Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Homemade Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

img_3906This past summer I visited my parents in Southern New Jersey for a few days.  They are just over half an hour from Philadelphia – home of the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.  I did have a great sandwich during my visit.  Upon my return to California I wanted to make it from scratch, not using the frozen minute steak product that I have used in the past.  After a quick search on the internet I discovered that the best meat to use is Rib Eye.  There is no going back!  Delicious.  The first two times I made it I completely forgot to take pictures of my sandwiches, so of course.. I had to make them again (and forgot again) and again.  I prefer them on a good crunchy French roll, but a Kaiser roll will do the job.

In order to slice the steaks paper thin, it really helps to freeze the steaks for 45 minutes before slicing them and having a nicely sharpened chefs knife will make it an easy process as well.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 rib eye steaks, freeze 45 minutes before slicing super thin against the grain
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sweet onion (like Maui or Walla Walla or other), sliced thinly
  • bell peppers (red, green, yellow as you desire) washed, stem and seeds removed, sliced thinly
  • mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly
  • Provolone Cheese (2 slices per sandwich)
  • 4 crunchy French rolls, split in half and toasted

Instructions:

Freeze the steaks for 45 minutes to help the meat become a little stiffer and easier to slice paper thin.  I remove the bone first as well as large pieces of fat before slicing.  Using a nicely sharpened knife begin cutting each steak thinly at across the grain. You want it to be as thin as possible.

Season the steak with salt and pepper.

Slice your French rolls and toast them under the broiler.

In a large non stick skillet saute the thinly sliced onions in about 1 tablespoon of canola oil.  Season the onions with salt and pepper and cook over medium  high heat until the onions have softened and caramelized.  Remove the onions to a bowl and over with foil to keep warm.  Saute the peppers next, using the same skillet.  When the peppers are softened, remove them to a second bowl.  Next, saute the mushrooms in the same skillet until they are golden brown, adding more oil if necessary and seasoning with salt and pepper.  Remove to a bowl and cover with foil.

Heat the same skillet over High- medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon of canola oil.  Add a quarter of the shaved steak to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Stir.  Cook an additional minute or two as you desire.  Mound the steak in one area of the skillet and top  with two slices of provolone cheese.  Allow the cheese to melt.  With a spatula, carefully lift the cheese topped steak and place on the toasted roll.

Repeat with remaining steak.

I like to have each person top their cheese steak sandwiches with sauteed onions, mushrooms, or peppers as desired.

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“Thai” Beef Salad Wraps

IMG_8882So I joined the April Health Challenge (www.meltdownchallenge.com), and in an effort to find new low calorie meals I hit one of my cookbooks in my expansive cookbook collection.  This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light.  Don’t let the “Thai” scare you off – this recipe is pretty mild in my opinion.  If you do not like much spice, leave out the red pepper flakes.  I sweetened the sauce a little, but the wrap was delicious! I cooked twice as much flank steak as the recipe called for, so I have enough to add some protein to some other salads this week. Win win!  If you want to eliminate gluten, eat it as a lettuce wrap or a steak salad!

Thai Beef Salad Wrap (really not very spicy.. not sure how Thai it is)

Yield: 6 wraps approximately 399 calories per serving

adapted from All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook (2006 Oxmoor House) p 444

  • 1 lb flank steak, trimmed of fat
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Cooking spray

Vegetable Filling:

  • 1 cup peeled cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Sauce:

  • 2 (or 3) Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or lemon juice works fine too)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Additional ingredients:

  • 12 leaves red leaf lettuce
  • 6 (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas

Instructions:

Season your flank steak with salt and pepper on both sides.  Prepare the grill with cooking spray. Grill the flank steak on high for 4 minutes each side.  Remove from grill.  Allow to rest 5 minutes, while you prep the remaining ingredients.

Combine the diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, shallots, mint, basil and fresh cilantro in a medium sized bowl (you will add the steak to this mixture)

Prepare the sauce: Combine the 2 Tbsp of brown sugar, soy sauce, lime (or lemon) juice, crushed red pepper flakes, and mix to combine.  Taste the sauce and adjust the sugar if you desire a little sweeter sauce (I added about 1 Tbsp of additional brown sugar).

Slice the rested flank steak into thin strips, cutting against the grain.  Add the steak to the cucumber mixture. Drizzle the sauce over the steak and cucumber mixture.

In the microwave, heat up the flour tortillas between pieces of damp paper towels for about 20 seconds.

Line each tortilla with 2 leaves of lettuce.  Spoon 2/3 cup of steak mixture down the center of the tortilla and wrap like a burrito (start at the bottom folding up, then fold the sides over and secure with a toothpick if you like (or eat it immediately)

Notes: if you wish to eliminate gluten you could easily serve this on lettuce as a salad.

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Turkey Club Crescent Sandwiches

Turkey Club Crescent SandwichesI love these sandwiches. I usually make them every year for special events at our church for choir. I first encountered this combination of ingredients at the Brea Bistro in Brea, CA.  Unfortunately, the Brea Bistro is no longer in business.  The sandwiches are simple to make.

