Stuffed Mediterranean Portobellos

Mmmmm… so excited about this one. I just got home from visiting my sister in California, and attending CSM (the national Physical Therapy Conference) in Las Vegas, and I sure am ready to get back to my routine! After a lot of meals out and taxing my tummy with foreign foods (after all, the West Coast IS kinda like a different country…), I feel like I need to reset my system with some healthy, meat-free meals.

Enter stuffed mushroom caps. While in Vegas, we had a Duke Alumni and Friends reception and one of the dishes they served were stuffed mushrooms with goat cheese and bread crumbs. Hence the inspiration for this recipe. While there’s no goat cheese and no bread crumbs or panko, I tried to capture the same depth of flavor and that to-die-for gooey, cheesy texture while keeping it light and heart-healthy. Since I’m a sucker for Mediterranean food, I decided to stuff larger portobello mushroom caps with quinoa, chickpeas, olives, capers, and lots of feta, plus some other classic Med-style ingredients.

I love the combination of the lemon and parsley in this recipe, combined with the slightly tangy flavor of the capers and saltiness of the kalamata olives. The quinoa also brings a nutty taste, and of course the mushrooms and chickpeas give the entire dish a meatiness without actually requiring any meat (although if you really miss it, ground turkey would be delish).

I’m just happy because I got to finally use my truffle oil. There is nothing greater in the realm of gourmet food than truffles. Just saying.

Have a great week, everyone!


Stuffed Mediterranean Portobellos
Recipe Type: Main Dishes, Gourmet
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Looking for a healthy vegetarian dinner idea for tonight? Look no further- these stuffed Mediterranean ‘shrooms are sure to satisfy, and you won’t miss the meat one bit!
  • 10 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, dry
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 large bunch fresh parsley (about 1/2 cup minced)
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, rinsed and chopped roughly
  • 1 small jar capers
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp Greek seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • truffle salt, for finishing (optional)
  • truffle oil, for finishing (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. To clean mushrooms, carefully pull the stems to one side until they pop off. Using a small spoon, gently scrape out the gills inside the cap (remember, they’re mushrooms, not rocks, so it shouldn’t take a lot of force!) and turn mushroom over to discard the remains into a trash can. Don’t worry if you don’t get every single gill out- just go for the majority!
  3. Gently rub the top of the mushroom cap with a moist paper towel.
  4. In a casserole dish or baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, place mushrooms (cavity-side down) and cook 5 minutes, just until they are thoroughly dried out. Remove from oven and set aside until ready for filling.
  5. Prepare quinoa according to package directions.
  6. In a medium saucepan, cook onions and garlic until soft- about 4 minutes. Add to cooked quinoa and toss. Set aside.
  7. In a food processor, combine tomatoes, roasted red peppers, parsley, 1 tbsp olive oil, and juice from 1/2 of lemon. Pulse until roughly chopped- this should take <10 seconds! (Don’t over-pulse!)
  8. Using a spatula, spoon mixture into a large colander and drain excess water.
  9. To same food processor, add chickpeas, spinach, and remaining lemon juice. Pulse until roughly chopped, about 5 seconds. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  10. When tomato mixture has drained, add to bowl with chickpeas.
  11. Stir in kalamata olives and capers.
  12. Add 1 tbsp (or to taste) Greek seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  13. Toss in the cooked quinoa and feta.
  14. Fill each mushroom cap (remember those?) with about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling (depending on the size of the mushroom). Pack down into the cavity with the back of the spoon.
  15. Sprinkle additional feta, truffle salt, and pepper over top of each mushroom. Place back into casserole dish or baking sheet.
  16. Bake for 15 minutes, or until feta has softened and browned slightly.
  17. Remove from oven, and drizzle with the teensiest bit of truffle oil (optional). Cool for a few minutes before serving!
Serving size: 1 mushroom Calories: 315 cal Fat: 10 g Carbohydrates: 45 g Fiber: 10 g Protein: 15 g

DSC00608See all those gills in there? Those will give the mushroom a musty taste. Make sure to clean your mushroom caps before filling!

DSC00609To clean, gently remove stems and scrape gills out with a small spoon. Also use a damp paper towel or dish rag to clean the tops of the caps.

DSC00613Clean(er) fungus FTW!

DSC00614Stick in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes to dry them out.

DSC00574Cook onions and garlic until soft.

DSC00577Toss in onions and garlic with the cooked quinoa. Set aside.

DSC00575Process tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, and roasted red peppers.

DSC00581Drain in a colander to get rid of excess water.

DSC00582Process chickpeas, spinach, and the remaining lemon juice.

DSC00584Transfer to a bowl and toss.

DSC00585Roughly chop kalamata olives.

DSC00586Add to bowl with chickpeas, along with the quinoa, capers, and drained tomato mixture.

DSC00587Add feta, Greek seasoning, and salt and pepper. At this point, you could definitely eat this on its own, or set some aside for a quick and healthy salad later in the week! (See note at bottom of this post)

DSC00616…Or you could keep going! Fill each mushroom cap with some of the filling and gently press down into the cavity.

DSC00634Sprinkle with more feta, salt (I used my truffle salt here!), and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until feta has softened a bit and gotten a little brown on top!

