Monday, January 10, 2011

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To Meat or Not to Meat?: Either Way Delicious!

Alright, so this is by far one of my favorite recipes. It is simply delicious, and happens to be nutritious. Love when that happens. It's a play on a classic favorite of a steak and cheese sub, but made vegetarian. I can't say that it tastes like a steak and cheese, but has the same meaty, cheesy, pepper & onion-y feel. So hence the name of the "Fake & Cheese." It is simple, healthy, and of course delicious. Vegetarian and Meat Eaters alike should give it a try!

Ok, so when I made this recipe I was making it for one, but turned out that it made enough for two (or leftovers!) So if your making it for one person I would still stick to the amounts shown, but feel free to adjust it according to how many people you want to serve. So what you will need for your "Fake & Cheese" is:

  • 1 Portabella mushroom, cleaned and stem removed, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into half strips
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Bread of your choosing
  • Cheese of your choosing (provolone is delish!)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic Powder, to taste
  • Tupperware container (or anything to marinate in)

So the first thing you want to do is to clean the mushroom. Remove the stem since the tend to be a little tough. Then use a damp paper towel to wipe off the mushroom, not running water, since it tends to make them rubbery and not delicious. Then just slice it into strips. I like bigger strips to make it "meaty-er".

Next, mince the garlic, and add both to the tupperware container. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It sounds like a lot of garlic, but I promise it won't overpower. If your less of a garlic fan, you can omit one of them or even both. Cover the container, and give it a good shake to coat the mushroom. Then, I let it marinate for at least a couple hours, but whatever time you have will suit just fine.
When you're ready to start cooking, you can chop up the peppers and onions. I just make both into slices, and cut the peppers in half so the strips aren't too long. Heat a skillet to about medium heat, and when warm, add about a teaspoon of cooking oil. Add the peppers and onions.
Cook them until they are tender, but still have a little bite to them. (About 10 minutes). Now the trick I use to sautéing is to start with a small amount of oil, and when it starts to dry out, I add a little bit of water instead of more oil. This helps the veggies cook, but doesn't add any more fat. Add about a tablespoon or so every time they start to look a little dry so they don't burn.
              When the veggies are tender, you can add the mushroom, and the marinade. The vinegar will start to evaporate ( as pictured below. Don't worry, that's not smoke!) I usually turn the heat down to medium-low just to allow a longer cooking, and evaporate most of the vinegar off. This takes probably another 5-8 minutes. Depends how cooked down you like your veggies.

When the veggies and mushroom are cooked down, and most of the vinegar has cooked off, you want to get your bread ready for the dismount. I used a wrap, because that's what I had on hand. They're not the best because they tend to fall apart from all the juices. If you want the real experience, I suggest using a grinder roll, or something along those lines. But use any bread vessel you would like. Then simply add the veggie mixture to your roll, and add the cheese. I used feta cheese, because again that's what I had on hand, but provolone is by far my favorite! I usually use half a slice just broken up into pieces so I use less, but every bite has cheese on it. Voila! You just made a Fake & Cheese! I added a salad to the plate since it looked a little lonely, and it added more veggies!
I love the flavor combo of balsamic, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Another good pair is with goat cheese. Probably one of my favorite flavor combos. As I always say, experiment! These are my ideas, but I always encourage different ideas, and want you to share!

Now the nutritional changes of the original steak and cheese and this recipe is pretty much the replacement of meat. The recipe pictured has around 190 calories per serving. While a regular steak and cheese can have from 300-600 calories, roughly. So in the meat alone 2 oz of steak has about 100 calories and 7 grams of fat. 2 oz of portabella mushroom has about 30 calories, and trace amount of fat. The amount of cheese you put on the sub will affect the calorie and fat content, so try using less, and find a happy medium where you don't feel deprived. Hope you enjoy!

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