Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bruschetta Minute Steaks

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – September 1, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Bruschetta Minute Steaks recipe originally published in Kraft Recipes Magazine – Spring 2011.

When I plan meals, I always go for dinner menus.  What that means is that I have nothing to make for lunch unless I’m going with a standard lunchmeat sandwich or salad.  It isn’t a bad thing, but every once in a while I crave something a little more complex.  With my chores at home adding in errands and working on the blogs, I usually don’t feel like making gigantic meals.

I guess my point is I like looking for simple recipes using some convenience foods that I can make healthier.  If I can stay out of the fast food line at lunch time, that’s even better.

So I saw this recipe and was excited.  It used sandwich steaks that can be made in a jiffy.  Also, it’s dressed up with vegetables and isn’t a sandwich (or at least it wasn’t meant to be eaten as a sandwich).

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks
So starting with the obvious – it isn’t the same kind of steak.  I couldn’t find a “beef minute steak” so I went with what I found as the next best thing: a sandwich steak.  They had a comparable cook time and I could stack two on top of each other to give the same amount of thickness.

It didn’t turn out as well as I hoped.  Looking back, I probably should have bought a flat steak or flank steak and cut it into smaller pieces, but I can't change the past.

My sandwich steaks didn’t hold together well, so I decided to turn it Philly style where the beef was shredded.  Although I plated it separately, I decided to eat these as a sandwich (picture shown later) on a pretzel roll.

© Kraft Recipes
So yeah… this looks a lot better than what I ended up with.  After I made this recipe, I highly doubt they would have been able to follow the directions as listed and ended up with a result this pretty.  For one, you couldn’t fit 6 of these size steaks in one skillet, no matter how large, and pile the bruschetta topping on them this neatly and then getting it out as neatly.  Overall, it is very frustrating.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessSIGH – There’s quite a bit of messy chopping.  On top of that you have to make the stuffing which has its own set of dishes.  Finally, there’s melted cheese involved.  I’ve never been able to successfully clean melted cheese from anything without having to throw out my scrubber.

Start-to-Finish Time: WELL UNDER AN HOUR – Since you don’t have to defrost any meat, as quickly as you get the ingredients prepped, you’ll be able to start cooking.  The actual cook time isn’t that long, so if you have help, you could easily knock this dish out in 30 minutes or less.

Prep Work: LOSS OF FINGER POSSIBLE – Frankly, I hate cutting up vegetables with seeds.  This has a lot of them.  I’d rather julienne a bunch of carrots than cut up tomatoes.

Ease of Recipe: MORE THAN I BARGAINED FOR – I wasn’t sure what kind of rating I should give this recipe.  Granted, it wasn’t difficult, but I started thinking about the ingredients and realized that a lot of people would assume that the sandwich steaks I bought would be the steaks they used.  That created a lot of issues for me in terms of making the dish… and I knew what I was getting into.

OverallNOT BAD – While it wasn’t bad, I would have preferred to make a traditional Philly Cheesesteak with the same ingredients (okay not totally the same – I know what a REAL Philly Cheesesteak tastes like).  It needed a kick which surprised me with the colorful vegetables that were used (see suggestions at end for what would make it better).

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 6
Total Time: 22 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks - sandwich version
The servings are accurate if you’re using the right number of steaks.  You’re looking at about 4 ounces of meat per serving and a half cup of stuffing, so plan accordingly with a salad or other vegetable.  Since my meat ended up being shredded, I ate mine on pretzel rolls as a sandwich.  I got 6 decent size sandwiches out of the recipe.

It took me about double the time to complete the recipe.  I was intrigued that almost all of the time is spent on prep and they cooked 6 of these steaks at once in a single pan.  Here is my timing:
  • Prep: 17 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Assembly Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 42 minutes
My prep time included making the stuffing which took about 12 minutes.  I got the rest of the prep done during the inactive time of cooking the stuffing.  Even using my Dutch oven, I wouldn’t have gotten all of the steaks done in a single batch.

Nutritional Information:
  • Calories:  400
  • Total fat: 19 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Cholesterol:  65 mg
  • Sodium: 790 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 27 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Sugars: 5 g
  • Protein: 29 g
Not bad considering it included the protein and a side (even if the side was plated on top of the steak).  Still, it is REALLY high in fat content, so not a healthy lunch-type of dish.  As usual, I verified the numbers independently of what the recipe writer states.  I made the decision to use olive oil and since I went with sandwich steaks, I decided to use that in the recipe as well (I had no nutritional information on “beef minute steaks”).  Also, the stuffing nutritional information was prepared with 2 tablespoons of butter, which was included in their numbers.  The Nutritional Information I computed using the ingredients they listed was:
  • Calories 475.6
  • Total Fat 28.4 g
  • Saturated Fat 10.2 g
  • Cholesterol 63.3 mg
  • Sodium 692.7 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 27.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
  • Sugars 2.4 g
  • Protein 18.5 g
Definitely higher in calories and ridiculously high in the total fat!  However, I did compute less sodium but unfortunately I also calculated less protein.  I did try to make this at least slightly healthier.  I used a fat free version of the dressing used and a low sodium stuffing.  With my substitutions, the nutritional information came out as follows:
  • Calories 457.2
  • Total Fat 26.4 g
  • Saturated Fat 9.8 g
  • Cholesterol 63.3 mg
  • Sodium 589.4 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 28.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
  • Sugars 2.7 g
  • Protein 18.5 g
It had a decent reduction of calories and fat, but not enough to make my happy.  The sodium reduction DID make me happy though.  It is especially nice since we are using a lot of convenience foods.

