How to flatten chicken breasts (video)

To make scallopini, or any number of “stuffed” chicken recipes, like Chicken Cordon Bleu, or Chicken Kiev, boneless-skinless chicken breasts need to be flattened to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Not only does this increase the surface area of the chicken, so you have room for the goodies inside, but the uniform thickness allows even cooking for the whole breast, without having the tip-end dry out, while the thicker end is still cooking.

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Pork Wellington with Apple Sage Sauce and Apple Arugula Salad

Okay, this recipe is pretty fancy…but it’s not difficult. If you want a delicious, classy, recipe that is sure to wow the table…this is the one!

Pork Wellington

Recipe and photos by Chef Terry D. Ramsey

Yield: 4 servings Active Time: 30 min. Total Time: 2 hr. (includes resting)

  • 1 (12 to 16oz.) pork tenderloin
  • 4 oz. Boursin cheese (deli section)
  • 6 oz. prosciutto
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 egg
  • 2 tbsp. water

1 to 24 Hours Before Serving: Trim the tenderloin of excess fat and “silver skin” (connective tissue on the surface) and the thin tail at the end (save for another use).

“Butterfly” the tenderloin for stuffing–cut a 1-inch deep incision down the length of each tenderloin – do not cut all the way through. Stuff the cheese into the incision.

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Roll the stuffed tenderloin with the prosciutto by laying the prosciutto slices in a single layer, overlapping them slightly.

Place the stuffed tenderloin at the base of the overlapping prosciutto and roll to cover.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is heated, sear the wrapped tenderloin until the prosciutto is brown and crisp on all sides–about 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove from pan and chill thoroughly.

Wrap the tenderloin in 2/3 of a sheet of puff pastry (the sheets are usually folded into thirds, simply unfold a sheet and trim-off), cover and chill 1/3 sheet to use for decorations later.

Roll-out the remaining 2/3 sheet until it is large enough to wrap the tenderloin.

Place the chilled tenderloin at the base of the long side of the sheet…

and roll to cover…

tucking in the ends to make a nice package.

Cover the wrapped tenderloin with cutouts and vines from the reserved, chilled 1/3 puff pastry. (Optional)

Place the egg and water in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork to create an “egg wash.” Brush the wash over the decorated, wrapped tenderloin and then wrap in plastic-wrap and chill from 1 to 24 hours.

Baking: Preheat oven to 400 F with rack in lower third of the oven. Brush with more egg wash for good browning.

Bake the tenderloin 30-35 minutes or until golden. Note: these “Wellingtons” cook at a lower temperature and longer than Beef Wellingtons.

Remove the cooked tenderloin from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Trim-off the ends as they will be doughy. Slice 2-inch sections, allowing 2-3 per person.

Serve with Apple-Sage Sauce

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Apple-Sage Sauce

Yield: 2 cup Active Time: 20 min. Total Time: 20 min.

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ cup carrot, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ½ dry white wine
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 4 tbsp. water
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. apple jelly
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tsp. fresh sage, minced

Sauté vegetables, tomato paste, and bay leaves in butter until soft, 5 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with apple juice and white wine, scraping up bits from bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced, 5 minutes.

Add the beef broth; simmer 8-10 minutes, then strain. Note: sauce may be made ahead to this point and chilled.)

Return broth to a clean pan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, smashing out lumps with your fingers. Whisk cornstarch into the boiling broth, stirring constantly until slightly thickened.

Finish with the jelly, butter and sage. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Deglazing is a cooking technique for removing and dissolving caramelized meat residue from a pan, typically with wine, to make a pan sauce. The resulting liquid can be seasoned and served on its own (a jus), or with the addition of onions or shallots, carrots and celery, or be used as the base for a soup. The sauce can also be thickened by whisking butter in, through the addition of a starch, such as flour, or simply simmered down with a steady heat to form a rich, concentrated reduction.

This method is the cornerstone of many well known sauces and gravies.

Apple-Arugula Salad with Cider Vinaigrette (1c)

Yield: 4 servings Active Time: 15 min. Total Time: 15 min.


  • 4 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground


  • 2 bunches arugula
  • ½ lb. radishes
  • 1 red apple

Remove thick stems from arugula, rinse and dry. Thinly slice radishes on a mandoline or with vegetable peeler. Peel, core and finely dice the apple.

Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, shallot, salt and pepper. Toss arugula, radishes and red apple together. Toss salad with dressing right before serving.


A little clarification…

Okay peeps, it has been pointed out to me, once again, that we have not made our pricing here at hautemealz.com clear, and folks are thinking that the system is FAR more expensive than it actually is!

So, yeah…I apologize for that!

So, let’s clear it up…hautemealz.com plans (regular, lighter side, and the upcoming diabetic-friendly menu) are each $5.00 per month, NOT $5.00 per week.

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Epic Chicken Sandwich…

Epic sandwich for lunch – rubbed a couple of chicken thighs with garam masala spice, salt, and pepper, dusted with flour and fried in peanut oil.

Smeared a toasted baguette with some pineapple cream cheese, cubed avocado, and a handful of fresh cilantro, topped with chopped chicken…yum!

2 large boneless chicken thighs
4 tsp. garam masala spice blend
4 Tbsp. flour
Salt & black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp pineapple cream cheese
1 whole avocado, cubed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 large hoagie rolls, or 1 baguette, halved and split

Recipe name ideas?



Tangy Carrot & Cilantro Salad

Cilantro is one of my all time favorite ingredients, and I use it a lot! Power-packed with flavor, cilantro supports blood sugar-regulating mechanisms and gastrointestinal health, as well.

It’s also a knock-out when combined with carrots and citrus juice (and it makes an amazing addition to pico de gallo, too.)

To take this recipe to the next level, add a fresh avocado, cut into chunks…to make it dinner, add a handful of steamed shrimp…awesome!

Carrot & Cilantro Salad

2 large carrots, peeled
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 T rice vinegar
1 T sesame oil
1 tsp chili paste (optional)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Slice the carrots thinly, (I use a potato peeler).  Combine rice vinegar, sesame oil and chili paste in a separate bowl.

Pour mixture over carrots and cilantro and mix to coat evenly.

Let rest 20-30 minutes, in the fridge before serving.

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How to Grill a Perfect Hamburger

Perfect grilled hamburgers

A bit of trivia: According to “The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, by John Mariani, one of the first known mentions of a “hamburg steak” in print was in 1884 in the “Boston Evening Journal.” The term “hamburger” appeared on a New York Delmonico’s restaurant menu which was believed to have been printed in 1834. In Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book (1902), the hamburg steak is described as beef put twice through a meat grinder and mixed with onion and pepper.

You may not know this, but in my “other life”, Chefs Terry, Chris, and I do a lot of bbq. Our team, Burnin’ Love BBQ throws down on the grill for a hundred or more hungry customers  pretty regularly.

I write a grilling column for Kenmore’s, “Grilling is Happiness” blog, as well.

So, it should come as no surprise, that with the sun shining, and my stomach growling, I’m thinkin’ about the grill today…specifically, I’m thinkin’ about burgers!

Who doesn’t love a good burger? There’s nothing like a thick, beefy, juicy hamburger cooked over the fire to make you turn your back on cardboard peddling drive-thru clowns forever.

Still, like anything else, there’s a right way and a wrong way (several actually) to grill a perfect hamburger, and doing it the wrong way can make a day-old Whopper seem like filet mignon.

Here are, in my opinion, the 5 most important tips for turning your ground cow into hamburger heaven.

First, let’s look at…

Fat, cold, and anti-social.

No, I’m not talking about your high school prom date…I’m talking about three key elements to making a great burger, before it ever hits the grill –

1. Fat

Fat is flavor, we know this. Fatty meat produces a juicier patty than lean meat. Lean ground beef is flavorless cardboard. You need a good 20-30% fat for the best flavor.

You can’t have a good medium well burger with 90 lean meat, you need the fat to give you juiciness and flavor at those temps.

Fyi…for an out of this world 80/20 beef, try grinding your own using a whole packer brisket. Not only in the flavor amazing…it’s cheaper than store-bought ground beef!

2. Cold

Warm meat = melted fat = dry beef = grilled hockey puck.

’nuff said.

Also, after you’ve formed your patties, salt them generously on both sides (just try it!), and put them back in the fridge to cool down again for 30 to 45 minutes.

Also, if you’re grinding your own, try keeping the grinder accessories for your KitchenAid (or whatever grinder you use) in the freezer until ready to use…you’ll notice a difference in the quality of your burger, I guarantee it.

