Simple Sous Vide Steak

 Posted by on June 23, 2014
Jun 232014
 

sous vide steak and carmelized onions

Original vs. SubstituteSam

Sous vide steaks are cooked in a marinade of seasonings, aromatics and their own natural flavorings and quickly seared to give a perfect crust balanced by the most juicy and tender steak you’ll ever try. It’s no wonder sous vide is the preferred cooking method of notorious steakhouses everywhere!

perfect sous vide steak


Ideation

perfect sous vide steakThere’s completely irresistible about a big juicy steak bursting with char-grilled flavor that elicits a ravenous hunger in people. Unfortunately for most Minnesotans living in the metro area we have two factors going against us:

1) A maximum 3 months of weather where grilling is truly enjoyable

2) Apartments are rarely grill friendly, mine included

So in my endless quest to find ways around relying on restaurants for a $50 mediocre steak my search started (and ended) with the best way to find an answer to ANY question – Reddit – where I became aware of a method called sous vide. The only problem was it required an expensive piece of large equipment which I have neither the money nor storage space for.

(If you don’t use Reddit, watch the video below and thank me later!)


Recipe

1) Season steaks generously with salt and pepper and place in a Ziploc bag with any other aromatics you might want.
  • As many steaks as needed

Note: Substitute salt and pepper for any of your favorite seasonings and spices. You can also add aromatics such as onion, garlic, and fresh herbs to the bag for enhanced flavoring.

2) Fill the slow cooker with hot water and slowly submerge the Ziploc bag, forcing the air out of the bag and creating a near-air tight seal.submerging the steak in a crockpot

 

3) Turn the setting to “Warm” (we’re aiming for a water temperature of 130-140F) and allow steaks to cook for at least 45 minutes. The steaks can be kept in the slow cooker at a temperature of 130-140F for up to 24 hours before the quality begins to diminish, making this the perfect no-hassle way to make the perfect steak for yourself or guests.

Note: Cook time may be longer than 45 minutes if steaks were not at room temperature prior to going in the slow cooker.

4) When ready to eat, spray the bottom of your pan with oil and heat on high until oil begins to smoke. Regular olive oil has a good smoke point and is not as highly refined as other high smoke point oils such as canola, corn, etc.
  • Olive oil
5) Remove the steaks and pat dry on a paper towel, removing as much extra moisture as possible (moisture reduces the Maillard reaction or that brown crust we enjoy so much).
6) Sear steaks for about 30 seconds on each side, making sure to not flip the steaks too early as that can disrupt the Maillard reaction as well.
7) Enjoy!

sous vide steak and carmelized onions

Sous Vide Steak

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Sous Vide Steak

Ingredients

  • As many steaks as needed (cut of your choice)
  • freshly cracked salt and pepper
  • Optional: other seasonings or aromatics such as thyme, garlic, onion, etc.

Directions

  1. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper and place in a Ziploc bag with any other aromatics you might want.
  2. Fill the slow cooker with hot water and slowly submerge the Ziploc bag, pushing the air out of the bag and creating a near-air tight seal.
  3. Turn the setting to "Warm" (we're aiming for a water temperature of 130-140F) and allow steaks to cook for at least 45 minutes. The steaks can be kept in the slow cooker at a temperature of 130-140F for up to 24 hours before the quality begins to diminish, making this the perfect no-hassle way to make the perfect steak for yourself or guests.
  4. When ready to eat, spray the bottom of your pan with oil and heat on high until oil begins to smoke. Regular olive oil has a good smoke point and is not as highly refined as other high smoke point oils such as canola, corn, etc.
  5. Remove the steaks and pat dry on a paper towel, removing as much extra moisture as possible (moisture reduces the Maillard reaction or that brown crust we enjoy so much).
  6. Sear steaks for about 30 seconds on each side, making sure to not flip the steaks too early as that can disrupt the Maillard reaction as well.
  7. Enjoy!

