Mushroom Goat Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

Have you guys been watching as much Olympics coverage as I have?  Man, I just love the Olympics.  The competition!  The drama!  The outfits!  The network reporters making top athletes cry after medal-winning performances!

Well, not so much on the last thing.

But, the coverage has been a staple in our house for the past week and a half.  I mean, we’re DVR-ing hockey games for pete’s sake.  U-S-A!

The only thing that feels confusing is all the eating I’m doing while watching Olympics.  Is this even right?  Oh, hi…you’re cross-country skiing UP A HILL right now.  And, I’m…eating pizza.


Oh well.  As it turns out, I’m not above eating twice-baked potatoes while parked on the couch in front of the men’s super-G.  I look at it as sympathy carbing for my country.


mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

Mushroom & Goat Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes: 8 servings
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 T. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 4 oz. fontina, grated
  • 1 T. minced fresh dill
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pierce potatoes with a fork multiple times. Place directly on an oven rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked through and the inside is soft. Let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat with the olive oil and let cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are brown and most of their liquid has evaporated, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to touch, slice each in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving enough of a border that the potato halves hold their shape, into a large mixing bowl. Set the potato skins on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Add the goat cheese, butter, milk, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mix with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Fold in the mushrooms, fontina, and dill. Scoop even portions of the potato mixture into the empty potato halves.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, sprinkle the tops of the potatoes evenly with parmesan cheese, and then bake an additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.

Jalapeno Popper Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

jalapeno popper dip stuffed mushrooms | sunsets on the side

jalapeno popper dip stuffed mushrooms | sunsets on the side

Sometimes planning a menu for the Super Bowl can be…overwhelming?  Is that the right word?

Probably not.

More often than not, though, you want to build an entire meal out of finger foods and dips, so what’s the perfect combination?  And, you don’t want to be working in the kitchen when your friends arrive or, even worse, after the game has started, so what can you make ahead of time?

Plus, the sheer volume of recipes to choose from can be sort of mind-boggling for people like me.  (“But, I haven’t looked at ALL my recipes yet; how do I know the choices have been properly narrowed down??)”   With so many classic, football-appropriate appetizers to choose from – spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo wings, potato skins, etc. – sometimes you need to throw a few together to cover all your bases.  That’s what brought me here…

…to these stuffed mushrooms.

jalapenos for popper dip stuffed mushrooms | sunsets on the side

They’re more than just mushrooms, though.  They’re stuffed mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, and popper dip all wrapped up into one!  Win-win-win.  You can make them in advance, too, if that helps take some pressure off of your planning.  I made that batch in the photo up there the day before I baked them, and you couldn’t tell at all.

Two things about the mushrooms, and then we’ll scoot you right over to the recipe.

First, the cream cheese mixture will fill approximately 24 oz. of mushrooms, whatever size you’d like them to be.  I bought really big mushrooms, and the filling was enough for 14 of them.  You could certainly make more, smaller mushrooms if you’d prefer.  Keep an eye on them, but the baking time should be about the same regardless of size.  You want them to bake long enough that the jalapenos have a chance to soften.  Also, you can use whatever type of mushrooms you like.  I used regular (albeit HEFTY) button mushrooms, but if you want to substitute creminis or even go for the portobellos, those would both be great, too.

Ok, let’s get to it!

Jalapeno Popper Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes: 14 large mushrooms
  • 24 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1-2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 jalapenos, seeds removed & minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup seasoned panko crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Brush the outside of the mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with black pepper. Place in the baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, jalapenos, garlic, cheddar, salt, and pepper.
  4. In a separate small bowl, pour the melted butter over the panko crumbs. Stir thoroughly to coat all the crumbs in butter.
  5. Fill the mushrooms evenly with the cream cheese mixture. Top each of the mushrooms with the panko crumbs.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tops are a deep, golden brown. Serve hot.