Another plus – it is a great source of Vitamin C at 104% the daily recommended intake.

Changes denoted by red text
© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks - ingredients
1 tablespoon Olive oil, divided
12 sandwich steaks
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup KRAFT Free Zesty Italian Dressing
1 package (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Low Sodium Stuffing Mix for Chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cup water
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
Fit Wash
Pretzel Rolls

Ingredient Notes:
Olive Oil – the recipe didn’t specify the type of oil to use, so I opted for olive oil over canola/vegetable.

Sandwich Steaks – as I stated above, the recipe originally called for 6 thin boneless beef minute steaks at around 1-1/2 pounds.  I couldn’t find any steaks that fit the bill, so I went with the sandwich steaks.  If you are in the same bind, you can buy a flat steak or flank steak and cut it up into smaller pieces.  Be careful though… you need it to be a thin cut of meat so it cooks like it is supposed to.

Free Zesty Italian Dressing – The recipe called for the original version of this salad dressing, but I went with a fat free version.  Keep in mind that you can use any kind of “zesty Italian dressing”.  Obviously this recipe was written by KRAFT kitchens so they are using their own.  I opted for the KRAFT version since I couldn’t find any comparable substitutions.

Stuffing Mix for Chicken – The original recipe called for the original version of the stuffing mix for chicken.  I found a low sodium version that has a third less sodium, so I went with that instead.

Butter and Water – You’ll need these ingredients for the stuffing.  I went with the “low-fat option” directions, so if you want to go with the regular directions, you’ll need an additional 2 tablespoons of butter.  I wouldn’t advise that though, seeing how much fat is already in the recipe.

Mozzarella Cheese – Again, KRAFT would like you to use their products to make the recipe, but I found a comparable store brand with the same nutritional information.  It was cheaper, so that’s what I went with.

Fit Wash – I like to clean my vegetables with this citrus wash before chopping them.  There have been studies that say they do no good, but I’ve noticed less waxy build up on the skins after cleaning them.  For now, I’m sticking to using this product.

Equipment Needed:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks - equipment
Cutting board 
Sharp knife
Medium saucepan with lid
Wooden spoon
Large skillet / Dutch oven with lid
Flexible Spatula
Spoon – mixing

Equipment Notes:
Medium saucepan with lid, Wooden spoon and Fork – You’ll need these items to make the stuffing – unless you already have some made.

Dutch oven with lid – The original recipe called for a large skillet, but if you don’t have one with deep sides (and a lid) then go with your Dutch oven instead.

Flexible Spatula – The meat I was cooking was delicate, so I went with a flexible spatula trying to keep it all in one piece.  It didn’t work, by the way.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks - stuffing prep
(1)   Prepare stuffing as directed on package.  As stuffing is cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks - vegetable mix
(2)  Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and peppers.
Tell me that doesn't look delicious!  It was so bright and pretty I almost didn't want to eat it!

(3)  Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks - finished steaks
(4)   Add steaks; cook 1 min. on each side or until lightly browned on both sides.
Follow the directions of the steaks you are using.  Since I went with sandwich steaks, the directions were slightly different.  I also opted to shred the steaks (Philly Cheesesteak style) since I was having issues keeping them whole.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks
Steaks and vegetables
(5)   Spoon tomato mixture over steaks

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks
Stuffing layered
(6)   Top with stuffing.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Bruschetta Minute Steaks
Cheese layered
(7)   Finish with cheese and cover.

(8)   Simmer on medium-low heat 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and steak is cooked to medium doneness (160°F).
I didn’t want to overcook the steaks, so I turned off the burner and left it covered to allow the cheese to melt.
I know this sounds crazy with the ingredient listing (2 tomatoes and a yellow bell pepper), but it didn’t have the flavor I was hoping it would have.  It was, dare I say, almost bland.  I think another part of the problem was the “steak issue”.  I think a thicker piece of meat would have made a lot of difference.  As the recipe stands, I wouldn’t make it again.

If I were to make any changes, I would:
  • Try to find the right steaks or cut/flatten my own.
  • Add some onions and maybe even garlic and basil to the bruschetta topping.
  • Use white or white bread if I wanted to keep it as an open faced sandwich.  Open faced of course.
Happy Cooking!!!

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