Chicago-Style Italian Beef

Anyone who grew up in or near the vicinity of Chicago knows the greatness that is Portillo’s. The hot dogs, the chocolate cake (!), and of course… The beef. While we sadly don’t own a meat slicer and therefore can’t truly replicate a Portillo’s beef, this comes pretty darn close. This past Friday was allegedly “Region Day” (pretty sure that’s a Region created event, but according to Facebook Indianapolis folks were getting in on the celebration as well), so what better excuse that to whip up a region favorite. Plus it’s a crockpot recipe, so you get to smell the deliciousness simmering all day long. Just don’t be like us- make sure you have some giardinara or even pepperoncinis on hand when you make these to really make them stand out, along with some good French bread or Italian rolls and cheese. Make these ASAP and make your mouth happy! 


  • 5 lbs top round roast
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 packet Italian dressing mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp onion salt 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Provolone or mozzarella cheese slices
  • Giardinara/pepperoncinis/sport peppers
  • Loaf of French bread or Italian rolls


Line crockpot with liner if using. Add roast to crockpot.  Pour the broth into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in all of the spices.  


The smell of this concoction should be enough to make the drooling start.

Bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat. Pour over your awaiting roast.  

Yaaaaaaas. Set to cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Remove bay leaf and shred meat. Broil cheese onto bread if desired. Add meat to bread and garnish with peppers (if you’re not a bonehead and remembered them. Still kicking myself here!).  Finish with a Miller Lite for a true Region experience. 😜


Recipe barely adapted from

Beef and Bean Burritos


Now, this isn’t the fanciest of suppers. It IS, however, tasty, filling, and fast, which makes it a winner in my book. Even better, these are super customizable. We kept it pretty simple- just beef, spices, and cheese- but throw in some veggies or rice (or both!) and you’ve got a great well rounded meal in less than 20 minutes.

1 lb ground beef
1/4 medium-sized onion, diced
1 can Enchilada Sauce
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 pkg taco seasoning (or make your own)
1 can (28 Ounce) refried beans
3/4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, cojack, whatever you’ve got handy)
6-8 burrito sized flour tortillas

Brown ground beef with onion and seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour in a little over half of the can of enchilada sauce and simmer over low heat.

Heat refried beans in a saucepan or nuke for about 3 minutes. Add cheese and stir in till melted.

Heat tortillas in microwave for about one minute, or until soft and workable. Spread a schmear of beans on each tortilla…

Add meat…

Fold over ends…

And roll up.

Please note my inadequacy at uniform burrito rolling. I promise, they taste equally good whether they look pretty or not! 😉 Place two burritos on a microwave-safe plate. Drizzle some enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with more cheese. Microwave for about one minute, or until cheese is melted.
Time to eat! See- easy peasy, great for when you’re in a pinch for a super quick dinner.

Recipe barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman