Oil & Vinegar Portland & Chili Chutney Wings

Chef Chris and I have found a new favorite hang-out that we wanted to share. There’s a small oil & vinegar shop tucked away in the Clackamas Town Center, that has everything our foodie hearts could have desire, and more…

Oil & Vinegar is a culinary importer that brings together a wide range of international food and cooking products.

The shop has a distinct Mediterranean flair, and the shelves are stuffed with a cornucopia of imported delights.

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Braciole (Italian beef steak roll) Ninja Style!

Here’s one of my all time favorite recipes from our free weekly meal plans!

The flavors that are created by the slow simmering of beef, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce are just amazing. In fact, this exact same recipe makes my favorite pasta sauce, as well. Simply keep the slow cooker going another two hours, and then shred the braciole directly into the sauce and serve with your favorite pasta!

Oh, and if you’re one of the lucky folks who own a Ninja Cooking System, this entire recipe can be prepared in it! You’ll note that’s what I did, but I wrote the instructions for folks using a skillet and slow cooker.

Buon appetito!

Chef Perry

Braciole (Italian steak roll) with Caprese SaladBraciole (Italian steak roll) with Caprese Salad

Yield: 4 servings             
Active Time: 20 min.      
Total Time: 8 hr. 20 min.

  • 1 lb. beef round steak
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasonings*
  • 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 3 tbsp. parmigiano reggiano
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. rigatoni noodles
  • 1 cup low sodium tomato sauce

Special equipment: Butcher’s string

*I recommend Misculgio Italian Blend from Oil & Vinegar, see this post.

Mise en Place:

Thinly slice the garlic. Chop parsley. Chop the onion. Grate the Parmesan cheese.

Night Before or in the Morning:

Place the round steak between two sheets of plastic wrap (or inside a gallon zip-lock) and using a wooden mallet or rolling pin pound it until it’s about half as thin as it started out.

Braciole Italian beef roll recipe

Place the garlic slices evenly on the steak and using the mallet again, pound the garlic into the meat. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap onto your working surface and place the steak on it. Season with salt and pepper and add the Italian seasonings, parsley, onion and parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Roll up the steak like a jelly-roll, and tie it with a piece of cooking or butcher’s string at 4 to 5 places so that it stays rolled during cooking. If prepping in advance, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

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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.


In the Morning:

Meanwhile, spread the tomato sauce over the bottom of your slow cooker and warm on low.

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

Braciole Italian beef roll recipe Ninja Cooker

Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Sear the beef until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, then transfer to the warm sauce in the slow cooker. Roll the braciole a couple of times to cover the meat with sauce. Cook until the meat is very tender, 6 to 8 hours. Remove string/toothpicks before slicing.

Cook pasta according to package instructions and serve topped with 4 oz. of meat, per person, and sauce.

Caprese Salad (3b)

Yield: 2 servings              Active Time: 10 min.       Total Time: 10 min.

  • 2 vine-ripe tomatoes
  • 2 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • 15 leaves basil
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt & black pepper

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 –inch thick slices.  Layer, alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter

Drizzle the salad with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Highway Robbery! (Or…how to make your own breadcrumbs this year.)

I may have actually said a bad word at the grocery store today. I couldn’t help it…I was so shocked, it just slipped out, when I saw this…

Four and a half bucks for 13 OUNCES of breadcrumbs…BREADCRUMBS!

Breadcrumbs are dried bread, people! It takes roughly a loaf of fresh bread to make 13oz of the dry stuff. And that’s a loaf of cheap white or “wheat” bread…you know, like this:

That’s right, people are paying and extra $3.50 a bag to avoid the inconvenience of tossin’ slices of bread into a warm oven for a few minutes!

Have we completely lost our freakin’ minds???

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat you oven to 300. Lay you bread in a single layer on on your oven racks (remove from oven before pre-heating). Bake 10-15 minutes just just browned. You don’t want them dark, just get some of the moisture out of ’em.
  2. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  3. If you like the little squares, dice each slice in a 1-inch grid…but it’s not really necessary, you can just tear it into chunks. (Oh, and if you’re using these for a coating, instead of making stuffing, just toss the chunks into your food processor and give ’em a pulse.)
  4. Store bread crumbs in an airtight container or food storage bag for up to two weeks at room temperature or 2 months in the freezer.

Congratulations, all that sweat and toil just paid off…you have breadcrumbs!

Seriously though, you can have a lot of fun with making your own. Try stuffing a mustard-coated pork loin with a dressing made with dark Russian rye bread sometime…it’s lovely. My wife likes me to use a nice 12-18 grain whole-wheat bread for stuffing hens (can you imagine what these bozos would charge for THOSE breadcrumbs?)

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week.)

Oh, and if you’re concerned about not having that overly-saged “spice packet”, toss this mixture for each loaf’s worth of finished breadcrumbs.

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Just think, with the money you saved on stuffing…you can make another pumpkin pie! Woo-Hoo!

Have a great Thanksgiving folks!

-Chef Perry


10 Thanksgiving Survival Tips

What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.

