Saturday, November 7, 2009

Steak out

Cheesesteak is in my blood.

My mom is from North Philly. No trip to visit my grandparents was complete without a little ribeye and gooey cheese. What's not to love about juicy beef, chewy bread, creamy melted cheese and the flavorful bite of grilled peppers and onions? Seriously. It's a win-win-win-win.

Unless you are the cook.

If you make cheesesteaks at home, you end up suffering from pancake syndrome. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Becoming a short-order cook in your own kitchen means that each plate is eaten one at a time, leaving the cook to eat the leftovers alone at the end at best, or hungry at worst as the last plate gets devoured before Mom realizes all the food is gone.

Oh, yes, you can make them in advance and keep them warm until they are all ready. But then you end up with the cheesesteaks from my school cafeteria. Steaks we stuffed with ruffled, oversalted potato chips and doused liberally with ketchup to make them edible. Trust me. That's not a real cheesesteak.

But if you take all the components and pile them high on a pizza crust, bake them to a cheesey finish and serve all at once, you've got a slice of brotherly love at its best.

Grandpa Nick's Cheesesteak Pizza

1 pizza crust
1 box sandwich steaks (the 7 steak size)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large pepper, sliced
½ cup tomato sauce
1 T. steak sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
½ t. garlic powder
1 T. sugar
½ pound provolone, sliced
1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella and cheddar blend is good)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Break frozen steaks into bite-size pieces. Sauté with
onion and pepper until vegetables are translucent and meat is fully cooked. Add
sauces and seasonings to taste. Finish with a pinch of sugar to counter the acidity
of the tomatoes. Cook uncovered until sauce reduces and thickens slightly, about
10-15 minutes.

Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Lay provolone slices evenly on surface. Spread meat mixture over cheese. (Think you’ve got too much? Refrigerate leftovers for a great, quick steak sandwich.) Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.


Chicken Cheesesteak – Replace sandwich steaks with 1 pound chicken breast, sliced thinly.

California Steak – Omit onions and peppers in meat mixture. Top pizza after cooking with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, and drizzle with mayonnaise.

Extra Extra!!!

Lunchtime Lingo – Do you like your steaks wit or witout? That’s not a typo…it’s how you order a sandwich at Pat’s King of Steaks, the original purveyor of Philadelphia’s famous sandwich. If you want your sandwich “wit,” you get it with onions. “Witout?” You’re eating a naked steak.

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