Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4521 on Whisk Together Label

I made these on homemade baguettes.  That recipe will be next!  Why homemade baguettes?  Because I’m too lazy to run to the store when I can dump the ingredients into my bread machine.

Quick Baguette-4528 on Whisk Together

These sandwiches are awesome and you DON’T need to make your own baguettes!  You DO need to make these sandwiches.  Please, pretty please.  They are delicious, and easy and great for leftovers.  Add the chicken to soup, or a tortilla or keep making sandwiches!  Freeze the contents and always have sandwich fixin’s on hand.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4522 on Whisk Together
(I forgot to add the cheese before taking the photo!)

This recipe will easily feed a crowd as well – just increase the cooking time and add more of everything.  Slow cookers are great to serve from since they keep things hot.  Serve with fries, slaw, chips, veggie sticks, salad or with a soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp. paprika (regular or smoked, I like smoked)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (omit if you don't like spicy)
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), sliced into strips
  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced into strips
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
  • ½ cup water or chicken broth
  • sliced provolone
  • baguettes or hoagie buns
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  2. Add the peppers and onion to the slow cooker. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on top.
  3. Add the chicken onto the peppers and onion. Sprinkle the rest of the spices on top.
  4. Pour the water or broth into the slow cooker on the side so that the spices don't come off the chicken.
  5. Cook chicken breasts for 3-4 hours on low. Cook chicken thighs for 4-5 hours on low.
  6. Towards the end of cooking time, slice the buns or baguette in half lengthwise. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker with some tongs and place on top of the bun. Add cheese. Top with a bun, or broil it with the cheese and then place the top on.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

 

 

 

Greek Yogurt Egg Salad

Egg Salad-2184 on Whisk Together

 

Book Update:  Currently, I’m reading “The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute.”  Really interesting book on how an “investment” (collecting stuffed animals) became a vehicle for money.  Ty Warner apparently was crazy.  He started the company and created beanie babies.  But, he also created a company that lied to customers, lied to retailers, cut supply to increase demand, and led a secondary market that created more crazy people.  One employee left the company because he didn’t want to keep lying to customers.  They were instructed to tell them that shipments would take 5 days when in reality they would take 1 and 1/2 months.

Due to Consumer Regulations, one of the beanie babies posed a choking hazard.  So, Ty and Patricia Roche had to dismantle a whole carton – about 15,000 beanie babies and send photos to the government as proof.  Some beanie babies would be “retired”, but they were still shipping to England.  Patricia would have to dismantle those beanie babies as well when they arrived and sell the inside pellets back to the Asian markets.

Then, there were crazy customers.  One accidentally hit her kid’s head on a door trying to get to a newly released beanie baby.  One collector racked up four digit phone bills calling long distance to collect beanie babies she didn’t have yet.

Oh, here’s the new tile I made.  Since Easter is over, I didn’t have any holidays to really use on a tile.  So, I made this one up instead.  It’ll help me remember my wedding anniversary date, too!  Bonus!  (Well, I get it confused because I graduated with my Master’s degree on August 3, 2002 and got married August 2, 2003.)

tile for Riley

Egg Salad-2188 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  As many that hosted Easter or had the kids dye eggs, you may have ended up with a LOT of hard boiled eggs leftover.  Sure, they are tasty and nutritious on their own.  But, throw them into a salad and they make a great sandwich for a snack or rounded out lunch.

This recipe substitutes a great source of protein and calcium – Greek Yogurt – for a calorie filled not much else concoction: mayonnaise.  Although you could make mayonnaise from scratch…. But anyway – Greek Yogurt is faster!  Feel free to add tomatoes, lettuce, or bacon to the sandwich with your favorite French, whole wheat or white bread.  I used my usual whole wheat bread in the photo.

Egg Salad-2189 on Whisk Together

Greek Yogurt Egg Salad
 
:
Ingredients
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. mustard
Instructions
  1. Cut up the hardboiled eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the yogurt, dried dill, salt, pepper and mustard. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more yogurt. Stir until well combined and enjoy!

 

Mini Meatball Sandwiches

Awww, Maddox won 3rd place in the Mario Kart Tournament!!!  He beat out his age group and then advanced to the final round with all age groups.  So proud of him!!

