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~ Thanksgiving to Tailgate: Stuffing Stuffed 'Shrooms ~

IMG_0690For the family cook, entertaining for Thanksgiving is a labor of love, but, if he or she is a college football fan too, that can mean entertaining for a tailgate party as well, which can be overwhelming.  That said, if you've got a game plan in place in advance, transitioning your formal Turkey Day feast into a relaxing tailgate on your coffee table, can be almost effortless.  One of my gameday-after-the-holiday tailgate menus is:  stuffing stuffed mushrooms with turkey-club sliders.

IMG_0658Any leftover stuffing* recipe can be used to stuff mushrooms.  I Love My Mom's Cracker Stuffing Casserole.  It's lightly and nicely seasoned, and, crushed saltine crackers that have been soaked in milk replace the usual breadcrumbs. That said, when it comes to using leftover stuffing to stuff mushrooms, I try to avoid using any of the crispy browned outside edges

Note:  Typically, uncooked stuffing is a bit too loose to stuff into mushroom caps -- you can't pile it high enough, and, even if it is of a more viscous consistency (sticky or gluelike), in the time it requires to fully-cook the stuffing to a food-safe temperature (most recipes contain raw eggs), the mushroom caps tend to get overcooked.  I recommend using leftover, cooked stuffing. 

IMG_0680Any size mushrooms can be used, but, the larger the mushroom cap, the more stuffing you'll need, and, the cooking time will be a bit longer too.  I like to use 1 1/2"-2"-size white button mushroom caps, and, I choose even-sized ones to insure they cook evenly.  I serve them as appetizers.  That said, larger caps easily turns these two-bite snacks into a fun and filling side-dish to an open-faced turkey sandwich.  

Transitioning a Turkey Day side-dish to a tailgate appetizer:

IMG_0664 IMG_0664 IMG_0664 IMG_0664 6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7ffe322970b~Step 1.  Using a damp paper towel, gently wipe any dirt from caps.  

Note: Never wash or soak fresh mushrooms in water as they absorb moisture like a sponge and will become mushy.  Using your fingertips, remove the stems, being careful not to break or crack the caps.  Using a sharp paring knife, trim the perimeter of the caps. Place caps, side-by-side, on a baking pan that has been generously sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.

Using an appropriately-sized ice-cream scoop (1 1/2" scoop was used today), place a generous scoop of stuffing into each mushroom cap.  Bake on center rack of 325º oven, 18-20 minutes.

Remove 'shrooms from oven & place on serving platter:

IMG_0682Drizzle w/turkey gravy & top w/a dollop of cranberry sauce:

IMG_0686What a yummy transition from Turkey Day to tailgate:

IMG_0696Thanksgiving to Tailgate:  Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms: Recipe yields instructions to make as many mushrooms (appetizer- or side-dish-sized) as you have stuffing for.

Special Equipment List:  paring knife; appropriately sized baking pan; appropriately-sized ice-cream scoop

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d23f7cf3970c IMG_2214Cook's Note: Stuffing waffles. Made on the waffle grids of my Cuisinart Griddler, waffles made from leftover stuffing and topped with reheated thanksgiving leftovers (sweet potatoes, pulled turkey breast, gravy and cranberries sauce) is:  The breakfast of champions, and, I've got a family full of them.~ The Morning After: Thanksgiving Stuffing Waffles ~ are the best Turkey Day leftovers.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2023)


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