Hey. we’re trying out a brand new “meat free” meal plan this week, and we’d love to share it with you and get your feedback!
Here’s what’s on Chef Terry’s amazing meatless menu this week:
~ Curried Egg Salad Wraps with Spinach and Mushroom Salad ~ Pasta with Mushroom Ragú, and Pear, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad ~ Sautéed Zucchini with Garbanzo Beans ~ Skillet Eggs with Squash ~ Mushroom & Spinach Tart with Asparagus & Zucchini Crudite ~ Gracie’s Scramboli and Cheesy Toast ~ Red Pepper Pizza and Simple Caesar Salad
Mushroom & Spinach Tart
Here are the three serving-sizes from our most popular plan, the “Lighter Side”… just click the link to open the meal plan PDF, then print or save it!
Remember, our custom shopping list allows you to quickly and easily shop for any number of this week’s dinners without having to recalculate and reorganize your whole list…try 3, 5, or even all 7 of this week’s delicious dinners!
Peanut butter and jelly. Soup and salad. Pizza and beer. There are many great pairings in the world of food, but cheese and wine might be the greatest of them all. Check out this infographic from Cabot Creamery Cooperative and see what cheeses perfectly compliment your favorite wines. Trust us, your tastebuds will thank you.
Also be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get other delicious meal ideas and food pairing tips straight to your inbox!
What a great class this week! We took the youth to the local Fred Meyer (They’ve been amazingly generous with our program, so we like to reciprocate whenever possible!) and cruised the aisles talking about how to shop, fresh vs. not fresh, checking labels, how to stretch your budget and still eat real food, etc.
Then, to REALLY get them out of the box, we gathered up all of the ingredients for braised Brussels sprouts with Bacon (recipe below), and then went back to the kitchen to learn how to cook these always popular (ha ha) little cabbages!
THEY LOVED ‘EM! (Even Mark, our fearless leader from Impact NW who was…dubious, to say the least! LOL)
Next class is the appreciation dinner, where the kids will prep, cook, and serve a 5-course gourmet dinner for the Impact NW staff, their own foster parents, and other VIPs!
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Shallots1½ lbs. Brussels sprouts
½ lb smoked bacon
1/4 cup shallots, diced
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp butter
Kosher salt to tasteTrim the stems off the Brussels sprouts, then slice a small “X” in the stem end, about 1/2 inch deep.Dice the bacon and add to a cold sauté pan along with the diced shallots.
Heat slowly over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the fat starts to render and the meat turns golden brown and crispy but not burnt.Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté over medium-high heat for a few minutes, or until they’re slightly browned.
This caramelization will add a lot of flavor to the recipe.Add the stock, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half (5 to 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Stir in the butter, season with Kosher salt and serve right away!
By 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.
Now, in all fairness these aren’t “real” Mexican-style tacos (which I love with all of my chubby little heart) but a “next level” upgrade to the weekly suburbanite special that I grew up on. Pretty darn tasty, too!
The big deal about this recipe is that it doesn’t include “taco seasoning” which, in my opinion, just makes everything taste like…well…taco seasoning. If I wanted that, I’d “make a run for the border.”
If I go to the trouble of buying good, fresh meat, I want to taste meat!
5 More Terrific Taco Tips:
Always warm crispy taco shells (or tortilla chips) in a 250F oven for 5-10 minutes. Warming them releases the natural oils, making them crispier and tastier.
To jack the flavor up even more, skip the lettuce and cilantro, and buy a bag of “Fiesta” or “Southwestern” salad blend. Mix it up according to directions, and use it as you would plain lettuce in your tacos.
If you haven’t tried “Crema” (Mexican sour cream) you should, it’s bolder and more tangy than the regular stuff.
Like the taco shells, four or corn tortillas are MUCH better when warmed. Heat them in the dry pan, over medium heat until they just start to brown on the bottom. Flip and repeat. When the tortilla starts to puff up, remove and place inside a folded towel. If cooking in advance, or in large numbers, wrap 10-12 of the warmed tortillas in foil, and place in a 150F oven to stay warm.
Lastly (and this is my favorite) I always mix beef and pork 50/50. Pork has tons of flavor, but is very dry on it’s own. Beef adds a richness, and the necessary fat. Together…amazing! This goes for meatballs, and meatloaf, as well!
I like these best the old-fashioned way: crispy taco shell, sour cream, shredded mexi-cheese, chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes and avocado. My wife and daughter prefect flour “soft” tacos, and once in a while I get a hankerin’ for some fresh corn tortillas from the local Hispanic market.
-Chef Perry SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com
Best “Gringo” Taco Meat Ever!
1 white onion, diced 1 Tbs. olive oil 1/2 cup hot water 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef 1 lb. ground pork 1 Tbs. ground cumin 1 Tbs. seasoned salt (to taste) 2 tsp. ground black pepper
Mise en Place:
Dice onions, heat water, combine all spices.
Prepare the Dish:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until just starting to brown, add hot water and simmer until all the water had cooked away (about 10 minutes).
