America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan and as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought their cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.
So how did we come by the cheesesteak? Here is how the legend goes:
During the 1930s in the Italian immigrant section of South Philadelphia, brothers Harry and Pat Olivieri sold hot dogs and sandwiches. Tired of hot dogs, Pat suggested that Harry go to a store and buy some beef. Harry brought it back, sliced it up and grilled the beef with some onions. The brothers piled the meat on rolls and were about to dig in when a cab driver arrived for lunch and smelled the meat and onions. Pat never got a bite because the cab driver asked how much? Pat didn’t know what to charge, so he charged a nickel. The cab driver supposedly said, Heyforget about those hot dogs, you should sell these. It was not until 20 years later that cheese was added to the sandwich by longtime employee, Joe Lorenzo, who was tired of the usual preparation and added some cheese.
According to Philadelphians, you simply cannot make an authentic Philadelphia Cheese Steak sandwich without an authentic Philadelphia roll. The rolls must be long and thin, not fluffy or soft, but also not too hard.
In 1940, the brothers opened Pat’s King of Steaks at 1237 East Passyunk Avenue. The business has been there ever since, open 24 hours a day. Cheez Whiz was added to the steak and onions starting in the 1960s, and provolone, American cheese, and pizza sauce later became options along with various condiments and side dishes.
In 1970, Pat Olivieri retired and moved to southern California. A dispute over ownership broke out with Pat’s lawyer son, Herbert, on one side and Harry and his children, Frankie and Maria, on the other. In 1974 Pat died, and later Frankie bought the business out.
The reason the cheesesteak really blossomed was because of Pat himself. He was a larger-than-life figure who visited local theaters and concert halls, bringing steak sandwiches to the stars, then luring them back to his shop and taking pictures of them eating. He spread the word about his sandwich all over the world via these celebrities and they made him into a star.
Here is how I make this sandwich at home.
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 extra-large onion diced
1 pound ribeye steak fat removed, very thinly sliced and each slice cut in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-inch long) Italian loaf, 2 hoagie rolls or 2 baguettes, heated
4-6 slices Provolone or American cheese or both
Hot peppers or ketchup, optional
Heat a stove-top griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons of oil and the diced onions. Cook onions for 2 to 3 minutes until they are just beginning to brown.
Add the sliced meat and more oil if needed. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, using a spatula to continually move the steak around and break it up into smaller pieces. Cook until all of the pink is gone. Sprinkle the meat and onion mixture generously with salt and pepper.
Separate meat into two piles for each cheesesteak sandwich. Place 2-3 slices of cheese on each pile of steak and let them melt slightly.
Invert a warm hoagie roll on top of each pile. Allow to heat for 1 minute.
Use a long spatula to scoop the cheesesteak and roll off the griddle/frying pan. Flip the sandwich over onto a serving plate and add your favorite optional toppings, and serve.
Oven BBQ Pulled Pork
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 (5 pounds) pork shoulder or Boston butt
Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Burger Rolls and Cucumber Salad
Mix the paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan, uncovered, and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it’s falling apart.
While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready for it.
When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes.
While the pork is still warm, you want to “pull” the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to “pull” shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.
To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun and top with some of the remaining sauce.
Cucumbers in Dilled Sour Cream
Makes About 2 Cups
2 large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, sliced into 1/4″-thick half-moons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons green onion (scallions), minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
Place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, vinegar, honey, and dill in a mixing bowl. Add cucumber slices and toss to coat. Let salad stand for at least 5 minutes before serving, or chill for up to one day.
I like to make these sandwich rolls ahead and keep them in the freezer to make sandwiches for dinner or for company. Of course, you can use store-bought rolls also.
Makes 6 rolls
3 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon dry active yeast
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening( I use Spectrum)
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine the flour, yeast, sugar, shortening, and water. Mix on low speed until a dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add the salt and increase the speed to medium; knead for 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball. Lightly grease the inside of the mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free space to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate the dough. Divide the dough into 6 (about 4-ounces each) balls. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes. Form each ball into a 6-inch long roll. Place the rolls onto a large parchment-lined baking pan, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside in a draft-free space to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Bake the rolls until light golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Freeze in ziplock freezer bags for future use.
Grilled Sausage & Pepper Sandwiches
Serve with a mixed green salad.
Sub (Hoagie) Rolls, homemade or store-bought
10 Italian Sausage links (any type)
2 garlic cloves minced
4 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow and green) seeded and sliced
2 sweet onions, peeled and sliced into rings.
Crushed red pepper
Pour 2 tablespoons oil into a large saute pan and add the garlic. Heat the oil and then add the peppers, onions, salt, and crushed pepper to taste, cover the pan, turn the heat to low and let the mixture cook while the sausages grill.
Heat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan. Brush the sausage links with olive oil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and grill the sausages for 20-30 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature is 145 degrees F. Split the rolls, brush with oil and lightly grill the cut sides.
Place the grilled sausages in the skillet with the peppers and onions. Heat for a few minutes.
Serve a sausage link in each roll and top with some of the onion and pepper mixture.
This sandwich uses leftover BBQ brisket and coleslaw. See the recipes on this post.
Corn-on-the-cob is a great side dish for this sandwich.
BBQ Beef Brisket
Red Cabbage Coleslaw
Cheese Slices (white American, white cheddar, or your favorite
Shred some of the leftover brisket and reheat it, adding additional BBQ sauce.
Lay the bottom of the rolls in a single layer on a baking sheet. Top with sliced cheese and broil until melted, approximately, 1-2 minutes.
Place the desired amount of shredded brisket on top of the cheese covered bread half and add a layer of coleslaw. Place the top half of the bread on top and serve with plenty of napkins.
Philly-Style Steak Sandwiches
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 small bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 boneless rib eye steak, about 10 ounces and about 1 inch thick, trimmed of all fat
2 hoagie (Italian sub) rolls, split
2 thin slices white American cheese, each folded in half
2 thin slices provolone cheese, each folded in half
Cut the steak into paper-thin slices.
In a medium bowl combine the onion, peppers, garlic, olive oil, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
Heat a skillet (with a cover) and add the butter. Add the steak slices and cook quickly, about a minute on each side. Remove the steak to a plate and add the vegetables to the skillet.
Cook the vegetables until they are soft and tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While still in the pan, divide the vegetable mixture into two long piles. Divide the steak slices in half and place on top of the vegetables. Place a folded slice of provolone cheese and a folded slice of American cheese on top of each steak mound. Cover the pan and heat on low just until the cheese begins to melt.
Mixed Green Salad With Homemade Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 head Boston or Bibb lettuce
1 bunch arugula
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced into half moons
¼ of a red onion sliced thin
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, buttermilk, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and pepper; stir in the chives.
In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers. Drizzle with some of the dressing and serve the remaining dressing on the side.
Making a BBQ dinner for friends is a great way to entertain, especially if the weather cooperates. I enjoy having guests for dinner and I usually plan my menu with dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. That way I am able to spend time with friends rather than doing a lot of food preparations while they are visiting.
You may have noticed that more and more of your friends are following different diets. Some are only eating low carb foods, others are on a Paleo diet, some are diabetic, others vegetarian and some vegan. It is a good idea to check with your friends to see what they can eat. I am always open to planning variations of what I am making to accommodate their diets. In this case a few friends are following a vegan diet, so instead of 8 beef burgers, four are beef and four are made from oats and beans. These vegan burgers are great on the grill, hold up perfectly and do not fall apart. Just be sure your grill is well oiled. The rest of the menu works for everyone.
For 4 servings
20 oz (1 ¼ lbs grass-fed organic ground steak for burgers
Steak seasoning (I like Penzey’s Chicago seasoning)
1 large sweet onion, cut into 4 ½ inch thick slices
Olive oil cooking spray
4 wheat burger buns
Shape the meat into four equal patties, about 5 oz each.
Sprinkle the steak seasoning on both sides of the patties and spray each with olive oil cooking spray.
Coat the onion slices on both sides with cooking spray
Heat an outdoor grill on high. Oil the grill grates. Place the burgers on the grill, cover, cook turning once, for a total of 8 minutes.
Place the onion slices on the grill and cook until grill marks form on the bottom, turn them over with a wide spatula and cook the second side for a total of about 4 minutes.
Toast the rolls at the same time. Place the burgers on the bottom half of the rolls and top with a grilled onion slice.
Serve with ketchup and your favorite burger condiments.
Vegan Bean and Oat Burgers
For 4 servings
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup dry pinto beans
1/4 cup dry red or black beans
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 medium carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for grilling
Grilled Onion slices
4 wheat burger buns
Ketchup or other condiments
Soak the beans overnight in water to cover and cook the next day for 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place the oats in the bowl of the processor and process until finely ground.
Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Remove the mixture from the processor and shape into four patties. Cover with plastic wrap.
Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before grilling.
Brush the patties with olive oil and place on an oiled grill.
Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place on toasted buns and add a grilled onion slice. Serve with ketchup or other condiments.
Whole-Wheat Burger Buns
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together the flours, yeast, salt, wheat gluten and baking soda.
Add the warm water, honey and oil. Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together around the paddle.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on low until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky.
Place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen.
Punch down the dough and divide into 6 smooth balls
Place the buns on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet, a few inches apart or in a greased burger baking pan.
Flatten the tops slightly with your fingers, and let the buns rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the buns in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove to a rack and allow the buns to cool.
Zucchini Fennel Salad
1 large zucchini, sliced very thin
Half red onion, sliced very thin
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
12 Italian green olives, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
In a large serving bowl, combine the zucchini, onion, olives and fennel.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients; shake well.
Pour over the zucchini mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for several hours until chilled before serving.
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (about 8 medium peaches)
2-3 tablespoons agave nectar, depending on the sweetness of the peaches
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 – 1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, combine the fruit and the agave nectar. Spread the mixture evenly in an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Stir the oil into the topping mix with a fork until you get a crumbly mixture forms.
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the fruit in the baking pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden.
Sometimes the craving for a sandwich comes on and you want one that will be rewarding. I never eat sandwiches for lunch, since my lunches tend to be light: yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit or a bowl of soup. So having a sandwich for dinner is a real treat for me. Leftovers can also be the start of some great sandwich recipes, as indicated in the recipes below. What is your favorite dinner sandwich?
Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches
A mixed green salad is perfect to complete this meal.
1/2 pound grilled Italian sausage, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large green bell pepper, roasted, skins removed and sliced into long strips
1 large red bell pepper, roasted, skins removed and sliced into long strips
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Ciabatta or Hoagie rolls
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wrap the rolls in foil and heat for about 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, deep skillet with a lid.
Add the sausage and peppers and sprinkle with a little salt and the Italian seasoning. Stir in the marinara sauce and cover the pan.
Heat the mixture until hot.
Fill the rolls with the sausage mixture and serve.
Italian Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Serve this sandwich with sweet potato fries and pickles.
4 slices country-style bread
Olive oil for brushing
1 grilled chicken breast, sliced thin
2 roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
Dried Italian seasoning
4 slices mozzarella cheese
8 large fresh basil leaves
Place the sliced chicken in a zip-lock bag and pour the salad dressing in. Close the bag and shake it so the dressing is evenly distributed.
Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat an electric Panini press on high or the “panini” setting according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you do not have a Panini Press: You can cook the sandwiches in a skillet on top of the stove. You will need a second skillet to weigh the sandwiches down. Heat one skillet over medium heat.
Brush the bread slices on one side with olive oil. Place 2 slices of mozzarella on each side of the bread slices not brushed with oil.
Arrange the chicken and then the roasted bell peppers on top of the cheese.
Place 4 basil leaves on each sandwich and then 2 more slices of mozzarella.
Top each sandwich with one of the remaining bread slices, oiled side up.
Place the sandwiches on the preheated Panini press, close the lid and cook until the cheese is melted, 5 to 6 minutes.
Or place the sandwiches in the heated skillet and place the unheated skillet on top, pressing it down.
Cook the sandwiched until brown on the bottom.
Turn them over, replace the skillet press and cook until the second side is brown, about 6 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half.
Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches
2 ciabatta rolls
Two 4×4 inch pieces of Eggplant Parmesan:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Split the rolls in half. Place a square of Eggplant Parmesan on the bottom half of each roll. Place the top of the roll on top of the eggplant.
Wrap the sandwiches in the aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake the sandwiches for about 15- 20 minutes, until hot.