Turkey Club Crescent Sandwiches

Inspired by the Brea Bistro

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 12 store bought crescent rolls
  • 1 jar Marie’s Dressing (Cesar Dressing)
  • 24 thin slices roasted turkey
  • 12 slices crisp bacon
  • 1 package alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

Instructions: Slice the crescent rolls, creating a top and bottom half.  Spread some dressing on the bottom half of the crescent roll.  Place two pieces of sliced turkey on the dressing.  Top with bacon, then alfalfa sprouts and about 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce and place the top half of the crescent roll on the cranberry sauce. Printable Recipe


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Gyros

I was recently looking through my very first cookbook that I bought for myself.  I was a Freshman in College then – and the Betty Crocker Cookbook was just the beginning of a growing passion.  I found a recipe for Gyros in the cookbook and I hesitate to try new recipes on my family – my two girls were off to winter camp with their church youth group – and the only child remaining was my adventurous eater… so I stopped at Trader Joe’s and picked up a few pita bread pockets.  I looked for ground lamb, but all they had was ground beef and it was an acceptable substitute. I also picked up some crumbled seasoned Feta cheese (though not in the original recipe) and it took the Gyro to the next flavor level.  Yum!

The recipe:

Gyros
adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook (1998)
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 lb ground lamb (beef)
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp canola oil
Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek works too)
1 Tbsp fresh minced mint (or 1 tsp dry)
1 tsp sugar
1 small cucumber peeled, seeds removed, chopped

2 roma tomatoes, small dice
4 pita sandwiches, cut in half and opened
Crumbled seasoned Feta cheese

Instructions:
Mix first 8 ingredients together.  Form into 8 small meat patties.  Heat a skillet and add oil. Cook the meat over medium heat, turning frequently until meat is cooked. About 10-12 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, combine the yogurt, mint, sugar and cucumber. Stir to combine.

Serving Instructions:
Open the pocket of each half of pita bread and put one meat patty inside. Top with a heaping spoon full with the cucumber sauce, diced tomatoes and about 1 Tbsp feta cheese in each pocket. 2 halves equal 1 serving.

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BLTs

BLTs are the ultimate summer comfort food.  I love the ease of preparation and the fact that it contains bacon!  What is better than bacon.  I’m glad I am not kosher- I would have problems! 🙂 I feel odd posting something as simple as BLTs on my blog.  I liked the marble rye that we used on our vacation on the beach.  It made for a very pretty presentation – which is why it is on my blog.

BLTs (Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwiches)

Serves 6

  • 12 slices of bread, (any bread you like) toasted
  • 12 tsp Mayonnaise
  • 12 slices of bacon, cooked crisp
  • 12 thin slices of tomatoes
  • 6 leaves of lettuce

Toast your bread in the toaster and spread 1 tsp of mayonnaise on one side of each slice (two sides would be overkill).  Top 6 slices of toasted bread with two slices of crisp bacon, top with lettuce, two thin slices of tomato and top sandwiches with remaining slices of bread (mayo side down) on top of the tomatoes.  Ring the mess hall bell and watch them disappear!

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Chicken Salad

When I have a lot of chicken salad left over, I love to make Pita Pocket Sandwiches.  Only problem was I had not purchased pita bread.  Just then my husband walked into the house from work.  He had stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home and bought Pita bread and Hummus (they truly make some of the best purchased hummus available).  The Pita bread was intended for the Hummus, but I re-purposed  them for the Chicken Salad Pita Pockets.  I simply cut the Pita bread in half, carefully opened the pocket and stuffed it with about 1/3 cup chicken salad and added a few sliced tomatoes to give it some fresh flavors.

Chicken Salad

Serves 16 (1/4 cup servings)

  • 3 large chicken breast halves (boneless skinless- or skin on for more flavor)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Directions: Cook chicken in moderate heat oven (around 350) until cooked through and juices run clear.  I like to use skin on breast which are generously seasoned with salt and pepper and even a little garlic seasoning.  After the chicken is cooked discard the skin.  Allow the chicken breast to cool. Chop up to a coarse chop in a food processor (or by hand).  After it is fully cooled add almond slivers and mayonnaise.  Stir to combine.  Refrigerate to cool.

If you are making Pita Pocket sandwiches.  Cut the pita bread in half and carefully open the pocket.  Stuff with chicken salad and add tomatoes if desired. This recipe can be used for croissants, white bread, or even seasoned crackers.

NOTE: This chicken salad recipe was used for our church’s Christmas Tea and has nice classic flavor.

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Angels on Horseback

My husband grew up with this  sandwich and now it is one of my family’s favorite sandwiches as well.  It consists of toast, topped with American  Cheese slices, sliced tomato, and cooked bacon which is then broiled  for a few minutes until  the  cheese is melted.  We made this while we were vacationing in NJ on the shore and wanted something easy to make that did not take long.  Clean up is easy if you use those convenient (all be it expensive) Microwavable bacon.

Angels on Horseback

Serves 4

  • 8 slices white bread, toasted
  • 8 slices american  cheese
  • 8 slices tomatoes
  • 8 slices bacon

Toast the bread and top with American  cheese slices, tomatoes, and bacon.  Broil under a watch full eye.  Once the cheese melts and  bacon bubbles it is ready to eat.

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