Friday, May 26, 2017

Beef Month: Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

I sometimes watch the Food Network show Cooks vs. Cons. In it, two professional chefs and two home cooks prepare food for celebrity judges. While the contestants are cooking, the celebrities try and figure out whether they are cooks or cons.

Kitchen techniques often get mentioned as an indicator of professionalism. I think I could make a tasty dish for the judges. But I'm afraid my knife skills would betray my amateur status. I thought about that again as I was dicing the peppers and onions for these Philly Cheesesteak Sliders.

As the celebrity chefs would say, my "knife cuts" probably aren't as consistent as they should be. But my lack of professional knife skills didn't get in the way of the yummy taste.

May is Beef Month. For us, every month is Beef Month because that's what we have in the freezer. (Click here for a complete look at our beef - from hoof to plate.) The Kansas beef industry is vital to the Kansas economy, generating more than $9 billion annually. Kansas is home to 6.25 million cattle, which is more than twice the human population of 2.9 million. Kansas also ranks third nationally in the value of beef and veal exported, at $787.7 million in 2014. The industry supports more than 48,400 jobs in Kansas.

Beef provides 10 percent of 10 essential nutrients, including zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins, in less than 10 percent of the daily recommended calorie intake. Specifically, a 3-oz. serving of beef provides 25 grams, or about 50 percent of the Daily Value, for protein. Today, about two-thirds of beef sold at retail, including popular cuts like sirloin steak, tenderloin and 95 percent lean ground beef, meet government guidelines for lean. (Source: Kansas Beef Council).

This Philly Cheesesteak Slider recipe likely will end up in the line-up for wheat harvest meals to the field, even though they are less "finger food" and probably best eaten with a fork. On our farm, the guys usually stop for their meal anyway to get off the combine or out of the truck for a few minutes. And a fork is probably better than dirty fingers anyway, right?
I served the sliders with watermelon and an apple coleslaw salad. Click on the link for the salad recipe.
Philly Cheesesteak Sliders
Adapted from my Facebook feed
1 package Hawaiian slider buns (can use Hawaiian rolls or mini-sub buns, too)
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 sweet peppers, diced (I used 2 red peppers, but you can use any color or a combination)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 lb. steak, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
12 slices provolone cheese
3 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Put bottom buns in the paper-lined dish. Spread evenly with mayonnaise or salad dressing. Top with 6 slices of provolone cheese; set aside.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and peppers. Cook until tender and starting to caramelize. Add steak. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the steak is cooked to medium rare. Remove from heat. Drain the majority of the excess liquid.

Put meat mixture over the bottom buns. Add another 6 slices of cheese. Place slider tops over cheese layer. Brush tops with melted butter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until top has browned and cheese is fully melted. Number of servings depends on your diners - either one or two sliders per person.

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