Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "peppers"

Cheesesteak Mac n' Cheese

The Super Bowl is right around the corner (Feb. 3rd). Even though my team, the six time super bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, aren't in the mix (and haven't been for some time), that doesn't mean I don't love to celebrate the tradition! This time of year usually means that parties will ensue celebrating America's past time with beer and lots of really unhealthy food. What better way to celebrate a home grown American sport, than with one of the most iconic american foods....Macaroni n' Cheese! But, instead of making it the usual Mac n' Cheese, lets give it a twist and make it a Cheesesteak Mac n' Cheese. Peppers, onions, thinly sliced sirloin mixed in a creamy cheddar and provolone sauce. Heck, why not throw a Mac n' Cheese Super Bowl party and also make Lee's Buffalo Chicken Mac n' Cheese. I based this recipe off the Buffalo Chicken Mac, so you'll notice some similarities in the preparation. Want the Mac n' Cheese to be portable and more like an appetizer?? Well then just follow the directions for the Deep Fried Mac n' Cheese Bites! 

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lbs sirloin steak, thinly sliced into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 cup onion, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, medium dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt, to season pasta water
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces provolone, shredded
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Smoked paprika 

Preheat the oven to 350°F

In a large saute pan set over medium high heat, add in the sirloin steak and saute until brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove steak from saute pan and reserve on a plate. Clean out the saute pan and melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add in the onion and peppers and saute until tender, about 5 min. Add in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season the mixture with salt and pepper then add the steak back into the pan and incorporate. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking process, reserve noodles. *Note: if the noodles are going to be sitting for awhile, toss them in some olive oil to prevent sticking* 

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and dry mustard and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half and whisk until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and provolone cheeses, a little at a time until it is melted. Then whisk in the sour cream until smooth. *Note: if you have a immersion blender, use that instead of whisking. This will help emulsify the cheeses better and make a smoother sauce*

Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the macaroni in the baking dish. Then add the steak, onion and peppers mixture and then spread half of the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining noodles and cheese mixture. 

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko and mix until incorporated. Sprinkle the panko mixture on top of the mac n' cheese, sprinkle some paprika on top and bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly. Let rest for 10-20 minutes on a cooling wrack (Unless you like molten cheese sauce coating your mouth). 

One of my favorite Super Bowl moments
Or was it this?? I almost puked and passed out during both...

Stromboli Roll

For some reason this Stromboli reminds me of the creatures from Tremors...Anyways...I love a good stromboli and this meets the criteria. They are really simple and you can fill them with practically anything your heart desires or have in the fridge. There are two forms  of strombolis. Typically the way I do is I roll out the pizza crust into the standard circle , layer all the goods on half of it, fold the other half over and crimp the edges. I felt like changing it up this time and I rolled the pizza dough out into a rectangle and rolled it up. Enjoy!


  • Pizza dough, recipe here (or you can use store bough)
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Mozzarella cubes
  • Assorted Meats (I used pepperoni and sausage)
  • Assorted Veggies (I used red pepper and mushrooms)
  • Marinara Sauce
  • 1 egg, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400℉. Using a baking sheet, roll the dough out flat in the shape of a large rectangle. Brush with a thin layer of olive oil and lightly sprinkle the garlic powder. You want to keep the ingredients separate and layer them in columns, from left to right, starting with the mozzarella; this helps prevent the cheese from spewing out in the middle of baking (the mozzarella will be the center of the roll).Then order the rest of your ingredients however you like, I ended with pepperoni since that made for a nice top. Gently roll the dough up and tuck in each side underneath itself. Brush the Stromboli roll with egg wash, season with some salt & pepper, then cut a few slits in the top to help the roll breath through the baking process. 

If you are using sausage & peppers, sauté them up together in a sauté pan to cook the sausage and soften the peppers. Let them cool slightly before adding them to the roll. 


Homemade Salsa

Ahhhh Summer, one of my favorite times of year. The smell of fresh cut grass and bbq's in the air. This past weekend we had a cookout for Mother's Day, well a cook-in since the weather didn't cooperate. I had a craving the whole week for salsa and when asked if I was bringing anything to the party I figured, what the heck, I'll bring some salsa! There is just no comparison between homemade salsa and store bought, the freshness factor just makes it so much more flavorful. The best part?? It literally takes 10 min to make, win-win in my book! 

  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes w/ Juice
  • 2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel, diced tomatoes & green chilies
  • 1/4 cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, sliced 
  • 1/4 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro
  • 1/2 Lime, juiced 

This is quite a large batch of salsa, which is great for a party. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl (I actually charred the outside of the Jalapeno's first with a blowtorch to give it some smokey-ness, this is of course optional). Transfer with a spoon to a food processor bowl, depending on the size of your food processor you'll have to do a few batches. Pulse 10-15 times until you get a nice consistency. Transfer to a container and repeat until you have used all the mixture. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving or can it for delicious salsa all year long!

**Note: If you want your salsa to be less spicy, remove some of the jalapeno seeds and membrane...that's where all the heat is**

Song of the Recipe

I have always loved Pearl Jam and when Eddie Veder released this solo album, it definitely made me curious. But, it's an awesome album and made me fall in love with the Ukulele. This whole album is perfect for patio sitting & margarita drinking! 

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