It’s that time of year — friends and family gather for reunions, dinners and parties. And, no get-together is complete without a great dish. Robert Penry is an admissions classroom presenter for the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. He’s providing some great culinary inspirations for your holiday gatherings this year. Log on to if you missed Robert’s holiday-inspired creation from last issue. Be sure to pick up our Dec. 24 print edition for ideas for your New Year cooking extravaganza.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

25 medium Fresh White Mushrooms
1/2 lb Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 C. Parsley, chopped
1/4 C. Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
2 T. Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 Egg White
1/4 t. Salt
1/4 t. Black Pepper

Method of Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop.
3. To make the filling, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, making sure to break it up into small pieces. Add the chopped mushroom stems, onion, and garlic. Cook for 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer sausage mixture to a bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
5. Add parsley, breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg white, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
6. Stuff each mushroom with about 1 tablespoon of the filling and place in a single layer on the baking sheet.
7. Bake until mushroom caps are tender and filling is slightly browned. About 20-25 minutes.

Molasses Cookies

1-1/2 C. Shortening
2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Molasses
2 Eggs
4 C. All Purpose Flour
4 t. Baking Soda
2 t. Cinnamon, ground
1 t. Cloves, ground
1 t. Ginger, ground
1 t. Salt

Method of Preparation:
1. In a medium pot, melt the shortening over medium heat. Allow to cool.
2. Add sugar, molasses, and eggs. Mix well to combine.
3. In a medium bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together.
4. Mix well to combine. Chill for 4 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
6. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Place on a greased baking sheet making sure to space out about 2-inches apart.
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool and serve.
8. Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container.