3. Anti-Social

Think of your ground beef as that wild-eyed guy at the bus stop, who’s pacing and muttering to himself. As much as possible, do the smart thing…leave it alone.

Working the meat unduly will cause proteins to cross-link with each other like tiny strips of velcro, making your finished burgers denser and tighter with every manhandling of the grind.

Personally, I like to take an untouched “haystack” of ground beef, and use a ‘burger press’ (here’s my current favorite). Just gently load with a loose mound of ground beef, and press it softly until the burger is just formed. You want it to be just-about-to-fall-apart loose – to yield the juiciest results.

Like the Pointer Sisters, your burger “wants a lover with an easy touch.”


How to grill a hamburger

4. Give it to ’em HOT!

The hotter the better. You want to sear or char the meat really quickly so you have nice crust, color, and grill flavor.

Speaking of flavor, I like to toss some oak wood chips on my coals for added smoke flavor. Make sure to add them near, but not directly under your burgers (the flare-up zone). Also, before putting on your burgers, make sure the coals are completely gray, otherwise you risk grease flames, and the meat will scorch on the outside (yuck).

Cooking on a bbq chimneyHere’s a trick: If you’re just cooking one or two burger patties, just toss a grill grate over your charcoal chimney! A chimney that’s 3/4 full of glowing coals produces a volcanic amount of heat, and that kind of temperature does amazing things for burgers and steaks.

For more on this, see my postSearing steaks on a charcoal chimney“.

5. Cook until not quite to your liking, and then let it rest.

Like any grilled meat, you want to cook your hamburger patty to just shy of your desired outcome, and let “hold-over cooking” take it the rest of the way.

Personally, I like to use an instant-read thermometer. Note: if your burger patty is too thin to use a thermometer…your burger patty is too thin.

Here’s a rough temperature guide:

* 120°F and below for rare (red/raw in the center)
* 130°F for medium-rare (pink and warm – this is my burger, baby!)
* 140°F for medium (totally pink, starting to dry out)
* 150°F for medium-well (grayish pink, significantly drier)
* 160°F and above for well done (completely gray, very little moisture. What I like to call…”ruined”)

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After you take it off the heat, let the burger rest and redistribute its juices for two to three minutes, just like you would a steak. This way it won’t gush out all its juices at the first bite.

One more thing – it ain’t about the “stuff”…or maybe it is.

My wife’s perfect burger requires a bib, a pack of napkins, and maybe a drop cloth.

I know another guy who insists that a “real” hamburger is ruined if you add anything but a toasted bun (he’s an odd duck…but DO toast the bun, it makes a world of difference!). Me? It really depends on what I’m in the mood for…some cold, crisp lettuce and sliced garden tomatoes, a slice of American of cheddar cheese, and maybe a little horseradish sauce are hard to beat, as is a gooey layer of swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms. (Here’s one of our favorites, the “Fully Awe-some” Burger.)

It’s true, a good burger doesn’t NEED anything to make it better, but since when is it about NEED?

Bottom line: Don’t let anyone tell you who you have to vote for…don’t let anyone tell you where you have to go to church…and don’t let anyone tell you what you should and shouldn’t put on your burger.

Try these tips for grilling a perfect hamburger, and then c’mon back and tell us what you think!

Happy Grillin’!

Chef Perry



Tips for Raising an International Gourmet

Cooking with kids

Today we’re gonna talk about a few tips I have for “Raising an International Gourmet” (and maybe learning a few new things ourselves!)

I have gone through the following steps with children as young as five and, with a little flexibility and patience, it can be a lot of fun.

Note: when it stops being fun, stop. You’re not teaching at the Le Cordon Bleu, so tell your inner Iron Chef to lighten up! Forcing a kid to cook will only get you the opposite of what you’re shooting for…a lifetime peanut-butter and ramen eater.

Also, don’t let your own bias become theirs! If they pick a recipe that calls for tripe, heart, or pig’s feet…go buy the dang pig’s feet! The whole idea here is to broaden their horizons (and it might not hurt to stretch ours a wee bit, as well, lol...)

So, place your tongue firmly in your cheek, accept that the kitchen is going to be a mess*, and have some fun!

Cooking with kids

Here we go…

1. Take a looking in the fridge/freezer and decide on a protein (chicken, steak, ground beef, salmon, pork roast, etc.) Okay, it doesn’t HAVE to be meat, but I’ve found that those recipes are easier to find in the following steps. You can certainly begin with a vegan main ingredient, as well.

