Are you mostly at home this summer with a bunch of kids who always seem to be hungry? Are you looking for something different to make for lunch or dinner? Something filling, tasty, and easy to make? Maybe even something you can make ahead and heat up when ready to serve? I think this Italian Beef Drip Sandwich may be just the thing to keep everyone full and happy!
Italian Beef Drip Sandwiches are pretty much like French Dip Sandwiches. Mainly they’re beef sandwiches that you dip in beef broth. Now I love a Roast Beef French Dip Sandwich, specially one with onions and cheese, but sometimes you need a bit of spice and these Italian Beef Drip Sandwiches do just that! They add a bit of spice or more than a bit if you like it hotter, to your meal.
They’re easy to make and can even be made a head of time and stored in the fridge until you need them. I usually keep some on hand in the freezer during the summer, you never know when you need to make yummy sandwiches. You can make the beef in your Crockpot, on your stove, or in your Instant Pot (if making in an instant pot adjust the liquids so you will have dipping broth); the idea is to cook the meat until it’s falling apart and easily shredded.
Once you have the meat filling, and the broth which is from slow cooking the meat, all you need is some nice crusty bread (I prefer hoagie rolls) and provolone cheese. You slap them together, toast until the cheese melts, and serve with hot broth for dipping. I love to serve them with my homemade potato chips! It’s hearty enough to make a filling dinner for the whole family!
1 Chuck Roast about 3 lbs. or more if you want to freeze some for later
1 Box Beef Broth – use more if making in an instant pot
Provolone Cheese Slices
Crusty Bread Rolls
Place all ingredients except bread and cheese into your Crockpot, stock pot, or Instant Pot.
If using Crockpot cook on low heat for 8 hours. If using Instant Pot cook on stew setting. If cooking on the stove top simmer it in a covered pot until the meat is falling apart, this should take at least 4-5 hours.
Remove cooked beef from pot and shred using two forks. If using right away then following steps to make sandwich. If storing for later use place in sealed container with peppers and liquid from the pot and refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze.
To make sandwiches cut bread in half and lightly toast in the oven.
Fill with bread with shredded meat and peppers, top with cheese.
Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese melts and the edges of the bread are toasted a bit more.
Serve with a small bowl of the hot broth.
To make later just reheat the meat, peppers, and broth in the microwave oven before putting sandwich together.
If I’ve learned anything from the recent recent lock downs due to the deadly virus it’s to make family meals using whatever is on hand.
For many of us lock downs are soon to be a thing of the past if your state hasn’t reopened already. But the treat of more lock downs may still loom in our future. Such is our new normal, at least until a vaccine or a cure can be found. In my opinion that’s a big reason to not forget the lessons we learned thus far.
I’m fortunate enough to live in Hawaii, a state which hasn’t seen the devastation COVID-19 has wielded across the other 48 states that we refer to as the mainland. I’m not sure if it was our politicians’ prompt stay at home order which began on March 23, our health department’s mandatory 14 day quarantine of incoming travelers, our small population with less high density areas, or our isolated location which kept us from the widespread suffering experienced by the other states. I’m prone to think it was a combination of all these factors. But whatever the case maybe the virus was no more real or frightening for us on the islands as it was for our fellow citizens on the mainland.
Our fears heightened by 24/7 news reports and social media posts spurred many citizens to stand in long lines in search of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants just like our mainland counter parts. Fortunately for our family we didn’t wait in long lines searching for basic necessities. My daughter whose family lives in Northern Italy had been in lock down since February, she had urged us to stock up on food and other necessities weeks before US cases and deaths piled up. She had warned that it was only a matter of time before we faced the same issues they faced in Europe. Luckily we listened. We had shopped in early March, doubling and sometimes tripling what we normally purchased. Another plus was having an extra freezer and pantry.
Before the lock down began and we were stocking up our homes and kitchens we had decided that the plan was to have enough of everything so that during the lock down we just had to replenish a few things such as fresh fruits and veggies. During the lock down we’d have lists of what we ran out of which made our grocery trips faster and more efficient; we’d also wait until the list was pretty long before heading to the store.
Because we shopped less frequently and when we did shop not everything on the list was always available, we did run short of a few things. Which is why some of our favorite dishes had to be altered to make use of what we had on hand.
One of the easiest dishes to adapt to ingredients you have on hand is stew. I never really had to plan on making stew, I’ve pretty much use ingredients I found in my fridge and pantry. And in a pandemic stews are one of the best comfort foods to serve.