Serve with pickled Tuscan peppers.
Vegan Summer Garden Sandwich
Vegan Creamy Italian Salad Dressing, recipe below
2 slices of your favorite bread or 1 Italian roll
4 small slices of oven baked or grilled eggplant
4 thin slices of fresh, uncooked zucchini
1 slice red onion
2 large slices vine ripe tomatoes
Garden leaf lettuce
Brush one side of each piece of bread with the creamy dressing and layer the ingredients on the side of one piece of bread brushed with dressing.
First, place the eggplant on the bread and then add the zucchini slices, tomato slices and onion.
Top with lettuce leaves and the remaining bread slice, dressing side down. Cut in half and enjoy this sandwich with your favorite coleslaw.
Vegan Creamy Italian Salad Dressing
Adapted from Vintage Kitty
Makes 16 tablespoons
1/2 cup warm water
4 tablespoons almonds
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch chili flakes
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon organic sugar or agave syrup
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the warm water, almonds, Italian seasoning, dried basil and chili flakes in a mixing bowl and let soak for 15 minutes.
Place the mixture in a blender and add the garlic, shallot, olive oil, vinegar and sugar.
Blend until the mixture is smooth.
Add fresh parsley and pulse. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store in the refrigerator up to one week
Homemade Burger Buns
Makes 6 large burger buns.
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced dried onion
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 large egg
2/3 cup lukewarm water
Olive Oil cooking spray
Combine all of the ingredients in an electric mixer bowl and mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together around the paddle.
Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough until smooth.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy and doubled.
To form the buns:
Gently deflate the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into 6 pieces; each 4 ounces.
If you don’t have a bun pan, space them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Gently flatten the buns with your hand to fill the bottom of the pan’s wells, or until they’re about 3 1/2″ to 4″ wide.
Cover the buns and let them rise for 60 to 90 minutes or until they reach the top of the pan.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spray the tops of the buns with olive oil cooking spray.
Bake the buns for 18 to 20 minutes or until they are a light, golden brown and their interior temperature is at least 190°F, measured with an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the buns from the oven and transfer them to a rack. Allow the buns to cool completely, then store airtight at room temperature.
Adapted from a King Arthur recipe.
Grass-fed Steak Burgers with Barbecue Sauce
Makes 4 burgers
4 thick (1/2 inch) sweet onion slices for grilling
4 slices American or Swiss Cheese
Burger Buns, recipe above for homemade or use store-bought
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (about 3 chiles), plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 pounds grass-fed ground beef (sirloin)
1 1/2 teaspoons each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
BBQ sauce, recipe above
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
Make the BBQ sauce:
Purée all sauce ingredients in a food processor until very smooth.
Make the burgers:
In a bowl, combine beef, salt and pepper.
Form into 4 equal sized patties about 5 oz each and 3/4 inches thick. Put on a plate, cover, and chill until ready to grill.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat). Oil the grill grates.
Brush both sides of the onions with BBQ sauce. Grill, covered, until softened, turning once, 8 minutes total.
Brush both sides of the burgers with BBQ sauce and grill, covered, turning once, about 8 minutes total.
Lay the bun halves, cut side down, on grill to toast slightly during the last-minute of grilling for the burgers and onions.
Transfer buns to a platter, place slices of cheese on the bun bottoms and top with burgers and onions.
Serve with extra barbecue sauce or ketchup.
Chopped Vegetable Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
4 mini bell peppers, different colors or 1 large bell pepper
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
Half of a large red onion
2 celery stalks
Half a pint of grape tomatoes
Green Goddess Dressing, Recipe Link
Dice all the vegetables into ½ inch pieces.
Combine the vegetables in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly;
Divide the mixture among individual salad bowls.
Serve the dressing on the side, so each diner can add the amount of dressing they like.
8 oz elbow macaroni
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/2 onion finely diced
1/2 bell pepper finely diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup spicy cherry peppers, diced or pickle relish
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch black pepper
Make the dressing by combining the ingredients and set aside while you cook the macaroni.
Cook the pasta al dente in boiling salted water, drain and add the dressing while the pasta is warm.
Add the chopped vegetables and mix well. Add salt to taste, but I find this type of salad doesn’t need extra salt.
