Beef · Vietnamese

Saigon Cheesesteaks for the WIN-NGUYEN!!

Saigon Cheesesteaks
Sometimes I like to do C-R-A-Z-Y things…..

You know – kooky things like mashing up Philly Cheesesteaks with the comforting Vietnamese Thịt Bò Xào.

Say Whaaat???? I know, but just hear me out.

Thịt Bò Xào is a quick beef stir-fry we used to eat weekly growing up and we all loved it. It was hearty, garlicky, and well–beefy! The added bonus is the wonderfully rich sauce it created that we use to spoon over our rice bowls.

So freaking good.

Saigon Cheesesteaks
The other night I was about to make up a pan of Thịt Bò Xào when I caught a glance of leftover hoagie rolls sitting on the counter. And that’s when I got struck with a bit of genius! Or madness!

Sometimes it’s a blurry line with those two characteristics.

Why not throw the Thịt Bò Xào inside a roll and top it off with cheesy goodness?

Ain’t nothing bad about that!

Saigon Cheesesteaks

So I rolled the dice and gave it try!

I stir fried some ribeye beef and veggies, added a few slices of pepper jack cheese, stuffed it inside the hoagie and topped it with some bright cilantro leaves.  And no surprise here–it was AWESOME!! The beef had the same type of richness like the beloved Philly Cheesesteaks but the Asian flavors combined with that luscious sauce I had mentioned was a definite game changer!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the Philly Cheesesteak because I’m one of its biggest fans! But this is a fun twist and I do love variety!

And since this weekend kicks off College Football Season (FINALLY!)–it gives me the perfect excuse to whip up these Saigon Cheesesteaks again as I cheer on my beloved ❤ Trojans as they take on Crimson Tide!

Fight On, ‘SC!

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Saigon Cheesesteaks
Makes 2

Ingredients:

½ pound thinly sliced ribeye beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ yellow onion, sliced
5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons Maggi or Soy Sauce, more to taste
4 slices cheese (pepper jack, provolone, Swiss, etc.)
2 hoagie/sub rolls, sliced and toasted
red chili flakes
fresh cilantro to garnish

 

In a small bowl, mix together the beef, garlic, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and black pepper. Set aside.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil and butter in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Swirl the pan around until the butter melts. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until both have softened and become lightly browned, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Push the items to the side of your wok/skillet (or remove to a plate if your wok/skillet is not large enough) and add the beef. Turn the heat up to medium-high and quickly stir fry the beef for 1-2 minutes or until lightly brown. This should not take a long time since the beef is so thin.  Mix the onion/tomato/mushroom mixture together with the beef. Stir in Maggi (to taste) and additional cracked black pepper if desired. Pull the pan off the heat.

Keeping the mixture in the pan, divide it into two. Place the cheese slices over each of the portions and cover with a lid until the cheese melts. Open each roll and add half the meat mixture inside. Sprinkle the tops with red chili flakes and cilantro.

Serve immediately.

Beef

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwiches

Pot Roast Sandwiches

Are your Twitter-Facebook-Instagram feeds full of Thanksgiving posts?

Because mine are overflowing with them!

And at first, they’re wonderful because they spark deliciously new ideas and give some great tips to face the big feast.

Pot Roast Sandwiches
But if you’re like me, you’ve already had your dishes planned out for weeks…….So the constant barrage of new ideas started freaking me out!

Should I use hazelnuts instead of pistachios?

My standard potato gratin or that deconstructed one from Pinterest?

Do I make my pie the regular way or try out one of those braided crusts or leaves-patterns?

It’s all too much!

Pot Roast

For my own sanity, I’m stepping away from Thanksgiving dishes today to share with you something that I know you’re going to SWOON for–especially after all of the laborious cooking and shenanigans that you’ll be enduring over the next couple days.

SLOW. COOKER. POT. ROAST. SANDWICHES.

<pause for dramatic effect>

These beauties are what dreams are made of. Juicy, tender beef—dripping with wondrous goodness. All piled up on a soft potato bread bun with melty cheese and sweet caramelized onions.

Sorry—-did I just drool over the computer?

Pot Roast Sandwiches

And guess what? Your slow cooker does all the work!

All you need to do is sear the beef a bit and then throw it in the cooker. Once done, the beef just falls apart…..kind of like how I will be after all of the shopping we do on Friday.

So although you may have a ton of turkey and ham leftovers, do yourselves a favor and throw a seared chuck roast in your slow cooker Thursday night. You’ll wake up to the most scrumptious aromas and will have plenty of sustenance ready to tackle post-festivities clean-up, Black Friday sales, and lingering family members.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FOLKS! ❤

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast Sandwiches
Make 6-8 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 boneless, beef chuck roast (approximately 2½-3lbs.), trimmed and cleaned
black pepper
kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dry red wine
1¼ cup beef stock, divided
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced to about 1/8 inch thick
2-3 dashes balsamic vinegar
6-8 potato bread buns (or bread of your choice)
2 cups shredded cheese such as Provolone, Swiss, Havarti, Gruyere, etc.

 

Heavily season the beef with kosher salt and black pepper. Rub the garlic powder and onion powder over the beef. Roll the chuck roast in flour and dust off any excess. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot. Once the oil reaches medium heat, sear each side of the beef until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once browned, remove and place the beef inside the bowl of your slow cooker.

Carefully pour the wine into the dutch oven. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot and allow the wine to boil and reduce by half. Pour the reduced wine with browned bits and 1 cup beef stock over the browned beef. Add the thyme sprigs and place the lid on your slow cooker. Cook the beef on low until the meat falls apart and can easily be shred apart with two forks—about 8 hours depending on the weight of your chuck roast and your slow cooker.

