Philly Cheesesteaks with Red Potatoes

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Welp, tonight’s meal was an exercise in craft. I was cooking in a male’s kitchen. You can’t imagine what I had to work with and the space I had to work it in. Challenge one, zero counter space. I prepped in the corner between the sink and the oven. Challenge two, inadequate cooking utensils. I used a deep spoon to sauté my onions and peps. I had one good knife to use for both vegetable and meat. Challenge three, missing ingredients. Used vegetable oil to cook everything rather than the preferable olive oil.. Challenge four, dark pictures due to the dark countertop and yellowish lighting.

All difficulties aside, these are banging Philly cheesesteaks and the potatoes ain’t bad either.

Grab these things:

1-2 white onions

1-2 green peppers

2 garlic cloves

1 top round steak

6-7 slices of provolone

S&P

1/3 cup + 1 tbs olive oil

2 tbs butter

4 medium sized red potatoes

1 pkg Lipton’s onion recipe mix (I will learn to create my own one day…)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

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Challenge five, this is a pillow case. There are no dish towels here. Wash and dry your potatoes with whatever clean rag you have laying around.

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Chop them up in to large chunks. Then…

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Flip the Lipton’s box over to find out what comes next.

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Just kidding, not really. Dump them in a bowl and add 1/3 cup of oil. I used vegetable oil.

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Add one packet of this yummy stuff and keep the second for another day. Stir up the potatoes, coating all of them in oil and onion seasoning.

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Pour them out into a 13 x 9 baking dish, you could coat it with pam or nonstick aluminum foil for super easy clean up.

Challenge six, I had only this tiny cookie sheet. There was zero surface area to move my potatoes around AND the cookie sheet bent in the oven from the heat. :/

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Place the potatoes in the oven, at 425 degrees, and check on them every 10 minutes. I like them crispy, if you do too leave them in for 45 minutes and stir every 10. If you don’t, they will be soft and delicious after 30 minutes.

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Time for cheesesteaks! Chop up your onion(s) in skinny, long strips or fat, short ones. If you like skinny and long, chop the onion in half hotdog style. I prefer stubby pieces, they match the thickness of the bell peppers and I like that consistency. Before you cut up the pepper, heat 1 or 2 tbs of oil and 1 tbs of butter over medium-high heat. If possible, use a nonstick skillet so you can scrape up the bits that get stuck to the pan.

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Core out your green bell pepper(s). Cut the pepper into pinkie-width wedges. Like my cutting board? Challenge 7, there’s only one and it’s miniature size. Cut all of your veggies first, giving the board a quick rinse after each one. Then use it to cut your meat.

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Check on the potatoes if you haven’t already!

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Drop the onions and peppas just before the butter starts to brown, its a golden color and bubbly. Salt and pepper lightly. Tend to this over the next 10 to 20 minutes.

*Not pictures, chop up 2 cloves of garlic. Set to the side.

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 The best way to cut your meat is to have the butcher do it. If you slice at home, put the meat in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting. The slightly frozen meat will be much easier to cut.

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Slice the steak into very thin pieces, about half of a centimeter or smaller. Do this so the meat will cook quickly and it will be easier to chew. Salt and pepper the steak or you can use a steak seasoning.

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This is about 10 minutes after cooking. The onions and peppers are still crisp. This might be where you want to add the garlic and salt and pepper if you like a crunch.

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This is after 15 minutes. The vegetables are a little softer. I added the garlic and S&P here. Stir and watch closely for about three minutes, you really don’t want the garlic to burn. Transfer to a bowl or plate and keep in microwave.

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Wipe the pan of veggie remains, not oil. If there is any garlic in the pan it will burn while you cook the meat. Drop your meat in the hot pan.

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About a minute after dropping the meat, I added 1/2 tbs of butter the the pan. The first minute, the meat develops a nice sear. Soon after the meat will stick to the pan because it’s so thin. The butter not only adds an amazing texture and flavor to the meat, but it keeps the meat strips in tact.

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Prep 15-20 inch foil sheets with buns.

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The meat will cook up in about 3 minutes and then you can add back in the vegetables. Mix it all together in the pan.

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Drop slices of provolone on top. I like a little overlapping, it ensures maximum cheesiness.

