Preparing to cook when the power is out

Usually in emergency situations, the power goes out and your refrigerator, freezer, and oven become useless.

Stocking your kitchen with the right ingredients and equipment ensures that you’ll be able to prepare healthy meals even in times of crisis.

Fresh water is number one on the list. Keep a minimum of one gallon of water per person, per day, and an extra stash for pets. “If stored water was bottled at home, we recommend replacing it every 6 months, and if it was commercially bottled, it should be replaced each year,” says  the Red Cross.

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the best beanless chili recipe

“The Real Deal” Beanless Chili & White Corn Tortillas

Traditional Beanless Chili Recipe

So, beans or no beans?  Ask a chili expert from different parts of the country and you will get a strong answer one way or the other.

Ask for beans in you chili in Texas, and you’re likely to get laughed out of the state…it was in San Antonio where many believe chili was born, so maybe they know a thing or two.

I was raised in a kitchen where you served your chili over the top of your pinto beans, but they were cooked separately.

Here’s my favorite…

“The Real Deal” Chili

Yield: 2 servings     Active Time: 30 Min     Total Time:      45 Min

  • 1/4 lb. of ground beef
  • 2 oz. ground turkey
  • 2 oz. pork chorizo
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 yellow/orange bell peppers, cubed
  • 1/3 habanero pepper, finely diced* (optional)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 5 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 small white corn tortillas, warmed in a pan

Combine beef, turkey, and chorizo with cumin, and chili powder, in a large pan and cook over medium heat, crumbling, until done. Drain meat, reserving a small amount of the broth, and set aside.

In the same pan, combine reserved broth with bell peppers, habanero, onion, garlic, and celery. Sauté, stirring, about 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften.


MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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


Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and cooked meat, lower heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cilantro, and serve with warm corn tortillas.

Optional toppings – Thinly sliced jalapeno peppers, dice white or red onion, mung bean sprouts…think “crunchy!”



Sweet & Salty Fudge Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting (the quick version)

I whipped up this dish for the girls the other night. The original recipe calls for making all three elements (brownies, frosting, and chocolate-covered pretzels) from scratch. Unfortunately, it was 7:30pm when I was informed that these “needed” to be made, asap…so we had to cut some corners.
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Introduction to Gluten-Free Recommendations

Folks have asked me, Why do you recommend certain brands and products in the gluten free menus?

Fair question, and one with several answers. First of all, hautemealz.com is all about saving you time, so I’m hoping to eliminate your need to stand in the aisle and read label after label, to determine which brands and products are safe.

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Cabot “50% Less Fat” Jalapeno Light Cheddar Review

Typically, I avoid anything listed at “low fat”, or “reduced fat” like the plague.

I know there are often nutritional reasons to skip these products, but for me it’s basically that they tend to taste like chemical-laden packing material.

I won’t even mention what the bad ones taste like.

So, when the folks from Cabot Creamery, whom I met at last summer’s International Food Bloggers Conference here in Portland, offered to send me some of their new “50% Less Fat” sharp light cheddar and jalapeno light cheddar, I accepted graciously, but honestly wasn’t all that excited about it.

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Perk’s Flying Pig Dip

Best Superbowl dip recipe

Okay, this is neither short on ingredients, nor particularly healthy…but sometimes you just need to make a little extra effort (and jog a few more laps) to have a really special treat.

One of those times, here in Oregon, in for the annual Civil War Game between Oregon State University, and…that other school.

Here’s what I like to make!

-Chef Perry


Perk’s Flying Pig Dip

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 yellow onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
16 ozs cream cheese (softened)
12 oz bacon
2 tsp coarse black pepper
2-3 garlic clove
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 baguettes, warmed

Fry bacon crisp, drain, cool and mince. Dice onion fine. Dice garlic, and chop cilantro.

Brush chicken with olive oil (both sides), and rub with a mix of salt, chili powder, and cumin. Place chicken in a microwave safe dish, along with a couple of tbs of water, onion, and garlic. Cover tightly with saran wrap, and nuke 2 minutes per side (or until no longer pink on either side). Re-cover and let rest in microwave (closed) 5-10 minutes.

NOTE: You can do the chicken in a pan, or grilled, but try it like this the first time…it’s so much more moist and tender this way.

Drain broth from dish and reserve, keeping hot on stove. Chop chicken to desired consistency, and return to dish. Add softened cream cheese, bacon, and pepper. Mix well.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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


[0].[0][2]..[39]” />If it seems too thick, or the cream cheese isn’t soft enough, add a little of the simmering broth (just a tbsp or two at a time) until thoroughly mixed.

Slice baguette, and serve dip warm, sprinkled with cilantro, immediately.

Variations: You can also add either 2 small cans of diced green chilies (for a southwestern dip), or 1/4 cup. of Franks Red Hot sauce (for a buffalo wings) dip.

The latter is great spread on fresh celery stalks, too.


How to make Corn Tortillas at Home

For the Ground Pork Tacos recipe on this week’s hautemealz.com menu plan

Have you ever made your own tortillas at home?

If not, you’re missing out! So easy, and SO much tastier (and cheaper) than the pre-packaged stuff!

