Friday, July 19, 2013

Marsala Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

This is one of our new favorite recipes. It's simple, yet so delicious. I make one version with chicken (this recipe) and another PKU friendly "lower" protein recipe.



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup Marsala wine or white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (I use shredded chicken breast)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2.  In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir in for 1 minute. 

3. Stir in the Marsala and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, the parsley, salt  and pepper

4. In a greased 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole pan, spread the rice in an even layer; top with the chicken. Pour the mushroom gravy on top. Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, about 35 minutes. Discard the foil, sprinkle the Parmesan on top and bake for 5 minutes more.


Marsala Mushroom Casserole

This is one of our new favorite recipes. It's simple, yet so delicious. I make a version for my husband and for my PKU self. This one is the 'lower" protein version (no chicken/no cheese). For the version with chicken, use this recipe

For my version, I actually do a 1/2 recipe and use a smaller 8 inch square pan. You can double to recipe and use a 9x13 as well. I do NOT use low-protein rice, and it is still low enough for me diet. If you would like to try it with low-pro rice, feel free. Let me know how it turns out.

1 tablespoon butter
10 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup Marsala wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cups water
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice (I use real rice, not low-protein)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir in for 1 minute.

3. Stir in the Marsala and cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water, the parsley, salt and pepper.

4. In a greased 8 inch casserole, spread the rice in an even layer. Pour the mushroom gravy on top. Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, about 35-45 minutes.

before baking...a lot of liquid

After photo COMING SOON...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

White Wine Marinated Portabella Mushroom Burger

So I must confess, the mushroom burger recipe I posted a while back has had many views, but I got lazy...I made an easier one. I still really like that recipe. But let's face it...when your friends are grilling burgers, the last thing you want to bring is a messy/falling apart mushroom patty or spend a long time prepping. I gave in to the world of portabella mushroom burgers. 

I knew they were easier, but I just hadn't enjoyed the texture in the past. Every time I tried them, they were too chewy rubbery. But after a friend attempted to marinate one in some Italian dressing for me, I got an idea. (The Italian dressing marinate was great, don't get me wrong...but my idea fits my taste buds perfectly).

White Wine Marinated Portabella Mushroom Burger with (imitation) Swiss Cheese

1 portabella mushroom (try to find one the same width as the bun you will use)
1/2 cup white wine (cooking wine is fine)
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 T. butter (just enough to "grease" the pan)
Imitation Swiss Cheese Slice (I use one of the kinds you can buy at Walmart, but any cheese will work).
1 "hamburger" bun of your choice/phe allowance

PREP: Remove mushroom stem and wash mushroom well. Place mushroom in a plastic Ziploc bag with the 1/2c. of white wine and the thyme. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

GRILLING: Bring to the grill and place on the grill just like anyone else would place their burger. I can't help with timing, because it all depends on the grill. If you are worried about the white wine dripping, you may place the mushroom on foil before placing it on the grill. I always hand it to the men in my life and let them do the grilling! Sorry, not much help there. The real point is that I can throw all the prep stuff into a bag in about 5 minutes and bring it to a friend's house. 

1. Set burner on medium heat and melt butter.
2. Add mushroom from bag (save "juice" in the bag). Allow mushroom to cook in the butter, a few minutes each side. Flip as needed.

Mushroom with thyme, cooked and almost ready

3. When the pan starts to get dry, add the "juice" from the bag. Allow mushroom to simmer in the white wine until liquid is ALMOST gone.

4. Turn burner to low and place cheese slice on top of the mushroom. If you have a PKU-friendly non-melting cheese like I use, just leave it there until it is warm and the rest of the liquid is gone. If you are impatient, you can put the mushroom and cheese in the microwave for a few seconds.

Add cheese when only a little liquid is left

5. Place mushroom on bun and add ketchup and/or other exciting things you might want to add.

That's it. Very simple, low prep work. I still enjoy the other recipe, but this one is so easy. The white wine and mushroom and "swiss" taste is great together, and it's simple to bring over to a cook out. I would imagine non-PKU people might enjoy the flavors as well (with real cheese of course). Feel free to pass the recipe along. Enjoy.

Yum! Ignore the non-melty cheese and the bun that is too small. It tasted great.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Our Mushroom "Farm"

If you haven't figured out from my recipe blogs, we eat a lot of mushrooms in our household. I often use them as a low protein substitute for meat. For Christmas this year, my creative and thoughtful father bought us mushroom kits.