I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? – Erma Bombeck


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but it’s no secret that (especially for us foodies) it can bring with it a lot of kitchen chaos and performance anxiety. So many dishes, so many people, and so many “cherished family traditions” that must be upheld it’s would be well-nigh impossible to make it through the day without at least SOME drama.

So, if we can’t avoid the chaos, let’s at least try to get a rope on it, huh?

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Quick & Easy Meatball Pho

Quick and Easy Pork Meatball Pho

Easy Meatball Pho

The pho recipe from this week’s menu was so good, I just have to share it with everyone.

Man, I love pho…if God made anything better than this, He kept it for Himself…

-Chef Perry

Pork Meatball Pho

Pho (fuhh) is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (phở bò) or chicken (phở gà). 

A popular street and night food, pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam.

With the Vietnam war and the victory of the North Vietnamese, phở was brought to many countries by Vietnamese refugees fleeing Vietnam from the 1970s onwards. Pho is listed at number 28 on “World’s 50 most delicious foods” compiled by CNN Go in 2011.

This is one of my favorite dishes in the world, and it’s really good for you!


Yield: 2 servings        Active Time: 5 min.   Total Time: 28 min.

Pork Meatballs

  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 3 sprigs Thai basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. each: sea salt & black pepper


  • 10 sprigs cilantro
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 whole star anise pods
  • 1/2 med. yellow onion
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce
  • 4 oz. rice noodles

Pho “Salad”

  • 1 cup bean sprouts (mung beans)
  • 4 sprigs Thai basil
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 lime

Mise en Place

Finely chop Thai basil. Mince garlic. Chop cilantro. Thinly slice yellow and green onions. Quarter lime.


Add beef broth, ginger and yellow onion to a large pot. Add fish sauce, star anise, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, combine the ground pork, Thai basil, garlic and salt & black pepper. Roll the meat mixture into 1 inch balls and set aside.

When the soup comes to a low simmer, drop the meatballs into the simmering soup. Simmer the meatballs gently (without boiling) for about 20 minutes. For a traditional presentation, remove the meatballs from the broth, allow to cook, slice, and return to broth. This step is optional.

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.


Place your rice noodles into a bowl and add boiling water. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes (depending on how thick your noodles are). Test for doneness.

Drain and rinse with cold water when done. Set aside.

Add some noodles to a bowl. Spoon the meatballs and broth over the noodles. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve hot and top soup with Pho Salad just before eating.

Optional toppings: jalapeno, sriracha hot pepper sauce, & hoisin sauce.



“From Frazzled to Freedom” author shares six tips for organizing your pantry

Let me preface this post with an admission…I am a clutterer. (Hi…I’m Perry…)

While my on-again-off-again O.C.D. nature can keep my kitchen organized to near-military precision, everything else in my life often bears an uncanny resemblance to the living room in Sanford and Son.

That’s one reason I picked up a copy of Julie Starr Hook’s “From Frazzled to Freedom” at a recent trade show. I need help, and I can admit it.

This is, of course, not my first book on the subject of getting organized, but what I like about this one (enough to finish reading it, even) is that it’s not another self-righteous tome full of high-road theory (like “never touch the same piece of mail twice”…if I could do THAT, I wouldn’t need a book on getting organized, now would I???)

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Hautemealz University

Okay, so we’ve always said that hautemealz.com is ideal for busy folks who don’t have time to plan and organize healthy dinners each night of the week.

But…what about folks who just want to learn how to cook nutritious, delicious meals, but don’t want to commit the time and budget to culinary school, or out-of-the-home cooking classes.

Is hautemealz.com a menu plan, or an ongoing cooking class?

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What is “Mise en place?”

Professional chefs use a system referred to as “mise en place” (meez n plaas) – or everything in place – getting their ingredients and tools organized and ready ahead of cooking time.

This means setting up your kitchen so that everything is within reach. The area where you do most of your prepping should have easy access to knives and measuring cups so that you’re not digging around for the stuff you need.

This means having wooden spoons near your stove, where you’ll use them, instead of across the kitchen in a drawer; cutting board next to sink and disposal, knives near cutting board.

Also, prep your food, open any cans, pre-measure dry ingredients into small bowls (a bio-degradable paper cup, kept in with the sugar, flour, salt, rice, etc…works great and saves on clean-up too!)

With a proper mise en place, you should never have to stray for than a step or two from your cooking “station.”

Trust me, this is a HUGE time saver!

So…how do you organize your mise en place?

Chef Perry


Gluten Free Tip: Cross Contamination

If not everyone in your home is gluten free it can be easy to cross contaminate when using a butter knife to spread mayonnaise, mustard and other spread type foods and condiments.

Squeeze bottles are a great way to avoid this and an expensive solution to buying the “squeezable” versions off the grocery store shelf,  is to buy squeeze bottles from a dollar store, or online, and pour your own stuff in them.

Eat great, eat safe!

Chef Maryse

Gluten-free specialist Maryse L. Blake, CHC, is also the healthy lifestyle blogger of The Healthy Momma is a certified holistic health coach. Diagnosed with Celiac disease over 5 years ago, she thrives to simplify the process of eating gluten free without sacrificing taste or nutrition.