Chicago Expats and the Menu Plan

I moved to Chicagoland in 1999. I was not yet married to Big Daddy (that would come a few weeks later). We moved into an apartment in the Northwestish suburbs and lived there until we move to the far Northwest suburbs in 2001. We spent the vast majority of ten years living in the Chicago area before moving to, what I describe as, pretty rural Ohio.

Life is different far away from Chicagoland. There’s a lot to miss; the people, the city, the vast amount of things to do and the food. Food in Chicago is…fabulous. There are fantastic Michelin Star restaurants and tiny little dives that serve one thing and you’d better not ask for what they don’t have.

Some Chicago food are easy to replicate Except for our inability to get poppy seed buns, we can make a mean Chicago Style hot dog at home (pickles, onions, mustard, relish, celery salt, hold the sport peppers) but we’ve been missing Italian Beef. Up until this weekend, there weren’t to be found in Northeast Ohio for love or money. They were Chicago fare (like Giordanos) and we had to make do with eating them when we were in town.

No longer.

A lot of “authentic” Italian Beef recipes call for a pot roast in the slow cooker, but any Chicagoan worth his or her salt know that’s nothing like the meat served at your favorite hot dog joint. It’s thin sliced, deli-style roast beef and it’s delicious! Big Daddy, the Princess and I gave this recipe a great big thumbs up.



Italian Beef
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
Nearly authentic Chicago favorite
  • 4c of water
  • 1 lg onion, sliced thin
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 pkg au jus
  • 1 pkg brown gravy
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp oregnao
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • a few dashes of tobasco or Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 lbs of thin sliced deli roast beef
  • 1 loaf of french bread, cut into sandwich size pieces and cut oen
  • shredded mozzarella
  1. Bring the water to a boil and then add the onions and peppers. Boil 3-5 minutes until the onions and peppers have started to soften.
  2. Add dry packages, spices and garlic and hot sauce, whisking well to avoid clumps. Cook until smooth and veggies are soft.
  3. Add the meat to the sauce a slice at a time. Overcooking the beef will make it tough, so consider only adding a sandwich or two's worth at a time. The meat heats quickly.
  4. Once the meat is heated through, decide if you want yours wet or not (wet means dipped into the gravy). Pile on the beef and add the cheese if you want.

I like mine wet with no cheese.  Littlebit likes hers not wet, with cheese.  Big Daddy and the Princess like theirs wet with cheese.  We served them with crinkle cut fries(obviously) with home made cheese sauce.  They were a hit and Big Daddy requested them for dinner the next night as well.   Now, if I can figure out pizza puffs….


The Menu Plan

Monday Cajun Chicken Pasta (another Big Daddy favorite)

Tuesday Cheesy broccoli chicken and rice

Wednesday Mexican Rice Casserole

Thursday Paninis (by the Princess’s request).