For the past few months, we have grown our own white button mushrooms. It was fairly easy to "assemble" (mix the dirt/spores). We water it every now and then and have fresh mushrooms every couple of days. The mushrooms were WHITE...I didn' t know they actually came in real white...but they do. They last a long time since they are much more fresh than store-bought, and they tasted great.

If you want to try this at home, I will warn you- you MUST harvest on a regular basis. We left the kit alone in our guest bedroom for a few days and had 2 lbs. of mushrooms that had grown past the appropriate harvest time. It was sad to toss them, but we still had plenty more left.

Mushrooms grow in a bag inside a box
(sorry the picture is fuzzy)

Our second kit, the portabellas, did not produce far we have 3. But the first kit provided plenty of mushrooms (I can't imagine what we would have done if we had double the mushroom harvest...we already have much more than we need! )

I'm not entirely sure where my father purchased our kit, but there seem to be many available online. For those of you that like mushrooms, they taste so much better and were so easy to grow. We may have to get another kit and start growing year-round.

First harvest, very large fresh mushrooms
I'd love to figure out how to make our own "kits" (aka mix our own spores/dirt/compost) to save money...if anyone reading knows how, feel free to share. Meanwhile, we will stick to the kit!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Swimsuit Shopping

Today I got a catalog in the mail that actually made me want to buy a new swimsuit.
In fact, every time I get this catalog, I want a swimsuit.

After years of struggling trying to find modest swimsuits that didn't look granny-ish, I finally found the brand that works for me. As a youth worker, I need a suit (they hate when act "old" and don't actually get in the pool). And as a church youth worker, I need to make sure my top half is contained. As a 30+ woman, I need to make sure my thighs are contained. :)

 See the example of the modest shorts style in the center
 I promise I'm not being paid to "sell" you these suits, I just felt like Athleta is a secret that almost no one knows about. I need to share.

Not only do they sell modest bottoms (actual short length with a loose fit), they sell bra size tops. Plus they are all actually lined with support (they lift and and have thick lining).They also sell most tops/one pieces in tall sizes, a must have for my tankini tops. If you are one who likes a little more skin to show on your suits, they have those too. But their suits still have the supportive tops and are much better quality. I actually ended up with two tops and two bottoms of the same suit, so I can mix and match.

Now, not all suits are bra-size tops, but many are. Not all the shorts are loose...some are the tight fit style that most places sell. And a few of the prints are kind of...well...let's just say not my style. But they have some great options...just be sure to read the details if you are looking for a particular style.

I was really hesitant to order a swimsuit online, but they have free returns. After spending many hours EVERY summer trying on suits and ending up in tears and frustrated, I decided it wasn't much of a risk. I am so thankful my friend Grete shared the "insider information"with me. My swimsuit shopping has been tear-free ever since. I hope this helps some of you enjoy the same "tear-free" shopping.

P.S. They have other cute stuff, but I have no idea if it's great. Athletic wear for me is rarely needed and is usually a t-shirt and basketball shorts.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cambrooke's Swirl Caramel (updated)

A PKU Review

Swirl! My sampled arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. I actually tried this at the PKU conference this summer in a "secret taste test", so it wasn't new to me. But having it in the comfort of my own home was new. I was excited.

The taste test I did at the conference included 3 flavors, and none of them tasted like formula. I must admit that of the flavors, the caramel was the one I like the least. It reminded me of butterscotch pudding...not bad at all, but not a pudding flavor I ever pick. I'm excited for the chocolate flavor to come out someday soon.

Once again, Cambrooke managed to created a product that does not taste like formula. It is very rich (too rich for a morning formula for sure!). It is also messy. I made mine in my normal shaker cup with 3 oz. of water. I actually ended up stirring it after shaking because it still had some power-looking texture. I ate as much as I could scrape of the sides, but I felt like I wasted a lot of it. It stuck to the sides and was difficult to clean up. I even searched online to see how Cambrooke suggested making it, and they actually used the same exact cup I did. They just didn't zoom in on the mess made inside the cup.

I don't know that shelf life would allow this, but I would LOVE if swirl came in "snack pack" size cups premixed. I'm all about tasty formula, but as an adult with a full time job, if it's not convenient and easy to make, then it is not practical for life. I don't mind the cutesy official name "Kick'n'It Karamel", but I am very glad they didn't put that on the actual package...and I hope they don't add it. It's never fun to have people think you are snacking on/drinking/eating kiddie food.

