I've put it on my salads, I've used it as a dip for vegetables, but I had no idea just how versatile ranch dressing truly is until Hidden Valley Ranch sent me a trio of their ranch dressings, encouraging me to experiment in any way I pleased. Let me tell you, with that much freedom, I couldn't help but want to squirt a little ranch dressing into just about everything I was making! The wheels started turning as I started fantasizing about Hidden Valley Ranch featured in quiches, whites sauces for both pastas and pizzas, cannelloni fillings, tzatziki sauce, in the cheesy jalapeno popper filling, basically just about anything you could ever imagine, I had thought of. My dining room table became covered in torn pieces of scrap paper, covered with constellations of my scribbled notes and research. With all of those exciting ideas, some of which never got further than those scribbled notes, it was difficult to decide what recipe I wanted to submit to them. I had to narrow it down. I knew that I wanted my recipe to be something unique and semi-upscale, something you would want to serve at a dinner party. I also knew that I wanted my recipe to include a number of vegetables so that it would encourage what Hidden Valley Ranch tries to promote with their dressings, which is "eat your vegetables!".
After much play in the kitchen (just another word for recipe testing) I finally chose to submit my recipe for Crab-Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps Featuring Spicy Hidden Valley Ranch. These stuffed portobello caps are like the bite-sized version that most people are familiar with, but made much more substantial and appropriate to serve at a dinner party thanks to their large and striking size. I liked the meaty texture and flavour of the portobellos, contrasted against the creamy crab and cream cheese filling. Because much more filling can fit inside of a portobello cap as opposed to a button or cremini mushroom cap, I wanted to add something that would give the filling a bit more texture and an extra hit of flavour. Sweet red bell peppers were the perfect solution, and an easy way to add more veggies into the dish. The Spicy Hidden Valley Ranch adds a zesty hit of flavour to the filling, with just a hint of spice that is also reflected in the crunchy panko breadcrumb topping. Serve the Crab-Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps atop lightly dressed (a simple balsamic vinaigrette would work perfect) mixed greens to make this a delicious main for your dinner party, or even a special lunch!
Thank you to Hidden Valley Ranch for giving me the opportunity to have fun and play in the kitchen!
*Remove the gills from the Portobello mushroom using the tip of the back of a spoon.
7 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and reserved, gills removed*
1 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup lump crab meat
1/3 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Spicy
1/4 flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Finely chop reserved Portobello mushroom stems.
- In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chopped mushroom stems and red bell pepper and cook until softened. Set aside
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream cheese (using the paddle attachment) until light and fluffy. Add the mushroom and bell pepper mixture, crabmeat, Hidden Valley Ranch Spicy, parsley, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
- Lightly score the top of the mushrooms and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Spoon crab mixture into mushrooms evenly.
- In a small bowl, stir together the Panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp salt, and cayenne pepper. Evenly top the filled mushrooms with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
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