushrooms just have sort of a weird reputation compared to other foods.

You hungry yet? :)

Hey, I think mushrooms are delicious. Think about it this way: you get the satisfying, savory texture of meat, with the low-calorie vitamins of a vegetable. Jazzed up with a tangy balsamic marinade, sweet tomatoes, and salty feta, you have yourself a delicious and healthy meal!

And so, with the hope of standing up for mushrooms everywhere (hey, I do live in Boulder now...), I give you my Roasted Balsamic Portobellos with Tomato and Feta. 


  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps. Deliciously meaty, portobellos make for a great main dish. They tend to shrink down quite a bit as they cook, so two caps a meal do make.
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half. Kinda depends on how big the mushrooms just want enough that when sliced in half, they will cover the mushrooms.
  • Handful of crumbled feta cheese. Don't use the reduced fat kind. For some reason, it has the same amount of calories as the full-fat feta, and it tastes like crap and doesn't melt.
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey. The sweetness helps balance the acidity of the balsamic.
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme. When in doubt, always add thyme to mushrooms. It is like the peanut butter to mushroom's jelly. That sounds weird, but you know what I mean.
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
I prepare this in the oven, but it would be great on the grill as well. If you want, you could even make yummy portobello burgers with these by just throwing them on a bun. It is such a low-calorie dish that you are entitled to some carbs if you want to, dammit!


Prepare your marinade in a small bowl by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and salt.

Cooking for One TIP: Pour out your tablespoon of olive oil BEFORE you pour out the tablespoon of honey...the residual oil on the spoon will help the honey slide right off. Neat, huh?

Wipe any visible dirt off the mushroom caps (don't wash them, since they will absorb all the water and become tough). Yank out the stems, which I promise you will find oddly satisfying.

Put the mushroom caps and your sliced cherry tomatoes into a large Ziploc bag (this blog post brought to you by the fine folks at Ziploc!**) and pour in your marinade. Slosh the bag around to make sure everything gets evenly coated, and store in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes, and up to a few hours. Mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up all the delicious flavors even faster than meat does.


Heat your oven (or toaster oven) to 450 degrees. Put your mushrooms cap side up on a foil lined baking sheet, leaving the tomatoes in the bag with the marinade. Roast for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove the mushrooms from the oven, flip them over so they are cap side down, and top evenly with the sliced tomatoes. Drizzle any remaining marinade over the mushrooms and tomatoes, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven, sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese, and enjoy your healthy, flavorful meal! You still may not understand what the heck a mushroom is, but I promise you will love this dish.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chicken and Pumpkin Curry Soup

Well, now that it has been about a year and a half since my last post, and it is autumn and all, I decided it was time to turn over a new leaf (har har!) and pick this blog back up again. I apologize for the mass starvation of single twenty-somethings I most likely caused in my absence.

There is something special and unique about the fall season...days when it is 25 F in the morning and 65 F in the afternoon that leave you utterly perplexed as to what to wear to work...irritation at all the evergreen trees in your neighborhood and their uninspiring lack of festivity...and the sudden explosion of pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!!

Between September and November, the sight of pumpkin flavored anything on a menu makes us squeal with delight and take out our wallets. Starbucks in particular capitalizes on this...check out some gag-inducing copy from their website on their famous Pumpkin Spice Latte:

"The ideal vision of fall: bright days that grow cool and call for warm knits as we walk under leaves that curl red and gold in a soft wind."

Sweet Jesus. I don't even know where to begin with that.

Anyways, in keeping with this festive time of year, I bring you my Chicken and Pumpkin Curry Soup. I can assure you the chicken is as tender as a warm autumn fire with your loved ones, the cauliflower as crisp and crunchy as fallen leaves under foot, and the thick creamy soup spiced as warmly as flannel pajamas on a chilly October night.

(See Starbucks? I can do it too!)


  • 2 large handfuls of diced frozen chicken. Huge time saver to buy a big bag of this stuff! Pre-cooked so you don't have to worry about salmonella, pre-cut so you don't have to worry about slicing off your finger...hell, it's practically pre-eaten for you!
  • 1 bag of frozen cauliflower florets. Adds nice texture to the soup.
  • 1 cup of frozen diced onion. Can you tell I rely on my freezer a lot?
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 can of lite coconut milk. The regular kind has a STAGGERING amount of fat in it--you have been warned.
  • 1 can of pumpkin. It's like autumn in a can! Make sure the only ingredient on the can is pumpkin puree...don't buy the pumpkin pie filling stuff.
  • 2 tbsp. of curry powder. More if ya like it hot!
  • 1.5 tbsp. of cumin. Adds a smoky depth of flavor.
  • 1.5 tbsp. of minced garlic. I use the bottled kind that lasts for eons in the fridge.
  • 1 tbsp. of ginger. I used ground ginger powder, but you could use fresh as well.
  • 1 tbsp. of cinnamon. Smell that folks? That's fall.
  • 1 tbsp. of nutmeg. See above.
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Green onion to garnish. Optional.
This recipe makes about 3-4 servings, so you can enjoy it all week, torturing your coworkers or roommates with the tantalizing aromas of autumn.


Heat a pot to medium high and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add in your frozen onions and minced garlic and saute until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add in all your spices (the curry powder, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg) and stir to combine with the onions and garlic for a couple minutes. Cooking the spices first before making the broth helps release their flavor and aroma.

DISCLAIMER: Stacy Chudwin assumes no liability for the lingering reek of curry in your household.

Add in your frozen diced chicken and frozen cauliflower, stirring to coat with the onion and spice mixture.

Let the frozen chicken and cauliflower saute in the onion and spice mixture for a few minutes. Then add your liquids (chicken broth, coconut milk, and pumpkin). Stir to combine everything, breaking up the thick pumpkin puree.

Turn down the heat to medium low and let the soup simmer until everything is heated through and the broth is thick and creamy. The longer it simmers the better!

Ladle into a bowl, garnish with green onion if so desired, and enjoy your sweet, savory, and lightly spicy autumn meal.

What's YOUR favorite pumpkin-flavored something this fall? Drop me a line in the comments section!