My Take on Philly Cheese Steak

There used to be a Philly cheese steak place that I really enjoyed. But, it’s been closed for years. I’ve never been to Philly – but, I’m told this place made cheesesteak as authentic as I could get, locally. I still think about those sandwiches. Now that I’m thinking about it, I need to find another local place that sells delicious cheesesteak, in the meanwhile – I decided to try my hand at making it at home.

In my house, we don’t all always get to sit down at the table together – so I like to cook things that can be eaten in shifts. This recipe fits the bill.

I kept it pretty simple – just steak, onions and bell peppers. I seasoned it with McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning and a little salt.

I started by prepping my vegetables – I used 3 onions and 3 bell peppers. The vegetables will cook down quite a bit.

I used a thinly sliced beef sirloin tip steak. I cut the steaks into strips (cutting across the grain to keep the meet tender). The steak was seasoned with 1 tbsp of the steak seasoning and I let it sit, while I cooked the vegetables.

I used my cast iron wok to cook this (yes, it is for more than stir fry!), as it offered ample space for the volume of food that I was cooking and the cast iron gives such a great sear to whatever you cook! To ready the wok, I heated it over high heat and added some avocado oil.

I started the onions first – I added about a tsp of the Montreal Steak Seasoning to the onions.

I cooked the onions until they were nicely browned, then I added in the bell peppers.

I cooked the vegetables until they were good and done. Look at that color!! This is why I do love a cast iron skillet (or, in this case, a wok). Do note that the vegetables cook down quite a bit – this is why I used 3 onions and 3 bell peppers!

I removed the vegetables from the wok and set to the side. I added a little more of the avocado oil spray to the wok and threw in the beef.

Since this beef is sliced thin, it doesn’t take long to cook it through.

Once the beef was done, I added the vegetables back into the wok and seasoned it all with a little bit of salt. And let the vegetables and beef meld together for a bit.

Once the mixture was done, I served it up on a hoagie roll with some sliced white American cheese. I think recipes are sometimes hit or miss – this one was a hit. And, I love that it is so super easy to make!

Philly Cheese Steak

1 1/4 pounds thinly sliced sirloin tip steak
3 onions, sliced
3 bell peppers, sliced
1 tbsp McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning (plus 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
Avocado Oil Spray
White American cheese slices

  • Prep onions and bell peppers by slicing, set aside
  • Cut the steak into strips
  • Season steak with the steak seasoning, set aside
  • In a hot pan, spray some avocado oil spray
  • Add onions and 1 tsp of the steak seasoning – cook until the onions start to brown
  • Add in the bell peppers and continue to cook the vegetables until they are soft
  • Remove the vegetables and set aside
  • Add a little more avocado oil spray
  • Put the steak in the heated pan and cook through
  • Add the vegetables back into the pan and toss everything together, add salt if desired
  • Allow everything to cook together for about 10 minutes
  • Serve on hoagie rolls, topped with white

Smoked Sausage and Potato Hash

What do you do when you forget to put something in the refrigerator to thaw for dinner? Often times, for me, I look to make something using a rope of smoked sausage – such was the case this evening.

I like to have a rope of smoked sausage on hand for evenings just like this. I’ve used it to make a delicious sausage, broccoli and red pepper pasta using this sausage. I thought of doing another pasta, but decided that I’d do a potato hash, instead.

I started by dicing 5-6 red potatoes.

In addition to the potatoes, I sliced the sausage and 2 onions.

I sprayed the hot wok (I used my wok because it is big and cast iron) with avocado oil, and added in the onions and the seasonings. After cooking a few minutes, I also added in the garlic.

After the onions have started to soften, add in the potatoes and sausage – add one at a time, allowing each to get a little brown (if you use a hot cast iron skillet or wok, this will be easy!).

After the potatoes and sausage get a little brown, pour in the water – stir through and cover. Stir occasionally to keep the potatoes from sticking.

Once the potatoes have softened, you’re good to go!

Smoked Sausage and Potato Hash

1 rope of smoked sausage, sliced
5-6 red potatoes, diced
2 onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
Avocado oil spray

  • Dice potatoes
  • Slice smoked sausage
  • Slice onions
  • Add avocado oil to a large skillet or wok
  • Add in onions and seasonings and cook until the onions start to soften
  • Add in the garlic and cook for 3-5 min
  • Add in the potatoes and, finally, the sausage
  • After allowing the sausage and vegetables to get a little brown, add in the cup of water
  • Cover skillet and cook until potatoes are done (stir occasionally)

Hearty Beef Stew

When it starts to get cooler, it’s really hard to beat a good stew. And, beef stew is one of our favorites. It’s warm, filling and feeds a lot – what’s not to love about it?! OH, and it is super easy to make!

