Today’s Sunday Funday theme is influential women in history. I had to think about this one for a hot minute.
I eventually decided I wanted to highlight someone who exemplifies Catholic faith and knew that I wanted to use a recipe from a cookbook that’s been collecting dust on my shelf for awhile: Cooking with the Saints.
Cooking with the Saints by Fernando Flores
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a beautifully done cookbook! Organized month by month by feast day, a brief history of the saint is given, followed by a relevant recipe, typically related to the saint's country of birth.
I loved learning about the saints & can’t wait to try a few recipes! Even my tween is enjoying reading this book!
View all my reviews
I had things narrowed down to Saint Mary of Egypt (Patron Saint of Chastity and temptations of the flesh, a former prostitute born in ad 344 who had a conversion of faith and later devoted her life to Christ and lived as a hermit), Saint Mother Teresa (born in 1910 and passing away in 1997, she was known for taking care or the poorest of the poor in India), St. Teresa of Avila (born in 1515, patron saint of headache sufferers is a doctor of the church known for her writing and teaching on prayer), and Saint Katharine Drexel (born in 1858 in the United States and patron saint of racial justice and philanthropists.)
Ultimately, I chose to focus on Saint Katharine Drexel for a couple reasons, I liked that she was from the US (Philadelphia, to be exact) and when I presented the recipes affiliated with each saint from my cookbook to Hubs, he decided that he really wanted Philly Cheesesteak!
So why is Saint Katharine Drexel sainted and worth being called an influential woman in history?
Katharine Drexel was born to a wealthy, philanthropic family. After the death of her father, she inherited control of her father’s fortune which she used to help underprivileged Native American and African American people. She eventually became a Catholic nun and went on to found her own order of sisters: the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, founded in 1891. Some of her more impressive deeds include funding the printing of an English-Navajo Catechism, so Navajo children could learn the Catholic faith and in 1915 she founded Xavier University in New Orleans - the first Catholic University for African Americans. Today, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament continue to advocate for social justice; especially racial justice, human trafficking, gun violence, and juvenile delinquency.
So on to the recipe! Since Saint Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament continue to have a presence in Philadelphia, the obvious choice here is a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich.
Typically, a Philly Cheesesteak is a combination of steak, onions and cheese served in a hoagie. The type of cheese depends on who you talk to, but the top two are provolone or cheese whiz. Bell peppers also often make an appearance. However, I also learned that a Philly Cheesesteak can really be topped with anything from pizza sauce and mushrooms, to pickles and mayo. I kept today’s recipe simpler and was glad I did.
I served these on a homemade hoagie and they were absolutely delicious. Even the leftovers were amazing!
Recipes Inspired by Inspirational Women
- Drumstick Curry in Coconut Sauce - No Onion No Garlic from Sneha’s Recipe
- Irio Recipe from Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Philly Cheesesteak from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
- Rosalynn Carter’s Baked Cheese Grits from Food Lust People Love
-I used leftover pot roast in this recipe. I had cooked a large roast for 8 hours in the crock pot over low heat after searing and seasoning with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder and a cup of beef broth. I stored the leftover roast with ¼ cup of cooking liquid that I used in cooking the recipe below
-Alternately, Philly cheese steak can be made by stir frying thinly sliced ribeye steak (or another tender cut) or even by reheating pre-sliced deli meat.
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Adapted from Cooking with the Saints
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef, diced (see recipe note)
Salt & pepper to taste
5 slices provolone cheese
6-8 hoagie rolls (homemade, if desired)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize; 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in the beef and heat through (if using pre-cooked beef) or until cooked through if using fresh. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese and cook until cheese is melted. Stir slightly, then divide the meat mixture onto the rolls. Serve immediately.