CAM00254

Book Update:  Sitting in the “new books” section of the library was “Raising the Curve: A Year Inside One of America’s 45,000 Failing Schools” by Ron Berler.  The author is a journalist and did a great job telling the story of an elementary school in Connecticut that was failing per No Child Left Behind standards and despite raising the lowest level children up 10% was still considered “failing” by NCLB.  I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone and even I skipped some of the narrative story parts, but it did highlight a large educational problem:  that “mastery” was dumbed down to “proficient” and instead of challenging most kids, it focused on raising the bottom 10% up to meet standards that they may or may not be physically capable of achieving.

mini meatball sandwiches_5 on Whisk Together

Recipe Update:  I saw the Pioneer Woman make these on her show that I try not to watch.  It all seems too scripted which is funny because Lovely was just kicked off “The Next Food Network Star” because she sounded too scripted.   But I digress.  Or as my English teacher would yell:  “DIGRESSION!!!”  But anyway, these were pretty fast and yummy.  I don’t think the cooking time is right because most of my meatballs were still raw after 20 minutes.  The kids loved them.

mini meatball sandwiches_3 on Whisk Together

Mini Meatball Sandwiches
serves 6-8

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup panko or regular breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
ground pepper
1 Tb. olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 – 18 oz. jar of marinara sauce or your favorite spaghetti sauce
12 dollar rolls, dinner rolls or slider rolls, (I used my honey wheat rolls recipe)
1 cup mozzarella or provolone, grated

1.  In a great big bowl:  mix your meat, bread, milk, garlic, salt and pepper.
2.  I used my small tablespoon size cookie scoop to make little balls.  Or use your hands and a spoon.
3.  In a very large skillet:  heat the oil over medium heat.  When it is hot and simmering, add your onion.  Stir that around a couple minutes.
4.  Next, add in your meatballs.  Give them a turn and brown on both sides.
5.  Dump in your marinara sauce.  Cover the skillet and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Check the balls with a thermometer or fork – mine were not done after 20 minutes.
6.  Split open your rolls while those are cooking.
7.  During the last minute of cooking, add the cheese on top.  Cover and melt for a minute.  Place meatballs in rolls and serve hot.

mini meatball sandwiches_6 on Whisk Together

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Healthier Open Faced Tuna Melts

Tuna Melt_1 on Whisk Together

My favorite sandwich at Panera/St. Louis Bread Company is the tuna salad sandwich.  Eating out just seems to be getting more and more expensive especially with both kids now eating their own kids’ meals.  $4.50 for a PB&J anyone?  Soo… I started going back to one of my favorite cookbooks:  Comfort Food Makeovers by America’s Test Kitchen and had ALL the ingredients at home.

BEFORE:  calories – 610; fat – 45 grams; saturated fat – 10

NOW: calories – 320; fat – 13 – saturated fat – 5

Mine probably has even fewer calories because I used whole grain sandwich bread instead of rustic bread.  Use whatever you like!

*Random fact I learned about bread making*:  I’ve been making bread dough in the bread machine for several years now because… well, I’m lazy, I like the time to do other things and I don’t like getting my hands messy all the time.  Apparently, my laziness is a good thing!  After studies done with different breads made different ways (hand kneading, electric mixer, etc.), the BEST way to knead bread is in the bread machine!  No joke!  Hey, the company has been making bread flour for like 200 years… they know their stuff.  The gluten formation is best in the bread machine and the baked bread has a better texture when made in the machine.  Now maybe you have a good excuse to get one if you don’t have one 😉

Open-Faced Tuna Melt
serves 4

4 – 1″ thick slices of rustic bread (or whole grain sandwich bread)
15 oz. of solid white tuna packed in water, drained and flaked (canned or in foil package)
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1 celery rib, minced
1/4 cup minced red onion (or omit, or place on top in slices with the tomato if some people don’t like it)
2 Tb. minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley)
1 Tb. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
1 tomato, cored and cut thin
8 slices of reduced fat American cheese (I used 1 slice in the photo)

1.  Oven method:  Heat oven to 450 degrees and line a sheet with foil.  Toast your bread on both sides (8 minutes in the oven).
No Oven method:   Toast your bread in the toaster oven or toaster if it will fit.

2.  In a big bowl:  mix your tuna, mayo, celery, red onion, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.  Divide the mixture between the 4 slices of bread.  Spread on top.

3.  Place two thin slices of tomato on top of the tuna.

4.  Place two slices of cheese on top of the tomato.

5.  Oven method:  bake until melted (about 5-10 minutes)
No Oven method:  broil in the toaster oven.  Or you could microwave… but it would make the bread soggy.  Or just turn your oven onto broil for a few minutes with the oven door open  A few minutes on broil shouldn’t heat up the house too much.

Recipe adapted from Comfort Foods by America’s Test Kitchen

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