2. Let kiddo pick a country. I have a big mp of the world in my office, but a globe, atlas, or even an online map would work just as well. If the country they pick seems obscure, say “Chad”, just use the continent (Africa) for step three.

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Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.


3. Go to Google and type in “(name of country) (protein) Recipes” ie: “African Chicken Recipes” (490,000 results.) If you have additional ingredients you want to use, like rice, or tomatoes…add them in the search.

4. Together, cull through the recipes that Google finds, until you find one that sounds good, and that you have all (or most) of the ingredients for.

5. Do a new Google search for the name of the recipe you’ve chosen, say “Jollof Rice.” Chances are good that you’re going to get a Wikipedia hit like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jollof_rice. Help junior jot down some notes. Here’s what I found on Jollof Rice:

Jollof rice, also called ‘Benachin’ meaning one pot in the Wolof language, is a popular dish all over West Africa. It is thought to have originated in The Gambia but has since spread to the whole of West Africa, especially Nigeria and Ghana amongst members of the Wolof ethnic group. There are many variations of Jollof rice. The dish consists of rice, tomatoes and tomato paste, onion, salt, spices (such as nutmeg, ginger, Guinea pepper or cumin) and chili pepper, to which optional ingredients can be added such as vegetables, meats and fish.

Cooking with kids6. Together, collect the ingredients, discarding or replacing those that are too spicy, too expensive, or too obscure, and (together) prepare the dish.

While the dish is cooking, or before you start, let the kiddo draw up a picture or two of the dish, the country it came from, a collage of the ingredients, whatever.

7. When Dad (or Mom, or the Grandparents, whoever) get’s home. Let kiddo give a short presentation of what we’re having for dinner, let them share some key points of your research, pass around their artwork, etc.

Then, help them serve the dish to the dinner guests.

8. Remember the three most important ingredients in kid cooking…praise, praise, praise!

9. If you’re the artsy/craftsy type, take some pictures of the process, start to finish, and start a family scrap/cookbook with the pictures, recipe, research notes, artwork, and “customer comments.” Not only will this make an awesome keepsake, but it gives junior a chance to remake favorite dishes, take pride in their cooking, and revisit past “glories.”

Most of all HAVE FUN!

Cooking with kids

Note: I have a daughter, but if I had a son, I would be following the same culinary plan. Let’s put it this way…when I was 27, my sole redeeming feature was my ability to cook really good food…and I married WAY out of my league. If noting else, parents, think of it as your son’s “Failure to Launch” insurance, down the road!

-Chef Perry

*Just a note on that “mess” in the kitchen…Junior isn’t an Iron Chef either, and you’re not his/her “prep-monkey”…clean- up is part of cooking…they might as well get that idea now instead of later. Again, do it together, and make it as fun as possible.

Remember, it’s never too young to start…

Cooking with kids


Novelist, cookbook author, and award winning food blogger, Perry P. Perkins is a work-at-home dad who lives with his wife Victoria and their young daughter Grace, in the Pacific Northwest. Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, everything from Writer’s Digest and Guideposts, to American Hunter and Bassmaster Magazine. His inspirational stories have been included in twelve Chicken Soup anthologies, as well.

Perry’s books are available at www.perryperkinsbooks.com

Note: Please feel free to repost this article, exactly as written, as long as all links and the author’s bio are included. This content in monitored online.


How to peel and clean shrimp and prawns

Cleaning, or “deveining” shrimp means taking off the shrimp shell and removing the vein that runs along the back.

This video shows you how to peel and devein shrimp quickly and easily, with just a kitchen paring knife.

You can often find raw shrimp that have already been deviened and/or peeled. This is fine, as long as the shrimp is still raw. Pre-cooked shrimp that have been frozen, or sitting in a grocery store cooler, are sad, flavorless, rubbery things that are unworthy of your kitchen.


– Chef Perry



Cooking for Mom this Mother’s Day

Okay, so I’m not insinuating anything here…I’m sure that all the guys who follow hautemealz.com are skillet-wielding Iron Chefs…but with Mother’s Day coming up, maybe you know someone, who could use some tips…

NOTE: The management at hautemealz.com takes no responsibility for this post being forwarded to you…especially if it came from your wife or mom…

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