In West Philadelphia, Born and Raised: Weight Watchers Philly Cheesesteaks & Baked Sweet Potato Chips

I’m gonna be bold here and say that I don’t approve of diets.

Because in my observation, diets don’t work and you wind up eating all of the fried chicken. See this hilariously well-written example of a normal person trying to follow Madonna’s macrobiotic diet from NYMag’s The Cut

Let me say: I do not diet. The second I tell myself that I cannot have pork products, all I want are pork products.

Fuck. Bacon DOES sound good right now…

So, I say, diets don’t work. But lifestyle changes DO work when you’re trying to lose weight.

This is my friend Evan. (You may remember him from previous blog posts.) He has been doing Weight Watchers since the first of the year. And he has lost 30 pounds. WHAT?! That’s amazing. And, bonus, he still enjoys the occasional chicken finger sub cause he’s from Buffalo and people from Buffalo love Buffalo more than anything ever. I’m pretty sure the flag of Buffalo has a chicken finger sub on it. 

Evan brought me some onions and peppers that his girlfriend, Lauren, cut up before going out of town for two weeks. So, I says to him, “let’s make Philly cheesesteaks!” 

Ev found a Weight Watchers Philly cheesesteak recipe that we decided to use. But I had to confer with my best friend in life and food, Ally, who is from Philly. Who I had Philly cheesesteaks with IN Philly. Because this recipe called for cheddar cheese. and I had a hunch that was total BS.  

Me: Does a true Philly cheesesteak have cheese whiz or provolone or does it depend on the place you go?

Ally: Provolone or American or whiz. I personally avoid the whiz.

Also, I like calling Cheese Whiz “the whiz” like it’s some really horrible STD. 

Guy 1: Man, I got the whiz.

Guy 2: Oh, damn. We all been there, though. I got it in WW2. 

What? How old is Guy 2? Anyways. Back to the premise of this “blog”: horrible jokes mistakes cooking. 

What did I think about the Weight Watchers Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Look. We’re talking about a substitute here. It was missing some of the juiciness that you get with a Philly cheesesteak. You know, from the juice that has all the fat in it. They were just a touch dry. I almost put mayo on it, which would’ve made it more of a steak sandwich and less of a Philly cheesesteak. But the flavor of the meat and veggies were good. The bun was toasty. The cheese was lovely and melty. (I went with a low-fat provolone since I, too, wish to avoid the whiz.) And when you’re thinking that this is a substitute for a full fat version? Well, it’s really not too shabby. Total Weight Watchers points for this recipe: 7 points per sandwich.

Here is Evan, cooking the vegetables. He’s sad cause he didn’t actually want me to take this picture at all. 

Sad Evan

Sad Evan

Here is Evan, cooking the meat. He’s happy cause meat is the best!!! 



The real star of this dish was the side that we made. Baked sweet potato chips for 2 points per serving. Get a large sweet potato, peel it, slice it rull thin (1/8 of an inch to be precise—get your mandolin out), brush with oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake it in the oven. As per usual, I burned the first batch. But, the sweet potato yielded a zillion sweet potato chips. So there were plenty left over. I must say, I completely upped the amount of salt that I used in this recipe by like a million salts. I salted them to taste.  Even the burnt ones tasted really good.

Follow it up with a Philadelphia themed movie. We went with Trading Places. Because an Eddie Murphy movie is a part of every balanced diet.

Laughter is 0 points, y’all.

Philly cheesesteaks, bakes sweet potato chips and Evan's thumb holding up the plate to give me better lighting.

Philly cheesesteaks, baked sweet potato chips and Evan’s thumb holding up the plate to give me better lighting.

Philly Cheese Steaks, adapted from Weight Watchers


  • 1-2 spray olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 medium uncooked onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound uncooked lean flank steak, cut against the grain in paper thin slices | Cut against the grain to eliminate chewiness.
  • 2 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce  
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 4 rolls(s) reduced calorie hot dog buns | These are tough to find. After going to two gro’ sto’s, we found these at a Walmart. Walmart brand buns, in fact.
  • ¼ cup reduced fat provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; set pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add onion and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove onion from pan; set aside.

Add steak to skillet and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper; cook until liquid is absorbed.

Divide steak evenly between buns and top with onion and cheese. Wrap in foil, transfer to oven and bake until cheese melts, about 5 to 7 minutes. Yields 1 sandwich per serving.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips, adapted from Weight Watchers 


  • 1 large uncooked sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste | I used kosher salt.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Thinly slice potatoes in a food processor or by hand; they should be no more than 1/8-inch thick.

Arrange slices on baking sheets so they don’t overlap. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake chips until they begin to lightly brown. For super thin mandolined chips, check after 7-8 minutes. Cool on a rack and serve.

Burn them. IF YOU DARE. 

One sweet potato yielded 4 baking trays of chips. And I didn't even use the whole thing. WHO KNEW!

One sweet potato yielded 4 baking trays of chips. And I didn’t even use the whole thing. WHO KNEW!

2 thoughts on “In West Philadelphia, Born and Raised: Weight Watchers Philly Cheesesteaks & Baked Sweet Potato Chips

  1. I’m originally from Philly too. And whiz on a steak makes me want to hurl. Thank you for not putting it. We can still be friends.

    • Good. Two out of two Philly-ians (that’s what you’re called, right?) agree! Avoid the whiz!! And it’s VERY official because you’re both my friends. Official polls!

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