I started by chopping my vegetables. Since it was going in a stew, I just rough chopped everything.

The cooking started with, as so many things that I love do, a little bit of olive oil, the onions I chopped and garlic. I cooked the onions and garlic until they started to get soft.

Then I added in the stew meat and browned it – adding in the seasonings, when it started to get browned.

Finally, I added in 4 cups – or one carton – of beef stock, the can of crushed tomatoes and the vegetables.

I let it come to a boil and then reduced the heat and covered the stew.

** Side note, the recipe is written up to indicate that you should, after lowering the heat cook it for about an hour (which is what I would normally do) – however, tonight, my daughter had volleyball and I was getting the dinner ready prior to leaving for the match, so I deviated slightly. I brought it up to a boil and then simmered for about 30 minutes or so. I had preheated my oven to 450 degrees. When I had to leave, I put the dutch oven (lid on) in the oven, turned off the oven and let it continue to cook in the oven. While this isn’t necessary for this recipe, and isn’t even how I would normally do it, I do mention it in case it is helpful to someone! The Le Creuset dutch oven is so well insulated, that this works perfectly – and kept the beef stew nice and warm for the time that we were away from the house. It was nice to be able to come home, only needing to thicken the stew before eating!

When we got home, I removed the dutch oven from the oven and returned it to the stove, as I wanted to add a quick slurry (just a couple tablespoons of corn starch mixed with about 1/2 cup or so of cold water) to the stew to thicken it a bit. To help it thicken, I brought it back up to a boil prior to adding in the slurry. Point of note – even after being in the oven, which wasn’t on – but, had been preheated to 450 degrees, for a couple hours – the stew was still pretty hot and was up to a boil in a matter of about 2 minutes.

We were hungry and we were cold – we enjoyed our beef stew about 10 – 15 minutes after adding the slurry! Super easy – super filling – super delicious – super perfect for this busy evening.

Hearty Beef Stew

2.5 – 3 lbs stew meat
5 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6-8 red potatoes, diced
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
4 cups beef stock
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp Umami seasoning

  • Chop vegetables
  • In a large dutch oven, add olive oil and then onions and garlic, cook until soft
  • Add in stew meat and brown, add in seasonings
  • Add in tomatoes and beef stock, bring to a boil – then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approximately 1 hour (timing may vary depending on the size you cut your veggies)
  • Just before serving, bring back up to a boil – and add in a slurry of cold water and corn starch to thicken

Chicken Skillet with Asparagus and Mushrooms

I do, truly, love a one pot (or skillet) meal! I love the easy cleanup and I love having one dish that covers all the bases – protein, veggies and starch (if starch is your thing – it’s, clearly, mine!). This recipe checks all the boxes. And, to top it off – it couldn’t be easier!

The prep started by cutting up my chicken to bite size pieces. I actually used chicken tenders, so cutting it to approximately 1 inch pieces was super easy. I seasoned the raw chicken with the umami seasoning and let it hang out, while I prepped the vegetables.

For vegetables, I used onion, asparagus and mushrooms – I chose those vegetables because that is what I had in the refrigerator. Certainly, you could use carrots and celery for a chicken version that would be similar to the pork chop skillet, as another option. The flavors would definitely work!

Once I had everything prepped – I started cooking. I started with browning the chicken in olive oil. I didn’t want to cook the chicken through, but I did want to get some color on the chicken. After browning the chicken, I removed it from the pan.

I had enough oil left in the pan, but if you don’t – just add a little more at this time. Then add in the onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Then add in the other vegetables, along with your salt and pepper and saute for 8-10 minutes (or until the asparagus starts to get a little soft and you get some good color on your veggies).

Once the vegetables have sauteed for a bit, you’ll want to add in your rice. Add it into the pan, prior to putting in your liquids – allowing the rice to get coated with the oil that is in the pan (it makes for such a flavorful rice, if you let it soak up the oil and the seasonings, prior to bringing it to a boil!) and stir through.

Once your rice is fully mixed in, you’re ready to add in your liquids – chicken stock, milk and cream of mushroom soup. Once added, mix well.

Then add the chicken back into the skillet – and bring it up to a boil.

Once a boil is achieved, you want to reduce the heat, cover the pan – and let it cook for about 20 minutes (or until the rice is done – for the jasmine rice I use, that is about 20 minutes).

Top with some shaved or grated romano cheese, if you like!

