Italian Beef Sandwiches

Over the years, I’ve made several roasts. My sister is an oven fan but I prefer it to be made in the Crock-pot. I love the tender meat that comes from making it in the Crock-pot. This is my favorite French Dip recipe. You know what they say, “When you find a good recipe, stop.” This is flavorful but also keeps your meat juicy. I’d recommend adding a little melted provolone to the top of this sandwich and you’ll love it even more.

FullSizeRender (1)Italian Beef Sandwiches by Jan Kent (Quick Cooking January/February 2004)
1 beef sirloin roast
1 can beef broth
1 can beer (or one additional can of beef broth)
1 c. water
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregeno 
1 tsp. dried basil

Place roast in the Crock-pot. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over roast. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

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National Soup Month

When I think of Beer Cheese Soup, the first thing that pops into my mind is Lazlo’s Brewery. It’s a restaurant in Lincoln, NE. The original location is located in the Haymarket District. When I was in college, my friends and I used to walk down there to eat a lot. To this day, I could still tell you what everyone would order. Dan would get the Lazlo Burger and an Empyrean Amber Ale (made in Lazlo’s owner’s brewery). Rob wasn’t a drinker. He always got the French Dip but added Swiss Cheese and sautéed onions. He also ordered a side of ranch dipping sauce for his fries. Lazlo’s makes these great fries. They are crinkle fries with seasoning salt. And Ben always ordered a cup of Beer Cheese Soup. Ironic because Ben was the baby of the group – just 17 years old his first few months attending college.

After college graduations and break-ups, I ended up working for the owners of Lazlo’s. I worked in their neighboring restaurant entitled Jabrisco’s. It was an unusual Italian restaurant named after the owners Jay, Brian, and Scott. (They also had a financial partner who was a dentist but I can’t remember his name.) They had things on the menu like a PB&J wood-fired pizza, homemade spinach pasta, and this to die for chocolate dessert. We also had this amazing patio where I would sell coffee during the weekly Farmer’s Market. I worked there for about eight months as a host/head host. I could sell the bar area better than most on a busy Friday night or Saturday home football game. Following my college graduation, I left to pursue AmeriCorps full-time. But during the time I worked at Jabrisco’s, I learned some great customer service skills, importance to details, and a lot about the hospitality industry.

Today, Lazlo’s has doubled in size and now occupies the space that was once Jabrisco’s. The food is still delicious, reasonably priced, and the service is top notch. The Haymarket has also turned into this major entertainment district.

Although this recipe is very different then Lazlo’s Beer Cheese Soup, it did make me think back to some pretty cool people and an experience that greatly impacted my life.

Beer Cheese SoupBacon Beer Cheese Soup with Chicken from Pinterest
6 slices of bacon
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast
¼ c. butter
¼ c. flour
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 c. beer
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. half and half
8 oz. mild cheese
1 tsp. Worchester sauce
chives
croutons

Cook bacon and chicken. In a large sauce pan, cook butter, flour, and spices. Add beer, broth, and half and half. Whisk to combine and bring to a bubble. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Add Worchester sauce, chicken, and bacon. Allow to simmer. Garnish with chives and croutons.

Notes:

  • This recipe is good but spicy. One bowl had me drinking three glasses of water, blowing my nose, and dotting my watering eyes. My recommendation is to cut the spice at least to half or maybe a third of the recipe listed above. That’s my plan for the next time I cook it.
  • I didn’t have chicken stock so I used water and put in about 2 oz. more of beer. Veggie stock is also an option.
  • When I make a soup like this I know I am sharing with vegetarian friends, I make meat more of a topping. Canned chicken is another option. I used about a ½ lb. chicken and pre-cooked bacon.
  • I used fat free half and half. I think our Nutrition Manager at work also said that Fat Free Evaporated Milk is another substitute option to make a creamy soup healthier.
  • I used light beer.
  • I used Velveeta cheese.
  • I added parsley instead of chives.

On the second day, I picked up some chicken stock and frozen hash browns. I added about 1 cup of hash browns and ¾ c. chicken stock. I also added homemade croutons. It decreased the water consumption.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Need a last minute Christmas gift but don’t want to fight the crowds? Here’s a little recipe I’m making for friends. It’s a copycat for the Tastefully Simple Beer Bread.

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Creative Commons photo by @joefoodie

Homemade Beer Bread from Pinterest
3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (12 oz.) can or bottle of beer
3 T. butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients and package pretty. Recipient will need added beer and stir. Then, pour into greased bread pan. Top with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Note: Another good gift idea is my homemade hot chocolate recipe.

Carli’s Chili

A few months ago, we did a soup fundraiser at our Komen office for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My boss made this yummy chili recipe. I think the trick to the success of this recipe is beer, coffee, and brown sugar.

Komen staffChili by Carli Good
2 T. vegetable oil
2 onion, chopped
3 cloved garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound beef sirloin cubed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can of dark beer
1 c. strong brewed coffee
2 cans (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 can beef broth
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 1/2 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin seeds
1 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. salt
4 cans kidney beans
4 fresh hot chili peppers, seeded and chopped

Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Cook onion, garlic, ground beef and cubed sirloin in oil for 10 minutes. Mix in diced tomatoes with juice, beer, coffee, tomato paste, broth. Add seasonings, 2 cans of beans, and hot chile peppers. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in 2 remaining cans of beans and simmer for another 30 minutes. (Copyright Allrecipes.com)

Notes: When I made it for myself, I replaced beef sirloin with ground beef. I added water in place of beer. I didn’t have any peppers so I omited them. I also used three cans of beans. I thought it still tasted good.