Tuesday, October 19

mmm, cheese steaks.

My boyfriend was born in Philadelphia and like any well-respected Philadelphian, loves a good cheese steak. Thus, my initial inspiration for our lunch today came from the infamous Philly Cheese Steak and was cemented by the items I had on hand. I call it... a Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Baked Potato. First, I love stuffed baked potatoes! Besides being hearty and delicious, there are infinite versions of this dish you can make. I create them largely based on what I want to rid myself of in my fridge and pantry. You can use whatever you have laying around. Second, I love cheese/sauces (and cheesy sauces, duh) on top of my stuffed baked potatoes. Today, I whipped up a bechamel base cheese sauce and added cheese I already had, which happened to be mozzarella and sharp white cheddar. I also didn't have beef, but I did have leftover breakfast sausage (about 1/2 pound) and so I used that in place of the normal steak. Yum-O.

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Baked Potato
2 russet potatoes
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1/2 lb sausage (you could easily substitute beef or chicken)
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
1 cup grated mozzarella
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
Pinch smoked paprika
2 pinches chili powder
Salt & cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Wash potatoes thoroughly, rub with vegetable oil, place on tray and bake for one hour. In the meantime, saute sausage (breaking up as it cooks) until just done. Add onion and green pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes and a pinch of chili powder. Saute until tender, 3-5 minutes. Set aside. With 10 minutes left on potatoes, start your cheese sauce. Warm milk in saucepan, but don't boil. In separate small saute pan, melt better and add flour to create roux. Cook roux until blond in color, about 3 minutes. Whisk into warm milk until combined and continue cooking over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, pinch smoked paprika, pinch chili powder. Turn heat to low and while whisking continuously, gradually add cheese until all is combined. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Cut potato in half, cover with a heaping scoop of sausage mixture and top with cheese sauce. Enjoy!

P.S. Which one are you: Pat's or Geno's?

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