Chicken Skillet with Asparagus and Mushrooms

1 1/2 – 2 pounds chicken breased, cubed to about 1 inch pieces
6-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
15-20 spears of asparagus, cut to bit size pieces
1 onion, diced
2 cups of rice (I use Jasmine)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Umami seasoning
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Romano cheese (optional)

  • In large skillet, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Add chicken, which has been seasoned with Umami seasoning, to hot oil and brown
  • Remove chicken from skillet
  • Add onions and garlic, saute for 5 minutes
  • Add in the asparagus and mushrooms (as well as salt and pepper) and saute vegetables for 8-10 minutes
  • Add rice in and stir – allow the rice to soak up some of the oil from the sauteed vegetables
  • Add in the chicken stock, cream of mushroom soup and milk and bring to a boil
  • Return chicken to skillet
  • Reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes (or until rice is done)

Stuffed Bell Peppers

The other day, I bought some bell peppers – these were admittedly ‘value’ peppers, all in one bag, that were a LOT less expensive than the $2.99 (green) – 3.99 (yellow and red) PER BELL PEPPER that they wanted, otherwise (** side note, not sure what was going on there, I don’t recall ever seeing peppers that expensive before). The ‘value’ bag had one yellow bell pepper that was used for another recipe, the remainder were green. I mention the ‘value bag’ status of these peppers because, they are the funkiest shaped peppers I’ve ever seen in my life. That said, probably not the prettiest to use for stuffed peppers – but, you work with what you have!

One thing that I really don’t like, with regard to stuffed bell peppers, is when the pepper doesn’t seem to be cooked through fully – that said, I decided to ‘precook’ my peppers in the oven. I simply halved the peppers, tossed them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper – and cooked them in the oven for 20 minutes, sliced side down. At that length of time, they maintain their integrity, but cook long enough that they will be perfect after baking them stuffed!

While the peppers were cooking, I got started on the filling. This consisted of ground beef, onion, mushrooms, a can of Rotel tomatoes (I missed it in the picture below, but I’ve included a picture separately in case anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about), cooked rice (I had some frozen, I used that), garlic, salt and pepper.

The filling started with a little bit of oil in a large skillet – once the oil was hot, I added in the onions, garlic and mushrooms. I cooked this mixture for about 10 minutes.

Once the vegetables were on their way, I added in the ground beef and cooked it through.

The next step was to add in the rice. As I was using frozen rice, there were some clumps – I just allowed the warm ground beef to break it apart and stirred until the rice was separated and warmed through.

Finally, I added in the can of Rotel tomatoes and mixed everything through. I reduced the heat to simmer, covered and allowed it to cook for about 10 minutes. This should be about the same time that the peppers are ready to come out of the oven.

***Note, for the next time I make this, I’m thinking I will add some cheese to the mixture, itself, as well.

While you’re letting the filling simmer, you can take that time to grate some cheese (use whatever cheese you like, I used monterey jack), if you’re not using pre-grated cheese.

Once the filling is completed and the peppers are out of the oven – it’s time to put things together! It couldn’t be easier – just flip the peppers over in the baking dish, fill with as much filling as you’d like – top with cheese and you’re ready to put it back in the oven!

Cover the baking dish, loosely, with foil (you want to try to avoid the foil touching the cheese, so you don’t ‘loose’ your cheese when you remove the foil) and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, you’ll want to remove the foil, return to the oven and cook for a final 10-15 minutes (until the cheese starts to brown).

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Total cooking time approx. 1 hour 15 minutes

4 Bell Peppers, halved
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
2 cups cooked rice (I used frozen rice that I’d made earlier)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
olive oil

  • In large baking dish/pan – add halved bell peppers, spread a little bit of olive oil on both sides, salt and pepper. Bake peppers @ 375 degrees for 20 minutes (sliced side down)
  • Add small amount of oil to skillet – then add in onion, garlic and mushrooms to pan. Cook for approx 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add ground beef, salt and pepper to pan and cook the beef thoroughly
  • Add rice – stirring, allow rice to warm through (will take longer if you use frozen rice like I did)
  • Add in can of Rotel tomatoes, stir – cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Once mixture is done simmering (10 minute) and timer goes off for the peppers – remove peppers from oven
  • Flip pepper halves over in pan (peppers should be somewhat cooked, but not mushy)
  • Add filling to each pepper
  • Top with shredded cheese, add pepper if you like
  • Loosely cover pan with foil (try to ‘tent’ the foil so that your cheese doesn’t melt to it in the oven) and return to oven for 20 minutes
  • Remove foil and cook for another 10-15 (or until cheese starts to brown)