Dinner at my house growing up wasn’t usually of the meat-and-potatoes variety. My parents made their own version of refried beans and we had taco night. There was always homemade soup and chili. We ate a lot of stir fry with rice. Pasta was usually served once a week. My dad grilled year round. Casseroles and crockpot dinners were huge for my parents, who were both teachers and had long hours grading papers and carting my sister and me around to various dance lessons, music lessons, student council, and all that other stuff you do as a kid. My mom usually served a green salad a few nights a week. During the summer, we ate a thousand different variations of bean salads, potato salads, and pasta salads. When we did have just a burger or just a chicken breast, it was usually served with a starch and a vegetable. But the starch wasn’t just rice or potatoes (although baked potatoes were usually a good side dish for us too). My mom made Spanish rice or rice pilaf or baked sweet potato fries.
I don’t always serve a starch and a vegetable when I serve plain chicken or burgers. Sometimes it’s just the starch, sometimes it’s just the vegetable. Frozen vegetables are a pretty big staple in this house and we use them a lot because it’s cheap (they’re almost always on sale and there’s almost always a coupon in the Sunday paper), it’s quick (5 minutes in the microwave), and it’s relatively healthy (if you get the kind without sauce). I think the whole starch-protein-vegetable thing is something people are moving away from now – at least we have.
Today was a pretty crappy day, both weather-wise and other wise. The highlight, so far, has been Thomas’ insistence on sitting in my lap for the last two hours and the hugs and kisses he demanded before I left for work. It’s too cold for summery salads and I’m not moved by any of my frozen vegetable options. I wanted something that will stick, but that’s still easy enough to throw together while burgers fry in the pan.
My mom made this for me once and I’ve duplicated it once. I don’t know if this is the same as what she made (she may have used canned mushrooms, although I doubt it), but it certainly smells and tastes as good as I remember hers. I think I made this last time with cremini mushrooms, but I’ve substituted white button mushrooms this time around because they’re a little milder and I’m not in the mood for the woody taste of the creminis.
This is completely vegetarian, so you could serve it with just about anything. You could even serve it over pasta, if you were so inclined. We had it with cheeseburgers.
Mushrooms with Onions and Tomato Sauce
- 1 8 oz package white button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms, chopped or sliced (I used the whole ones and sliced them myself); you could use canned if you wanted total convenience
- 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- splash of wine (I used white because I’m out of red, but you should really use red) – optional
- salt & pepper to taste
Over medium high heat in a skillet with a lid, saute onions and mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil until the mushrooms are golden brown and the onions are soft and have let off some liquid – about five to seven minutes.
Sprinkle with garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour tomato sauce into pan and stir to combine; add wine if using. Cover, turn heat to low, and let simmer ten to fifteen minutes.