I remember once in Branson right as I was just starting on the journey of my new lifestyle and seeing a shop claiming to have the best Philly Cheesesteak this side of the Mason-Dixon line, and the pictures looked so good I had to try it. The first thing I noticed when I received my order was much like an online “catfishing” scam, the European super model in the picture turned out to be a fat bald guy in a stained t-shirt and tighty-whities. The limp, slightly damp lump of disappointment sitting in the crinkly BPA-soaked wrapper was a far cry from the mouth-watering, savory perfection tempting me on the store-front window. That didn’t stop me from eating it. The results were… it was ok. Not great, not terrible, just ok.
Here’s the problem with ok. If I’m going to eat a gut bomb of calories and bad for me additives, it better be more than ok, it better be mind-blowing. Let’s face it, take out sub shops are never going to invest the time, energy, or cost to give us mind-blowing and healthy ingredients. To achieve that, we need to take matters into our own hands and go all “Weird Science” to make one ourselves, 80s era dial-up modems and bras on the head not withstanding, of course.
One of the key things here to making Philly Cheesesteak healthy is to just ditch the hoagie bread altogether. Portabella mushrooms will be our delivery vehicle of choice, and what an upgrade in nutrition that makes right out of the gate! One cool thing you might not realize about mushrooms is just like humans, they convert sunlight into usable vitamin D, and at this time of the year we are all probably running short. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and phosphorus needed for bone health and strength. One 1/2 cup serving provides the entire daily recommendation of vitamin D.
Mushrooms are also loaded in essential B vitamins. I know mushrooms are another one of those foods that people can automatically decide they don’t like, and whatever traumatic event in your past caused you to be so closed off, I’m sorry and I hope you are able to overcome and open up to new possibilities again. For all of you out there that are mushroom phobic, portabella mushrooms behave more like steak than anything else, so if you haven’t tried one before, go crazy and give it a shot. You never know what you might find out when you step outside your comfort zone.
A point I need to stress here is you are in control of the quality of the meats and veggies. Mushrooms and bell peppers are soft skinned, so organic is the only way to go. Grass fed beef and dairy are also on a completely different nutritional plane than conventional grain feed lot sources. If you skimp out on those ingredients, both the taste and nutrition will suffer, and at that point you might as well be back at the take-out place eating their offer of disappointment and sadness. The cost isn’t that much more, and compared to future problems down the line, it’s much cheaper to invest in yourself now. In automotive terms, an oil change now is much cheaper than an engine swap later.
You can certainly buy a couple of grass-fed top sirloin steaks and season, tenderize, slice, and cook to make this dish, and I have done so in the past. However, there are some good grass-fed no additive roast beef options available now that are just as tasty, and they make the cooking time and prep much faster and easier. I have done that with this recipe, and it is fantastic. Applegate brand is my choice, but as long as it states grass-fed and no added preservatives or colorings, you will be good to go. This meal is a family favorite, and it lives up to the promise I saw on that shop window, whether you go with roast beef or prepare from a steak yourself. I like to pair this with roasted broccoli. I will include the steps for making it at the same time in the instructions.
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Mushrooms
- 2 packages organic portabella mushrooms
- 2 packages grass-fed all natural roast beef (I use Applegate brand)
- 2 organic green bell peppers, sliced
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 3 gloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil based mayo
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 2 oz grass fed cream cheese, softened
- Provolone cheese slices, pasture raised
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp grass fed butter
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4-6 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- Avocado oil cooking spray
Wash and slice green bell peppers and onion, and mince the garlic cloves:
Wash the mushrooms, then dry with paper towels. Use a steak knife to cut off the stem. Then take a spoon and scrape out the gills and and remaining stem in the center. Be sure to get underneath the rim of the mushroom cap and remove the gills there:
Heat the butter in a large saute pan and then add the peppers, onion, and garlic. Season with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper:
Slice the roast beef into strips:
Add the roast beef to the skillet after the peppers and onion have softened, cook until all the moisture in the pan has evaporated:
Combine the mayo, cream cheese, greek yogurt, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and process with a hand mixed until smooth. Once all the moisture is out of the skillet, add the cream cheese mix to the steak and peppers, heat over low until melted and mixed in:
Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet. Lay the mushrooms on it face down, spray lightly with avocado oil cooking spray, then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Then flip over and repeat the process:
Fill the mushrooms with the steak and pepper mix, then cover each one with a slice of the Provolone cheese.
Take the broccoli florets, toss in a bowl with the olive oil, sea salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, and then place on another cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place two oven racks set in the middle slots and put the broccoli on the lower rack and the mushrooms on the rack directly above. Cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then stir and rotate the broccoli, and then cook another 10 minutes. Let the mushrooms rest for 5 minutes and enjoy.
See more of the Shirtless Chef columns/recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.