The mayonnaise, pasta cooked in salted water and seasonings add enough.
Chill the salad for several hours before serving.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Makes 2 quarts. I use old mayonnaise jars with screw top lids.
2 cups water
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon dill seed
6 thinly sliced garlic cloves
6-8 pickling cucumbers (Kirby)
A few sprigs of dill
2 clean quart size jars
Combine water, vinegar, sugar, kosher salt, pepper, dill seed and garlic in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; stir.
Quarter pickling cucumbers lengthwise and divide evenly in the jars; add fresh dill.
Top with the hot vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for several days before eating.
The pickles keep for a few months in the refrigerator.
A survey of my freezer containers, indicated leftover pork and turkey breast were getting old. Time to use them up. I also had 2 cooked baking potatoes in the refrigerator. Since I hate just heating up leftovers, I had to get creative. Sandwiches are always a good meal and so is pasta. I had plenty of dried pasta shells in the pantry, so I decided to come up with a filling for them using the leftover turkey breast meat. Potatoes and eggs – one of my favorites. So here is what I came up with for a few brand new meals.
For leftover pork.
Leftover pork from a roast or scaloppini dish makes an excellent sandwich.
See original recipes for pork
Ingredients for each sandwich:
2 teaspoons prepared basil pesto
2 slices sourdough or ciabatta bread or rolls
2 slices provolone cheese
2 thin slices leftover cooked pork
½ jarred roasted red pepper, drained and sliced
2 large basil leaves
2 teaspoons butter
Prepare the sandwiches:
Brush one side of each slice of bread with pesto. Place the pork slices on top of the pesto covered side of the bread. Add the roasted red pepper, basil leaves and cheese.
Place the second piece of bread, pesto side down, on top if the cheese. Press the sandwich together. Spread the butter on the outside of the bread slices.
How to cook the sandwiches:
In a Panini Press:
Preheat the press. Place the sandwich in the press and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
On the stove:
Preheat a skillet to medium low. Add the sandwich and press a heavy pan on top to weigh it down. Cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Turkey or Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells
32 large dried pasta shells
4 cups milk
4 tablespoons instant flour or all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups finely diced, cooked chicken or turkey
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
½ cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large saucepan combine the milk with the instant flour, butter and salt, Put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often.
Once the mixture boils, stir constantly until slightly thickened. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the shells. Cook them for a few minutes less than the package directions say. They should be pliable but not soft.
Drain and place the shells on kitchen towels on the counter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish that can accommodate the 32 shells or use two smaller dishes.
To make the filling:
Combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and add i cup of the white sauce. Stir well.
To assemble the dish:
Pour half of the remaining white sauce into the prepared baking dish.
Fill the shells with the turkey mixture, about 1 tablespoon for each. If you have any filling left over, you can add to the shells in the dish later.
You want to be sure you have filling for all the shells distributed evenly.
As you fill the shells, place them in the baking dish. When all the shells are in the dish, pour the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle lightly with paprika.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake the shells for 45 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Potato, Onion and Rosemary Frittata
This recipe is a good way to use leftover cooked potatoes. This frittata makes a delicious, quick dinner and all you need is a green salad to complete the meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onion, diced
2 baking potatoes, cooked and sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the broiler. While you prepare the fritatta.
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs. Add the cheese and mix.
In an oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes and rosemary and sauté until the potatoes are golden.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the vegetables from the pan to a plate and set aside.
Add the butter to the skillet clean and melt over medium heat.
Add the beaten egg mixture and cook for a minute. Spread the sautéed vegetables on top of the eggs,.Let cook for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are set and the top is still slightly wet.
Place the frittata under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the top is set and golden.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Turn the frittata out onto a platter or serving dish and cut into wedges.
The University of Oregon defeated Ohio State University 46–33 in 1939 to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Final Four, as the tournament became known, has grown in size and popularity since then. Today, the NCAA basketball tournament has become the most popular sporting event, after the Super Bowl.
For the first 12 years of the men’s tournament, only eight teams were invited to participate. Today, the tournament breaks into four regions of 16 teams. The winning teams from those regions comprise the Final Four, who meet in that year’s host city to decide the championship.