DSC00626Drizzle with truffle oil while they’re still hot, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve over a bed of greens with a side of some fresh orange slices!

Ben and I enjoyed the leftovers from this recipe all week long! This supper was half of a leftover ‘shroom, some more of the quinoa salad (warmed), steamed veggies, parsley, and a poached egg on top! DSC00637

Superbowl Snackables Part 2: Teriyaki Glazed Wings


Superbowl Snackables Part 2: Teriyaki Glazed Wings
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Comfort
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
Perfect as a snack for the big game! Sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of sesame seeds, and serve with celery sticks and carrot sticks for a little extra color!
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken drummettes or wings, skin on
  • 1/4 cup Soy-Vay Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade (I used the pineapple flavor)
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • Celery sticks and carrots (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a large zip-top bag.
  2. Shake to combine, making sure all of the brown sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add chicken to bag and toss until covered.
  4. Marinate at least 1 hour, turning bag over halfway through.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Spread chicken out on a foil-lined and oiled baking sheet or aluminum pan (I used a disposable one, which was a good idea because a lot of the glaze burned on the bottom of the pan!)
  7. Cook chicken for 30 minutes at 400 degrees (these can be cooked at the same time as my “Krispie Chicken Strips” as well!), then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for 20 minutes more, or until chicken is cooked through and the glaze is browned and slightly crisped.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with carrots and celery sticks!

Superbowl Snackables Part 1: Krispie Chicken Strips


Superbowl Must-Haves: Krispie Chicken Strips
Recipe Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Comfort
Author: Claire McCormick of “Claire Tastes”
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-12
Who doesn’t love a good crispy chicken strip? Perfect as an appetizer or snack for the big game, or even as a main course with a salad on the side for dinner!
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups rice cereal (like Rice Krispies!)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk flour and mustard together.
  4. In a freezer bag, pour rice cereal and mash with hands or the back of a frying pan until the cereal forms rough crumbs.
  5. Dip chicken first in flour mixture, then in egg. Shake gently to remove excess.
  6. Add chicken, a few strips at a time, to cereal in the bag. Shake, shake, shake, until evenly coated!
  7. Remove from bag and place on a foil-lined baking dish or aluminum foil pan.
  8. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning chicken halfway through. Chicken will have formed a nice crispy crust!

Pepperoni Pizza Loaf

Pizza Loaf_2

Pizza Loaf_1


Pepperoni Pizza Loaf
Recipe Type: Snacks, Appetizers
Author: Claire McCormick
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
An easy snack recipe promised to please the men of the house!
  • 1 store-bought refrigerated French Loaf (11 oz.)
  • 1 package sandwich-size pepperoni
  • 8 slices thin-sliced cheddar cheese
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Unroll french loaf carefully, separating in half.
  3. Using fingertips or a lightly greased rolling pin, spread dough into two rectangles, about 3″x12″ each.
  4. Sprinkle each rectangle with about 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning.
  5. Layer pepperoni slices over each rectangle, reserving about 1/8″ at the borders of the dough, and overlapping slightly.
  6. Layer 4 slices cheddar cheese on top of pepperoni.
  7. Gather long edges of each rectangle and begin to roll dough from the long ends, holding toppings steady as you roll.
  8. Seal ends of dough by pressing lightly with fingers.
  9. Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
  10. Allow to cool before slicing! Serve with marinara sauce, if desired.


Tuscan Spinach and Tomato “Crustini”

Tuscan Spinach and Tomato “Crustini”
(adapted from

Tuscan Spinach and Tomato Crustini

I found this great recipe for a pizza-like bruschetta/pie that used ingredients I already had lying around and was trying to get rid of! With a cream cheese-pesto sauce layered with spinach, onion, tomato and mozzarella, this recipe is great as an appetizer or can be served with a green salad for a quick and delicious dinner!

1 refrigerated pie crust, brought to room temperature
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
5 tsp basil pesto
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp dry roasted sunflower seed kernels
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into small pieces
1 tsp dried basil

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll pie crust on cookie sheet.
2. In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese and 4 teaspoons of the pesto. Spread cheese mixture over pie crust to within 1 inch of edge. Arrange spinach evenly over the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle onion over spinach. Arrange tomato slices in single layer over onion. Carefully fold 1-inch edge of crust over filling, pleating crust every 2 inches. Brush remaining 1 teaspoon pesto over edge of crust.
3. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle sunflower kernels and cheese evenly over filling. Bake 12 to 14 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and crust is light golden brown.
4. Cool 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with basil. Cut into 12 wedges.

English Muffin Pizzas


1 package 100% whole wheat English muffins or sandwich thins (about 12 halves)
1 can pizza sauce
1 small container cottage cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Fresh baby spinach
1 small can black olives
Turkey pepperoni
Raw broccoli or cauliflower
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil
Dried oregano or Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On an ungreased cookie sheet, place bread halves face up. Brush each lightly with olive oil. Top each first with 1-2 tablespoons of pizza sauce, followed by about 1 tablespoon of cottage cheese (if desired).  Layer pepperoni, vegetables, and olives on top, followed by mozzarella cheese and spices. Bake at 350 deg for about ten minutes, or until bread is crisp and cheese is bubbling.

mini pizzas2