Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thanks Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!

I have four words for you. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I love this show. Mr. Guy Fieri, thank you. Sometimes I watch the show when I'm in a cranky mood - and sure enough watching all of that yummy, tasty restaurant meal will make the bad mood go away. Sometimes I watch it when I'm hungry and get ideas for dinner. Sometimes I watch it when I feel like going somewhere, and I look at all the restaurants I would like to visit if I weren't sitting on my couch. Sometimes, on weekend mornings, I might watch it for 3 or 4 hours before I even realize what happened. Then I make something highly experimental for lunch. Anyway - the moral of the story here is, I love Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

My boyfriend and I both like to cook, and we almost always cook and eat dinner at home. It's cheaper, healthier, and well - we just like it better. He likes to watch the show for the "meat" ideas - he's the meat cook around here. I just like to watch it.
Anyway - last week we were watching an episode, and my apologies that I cannot remember the name of the restaurant, or the name of their special sandwich. Also my apologies that I can only credit Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and not the genius Italian restaurant owners who gave us the inspiration for our dinner tonight.  I can only say, if you are a fan of the show and you know the restaurant/sandwich name I am speaking of, please let me know and I will give proper credit.

Here's the deal. They made this Italian beef sandwich. They had a special name for it, but all I can seem to remember is that I think it started with the letter D. And it wasn't your regular old Italian beef sandwich with Italian seasoning and banana peppers. It was beef sirloin roast, simmered in marinara, and served on a hoagie roll.

Before I continue I have to apologize for my lack of photos in what you are about to read.  I have been an avid Pinterest member for the past three months and have pinned many recipes provided on blogs of my fellow Pinterest users.  All I can say is next time I try to post about a food concoction, I will try to do better so you can see photos of it.

So, a few weeks ago at Sam's Club, my boyfriend came shopping with me (which happens about once a year, thank goodness). He put a 2-pack of sirloin tip roast in the cart - it was two 4-pound roasts in a package for somewhere around $20. I'm sorry I can't remember the actual cost per pound - but it was reasonably priced.  We brought them home and froze them individually in freezer paper.

Yesterday, we took one of them out of the freezer to thaw. Today, my boyfriend put one in my Pampered Chef baker in the oven with a splash of water in the bottom, 1 chopped yellow onion, and 6 whole fresh garlic cloves. He cooked it at 375 degrees for 1 hour, then took it out and added 1 26-ounce jar of Joe's Great All Purpose Marinara (our favorite - no cholestorol, low in sodium, and yummy!) After he added the sauce, he turned the oven down to 275 degrees for another 3 hours, taking it out halfway through to break the meat up with a wooden spoon. 

In the meantime, I went out to the local bakery, Apple Annie's Bake Shop, on my lunch break and bought a loaf of homemade Italian loaf for $2.30 - just as cheap as at the grocery store, and I supported a local business instead of a large chain!

Fast forward a few hours, and we take the meat out of the oven and finish breaking it apart with the wooden spoon ... slice the Italian loaf into 6-inch pieces to be sandwich bread, while I boil some Linguini noodles.  While the noodles were draining, I sauteed some fresh garlic that I sliced with my Pampered Chef garlic slicer (which is one kitchen item I could not live without) in some Calolea Olive Oil from California, and after they were sauteed I added the noodles.

To prepare the sandwiches, we put some Havarti cheese (which was in our freezer for safekeeping after my boyfriend brought it home from a Christmas visit to his family in Ohio) on the Italian loaf, put the Italian marinara beef on top, and served the garlic linguini on the side.  The finishing touch? Canned hot peppers - family recipe - to top the sandwich.

It didn't turn out exactly like what we saw on Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives ... but thank goodness we gave it a try - it was tasty!

(Sidenote: If I had been the chef for today, I would have put the sirloin roast, water, onions and garlic in my Slow Cooker on low for 6-8 hours to cook instead of using the oven, and added the sauce halfway through.  I think the end results would have been very similar -- but we alternate "cook in charge" days around here so today we cooked it in the oven.)