Notes

Sous Vide steaks do not require the typical rest time as other cooking methods.

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Chocolate Mocha Banana Blend

 Posted by on May 16, 2014
May 162014
 

chocolate mocha banana blend

Original vs. Substitute Sam

Creamy chocolate, cold pressed coffee, and hints of banana make the Chocolate Banana Mocha Blend feel like you’re having a fufu drink every morning, but at half the cost and calories!

      • 81% reduction in sugar
      • 420% more protein
      • 30% reduction in calories

Nutrition Facts


chocolate mocha banana blendIdeation

I debated naming this Chocolate Cocaine, but thought it may attract the wrong audience in Google search results, but my logic was sound… I think?

  1. The internet says cocaine is highly addictive and makes you feel invincible.
  2. This drink is highly addictive and makes me feel like there are not enough weights to go around in L.A. Fitness.
  3. The internet never lies

Seems reasonable, right?

Regardless, I decided to go with a title that might help compensate for my developing photography skills…

I should also point out there are 2 great ways to make cold press coffee you can read about in my post on Cold Press Coffee, otherwise I’ve summarized it below for people like me who would rather have one less click:

METHOD ONE – use a french press (can be found $10-15 range) and let it set at least 12 hours in the fridge. This method has lower acidity for people with heart burn issues, but obviously requires more time to brew.

METHOD TWO- use a traditional heat-brewing method (using your existing coffee maker) and allow the coffee to cool or pour over ice for a quicker, but more acidic version.


Recipe

1. Add Cold Press Coffee and protein powder to a blender (or magic bullet) and blend for 20 seconds
2. Add in ice and banana then blend until smooth
  • 3-5 ice cubes (more ice=thicker consistency)
  • 1/2 a banana (roughly 75g)
3. Enjoy yet another fantastic form of coffee!

*Note: I slice my bananas thinly then freeze them for an extra creamy texture. Slicing them thinly and using crushed ice helps maintain the life of your magic bullet or blender. Experiment with different flavored coffee and protein and let me know if you find another great recipe!

chocolate mocha banana blend

Chocolate Mocha Banana Blend

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1 mocha

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop Chocolate Myofusion
  • 1 C cold press coffee
  • Optional: dash of milk or pinch of guarana powder for an added mental boost
  • 3-5 ice cubes (more ice=thicker consistency)
  • 1/2 a banana (roughly 75g)

Directions

  1. Add Cold Press Coffee and protein powder to a blender (or magic bullet) and blend for 20 seconds.
  2. Add in ice and banana then blend until smooth.
  3. Enjoy!
  4. Note: I slice my bananas thinly then freeze them for an extra creamy texture. Slicing them thinly and using crushed ice helps maintain the life of your magic bullet or blender. Experiment with different flavored coffee and protein and let me know if you find another great recipe!
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Spicy Siracha Chicken Spaghetti

 Posted by on March 30, 2014
Mar 302014
 

Spicy Sriracha Chicken Spaghetti @substitutesam

Original vs. Substitute Sam

Served over spaghetti squash, spicy sriracha  zesty lime and cilantro, and hints of sweetness from sauteed bell pepper and onion make an amazing fusion I call Spicy Sriracha Chicken Spaghetti.  Serving this over Skinny Spaghetti Squash instead of regular spaghetti noodles dramatically improves the nutritional profile:

      • 57% less carbs (all from the noodle substitution!)
      • Significantly more vitamins and minerals
      • 30% less calories


spaghetti sriracha dinner

Ideation

As a spicy food lover, there’s something appealing about trying a hot sauce whose production facility is in danger of being shut down because its ingredients cause ‘discomfort’ in the people down wind.

The idea came when I was searching for ideas to cook my spaghetti squash and I stumbled across a cool post 19 Delicious Spaghetti Dinners that might be the source for my next few recipes.

However, it was NO. 13 that caught my eye this time because I’d heard a lot about the famed sauce from friends, coworkers, and even Reddit’s r/fitmeals as an excellent low calorie way to add LOTS of flavor!


