Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Whenever I go to a party that I’m not hosting, I make sure to bring something on the healthier side with me. This doubles as a 1) a nice gesture, and 2) a backup option for when there aren’t a lot of foods being served that I want to eat. Successful moderation and healthy eating is all about being prepared, and I find that being ready with a healthy dish in social situations helps me balance out the not so great for me snacks and indulgences that I know I’ll have too.

So while everyone else is posting recipes for nachos and chicken wings this week, I want to post a different kind of recipe for you. These Mediterranean stuffed mushrooms are the perfect healthier appetizer to make for whatever Super Bowl party you are going to this weekend. I think stuffed mushrooms are a crowd pleaser too. Don’t people always seem to get weirdly excited about them? Just make sure to call them Mediterranean stuffed mushrooms instead of quinoa stuffed mushrooms, and you’ll be all set. Nobody will judge you for not bringing along a ranch dip or 4 bags of Doritos.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes a dozen stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 12 large cremini mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and with stems removed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked per package directions
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, cut or crushed into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray of choice

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, then arrange the mushrooms with the holes facing down. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the mushrooms, and season with salt and paper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are baking, mix the cooked quinoa, the diced red onion, walnuts, white wine, parsley, dill, sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  • When the mushrooms finish cooking and have cooled, stuff them by scooping a spoonful of the quinoa mixture into each cap. Top with extra feta if desired.
  • Bake again in an oven preheated to 350 for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

Although stuffed mushrooms are made with a veggie base, a lot of the time they use a creamy filling to bind the stuffing ingredients together. I like that this recipe is light and doesn’t need that. The lemon zest brings out a nice flavor among all the other Mediterranean based ingredients, and the quinoa is a healthier protein-packed substitution for bread crumbs. Plus, you can never go wrong with feta! I made these for Friendsgiving at Slesh and Will’s apartment last year, and everyone gobbled them right up.

Mediterranean Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe yields 12 stuffed mushrooms, but just a warning, it definitely makes more stuffing than necessary. I ate the leftover stuffing up for lunch the next day as a Mediterranean quinoa salad, and it was delicious! You could also double the amount of mushroom caps if you want to use up the rest of the stuffing and bring a larger quantity of stuffed shrooms along.

Enjoy!

Readers, let’s chat! What are you doing for the Super Bowl this weekend? What’s a must have Super Bowl food or snack in your home?

If you’re looking for more Super Bowl food ideas, check out our Super Bowl party menu from when we hosted two years ago.

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Boston Bloggers Dish: Splurges, Treats, and Moderation

Good morning!

I was recently joking with some of my friends that the last two months have involved a lot more feta than fitness. I mentioned in this post that I’ve had to scale back on lifting this summer and modify my routine to fit what works for my schedule, and since my schedule has a lot of parties and celebrations, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve let myself indulge at multiple occasions this summer. And at said occasions, I will sometimes get comments like, “Athena, what are you eating today? Really?” or “How does Fitness & Feta eat at an event like this?”

These types of comments and questions, while probably not asked with any kind of bad intent, are starting to bother me. How the heck am I supposed to respond? My honest answer is “just like anybody else.”

I want you to all understand that even the “healthiest” people indulge. I ate a bowl of ice cream on Saturday night because my friend’s parents offered it to me, and it sounded delicious. I also enjoyed a big cup of ice cream with two giant chocolate chip cookies in it last weekend when I went to SOWA, just because I felt like having it. Sure, I ate a pasta dish (yes, a whole plate of white pasta smothered with cheesy goodness!) at a wedding a couple of weeks ago, but guess what? It tasted amazing. I also want to snack on ungodly amounts of pretzels after work sometimes. So I do.

I’m a sucker for margaritas, giant glasses of wine, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, pizza, ice cream, and bread. When I eat (or drink) these things, I don’t dwell on it, and I make sure to enjoy the taste of my favorite things. I know these aren’t my usual choices for every meal and snack, and I most certainly eat whole, nutrient-dense food about 85-90% of the time. But I make room for the treats, the cravings, and the foods I really love too, because deprivation typically results in frustration and leads back to bad habits. Letting yourself indulge 10-15% of the time really is the only way to sustain a healthy eating lifestyle for the long term.

Splurges

To really drive my point home, I asked eight lovely ladies from Boston’s healthy living blogging community to share their favorite splurges, treats, and thoughts on moderation with all of you today. Because, REALLY you guys, even the healthiest of them all don’t deprive.