So during the lock down I made Hunters’ Stew. I call it that because I basically “hunt” for ingredients in my kitchen and toss them together to make my stew. So here’s my hunters’ stew “recipe”, feel free to substitute ingredients based on your tastes and what’s on hand.
Meat – beef, chicken, lamb, or no meat at all – cut meat into large chunks
Veggies – any combination of veggies such as potatoes, carrots, celery, okra, etc.
Flour for dredging
Salt & Pepper
2 Tbs. Oil
Garlic – fresh or powder
Oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaf, or Italian seasoning
Stock or broth – use the same broth as your meat – if you’re making beef stew then use beef broth, etc.
2 Cans tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes (you can even use tomato paste if that’s all you have – if you use paste you may have to use more liquid)
Heat oil in a large pot.
Mix salt, pepper, flour together.
Coat meat in flour mixture, shake off excess flour and place in pot.
Cook until all sides of meat are browned.
Add garlic and other spices.
Add broth and veggies and stir well.
Lower heat to simmer.
Cook covered until potatoes are cooked.
Add tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes.
Cover and simmer until meat is tender.
Store leftovers in the fridge.
Reheated left over stew is usually tastier than fresh stew!
As many of you know I absolutely love Mexican food and am always on the lookout for restaurants that serve authentic Mexican cuisine. That’s not easy to find where I live in Hawaii. Although a few places have popped up that meet our family’s expectations most of the time I end up making our favorite Mexican dishes at home.
A family favorite is Carne Asada, typical for a family of carnivores I guess. In restaurants it’s sometimes used as the filling for burritos and enchiladas, or a topping for nachos; and it mostly appears on the mean as steak.
Since it’s a favorite of ours I always make it and use it to fill tacos, burritos, and my all time favorites Chimichangas and Flautas which are really just fried versions of burritos and taquitos.
I use flank or skirt steak to make my Carne Asada, and in a pinch flap meat works well too. Those cuts of meat aren’t the most tender but marinating it overnight makes it not only tender but tasty as well. I usually make a big batch of Carne Asada and freeze some to use later. I pan fry the meat and freeze half. It heats up really well.
You can also grill the Flank Steak instead of pan frying it, but to grill it don’t cut up the meat before marination. Marinate the whole slab, grill it, then cut it up to fill your tacos, burritos, or whatever.
So here’s the recipe!
2 Tbs. Soy Sauce
3 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Minced Garlic
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro roughly chopped
2 Tsp. Chili Powder
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. Ground Oregano
2 Lbs. Flank or Skirt Steak – cut into 1/2″ strips or if you are grilling don’t cut it up marinate the whole slab
Mix all the ingredients except the meat in a bowl.
Place meat in a large ziplock bag and pour marinade over it.
Close bag and knead the meat to distribute the marinade evenly.
When you’re ready to cook it heat 1 Tbs. Olive Oil in skillet.
Place the meat into hot oil and pan fry to desired doneness.
Discard the marinade.
When meat is cooked use it to make nachos or fill your tortillas, taco shells or bowls, depending on what you are making.
Serve with garnishes such as pico de gallo, sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, fresh diced tomatos, lettuce, salsa, etc.
Grilling is always fun. We usually have a family barbecue every Sunday. It’s lots of fun and a great way to catch up with each other after a busy week. One of the problems I run in to is finding new recipes to grill. (With recent lock downs and quarantines we’ve had to barbecue for those of us in the household, other family members barbecue at their homes to maintain social distancing. But hopefully soon we can all get together again for this family tradition!)
Sure hot dogs, burgers, and steaks are easy, but every now and then we need a change. That’s why I’m always in search of a new barbecue recipe. I like to try them out during this weekly family dinner, and if everyone likes it we make it part of our menu.
Last month I tried this new marinade, mostly because I had all the ingredients in the pantry. (Again with the pandemic quarantine we try to keep shopping trips to a minimum). But also because I love balsamic vinegar, which is the main ingredient to this recipe. I call it Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade.
The best part about marinades is that it flavors your meat with very little work. It’s simple, just toss the ingredients together, soak the meat, and let the marinade do the rest of the work! I marinate my meat in the refrigerator overnight. The longer is marinates the more flavorful it will be, but you don’t want to marinate it more than a day or so, because when marinated too long the meat starts getting this tough jerky like texture and it may eventually spoil. If for some reason we don’t use the marinated meat the next day I freeze it, marinade and all. That way I just thaw it out when we’re ready to grill.