The NCAA held its first women’s basketball tournament in 1982. The women’s tournament started with 32 teams, but now the women’s format echoes the men’s, with play in four regions culminating in a Final Four held in a single location. The championship is played the day after the men’s, concluding the college basketball season.
Yesterday was Selection Sunday and the madness begins on Thursday. Here are some recipes to help you cheer.
4 large sandwiches
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
Half a green bell pepper, finely chopped
8 very thin sandwich steaks (usually sirloin)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 slices American cheese or your favorite cheese
4 long hoagie rolls, about 8 inches long (I like Martin’s for these sandwiches)
To make the toppings:
Heat a griddle or a large, heavy frying pan, over medium heat. Add oil to the pan and, when it begins to shimmer, add the garlic, onion and green peppers and stir to combine.
Cook, stirring every so often, until they begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove to a bowl and set aside.
To make the steaks:
Place the steaks between pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until uniformly thin.
Turn the heat to high until nearly smoking. Season the meat aggressively with salt and pepper.
Place the steaks on the griddle, working in batches if necessary, and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until well browned but very rare. Remove to a serving platter and allow to rest.
To make the sandwiches:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place the sub rolls in the oven to warm.
Return sliced steaks to the griddle or frying pan, over medium heat, and place the onions and peppers on top of the steaks. Turn heat to low and cover each steak with sliced cheese.
Remove the rolls from the oven and fill each sub with a mixture of 2 steaks, vegetables and cheese. I usually cut these sandwiches in half and arrange on a serving platter.
If serving to guests, keep them warm on a hot plate.
Deviled Eggs and Smoked Salmon
6 large eggs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
6 oz smoked salmon slices
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Place the eggs in a saucepan just large enough to hold the six eggs. Cover with cold water and place the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the saucepan.
Let the eggs rest in the hot water for 12 minutes. Drain the water from the pot and add some ice cubes and cold water to cover the cooked eggs.
Let them cool until you can handle the eggs without burning your fingers.
Gently tap the eggs in several places and remove the shells. Place the peeled eggs on paper towels to dry.
Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and place in a mixing bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Add the onion, celery, mayonnaise, mustard and salt and pepper. Mix well.
With a spoon fill each egg where the yolk had been with some of the mixture.
Place the eggs on a platter and chill.
Arrange the eggs and salmon on a serving platter. Sprinkle chives over both and serve.
Let the package of fillo dough sit in the refrigerator overnight to defrost. Any remaining dough can be kept in the refrigerator well wrapped in plastic for four weeks or be refrozen, so don’t worry that you are not using the entire package.
Makes about 16 triangles
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 scallions (green onions), minced
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
48 sheets Fillo Dough, thawed
Tzatziki, recipe below
In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach with the scallions, parsley, dill, cheeses, eggs, salt and pepper until smooth.
Keep the fillo dough not being used, covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying, while you work on the triangles.
Spread one sheet of the dough on a cutting board and brush with some olive oil. Place a second sheet of dough on top and brush with oil. Repeat with a third sheet.
Cut the layered fillo in half lengthwise. Place one tablespoon of filling about 1″ from the corner of each strip. Fold one corner of fillo diagonally across to the opposite edge to form a triangle.
Brush lightly with oil. Continue to fold the triangle onto itself. Brush the outside of the triangle with oil and place the triangles seam side down on parchment covered cookie sheets at least 1” apart.
Repeat until all the filling is used up.
Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Rolls can be made ahead and reheated just before party time.
Serve hot with Tzatziki Sauce.
1 cup peeled and seeded cucumber, finely chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Place the chopped cucumber in a fine mesh colander and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Place the colander over a bowl and let the cucumbers drain for one hour.
Turn the cucumbers over on paper towels. Squeeze all the water out.
Combine the cucumber and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Quick and Easy Almond Bark
16 ounces slivered almonds
16 ounces high quality baking milk or dark chocolate (such as Valrhona )
Toast the almonds in a 9″x 13″ baking pan at 350 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cool.
Line the same baking pan with a piece of parchment and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl with a cover in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir the chocolate with a spatula until smooth.
Stir in the nuts, a little at a time, until they are all incorporated and covered with chocolate.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Spread the mixture to the sides of the pan and press down with a spatula until smooth.