Fyi…these instructions will typically be on the Masa Harina (corn flour) bag, as well.


$300k Raised for No Kid Hungry!

Just got this email from our partners at No Kid Hungry…GREAT JOB, HAUTEMEALERZ!

-Chef Perry


Chef Perry-

 On behalf of Romano’s Macaroni Grill we want to send a huge thanks for your support with our No Kid Hungry Campaign. The goal was to raise $100k / 1 million meals with YOUR help as well as activations in-store, on Facebook and Instagram.

 The actual results?  Over $300k raised and 3 Million Meals in just 30 days! In addition to over 100MM impressions through organic earned media and online engagement.

We cannot thank you enough for helping to make this possible.

The campaign was about doing good, and connecting with an inclusive audience — which we achieved, together. The icing on the cake was the amazing feedback from team members, customers, and your readers!


Jennifer DeAngelis


A Delicious Companion To Good Health: Olive Oil

Olive oil is produced by grinding whole olives and extracting the oil by mechanical or chemical means. It is commonly used in cooking throughout the world, but especially in the Mediterranean countries.

The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean basin; wild olives were collected by Neolithic peoples as early as the 8th millennium BC. The wild olive tree originated in Asia Minor in ancient Greece. Many ancient presses still exist in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and some dating to the Roman period are still in use today.

The first recorded oil extraction is known from the Hebrew Bible and took place during the Exodus from Egypt, during the 13th century BC.

During this time, the oil was derived through hand-squeezing the berries and stored in special containers under guard of the priests.

So what’s the difference between olive oil, virgin olive oil, and extra virgin olive oil?

Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries; the percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 45%, Spain 30%). It is used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.

Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has an acidity less than 1.5%, and is judged to have a good taste.

Pure olive oil. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.

Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 2% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.

Olive pomace oil is refined pomace olive oil often blended with some virgin oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. It has a more neutral flavor than pure or virgin olive oil, making it unfashionable among connoisseurs; however, it has the same fat composition as regular olive oil, giving it the same health benefits. It also has a high smoke point, and thus is widely used in restaurants as well as home cooking in some countries.

Good & good for you!

Highly favored as a cooking oil, and for use in a variety of classic dressings, olive oil is also touted in many quarters as a delicious companion to good health. Research on the health benefits of olive oil is impressive, as are the affects of a more Mediterranean-style diet.

Lowers “Bad” Cholesterol

The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published findings that indicate the introduction of olive oil into regular diet has demonstrated a reduction in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). This is significant because once LDL cholesterol has oxidized it often results in artery rigidity and accompanying heart disease.

Olive Oil in Cancer Prevention

In a comparison study at the University Hospital Germans Trias Pujol in Barcelona there seems to be an indication that the health benefits of olive oil may also be useful in the prevention or slowing of cancer cells.

The study provides evidence that a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil prevents colonic carcinogenesis reducing precancerous tissue which resulted in fewer tumors when compared to a controlled sample of rats ingesting foods containing other types of cooking oils.

Researchers at Oxford University in England have seen indications that olive oil may actually be as good for our digestive system as fresh fruit and vegetables in preventing or reducing the incidence of colon cancer.

The reasons behind this phenomena are still being considered, but it is believed that the olive oil may help regulate the bile acid in the stomach while increasing useful enzymes within the stomach that contribute to optimal colon health.

Olive Oil and Heart Health

The American Heart Association has also noted that consumption of olive oil has “clear health benefits”.

Olive Oil and Lower Blood Pressure

By substituting virgin olive oil for other fats within your diet, the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates a substantial reduction in drug dosage requirements for the management of high blood pressure. Initial findings indicate dosage reductions could be as high as 50%.

Additional Findings

Additional health benefits of olive oil may be found in a diet which explores the varied uses of olive oil in both food preparation as well as additional balanced meal choices. Combined, olive oil and appropriate food choice seem to enhance the overall health of those subscribing.

Final Word

While studies remain ongoing, it is encouraging to note that something that has long been noted for good taste may also be a link to positive health benefits and longevity of life. Using more olive oil as a replacement for less healthy fats and oils may be a healthy, and palatable change well worth considering.

BTW…here are a few of our favorite hautemealz.com recipes that incorporate this healthy, delicious, oil… Soba Noodles with Mushrooms & Kale, Grilled Ratatouille, Caprese Tomato Bites, and Easy Goat Cheese Naan.


Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce

gluten free hoisin sauce recipeHoisin sauce is a Chinese dipping sauce. The word hoisin is a romanization of the Chinese word for seafood as pronounced in Cantonese.

(FYI…despite the literal meaning, hoisin sauce does not contain seafood, nor is it typically used with it.)

Commercially made Peking-style hoisin sauce ingredients often include starches such as sweet potato, wheat or rice, and sometimes preservatives or coloring agents.

So…don’t expect the stuff at the store to be gluten free! As is often the case, your best bet is probably to make your own. Here’s our favorite version:

Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce

1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp Srichia (rooster) sauce, to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all this stuff in a bowl with an immersion blender, or by hand, until well combined.

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)