When your pot roast is nearly done and you’re almost ready to serve your sandwiches, start caramelizing your onions. This can take about 40-50 minutes and shouldn’t be rushed or else the onions will burn. Melt the butter into the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir to ensure they’re well coated. Stir the onions every few minutes to ensure they do not burn—lower the heat if necessary. Continue cooking, stirring low and slow until the onions become deep brown. Add the remaining beef broth and use a wooden spoon to stir the onions and scrape up any goodies that have formed on the bottom. Once the broth has evaporated, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and remove the skillet from the burner.

Once the pot roast has cooked and essentially falls apart, take two forks and shred the beef into bit sized pieces. Allow the pan juices to soak into the beef. Taste and add additional salt as needed.

Assemble each sandwich by placing a large mound of shredded pot roast with the drippings on the bottom half of a potato bread bun (or bread of your choice). Top with a few spoonfuls of caramelized onions and shredded cheese. The heat from the shredded beef should start melting the cheese but if not, place under the broiler for a bit. Place the other half of the bun on top and serve with hot sauce, chips, fries, etc.

Enjoy!

 

 

Poultry

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I know, I know.

It’s kind of silly that I’m even posting this recipe as it’s a near no-brainer.

But if any of you are like me and have been running around like crazy with holiday errands, festivities, tasks, etc —then you know how clutch it is to have a “set it and forget it” kind of meal in your back pocket.

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

And that’s where slow cookers are my saving grace.

I got up pretty darn early this past Saturday with coffee in hand and a heavy to-do list that needed to be tackled. But before I dashed out of the house, I threw some chicken, aromatics and a couple of glugs of BBQ sauce in the slow cooker pot, flipped the switch on and let it do its magic while I battled crazy holiday shoppers.

I’m still sporting the wounds from some ‘bows being thrown at the toy store.

Scawie.

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

But my quick 5 minute prep in the morning was rewarded when I got home to a pot of delicious chicken ready to be piled on to some soft Kings Hawaiian buns.

So tender, so tangy, so delicious and so dang easy.

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Slow cooker pulled chicken is definitely one of those fab dishes that you can add or omit whatever you may have handy in your pantry or fridge. Crushed tomatoes, canned chili, cream of mushroom soup, bell peppers, root veggies—whatever goes! But if you do opt for the BBQ sauce route, don’t skip the liquid smoke. It adds that wonderful smokey element you can’t get if you don’t use a smoker or outdoor grill.

This time around, I topped the chicken with lightly pickled onions and shredded lettuce. But definitely use whatever toppings you like. Or in my case, whatever I managed to scrounge up from the fridge.

And with that dear friends, let me wish you and your loved ones a very, very….

Happy Hanukkah!
Joyous Kwanzaa!
Merry Christmas!
Cheerful Winter Solstice!

and a Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us!!!

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Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Serves approximately 8

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ small white onion, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 dried bay leaves
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
2 cups BBQ sauce, divided (homemade or bottled)
4-5 dashes liquid smoke
8 large hamburger buns/rolls
optional: cole slaw, pickles, cheese, shredded lettuce, pickled onions, avocado, etc.

Season the chicken with kosher salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Place in the slow cooker and top with the onions, garlic and bay leaves. Pour in the can of chiles and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce. Cover the pot and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Once done, carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place on a platter or large dish. Use two forks to shred the meat into bite sized pieces. Spoon the onions, garlic and chiles from the slow cooker over the chicken. Pour the remaining BBQ sauce over the meat and stir in the liquid smoke. Taste and season with additional salt as needed.

Assemble each sandwich by placing a large mound of the pulled chicken and sauce on top of each bun/roll. Serve with additional toppings/condiments as desired.

 

Condiments/Sauces · Vegetables/Vegetarian

Caprese Sandwiches with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Caprese Sandwiches

I recently had a two week stint gorging myself on fresh, sweet, summer heirloom tomatoes. I just couldn’t help it–DELICIOUS and so colorful!

I had to take advantage of the few short weeks left of summer when these beauties are best here in San Diego and enjoyed them in salads, over pizzas, as a condiment (pico de gallo), as a light side dish and of course– in sandwiches.

Caprese Sandwiches

One of my fav go-to “salads” is Insalata Caprese which usually consists of tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves and olive oil. I also like to serve them as appetizers by making little caprese skewers and use sweet grape tomatoes instead of tomato slices.

Caprese Sandwiches

For a light lunch, I grabbed a few heirlooms I had picked up earlier that morning to make Caprese Sandwiches. These sammies have all of the traditional fixins’ of Insalata Caprese with the addition of a rich and thick reduction of balsamic vinegar. The reduction adds a light sweetness and acidity to the sandwich which pairs so well with the cool tomatoes, velvety mozzarella and floral basil.

Total winner and can be whipped up Lickety- Split…..

In a jiffy……

In a blink of the eye……

In the speed of light…..

In no time flat……

……… Really fast. You get the point.

Did I mention these would be FAB for picnics?

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Caprese Sandwiches with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 pinches sugar
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 ciabatta rolls, toasted (or bread of your choice)
8-10 fresh whole basil leaves, washed and dried
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
sea salt or kosher salt

In a small sauce pan, add the vinegar, sugar and chili flakes. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Continue stirring and cooking until the liquids have reduced by half and take on the a thick, syrup consistency. Be sure to watch the reduction closely as it can burn quickly. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

Slice each of the toasted rolls in half. Place half of the basil leaves on the bottom piece of bread and top with a few slices of cheese. Drizzle some of the balsamic vinegar reduction over the mozzarella and top with slices of tomato. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over the tomatoes and place the other 1/2 of the roll on top. Enjoy!