Friends, I have a healthy and skinny cheesesteak recipe made in a slow cooker for you! I’m guessing that cheesesteaks don’t exactly spring to mind when you think of dinner from a slow cooker. Nor do you often think of putting the word “skinny” anywhere in the near vicinity of the word cheesesteaks. But this month’s Recipe Redux is all about making unexpected meals from your slow cooker. The challenge was to make anything that isn’t a casserole. And of course because this is the Recipe Redux it has to be healthy. So being a good Philly girl, and since cheesesteak was my first solid food (my mom swears this is true) I had the idea of making-over a Philly cheesesteak. Trust me, there would be no frying of the beef, and no ‘wiz’ in sight.
Here was my plan of attack: I chose a chuck roast, because they are great for braising, which is what you’re doing when you cook in a slow-cooker. Even though they have some internal marbling, a lot of that can be removed once the meat has been cooked. I seared the beef, which helps develop the rich caramelized flavor of a steak cooked on the flat top griddle. Then I added in an obscene amount of vegetables. Doing that means that the portions are generous, but most of the bulk comes from low-calorie peppers, mushrooms and onion, not the beef. Then for the cheese, it’s all about keeping the amount modest. I used Provolone, because that’s traditional and it is nice and strong, so you can get away with using less than a more mild cheese. But feel free to use what type you like. Last we have the bun. That’s where everything can go all wrong. I used Ezekiel’s sprouted wheat hotdog buns. They are pretty big for a hot-dog bun, but they are a lot smaller than a regular cheesesteak bun. And they have 5 grams of fiber each! Because they are small, they’ll keep the portions in check.
My last Recipe Redux post can be seen here. What is your favorite slow-cooker meal?
Healthy cheesesteak sandwiches, cooked in the slow cooker with peppers, onions and mushrooms.
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 ½ pound grass-fed beef chuck roast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry marjoram or Italian seasoning blend
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 portabello mushrooms, stems removed, gills scraped out and sliced
- ½ cup dry red wine, such as Malbec
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 each red and yellow bell peppers, cored and sliced
- ½ cup jarred marinara sauce
- 6 slices or ¾ cup shredded Provolone cheese (3 oz)
- 6 whole grain buns such as Ezekiels, toasted if desired
- Plug in slow cooker and turn on to medium for 6 hours.
- Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pat beef dry and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and herbs on both sides. Add to the skillet, and cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add onion and mushrooms to the skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are starting to brown, and the mushrooms are softening slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine and Worcestershire and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour wine and broth mixture over the chuck roast. Layer the peppers on top, cover the slow cooker, and let cook until the timer goes off, about 5 hours 45 minutes. Remove chuck roast to a cutting board and cut cross-wise into thin slices, removing any fat as you go.
- Add marinara and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to the vegetables and stir to combine.
- Divide the beef among the buns. Using a slotted spoon top sandwiches with vegetable mixture. Top with provolone.