Popper filling adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

homemade cream of mushroom soup | sunsets on the side

homemade cream of mushroom soup | sunsets on the side

Soup is such a comfort food, but to me, it’s also comfort cooking.  There’s just something about standing over a hot, bubbling, (usually) garlic-scented pot, adding and stirring, until something delicious is ready to serve.  It makes the whole house smell incredible, and it’s like a giant bear hug for anyone who eats it.  What better soup to bear hug them with than homemade cream of mushroom?

This is a simple soup to put together, but somehow it seems impressive.  The delicate wine and thyme flavors bring a little bit of elegance to a very familiar soup.  This would make a great first course for a holiday meal.  You could even make it the day before your big meal and reheat it slowly on the stove just before you’d like to serve it.  Or, serve it in larger portions with some crusty garlic bread for a main course on any cold winter’s night you like.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
Makes: 6 servings
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T. chopped fresh chives
  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and thyme to the pot, stir well, and cook until the mushrooms’ liquid has cooked off and they are tender and brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour, stir until it’s totally dissolved, and cook for about a minute. Pour in the wine, stir well, and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the wine is slightly reduced.
  4. Pour in the beef stock and chicken stock, and stir in the salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend until the mushrooms are chopped but not totally pureed.
  6. Add the half and half and cook (without boiling) just until heated through. Add the parsley and chives, and serve hot.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Roasted Mushroom Couscous with Lemon Vinaigrette



A lot of times, a good recipe materializes just from what you have left in the refrigerator.

I needed a quick side dish, and couscous always fits the bill.  It’s something I always tend to have on hand, too, along with both mushrooms and grape tomatoes.  I used wheat couscous for this recipe (because that’s what was in my cupboard), but plain would be just as delicious.

The vinaigrette recipe makes quite a bit.  I like the ratio of 1/2 cup vinaigrette over this amount of couscous, but pour on as much as you’d like.  If you do go the 1/2 cup route, you’ll have plenty leftover to dress a salad to go along with it!

Roasted Mushroom Couscous with Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes: 4-6 servings
  • ½ cup + 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ¾ tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 (7 oz.) box couscous
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, button or cremini
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. minced shallot
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 T. minced chives
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Bring 1 T. olive oil, chicken stock, and ½ tsp. salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour in couscous, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Let the mixture sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and pour into a large bowl.
  3. Chop mushrooms in half or quarters, depending on size, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 T. olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast for 10 minutes. Place in bowl with couscous.
  4. For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together ½ cup olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, shallot, garlic, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper.
  5. Pour ½ cup of the vinaigrette (or more, if desired) over the couscous and mushrooms. Add tomatoes and chives, and stir to combine. Serve warm.

Vinaigrette adapted from Barefoot Contessa.

Creamy Sausage & Mushroom Dip

creamy sausage mushroom dip | sunsets on the side


I’m always on the hunt for great dips to serve throughout football season.  There’s just something that screams “game time,” when your guests walk into a house that smells incredible and already has some food on the (coffee)table.

It’s on.

I based this recipe on a crab dip that I’ve made a number of times (check that one out, too…it’s delicious).  But, I have some VIPs in my life that either don’t care for seafood or who are allergic.  So, I created this alternative version that’s chock full of savory sausage and mushrooms but brightened up with the fresh tomatoes, basil, and lemon juice.

My boys have a big game tonight.  Hopefully this dip will bring them (and your team) some much-needed luck!

Creamy Sausage & Mushroom Dip
Makes: 8 servings
  • ½ lb. loose sweet Italian sausage
  • ½ - 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8” baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small pieces with your spoon, until it’s golden brown and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a paper towel-covered plate to drain and cool.
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms to the same pan (adding olive oil, if needed, depending on how much fat is left behind from the sausage), season with salt and pepper, and let cook for 8-10 minutes, until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and they start to brown. Add the garlic and let cook 1 minute longer. Set aside to let cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and lemon juice until completely smooth. Fold in the grated cheese, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, green onions, and basil. Season with black pepper, and stir in the sausage and mushrooms.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is brown and the dip is bubbling.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Adapted from Bobby.