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Archive for the month “December, 2011”

Healthy Cheesesteaks

I am notoriously bad about meal planning.  Oh, I make the lists.  At the time I think they’re amazing and I can’t wait to eat everything on there, but after cooking the first thing on there I get bored.  I suddenly want nothing I had planned.  Observe this week.  On the menu I had Honey Mustard Chicken and Sweet Potatoes, Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo, and Pressed Ham, Pear, and Gruyere Sandwiches with Tomato Orange Soup.  When it came time to make any one of those three I hemmed and hawed.  I didn’t want to make the sandwiches because I was waiting for Rosemary Cheddar Potato Bread (an upcoming post) and I hadn’t made it yet.  The other two just sounded meh to me.  By lunchtime on Friday I was refusing to make any of them, and was searching for something that would go well with my sudden craving for frozen steak fries.*

(*If you’re going to read this blog I think I’d better mention that I get random cravings for food regularly.  I will change entire plans to support these cravings, usually at the last minute.)

Introduce our friend, the cheesesteak.  I cannot remember the last time I ordered on in a restaurant even though I love them so.  This has more to do with my need to control ingredients and wish for healthy food than anything.  My husband, on the other hand, orders them everywhere.  Without vegetables.  Vegetables, you see, do not die in pain and are therefore unacceptable food items.  I joke, but the fact of the matter remains he likes very few veggies, none of which are found on a cheesesteak sandwich.

I decided that a cheesesteak was exactly what I needed, full of peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  The husband could eat around them if he really wanted to.  Much to my surprise he only picked out the mushrooms and tried valiantly to eat the peppers an onions.  I do believe I’m rubbing off on him.  Today peppers, tomorrow tofu!

The recipe I used was from an old Cooking Light.  I’ve had it in my YummySoup (a TERRIFIC recipe collector for macs.  I highly recommend it.) for ages, but it took me this long to get around to making it.  I regret waiting so long and I have a feeling I may actually make this one again.

Steak and Cheese Sandwiches with Mushrooms
Adapted from March 2008’s Cooking Light (recipe can also be found online here.)

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced thinly
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 pound top round steak, trimmed and cut into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces of sliced reduced-fat provolone cheese, cut in half  (about a slice and a half)
4 (2 1/2-ounce) hoagie rolls

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Sprinkle beef with salt and black pepper. Add beef to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in Worcestershire sauce; cook 1 minute.

2. Place 1 cheese slice half on bottom half of each roll, and top each serving with one-fourth of beef mixture. Top with remaining cheese slice halves and tops of rolls.

Serve with steak fries.

 

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Chicken and Rosemary Dumplings

The husband and I love traveling. It’s exhausting, but so fulfilling that it’s worth it. This is especially true whenever we get together with distant family. We spent the week we were staying with my mother relaxing—watching movies, cooking, hanging out. It was terrific and I already miss going to bed and waking up whenever I feel like it.

The only bad thing about traveling for us is my husband’s allergies. When we’re home Claritin and allergy shots are enough to keep him healthy, but when we’re on the road these remedies can’t combat the changes in allergens and he inevitably starts to feel crummy. After a few days in cold and rainy Kentucky my husband could barely breathe, and was only able to do so with the power of mentholated cough drops. By the time we got home he was miserable.

I’d planned on making a honey mustard chicken and sweet potatoes dish our first full day back, but he spent most of Sunday night awake on the couch because he couldn’t breathe. It was time to bring out the big guns.

This chicken and dumplings comes from a copy of Good Housekeeping’s Cookbook that we acquired at Half Price Book Store (a Texas staple), and is nothing like a good southern chicken and dumplings. They aren’t even distant cousins, but that not to say it isn’t tasty. It’s closer to the combination of a chicken stew with puffy pockets of rosemary dough throughout. It’s just as easy to throw together as making a simple chicken soup and a whole lot heartier.

The husband is feeling much better now, but ever since I made this soup for him I’ve seen real southern chicken ‘n dumplings recipes all over the internet. I wonder if he’d mind a different version next week.

Chicken and Rosemary Dumplings
From The Good Housekeeping Cookbook

Yield: 6 VERY large servings.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
6 large Bone-In Chicken Breast Halves (3 ¼ Lbs), Skin Removed
4 large Carrots, Peeled And Cut Into 1-Inch Pieces
2 large Stalks Celery, Cut Into ¼ Inch Thick Pieces
1 medium Onion, Finely Chopped
1 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary Or ½ Tsp Dried Rosemary, Crumbled
1 tsp Salt
1 large Egg
1 ½ cups Milk
2 cups Water
14 ½ fluid oz. Chicken Broth
¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 packages (10 Oz) Frozen Peas

Directions:

1. In 8-quart Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add 3 chicken breast halves; cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. With slotted spoon, transfer chicken pieces to bowl as they are browned. Repeat with remaining chicken.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in Dutch oven. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare dumplings: In small bowl, combine 1 cup flour, baking powder, rosemary, and ½ teaspoon salt. In cup, with fork, beat egg with ½ cup milk. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until just blended.

4. Return chicken to Dutch oven; add water, broth, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Heat to boiling over high heat. Drop dumpling mixture by rounded tablespoons on top of chicken and vegetables to make 12 dumplings. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

5. With slotted spoon, transfer dumplings, chicken, and vegetables to serving bowl; keep warm. Reserve broth in Dutch oven.

6. In cup, blend remaining 2 tablespoons flour with remaining 1 cup milk until blended smooth; stir into broth mixture. Heat to boiling over high heat; boil 1 minute to thicken slightly. Add peas to heat through. Poor sauce over chicken and dumplings. Makes 6 main-dish servings.

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