Recipe

1) This recipe works great if you’ve leftover spaghetti squash laying around, but if not begin by preparing ‘Skinny’ Spaghetti Squash
2) While the squash bakes, heat a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, lightly coat the pan with oil (either spray or 1 tbsp) and pan fry the chicken until  golden brown.
  • 1.5 lbs cubed chicken

Note: If you cook the chicken breasts whole we need to reach 165F to be fully cooked. We’ll need to account for carryover cooking so remove around 160F and let rest for 5 minutes before cubing.

3) Set the chicken aside to rest, return the pan to heat, lightly coat with oil (if needed) and stir fry the diced onions and bell peppers until fragrant.
  •  1 C diced white onion
  • 1 C diced bell pepper

Note: If red bell peppers are expensive a green bell pepper will work as well

 

4) Remove pan from heat, add chicken to the pan, and toss with sriracha and lime juice until well coated
  • 2 TBSP sriracha sauce (you can always add more to taste)
  • juice of 1 lime (or 3 TBSP lime juice)
5) Serve over spaghetti squash and garnish with cilantro
  • 1/4 C cilantro
6) Enjoy!

Spicy Sriracha Chicken Spaghetti

Spicy Siracha Chicken Spaghetti

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 1/3 of the recipe

Calories per serving: 413

Fat per serving: 7

Spicy Siracha Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs cubed chicken Note: If you cook the chicken breasts whole we need to reach 165F to be fully cooked. We’ll need to account for carryover cooking so remove around 160F and let rest for 5 minutes before cubing.
  • 1 C diced white onion
  • 1 C diced bell pepper
  • 2 TBSP sriracha sauce (you can always add more to taste)
  • juice of 1 lime (or 3 TBSP lime juice)
  • 1/4 C cilantro

Directions

  1. This recipe works great if you’ve leftover spaghetti squash laying around, but if not begin by preparing ‘Skinny’ Spaghetti Squash (see link in blog for instructions)
  2. While the squash bakes, heat a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, lightly coat the pan with oil (either spray or 1 tbsp) and pan fry the chicken until golden brown.
  3. Set the chicken aside to rest, return the pan to heat, lightly coat with oil (if needed) and stir fry the diced onions and bell peppers until fragrant.
  4. Remove pan from heat, add chicken to the pan, and toss with sriracha and lime juice until well coated.
  5. Serve over spaghetti squash and garnish with cilantro.
  6. Enjoy!
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Scotch Eggs

 Posted by on March 1, 2014
Mar 012014
 

Paleo Scotch Eggs

Original vs. Substitute Sam

Hard boiled eggs wrapped in perfectly seasoned turkey lightly coated with a savory chia and pumpkin seed crumb makes these Scotch Eggs a protein powerhouse! The nutritional benefit from the substitutions in this recipe are well worth the extra effort.

      • 90% less fat (from sat and trans fats) and carbs
      • 80% less calories
      • All the benefits of eggs, including choline, satiety, and an inexpensive meal!


Ideation

Paleo Scotch Eggs

Before I tried this recipe I’d only had Scotch Eggs once in my life and that was during a happy hour with my co-workers while I worked at Target. When I heard the order for Scotch Eggs I was immediately curious because:

  1. I’d never heard of them before.
  2. I’m a huge fan of eggs.

My co-workers were surprised, but excited to show me a whole new food I’d never heard of and I’m glad they did because all be damned if I wasn’t impressed by the little protein bombs!

That is until I’d found out they weren’t just deep fried, but they’re also coated with bread crumbs, which explained why they were so popular… so I decided to try making them myself and got to ‘Googling’. I searched “Healthy Scotch Eggs” and my first hit was these Paleo Chicken Scotch Eggs from TheHealthyFoodie.com.

The only problem is I don’t have a food processor and I wanted to make it a bit more simple, so I wound up with these!