Alaina from The Jogging Concierge

Alaina Jogging ConciergeMost of my favorite splurges are centered around pastries: muffins, scones, banana bread, you name it! I usually save those treats for days that I run long distances, but sometimes I find myself just craving one out of the blue. When those cravings hit, I either grab something from a local coffee shop or even bake them myself. When the craving strikes (usually a couple of times a month), I always enjoy every bite. As long as it’s of good quality (i.e. not from a box in the grocery store), I feel like the splurge is always worth it. And because I only eat them on rare occasions, I never feel the need to “balance out.” I think that the way I eat is fairly balanced already by eating healthy, having fun, and making sure to exercise. 🙂

Caroline from The Trendy Trainer

caroline trendy trainerWhen it comes to giving in to temptation, I have a hard time resisting a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, preferably from Australia. By no means am I a vino snob, but if given a choice on a warm summer night while sitting outdoors spending time with friends… it’s no contest. While moderation is key — ahem, hello late-twenties hangover — I believe that I work my body hard, and therefore a goblet, I mean glass, here and there is not the end of the world. Unless of course that single serving turns into several. Then your body may think it’s end times.
 

 

Emily from Stay Healthy, Stay Happy

Emily Stay Healthy Stay HappyTwo things I love: ice cream and chocolate. Lately I’ve been addicted to this soy-based, non-dairy frozen treat from Trader Joe’s. After teaching Zumba, I look forward to a nice wholesome dinner followed by a couple spoonfuls of this delicious dessert. I say, everything in moderation. You don’t need to give up all your favorite treats to be healthy. Love chocolate? Make brownies with black beans, use avocado in chocolate pudding… the possibilities are endless.”

 

Monique from Burpees to Bubbly

moniqueIf you’ve read my blog, it’s no surprise that I’m all about “everything in moderation.” I don’t agree with diets, and although I’ve been actively trying to clean up my eats and focus on real foods and not processed, “low-fat,” and sugary foods, I am not one to ever deprive myself of those things entirely – where’s the fun in that?! I want to be able to go to a BBQ or a birthday party and have a burger (with a bun!) or a piece of cake or slice of pizza because that’s living a real life to me. Living by an 80/20 or 90/10 rule where I eat healthy 80 or 90 percent of the time and leave room for indulgences is what works for me. When I do indulge though, my favorite things to enjoy are pizza, ice cream/cookies/cake/all sweets, chips, honey-roasted peanuts, chex mix, and muffins!

Sarah G from Go Fit U

sarah go fit uI’m all about healthy eating, but I’ve also got a huge sweet tooth. I’m a sucker for anything red velvet. If you ever want anything out of me, get me in front of Cheesecake Factory’s red velvet cheesecake, and your wish is my command. I recently competed in my first bodybuilding show, and my boyfriend had a piece waiting for me at the end of the night. See the love affair right there? I’m currently studying abroad in Florence and am focusing on staying “Fit in Florence.” I’m eating gelato, pizza, and drinking vino, but I’m also finding healthier options and getting in my daily workouts. Check out my twitter & instagram @gofitu to follow my journey!

Sarah M from Blonde Bostonian

GelatoSarahThe word “splurge” isn’t really in my vocabulary when it comes to food (but it definitely is when it comes to dropping some cash on a cute new top from Lululemon). To me, it’s all about maintaining balance, especially when it comes to eating healthy and not-so healthy. You gotta balance out all those salads with some delicious treats right? My favorite is definitely ice cream. I’m a sucker for a soft-serve cone with sprinkles or some homemade ice cream with fresh ingredients. When my boyfriend and I traveled through Europe a few Summers ago, we made a point to try gelato in every town that we visited. It was a fantastic way to take a little culinary tour through the places we visited, and we made some fun memories along the way. So many of my memories are tied to food, and to be honest, I don’t have many memories about a super healthy green smoothie. They’re always tied to trying new things in incredible places. So make a memory, live a little, and have the ice cream.

Sherri from Fun, Fit, Flavor

Sherri D ice creamI live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, I make the healthiest choices possible. 20% of the time, I splurge a little. My favorite ways to splurge are as follows: cheese, baguette & wine, ice cream, and boneless buffalo wings. It’s going to sound a little off, but as I struggled with post-college 10-15 extra, I realized that allowing myself to eat my favorite foods in moderation is what allowed me to be the healthiest version of myself, both mentally and physically. If you allow yourself to fulfill a craving, your mind won’t be wandering about what else you can eat to fill the void. Just eat it and move on. A healthy salad can be consumed later. 🙂

Whitney from Live Run Love Yoga

liverunloveyogaMy favorite splurge is ice cream! I can never get enough! I typically reserve ice cream for trips to the ice cream stand and get a single serving. If I buy it in the grocery store, I will eat a half-gallon in no time! My at home alternative is frozen Greek yogurt bars. They are single serving and satisfy my craving without a ton of calories.

 –Let’s chat–
How do you approach eating in moderation and living a balanced lifestyle? What are your favorite go to splurges and treats? What do you guys think about a regular “Boston Bloggers Dish” series?