Cover with another piece of parchment and press down to flatten. Chill in the refrigerator until hardened.
Cut into serving pieces and store in a cool place.
The reason grass-fed meat is generally healthier for you is because it is lower in overall fat and saturated fat and it provides a higher amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed meat.
Opt for organic. The use of growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics is not allowed in certified organic beef production. Nor is feed made from animal by products..
Go for grass. Choose beef from cattle that were 100 percent “grass-fed”. ” These animals are raised on their natural diet of grass from birth to market and are not given antibiotics and hormones. Look for a grass-fed label from the American Grassfed Association.
Look at labels. Check for phrases like “Naturally Raised,” “No Hormones Added,” “Raised Without Antibiotics” and “Never Fed Animal Byproducts.”
Portion control: 5-6 oz of meat is more than adequate to satisfy. Serve vegetables and salad for menu balance.
Grass-fed meat requires less time to cook than grain-fed meat. Since it is generally leaner, with less fat to keep it moist, it will cook faster at the same level of heat. Grass-fed meat is best cooked medium rare to medium, or it will become tough. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer in the thickest part. At 135°F the meat is still rare. At 145°F to 155°F it will be medium. Above that the meat may lose its moisture and tenderness.
Let the meat rest for a few minutes after cooking it to help redistribute the juices inside. Do not cut it immediately since the juices will spill out, leaving a drier texture. For the same reason, turn meat with a spatula or tongs rather than a fork.
Pan-Seared Steak Pizzaiola
- 2 rib-eye steaks (preferably grass-fed and organic) (about 12 oz. each and 1 inch thick), all fat removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 small bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cut each steak in half lengthwise (to make four steaks) and pat them dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Place a 12-inch heavy frying pan over medium high heat and add the oil. When hot, place the steaks in the pan and sear until deeply browned on both sides and medium rare, 2 minutes per side (no more than that). Transfer the steak to a serving to a plate.
Add the onions and bell pepper to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re softened and but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Pour the wine into the pan. As it comes to a boil, deglaze the pan by stirring the bottom of the pan well with a wooden spoon. Add the steaks; pour in the marinara sauce and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Sprinkle the mozzarella over the steaks, cover the pan and heat just until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
Grilled Onion Burger
- 10 oz. grass-fed organic ground beef
- 1 teaspoon steak seasoning
- Half red onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 hamburger rolls
- Olive oil cooking spray
Divide the ground beef in half. Using a hamburger press form 2 burgers.
Sprinkle with the steak seasoning and refrigerate until cooking time.
For the onions: heat the oil in a small skillet and add the sliced onions. Cook until tender and set aside while you grill the burgers.
I prefer to grill burgers instead of cooking them on top of the stove, so heat an outdoor grill to medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium.
Spray the burgers on both sides with cooking spray and place them on the grill. Cook 4 minutes and turn them over. Cook for another 4 minutes. Toast the rolls on the grill.
Serve the burgers on the toasted rolls and divide the cook ed onions between the two burgers. Add ketchup, if desired
Pot Roast with Onion Gravy and Mustard Sauce
For a leaner pot roast, choose a bottom round or rump roast. Chuck roast is a bit more tender, but fattier.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced (4 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- One 3-pound (organic and grass-fed) rump or bottom round roast, trimmed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for the gravy
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for the gravy
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
To prepare pot roast:
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 4-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.. Add the beef; cook, turning from time to time, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove beef to a plate and reserve.
Add the onions; cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary and orange zest; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
Return the beef to the pot, nestling it among the onions. Add the wine to the skillet; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F..
Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven and bake until the beef is tender, 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Turn the meat several times during the cooking process.
To prepare the mustard sauce:
Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and pepper in a small serving bowl. Reserve in the refrigerator until serving time.
To make the gravy:
Transfer the roast to a clean cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
Skim fat from the liquid in the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; add to the liquid and cook, whisking, until the gravy thickens Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the meat and serve with the gravy and the mustard sauce.
The roast is delicious served with roasted carrots, parsnips and asparagus
Make Ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat the sliced pot roast with gravy in a skillet over medium-low heat. The mustard sauce can be covered and refrigerated separately for up to 2 days.