With my second pack, I'm going to try the Swirl mixed as a "smoothie". I am sure it will taste great, and I'll update more later.

I mixed the second pack with 8oz. of water and it was a nice texture. It tasted the same (good, but butterscotch-like) but was less messy since the liquid did not stick to the cup. I wouldn't mind this as a formula choice, but it is a bit rich. If they come out with the chocolate flavor, I would really like to have this as an evening "dessert" formula, since it really does taste like a sweet flavored shake/smoothie.

Looks just like pudding...yum

It stick to the side of the cup & needs to be scraped out :(

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Children's Museum

It's been forever since I blogged, mostly due to the blessing of a teaching job this year. There are tons of things I could update on...and I will as time permits. But for some reason, the first thing I wanted to share with the world is what a great experience we had at the Austin Children's Museum.

We took our niece and nephew there about a month ago with low expectations. Honestly, we were just trying to fill time while babysitting them.

Before we even entered the museum rooms, the kids were given an opportunity to participate in a woodworking project. By kids I mean both of them and tons of others, some barely old enough to walk. The staff members helped the kids measure, saw, drill and assemble a wood frame. The craft was nothing fancy, but it was amazing to see the kids challenged to attempt a project with power tools normally not for kids. My niece especially was so proud and excited to show her father that she could use power tools.

In case you are freaking out, the younger kids only held a hand or two on the tools while the staff members worked. But it made her feel like a "big kid" and was so much better than some of the cheesy paper/glue/glitter type girly crafts she was used to.

The rest of the museum was great too. It was educational if you cared to read the information with the kids, and entertaining either way. It was so much better than killing time with a movie!

We probably won't go back again due to the fact we don't live in Austin, but it really encouraged me to find challenging projects and activities for the kids when we babysit next time. It's so easy to pop in a movie or play a video game, but so much more rewarding to see then learn and create. I'm excited to see what we can come up with next time - I'm thinking sewing, but maybe even another project with the power tools.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Now that I'm trying to get my levels down, I am desperate for snacks I can munch on without guilt. Cheez-Its are my favorite we found a recipe for low-phe "cheese" crackers. I haven't made them in many years and couldn't find all the same products as in our original recipe...but it still worked well. 

1 1/2c. Low-Pro Baking Flour (I used Country Sunrise or LoProfin)
1/2c. cheese sauce mix (I used country sunrise)
1 1/2t. baking powder
salt to taste
1/3c. butter flavored Crisco
1/4 c. water

Mix dry ingredients. Cut crisco in mixer or food processor until it is crumbly. Add water and mix until moistened. Divide dough in half keeping unused portion covered. 
"Dough" looks like this
Roll out to 1/8' thick or less (thin is better) between 2 pieces of wax paper ( I used saran wrap in the doesn't work as well- I ended up rolling it out directly on the pan). 
Roll out very thin
Cut with a pizza or pastry cutter.
 You should try to make better lines than I did :)
 Pierce each with a fork or toothpick. Bake on 500 for 4-5 minutes. Let cool and enjoy. Repeat with second half of the dough. They will store well in ziplock bags...but mine never last long so I can't tell you how long they stay fresh.

Finished Crackers

50g of crackers = 17.5mg/PHE

If they are too chewy, roll thinner next time
If they burn they are too thin. 
Be conservative on the salt until you find the best amount that works for you.  You can always shake salt in the bag after they are done to add won't stick as well but it taste the same.

CaminoPro COMPLETE Fruit

First of all, let me say that since my last review of the Peanut Butter flavored bars, I've decided I love them. Cambrooke is brilliant. If you didn't see my edit on that review, the "fresh" bars (not mailed in 100+ temps) were creamy and amazing. I'll have to wait until temp drops to order more.

Fruit Bar in the Car- great for on the go

That being said, I was not a fan of the fruit frenzy bars. I saved this one for a road trip to the city. I figured it would be great for a formula on the go. And it was very convenient. The flavor was tasted like some sort of cereal bar with white chocolate coating.

However, I slightly overreacted to the texture. No one told me it had crunchy somethings inside. I'm not entirely sure what it was (fruit? nuts?) I am sure many people will like this bar...for the record I just don't do textures well. If you like fruit flavor you will probably like this bar. But personally, I'll stick with the peanut butter :)
chunky texture things- eww :(