By 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 the ground beef and ground pork, in chunks, cooking until it begins to brown. Using a spatula, or flat-edge wooden spoon, begin chopping the meat. Add the spices, and continue chopping until the meat is evenly browned and broken in to pieces no larger than 1/2 inch round.
Stir, cover skillet, and remove from heat. Allow to rest 5 minutes, stir, and rest another 5 minutes.
Great for soft tacos, crispy tacos, burrito or enchilada filling, nachos, and taco salad!
PS – Of you’ve never had a “real” Mexico-style taco. Turn off your computer, right now and run (don’t walk) to your nearest taco truck. Typically, what you’ll find are two layers of warm corn tortillas, slow cooked or grilled meat (chopped or shredded), diced white onions, cilantro, and the eaters choice of any number of delicious spicy hot sauces!
If God made anything better…He kept it for Himself!
Hautemealz is doing its part to eliminate hunger — one kitchen at a time
As far as Perry Perkins can tell, he’s good at one thing — he can put together a delicious meal. With skills developed from years providing what he calls “free labor” in his grandfather’s and father’s restaurants, the now seasoned chef always knew he’d end up in the food industry one way or another.
While his years working in the family business gave him the culinary skills necessary to pursue a food career, they also showed him that working in a restaurant simply wasn’t his forte. For the Tualatin-based co-owner and executive chef of Hautemealz.com, there is no satisfaction in the high-volume, fast-turnout, faceless customer businesses that he experienced in his family’s restaurants. He wanted something more personal, and he wanted to repay all the help that was given to him growing up.
“I had a lot of people help me over the course of my life. I was just some kid that they didn’t have any responsibility to help, and they did,” Perkins said. “I feel like I need to give that back, and the best way I can do that is with the one thing I’m actually pretty good at, which is cooking.”
One take at this is through the Hautemealz program SimplySmartDinnerPlans, which Perkins started last year with two other chefs, Chris Renner and Terry Ramsey. The idea is to ease the stress and simplify the process of planning healthy meals for users and their families. The Hautemealz chefs put together recipes and grocery lists that families can then choose from and shop for. Perkins thinks the hard part about cooking is simply knowing where to start, and SimplySmartDinnerPlans eliminates that problem.
In January, this idea was spread into the charity realm through My Kitchen. By partnering with Impact Northwest, the same pillars used for Hautemealz were tweaked for the program, which teaches Oregon foster children, ages 16-18, how to cook for themselves. It’s set up to help those who are living on their own for the first time, and thus aren’t likely to have learned the skills necessary to consistently prepare meals.
“It’s mainly about home cooking. Taking care of yourself, taking care of your family, that kind of idea,” said Perkins. “They enjoy realizing that they can do stuff for themselves. They get a lot of stuff handed to them. Not only do we not do that for them, we make it clear that we expect them to create something of their own.”
Perkins’ philosophy very much follows the idea that you can feed people for years, but eventually they’re going to have to fend for themselves. His goal is to give people the tools they need to create healthy, delicious meals without stressing over how to make it happen.
“I don’t go hungry, and I don’t like seeing people go hungry. I can’t say anything about it if I’m not doing something about it,” said Perkins. “I just enjoy feeding people. I think there’s a communal aspect about it that goes back to the dawn of time.”
For the trip, Perkins is trying to raise $15,000. Two-thirds of that will be used for travel expenses and to buy the food for the classes and dinners . The remaining $5,000 he plans to give to the kitchen to finish construction and to help them continue carrying out the lessons they learned.
Okay, I teased you a couple of weeks back with a four-night trip for two to New Orleans, airfare, rental car, posh hotel, and dinner for two at a couple of high-end restaurants, including Emerils!
So, here’s the deal…as an advertiser on AM 860 KPAM Radio, we are participating in their current Eliminator Radio Game…win $86 just for being the eighth caller, and be entered for a chance to win one of 44 possible prize packages, including our trip to New Orleans!
Listen to AM 860 KPAM Radio from Monday, June 2nd to Friday, June 20th between the hours of 5am and 6pm for your “Cue to Call”.
CALL 503-225-0860. Once you are chosen to go on-the-air, you will be asked to take one prize off “The Eliminator” Board.
JUST DON’T ELIMINATE SIMPLYSMARTDINNERPLANS!
Being chosen to come on-air will result in you winning $86 cash and qualifying for the “Grand Prize” party on June 26th, where you’ll have a 1 in 44 chance of randomly winning the final prize on “The Eliminator” board.
If we’re the last prize standing, and your name get’s drawn from the 44 callers, not only do you get the $86, but you win the four-night trip for two to New Orleans!
If you do happen to win the prize package, AND you’ve been a SimplySmartDinnerPlans member with a sign up date prior to the winner notification…Chef Terry, Chef Chris, and myself will personally come to your home and prepare a 10-course “Creole Tasting Dinner” for you and up to a dozen of your closest friends…for FREE, just to give you a little taste of what’s to come!