Recipe

1) Pre-heat oven to 400F and prepare hard-boiled eggs
  • 8-10 eggs
2) On a counter top or cutting board, combine ground turkey and seasonings and flatten into small patties using a spatula
3) Pat each egg dry, place in the center of a turkey patty and wrap the egg with meat, making sure to massage the meat together so it doesn’t split while baking.

 

4) *Optional* Blend chia and pumpkin seeds into a fine powder, dip the scotch egg in beaten egg yolk and lightly coat each egg with a pumpkin and chia breading. Place on a lightly oiled pan or piece of tin foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  • 1/4 C pumpkin seeds
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
5) Enjoy!

Paleo Scotch Eggs

Scotch Eggs

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 1 egg

Calories per serving: 137

Fat per serving: 6

Scotch Eggs

Ingredients

  • 8-10 eggs
  • 3 TBSP Montreal Chicken Seasoning (other meat seasonings go well here too)
  • 1 lbs ground turkey
  • Optional 1/4 C pumpkin seeds and 2 TBSP chia seeds

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F and prepare hard-boiled eggs
  2. On a counter top or cutting board, combine ground turkey and seasonings and flatten into small patties using a spatula.
  3. Pat each egg dry, place in the center of a turkey patty and wrap the egg with meat, making sure to massage the meat together so it doesn’t split while baking.
  4. Optional Blend chia and pumpkin seeds into a fine powder, dip the scotch egg in beaten egg yolk and lightly coat each egg with a pumpkin and chia breading. Place on a lightly oiled pan or piece of tin foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!
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Creamy Greek Yogurt Frosting

 Posted by on February 2, 2014
Feb 022014
 

creamy greek yogurt frosting

Originalvs. Substitute Sam

It’s unlikely you’d describe something as decadent, sweet, and creamy in the same sentence as healthy, high protein, and low calorie, but I promise Creamy Greek Yogurt Frosting and Dip is unlike anything you’ll ever have. Normally I’d highlight a few of the benefits, but the nutrition chart speaks for itself!

Nutrition Facts


Ideation

Office potluckPot-lucks and parties can wreak havoc on a diet so I always try to minimize the damage by bringing something I can eat without feeling too guilty.  For me, this year’s office pot-luck party was no exception and when my turn to volunteer a dish came around the sign up sheet looked something like this:

    1. Chili cheese dip
    2. Bacon wrapped honey glazed lil’smokies
    3. BBQ meatballs
    4. Triple cheese and artichoke dip
    5. Buffalo chicken dip

With less than a week until the pot-luck and a busy week of vacation prep my window for experimentation was limited, but it was my first office party I wanted to make a good impression. My initial thought was to use a proven recipe that was easy to make like Healthy Frank’s Buffalo Chicken Dip. However, the last thing I wanted  to do was be ‘that guy’ who tries to 1-up someone’s contribution.

That’s no way to go about making a good impression.

But, you know what is?

Discovering a sweet and fluffy ‘treat’ loaded with protein that’s  low in calories and sugar and works as a dip or frosting!


Recipe

1) In a tupperware (in case you don’t eat it all in one sitting), combine Greek yogurt and half a packet of pudding mix until the mixture becomes fluffy. Experiment with the different flavors available and let me know what your favorites are!
2) Slice up your favorite fruit for dipping or top your favorite dessert and enjoy!

Apples n Dip

Creamy Greek Yogurt Frosting

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1/2 C

Calories per serving: 79

Fat per serving: 0

Creamy Greek Yogurt Frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 C Oikos non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 packet (16g) Jello Sugar Free Fat Free Cheesecake Pudding

Directions

  1. In a tupperware (in case you don’t eat it all in one sitting), combine Greek yogurt and half a packet of pudding mix until the mixture becomes fluffy. Experiment with the different flavors available and let me know what your favorites are!
  2. Slice up your favorite fruit for dipping or top your favorite dessert and enjoy!
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