Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The leaves turning color, the cool snap in the air and the return to school always made me happy. I loved coordinating all my school supplies and in the really old days, covering my text books with brown paper bags that my mother saved from the grocery store. Gosh, I’m really dating myself with that statement but I bet a lot of you remember doing that as well. Going to Michaelson’s in Lexington for new shoes, or to the store in our town center for a few new pairs of courderoy levi’s (my favorite were baby blue) were traditions that signaled the summer was over and it was time to crack the books! The hope that came with the start of each school year was exciting and I looked forward to the challenges of a new curriculum and while nervous about the inevitable social ups and downs.
Fall has also been one of our favorite times of year to get away for a weekend, often with friends for a few days of fun and while this year’s calendar looks a lot different, we are hoping to squeeze in some safe socializing before the inevitable lockdown comes this winter.
The recipes here on The Kitchen Scout are a mash up of those I’ve created on my own, some from friends, and others from popular blogs and cookbooks that I’ve tweaked here and there. I try to publish recipes that I think you will actually attempt and because I get the sense that many folks shy away from red meat these days, I tend not to post recipes using it too often. While we don’t eat nearly as much of it as we used to, beef still shows up on our dinner table from time to time. My mom used to say “everything in moderation”, and I think that’s good guidance.
As the Fall is progressing and our children are here much less often, I am retooling my grocery shopping strategy, attempting to shop smarter and on fewer occasions. I am stocking up my pantry and adding to my freezer reserves so that if I don’t want to go out, we have options. I love a good pantry challenge to get something appealing and tasty on the table. So a few weeks ago, wanting to work with what I had on hand, I used a package of ground beef to start creating dinner.
The good news is that my fridge is usually in pretty good shape as far as vegetables go and I always have onions and peppers on hand. So it popped into my head that what I wanted to make was something close to my super secret guilty pleasure which is a cheesesteak. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had one, it has been that long but somewhere that sandwich is in the recesses of my mind. I like mine with mushrooms, along with the onions and sometimes peppers that appears in the one I have ordered from a local pizza shop. It’s hard to write and not get hungry thinking about it.
So, that is how this “skinny” cheesesteak skillet came to be. And I apologize for using the word skinny, but it describes it well because there is not a lot of excess fat or cheese in the dish. Just enough to make it tasty. And I love it because it can be made in just about 30 minutes or less. My friend, Anne was willing to test drive the recipe at her house last week and she gave it the ultimate thumb’s up by sending me a photo of the empty pan…
This is a pretty simple recipe as it is, but you can make it even easier if you are short on time. First step is to caramelize an onion in a little bit of oil. To do this properly will take about 20 minutes and add a lot of flavor, but if you don’t have that amount of time you can put the peppers and mushrooms in the pan with the onions and saute them together until soft and charred. The veg is removed from the pan and then the meat is browned over medium-high heat until cooked through. I used ground beef, but Anne had a 1 pound package of shaved steak from her meat share and used that with great success. I may try that next time myself!
Salt, pepper, a little garlic powder and worcestershire sauce flavors the meat. Nothing fancy, just like the sub shop although if you wanted to throw in some steak seasoning like Montreal, I’m sure that would be very tasty. The veggies are added back to the pan, tossed with the meat and then you cover it and place it in an oven just to get everything warmed through. You can also do this on the stove top if you want but keep it over a low heat so nothing burns. After it’s warmed, add just 4 slices of cheese and let it melt, about 5 minutes.
The recipe serves 3 average appetites but if you are serving a family you will want to double it. Leftovers are great and if you don’t mind the extra carbs, Anne suggested you could put the mixture on a toasted bun to stretch the meat. Yum!
Either way, we think you will enjoy this simple and quick dinner and hope you make it sometime soon! And if you do not eat red meat, then give it a try with ground turkey. Turkey has a lot less flavor than beef so you will need to spice it up with an all-purpose seasoning or maybe take it in a southwest direction with some cumin and chili powder.
Until next time…
Anne’s shot pre digging in. Thanks for testing, Anne!