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June 02, 2013

SPINACH & RITZ CRACKER STUFFED MUSHROOMS

I can eat a whole platter of these mushrooms stuffed with spinach and Ritz cracker filling. These delicious appetizers are always a hit.

 spinach and Ritz cracker stuffed mushrooms
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I like stuffed mushrooms of all kinds—with crab, with sausage, with cream cheese, with bread stuffing—you name it. But my favorite is with Ritz crackers. The first time I made it, I used this recipe from Kraft. Over the years, I made a number of changes to make it my own.  

 spinach and Ritz cracker stuffed mushrooms on a white serving pedestal

Here are some things I do differently. I prebake the mushrooms a few minutes as I find they can exude too much liquid. It also cuts down on oven time for the stuffing which prevents it from drying out on the surface.  I add spinach for the health factor. I also replaced the Italian seasoning with Italian dressing for a slight touch of tang (a case of misreading the recipe turned into serendipity). I won't bore you with the details...unless you want me to.

 spinach and Ritz cracker stuffed mushrooms, sliced


If you like mushrooms, check out my recipe. I could eat the whole batch at one sitting if not for the calorie factor. Those dagnabbit calories! (Sorry, sometimes my mind thinks like a cranky old man.)

 spinach and Ritz cracker stuffed mushrooms


SPINACH & RITZ CRACKER STUFFED MUSHROOMS




INGREDIENTS:

24 oz. (about 16) medium to large button mushrooms, roughly 2 inch diameter or larger
34 Ritz crackers, crushed
5 oz. chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
5 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 wedge of red bell pepper, cut into 15-20 quarter-inch dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. Italian dressing
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. olive oil



INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Twist off stems. Finely chop enough stems to equal 1/2 cup. Discard or save the rest for another use.

Place mushroom caps face up on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes depending on the size of the mushrooms. Should be slightly soft.  Set aside.

Preheat a medium skillet on medium heat. Add oil. Add onion, garlic, mushroom and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in cracker crumbs and butter. Add Italian dressing and grated parmesan cheese. Keep warm.

Dump out any liquid accumulated in the mushroom caps. Spoon in filling. Place one piece of red pepper in the center. Place on a dry, greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and stuffing is hot.





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