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Food, Savory

Philly Cheesesteak Stromboli

Philly Cheesesteak Stromboli

Every night is another cooking battle. What do I make? Another pasta dish? Tacos because they’re easy? Or do I attempt something new? Well, the other night was not one of those nights. But I did create something I haven’t done in a long time, and that’s make a stromboli. Now bear with me, I don’t make them like everyone else. It really ends up becoming what one of my friends called as “a big Hot Pocket.”

I don’t put mozzarella in it, and I don’t place cold cuts in the stromboli. I kind of make a Philly cheesesteak, stuff it inside, and call it a day. So if you’re up for something fairly easy, and kind of Italian, kind of an upgrade to your frozen food section, here ya go:

Philly Cheesesteak Stromboli

Philly Cheesesteak Stromboli

Gather:
Whole wheat pizza dough (A ball of dough you can roll out.)
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 pound of strip steak
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of black pepper
1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin

For topping:
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon of garlic powder

Preheat oven to 500. Cut dough in half. Flour and roll each half to a quarter to a half inch thickness. Place each on a cooking sheet. In center of dough place cheese (1/4 cup on each piece.)

In a skillet, add olive oil, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Saute until onion is carmelized. Cut steak strip into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces and add to skillet. Add spices and cook meat all the way through.

Pour meat and veggies on top of cheese in the middle of the dough, placing half on each section of dough. Fold in sides of dough toward the middle, then do the same with the other two sides to enclose the meat, veggies and cheese inside. Flip over so that the fold is on the cooking sheet side.

Mix melted butter and garlic powder. Spread evenly over both strombolis. Top with Parmesan cheese. Cut three slits in the top of each stromboli. Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until dough is golden brown, crispy, and cheese has melted. Let cool for 5-8 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

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Food, Sweet

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

chocolate chip banana bread

 

I overbought food the other day. Saw the bananas, had to buy them, and then, like clockwork, forgot to eat them. Which means they turned that sickly shade of brown that makes me want to just huck them into the trashcan.

Be that as it may, I made a promise to myself not to waste food. Find a solution, and find it fast. That’s my new motto. So I did what any good baker would do, I threw them into donuts… or banana bread… or donuts. I’m really not sure what the ended up being. Well, besides delicious. And I didn’t want to wait an hour to eat them, so I popped the mix into my donut pan and made up a batch of these chocolate chip banana bread donuts… or whatever.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Gather
2 ripe bananas, smashed
2 & 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
Handful of chocolate chips (a 1/4 cup seemed too much)

Preheat oven to 350. In bowl, mix mashed bananas and butter. In a seperate bowl, mix sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add baking soda and salt and mix. Add flour and mix. Add chocolate chips and fold into batter.

Fill donut pan ring about 2/3 full without covering the center peg. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in baking pan for 5 minutes. Remove and enjoy.

Makes six donuts.

Food, Savory

Spicy Cajun Kielbasa Pasta

Cajun Kielbasa Pasta

So this one isn’t entirely made up by me. A long time ago I received a pasta cookbook. It was overly loved and the edges were chewed off by an equally loved pet bird who I like to believe was just trying to help decide which recipe to tackle one day while helping out in the kitchen.

Inside of that lovely cookbook is a recipe for spicy cajun kielbasa pasta made with (of course) kielbasa, peas, and shrimp. And while I love shrimp, I didn’t exactly want to add it into this particular dish. But I did love the fact that it was a white sauce. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not fond of tomato sauces. On chicken Parmesan and inside a lasagna, yes. Dropped over my spaghetti, no.

This recipe turned into one of my go-to meals for when hoards of my male friends would come over and it was my duty to feed them. Depending on how much pasta you put in, you can serve up to six or eight people. (Although with them, three men could finish an entire pan made with a whole box of pasta in a single sitting.) So I’m sharing my altered, feel-good meal with you – a deviliously delicious pasta recipe for those cold winter nights.