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When the cheese starts to look like this, especially like the far slice, you can start to mix the goodness together. Pull the pan off the heat, once the cheese hits the pan it will start to cook and you don’t want burning!

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I couldn’t snap a pic of the goodness, things started to get a little messy, and I ran out of hands. But scoop the mixture into the ready buns. If you have really bready buns, you may want to scoop out the center a little to make way for the goodness.

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Wrap the cheesesteak up tight like a burrito. I place the steak, meat side towards me on the short end. Then a fold the tail over the meat, you want to enclose the meat first in the foil or it will all fall out. Fold in the sides and roll up tightly. The tight roll ensures maximum flavor melding, it’s worth it.

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Get the potatoes out of the oven and scoop them into the cutest bowl you can find. I think this bowl is pretty impressive for a man’s kitchen.

Drop the oven temperature down to 250 degrees.

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Place rolls into the oven. I didn’t wait for the oven to cool down. In just 10 minutes, these bad boys will be ready to eat!

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Look at that cheese..

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This sandwich should not fall apart will eating. If it does, you failed at adding cheese. I got super crafty and was able to pull off these stunners, you can too.

Tonight’s total meal cost was $13.25 for 5 philly cheesesteaks. That’s just over $2.60 a sandwich. Not bad?

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Eat two. 🙂

Chicken Bacon Sandwich

I forgot to make breakfast on top of my chicken stock, cheesecake, cookies, and pasta dinner. By 3 o’clock Brian was starving and the dishwasher was running round 2. I realized I needed to pause my plan and whip up some lunch. I don’t keep lunch meat in the fridge because Matt works at a sandwich shop and would never make one at home. I stick to trusty PB&Js. But Brian needs more protein than peanut butter can offer.

My inspiration was the remaining slices of pepperjack cheese in my fridge – leftover from cheesesteaks a few weeks ago.

I grabbed two chicken breast cutlets, two slices of bacon, the cheese, lettuce, and four pieces of bread. First I pounded out the chicken cutlets until they were very thin – about 1/4 of an inch. S&P on both sides then dredge through flour. I set the chicken aside and cut the bacon slices into three pieces and cooked them up in the pan – smaller pieces faster cooking. I saved the bacon pan for bread toasting, I poured the grease into a can and left the crusty bits on the pan. I added butter and let it melt before dropping the bread in.

While the bread was toasting, I started another skillet for the chicken. Heat up olive oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Place the cutlets in the pan and leave them for about four minutes, cooking time will depend on the thickness of the cutlets. After four minutes, flip and finish for another four on the other side. During the last minute of cooking, place the cheese on the chicken to melt.

To wrap it all up, I spread dijon mustard on the bread and added a piece of lettuce. I placed the chicken on the other bread, with the bacon pieces on top of the chicken and then the bread on top. Yum. I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway done. It was sooo good! 🙂

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Apple Gouda Bacon Sandwich, a fancy lunch

When I go to the grocery store, I have to stop at the cheese case. They have these baskets filled with small chunks of cheese, little samples of heaven. A few weeks ago I couldn’t resist buying a gouda wedge, I was so excited but unsure of what I was going to do with it. After searching for some gouda goodness on Pinterest, I found a perfect idea – gouda, bacon, apple sandwiches!

Whip out the ingredients!

Yummy bread, I used a baguette sliced at a severe angle super thin

Bacon, more bread more bacon, I used 3 pieces

Granny Smith apple wedges sliced thin

GOUDA, slices are best, I cut up a wedge

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First thing, cook the bacon in a large pan. You will use the same pan to make the sandwiches. Drain the grease and add a pat of butter. Place the bread slices in the pan and put the gouda on top of half of them. I failed here, I only put half of my slices in the pan and it increased my cooking time by having to flip and toast the other side of the bread – this sandwich is not easy to flip.

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Let the cheese melt over medium heat. This took about seven minutes on the enterprise. Keep checking the underside of the bread to make sure it isn’t burning.

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Cut the bacon in half and place on top of the gouda, then the apple slices, and finally the other side of the bread. At this point, you will be enjoying a yummy sandwich. I had to flip and wait another seven minutes. :/

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So yummy, a very classy lunch that took about twenty minutes to make. Bon appetit! 🙂