Just before grilling I skewer the beef cubes on bamboo skewers, but you can use metal skewers if you have them. We do have a bunch of pretty metal skewers we brought home from Turkey one year, but cleaning them after the barbecues is an extra chore I can do without. When you do use bamboo skewers remember to soak them in water for about 10 – 15 minutes before putting the meat on, it keeps them from burning when you pop them on the grill.
Another helpful tip when grilling is to not over cook the meat. Grill meat until it is just about done to the way you want it (rare, medium, well). In short remove it from the grill before it is the desired “doneness”. Place grilled meat in a covered pot or roasting pan and let rest covered for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the meat to finish cooking and to release its juices. Try it out! You’ll end up with tender juicy meat! It works for steaks too!
Having said that here’s my recipe for Vinaigrette Marinade! By the way you can use the same marinade on chicken, lamb, or shrimp. Just don’t mix the meats, make a separate batch of marinade for each type of meat or seafood.
3 Lbs. Beef Tenderloin cut in 1″ cubes (you can use your favorite beef cut)
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Finely Minced Garlic
1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Rosemary
1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Oregano
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Large Onions cut into large chunks
1 Large Green Pepper cut into large pieces
1 Basket Mushrooms, washed and patted dry
Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and seasonings in a large ziplock bag. Seal bag and shake to combine all the ingredients together.
Add meat cubes to the marinade. Seal bag and shake to cover all the meat.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours, for best flavor marinate in the fridge overnight.
About and hour or less before grilling place meat, onions, peppers, and
mushrooms on skewers. Alternate meat with veggies.
Grill over medium heat until meat is just about done the way you want it.
Place skewers in a large pot or roasting pan with a lid. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to allow meat to finish cooking and release its juices.
Serve hot with rice, potatoes, and other sides.
Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade
Tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat that's perfect for any cook out.
It’s Cinco De Mayo again and to me that’s the best excuse for a celebration featuring Mexican food and drinks! Not that I need a reason to enjoy Mexican food, I’m just crazy about it! No one ever has to twist my arm into making a pitcher of Margaritas or a tray of tacos and burritos.
But Cinco De Mayo is still a great excuse to throw a party! You don’t have to be Mexican in my opinion to celebrate. But if you really must know the reason Cinco De Mayo is celebrated it’s a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Just in case you were thinking it’s the Mexican Independence day, it’s clearly not. I believe the largest Cinco De Mayo celebration is in Puebla.
History aside Cinco De Mayo has become somewhat a part of American culture simple because it involves great food and drinks I think. What ever the reason it’s a great time to throw a party or at the very least have a “Mexican” night with the family.
It doesn’t have to be an invite the whole neighborhood block party, you can keep it simple and have a pot luck with friends and family or simpler still enjoy some Mexican dishes with just the family. Here’s a few fun ideas you can use to make your celebration fun for all!
Set up a Margarita Bar
Guests can help themselves to margaritas, you can serve the classic margarita or add a flavored one or two like mango and strawberry.
If you’ve got kids or for any one wanting something non-alcoholic (like the designated driver) put bottles of Jarrito in a tub of ice, don’t forget the bottle opener!
Or set up a Horchata bar with several flavors of this refreshing Mexican drink.
Put up a Pinata
Pinatas are always fun. They’re colorful and full of candy, what’s not to like? You can use your pinata as just decoration or you can actually have the kids break it.
If you consider breaking the pinata with a stick too violent, I’m a bit iffy on it too, you can cut a flap on the bottom of your pinata and attach ribbons or string to it. The kids just have to tug on it to let the candy and other treats out. This is a safer option specially when there are toddlers involved!
Set a colorful table!
Use colorful dinnerware at the table and as serving plates.
They don’t have to be ceramic, you can mix and match colorful paper or plastic plates.
Decorate with bright colors and props
Dust off the maracas and sombreros and haul out the serapes. Use colorful balloons, fabrics, banners, paper lanterns and flowers to spruce up the party area.
Don’t forget colorful baskets they can hold everything from flatware to favors!
Serve lots and lots of Mexican Food!
Tacos, burritos, nachos, chimichangas, enchaladas, you name it! Serve up lots of your favorites. If you’re just wanting to keep it simple then focus on an entree like fajitas, and serve up sides of rice and beans. But don’t forget the salsa and guacamole!
If you don’t a lot of time to cook then whip up a pot of my Beef Barbacoa, you can use it in tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, or whatever you want. Best of all it’s made in an Instant Pot and can be made in less than 2 hours. Your friends and family will think you slaved over a hot stove all day!
Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps. We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.
Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off. I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat. So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe. We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan. Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!