Cajun Kielbasa Pasta

Gather:
1-lb link of Hillshire Farms Polish Kielbasa
1 cup of heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup of water (optional to swap in chicken broth)
1 cup of frozen peas
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of white wine (although any wine works)
Olive Oil
1/2 box of linguini pasta, cooked al dente and strained
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pan, saute sliced kielbasa on medium-high heat in a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil until browned. Add garlic and cayenne. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until garlic has released flavor (you’ll smell it) and browned. Add wine to deglaze pan.

In a bowl, mix heavy cream, egg yolk, and water. Add to kielbasa pan with frozen peas. Cook for 7-8 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken. It will still be slightly runny, add al dente pasta and Parmesan cheese. Cook until pasta is coated in sauce and it is no longer runny.

Serve and enjoy.

Fitness, Health

Reasons You (and I) Are NOT Losing Weight

 Losing Weight

I am clearly not an expert on nutrition, but if I’ve learned anything in the last two years, it’s the following 8 things. I’ve learned more, but these have been key factors in if my waistline balloons or diminishes, or at least what I’ve noticed.

1. Not Drinking Enough Water

Simple enough, drink water. But for some reason when I look back on my day, I’ve had maybe one glass. The key is remembering that half the time you’re not hungry when reaching for that bag of trail mix sitting in your desk drawer, you’re just dehydrated. Having two coffees in the morning or a can of soda doesn’t replace the water you need to hydrate, either. And the added calories from that soda, an unwelcomed friend. Keep a water bottle next to your desk and every time you want to snack, grab a few sips of water instead and see how you feel in 15 minutes.

2. Walking to the Store/Coffee Shop/Drug store on Your Break Isn’t Enough

It’s a start. Instead of taking the car for a 30 second drive, you walk the 5-10 minutes to grab your lunch for work. That’s a great way to get off your butt, but it’s not enough. Add in 30 minutes of heart-pumping, sweat-inducing excercise in your daily routine and you’ll start to see results. Burn calories with a run, some spin, a 30-minute Richard Simmons VHS, or even a hike with a friend. If you’re sweating, it’s working.

3. You Buy Groceries When You’re Hungry

I’ve done this a million times, then wonder how the cookies came home with me. When you’re starving, that bag of potato chips (baked or not) looks mighty fine and somehow made it’s way into the cart. Your hunger helps you justify the purchase. Whoops. Opening the bag on the way home to snack on a few isn’t helping the waistline either.Turns out all those foods you’ve been avoiding are hard to miss when you’re walking the aisles for dinner. Don’t do it.

4. You Don’t Eat Breakfast

Even Dr. Oz says a morning meal is your best ally. A big breakfast instead of a big dinner helps your body take advantage of its natural metabolic cycle. So go big breakfast, medium lunch, and small dinner – calorie-wise, that is.

5. You Don’t Eat Enough

Sure, the calorie tracker says if you want to lose 2 lbs a week that 1,200 calories a day is enough. Well, to be frank, if you’re excercising daily burning an additional 200-400 calories a day, you’re starving yourself. Fuel your body, just don’t over do it. And if you don’t eat the minimum, you’re body will go into starvation mode, meaning it will hold on to all that fat you’re trying to lose.

6. You’re Sleep Deprived

Working two jobs, trying to balance friends and family, while getting the house clean, planning meals, and trying to find time to workout can be exhausting. But if your body is worn out, you won’t be able to do any of those things and your body will actually increase your appetite, making you gain weight. Yikes!

7.Your Partner Isn’t On Board

Wondering why you’re gaining weight when you have a boyfriend? Could be that their unhealthy habits are rubbing off on you. It’s super hard to say no to that extra slice of Domino’s pizza when they’re eating it, too. The buddy system can actually keep you in check. If they’re hitting the gym with you, instead of encouraging you to sleep in, you’re more likely to keep up the healthy habits.

8. You Don’t Track Your Food

I’m totally guilty of this one. The moment I stop tracking my food, my calorie intake skyrockets. One cookie turns into four cookies, and I just put sour cream on my taco and extra cheese because I’m not measuring my food. It’s super easy to add an extra 500 calories a day without even noticing. MyFitnessPal.com (and the app) have been super helpful for me.