(Chicken) Cheese Steaks, Carrot Sticks, Mac N’Cheese (Home-made)

“Chemists in the Kitchen?”

If you ever want a funny read, just pick up an old copy of “The Joy of Cooking”, my copy from my Aunt Peggy is from 1964.  I reflected on a section I read in the Quick Breads section:  “Housewives often wonder why their coffee cakes and fillings seem insipid compared with some of the more sophisticated commercial products… a touch of yellow coloring..or almond paste are often used in commercial coffee cakes…”.  Readers probably said to themselves, “so THAT’s why I can’t get my baked goods to taste as good as the ones from the store, aren’t they tricky!”.  Today, do you know why you can’t get your baked goods to taste the same?  You are missing a dose of chemicals. 

I played golf with a guy who owned a small Baking business, specializing in a variety of home-made gluten-free treats.  He told me that he attended baking classes alongside “chemists” from some of the largest store-brand name baking companies around the country.  Why would chemists attend baking classes?  He told us that chemists were sent from their labs to learn how to bake so they could best determine how to incorporate chemicals into the baking products to make them taste better.   A far cry from 1964 I’d say.

Chicken Cheese Steaks

This is another version of my fast food before practice.  Check with your local italian market (I like Sam’s) for frozen chicken and “chip-steak” meat for Cheese Steaks.  You can cook them frozen.  The meat is simply cut paper-thin and cooks quickly.  Grab some long italian rolls, or keep some in the freezer for a last-minute meal.  It’s almost like being at Tony Lukes!

  • Heat a drop of oil or PAM in a hot non-stick pan.  Cook your chicken or steak in the pan like scrambled eggs.
  • Add slices of American cheese and slide onto your roll.
  • Cook side of onions, peppers or throw some spinach or mushrooms in the pan to add to your cheese steak if desired.

Carrot Sticks:  I always have these on hand when in a rush – a veggie is a veggie!  Read below for “where do baby carrots come from?”.

Mac N’Cheese:  You can go with a box of organic stuff but it’s so easy to make your own (plus the organic stuff has sugar in it).

  • Cook any kind of pasta according to directions (try 2 cups of elbows).  Drain and set aside in colander.
  • Heat 2 TBS of butter in the pot with a tablespoon of flour
  • Add up to 1 cup of  half and half (or any kind of milk) and up to 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese (or any cheese on hand).
  • Add the pasta into the cheese and stir.  Add salt/pepper to taste.

How Can the Kids Help?

Did You Know?

  • Baby carrots are not exactly what you think they are.  Baby carrots are ugly carrots or “culls” that are peeled and cut down to a uniform size for packaging.  They are not processed like a chicken nugget just cut to look more pretty.  It’s true that they are not nearly as sweet as their longer brothers with the stems on them, but they are more convenient.
  • What Are Baby Carrots?  http://www.wisebread.com/baby-carrots-the-frugal-idea-that-isnt
  • Mac n’ Cheese is originally from China and was brought to Italy by Marco Polo over 500 years ago.
  • 1 Cup of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese has 410 Calories and 19 grams of Fat
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