Mushrooms a la Papa

I may have made the blacklist at my local Papa John’s for including 70 packets of their special seasoning, 8 tubs of garlic sauce, 2 ramekins of jalapeño slices,  and extra banana peppers with my small pizza order. I had good reason for it, and that reason is science. Well, science in the most abstract way possible. Fine… science as in seeing if the deli drawer in my fridge could be literally stuffed to the brim with packeted products (it can).

A stuffed mushroom is one of those things that takes a little courage to try. What’s under the cheese? It’s shriveled and shady-looking, do I really want to put that in my mouth? Why does it feel like I’m chewing on some kind of soft  freaky meat? While mushrooms aren’t on my short list of acceptable non-condiment kitchen staples, there was a package of them in my fridge (compliments of the grocery fairy) that was about to go bad.

Packeted parmesan toasts instead of melting, which looks like hell in pictures.  It also smells fishy.

Mushrooms à la Papa (makes 6)


6 medium or large white mushrooms

2 packets (4 total) of saltines

1 packet Papa John’s/local pizza joint seasoning

5-6 packets parmesan cheese

1 tub Papa John’t garlic sauce

1 packet salt


Frying pan

Jelly roll pan or cake pan

Small bowl



  • Finely chop the stems and lightly saute them in a pan until they are tender
  • Blend saltines and seasoning in a blender until bread crumb consistency is achieved
  • In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, chopped stems, and about 1/2 teaspoon of garlic sauce

The rest

  • Wash the mushrooms and remove stems from caps by gently twisting
  • Coat the caps in garlic sauce and place them cavity-up in bakeware that is filled 1/4″ with water
  • Stuff with filling and sprinkle each with about 3/4 packet of parmesan
  • Lightly sprinkle mushrooms with salt to help them dry out
  • Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until dark/shrivel-y/the cheese toasts

These are on the mild side; the first batch had red pepper flakes and matzo farfel-like saltine shards… they were awful. You can adapt the recipe with almost any stray packet that could be categorized as a savory: BBQ sauce, A1, Tabasco, Horsey/Arby’s sauce, even chopped onions come in a packet. Ugh. Looks like I just signed myself up to make an infographic of flavor families of the single-serving universe.