01/15/18

Fire Camp Recipes: Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Eagle Creek Fire Animal ShelterIn September of 2017, the MY KITCHEN Crew, along with many amazing helpers, spent two week in Stevenson, WA, cooking and serving meals to the shelter volunteers, evacuees, and firefighters at the emergency shelter there.

The shelter had been set up to temporarily house families, pets, and livestock from the Eagle Creek fires in the Columbia Gorge. 

Many of these folks wouldn’t have left the danger zones without their animals (I wouldn’t have), and thanks to an amazing group of local volunteers, they were able to bring them here.

A dozen or so shelter volunteers fed, calmed, and cared for several hundred animals (more, if you count all the chickens, lol) and it was hard work. A LOT of hard work, and someone needed to feed these folks.

We were lucky enough to be the ones they called.

Eagle Creek Fire Shelter

We cooked three meals a day, and covered a lot of my favorite dishes, as well as some new ones. This is the first of those “fire camp” recipes, that I’m posting. Many more will follow.

Cooking for the Eagle Creek Fires

MamaGinny…therapist, babysitter, fixer, force of nature…we couldn’t have done it without her!

Our time in Stevenson was invigorating, exhausting, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes heart-breaking, but I’m so thankful that we had the opportunity to serve some hot food, and put smiles on the faces of some very frightened and worried folks.

Eagle Creek Fire Evacuee Camp

The bosses (and the real heroes of the Eagle Creek Fire Animal Shelter) Pam Seaman & Jean Foster!

We developed some great relationships, and new friendships during our time at firecamp, and many of those new friends are working with us at the MY KITCHEN Outreach classes that we’ve been teaching to the kids in Carson, WA.

An opportunity that arose from meeting the amazing Karen Douglass, another shelter volunteer, who also happens to be Superintendent of the Stevenson-Carson School District!

This one is one of my favorite dishes, regardless of where I’m cooking it. I have other recipes for these enchiladas, but this is the exact version I made at camp, with the donated ingredients we had available.

Enjoy!

~Chef Perry

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or two rotisserie chickens, shredded)
  • garlic salt to taste
  • 12 large corn tortillas
  • 1 (28 ounce) can green chili enchilada sauce
  • 1 (36 ounce) package shredded “Mexican blend” cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) container Mexican sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

chopped chicken breast

Season chicken with garlic salt. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Cool, chop, and set aside.

charring tortillas

With metal tongs, char each tortilla over the open flame of a gas stove burner for about 1 minute, until lightly puffed, but still flexible.

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Spread a little of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. Fill each tortilla with 1/2 cup of chicken, 2 Tbs of cheese, 2 Tbs of sour cream, and 2 Tbs enchilada sauce.

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Roll, and  arrange 6 tortillas in a single layer. Top with 1/2 the remaining chicken, 1/2 the cheese, and 1/2 of the sour cream, and 1/3 of the remaining enchilada sauce.

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Repeat, coating the remaining enchiladas (2nd layer) thoroughly with remaining enchilada sauce, and cheese.

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Cover, and bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool slightly before serving.

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

This recipes is also AMAZING using grilled chicken thighs! Follow this recipe (but skip the sauce):


01/9/18

Chef Perry’s Bacon Salmon Chowder

This recipe is an old favorite, my own riff on my Dad’s signature clam chowder, using our fresh Pacific Northwest Salmon.

Bacon Salmon Chowder

BACON SALMON CHOWDER

Ingredients:

STOCK
2 lbs. salmon spine, head, and tail
1 gallon fresh water
1/4 cup fine sea salt
2 Bay leaves
4 cups (total) chopped carrots, shallots, & celery (optional)

CHOWDER
2lbs (2) fresh salmon steaks, cut 4in thick
2 extra-large russet potatoes
1/4 cup sweet cream butter
4 cups chopped carrots, sweet onions, & celery
1lb thick bacon (cooked and chopped)
Fine sea salt
1/4 cup AP flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 Tbs. coarse black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. Mexican chili powder

TOPPINGS
1 (8oz) bag large Garlic-Butter Croutons
Coarse black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley, chopped

FOR THE STOCK:

Bring a gallon of water to a low simmer, in a large stock pot. Add about a Tbs. of sea salt, then the salmon head, spine, and tail.

Simmer, uncovered, for 4-6 hours. You can do this in the morning, or even the day before.

(I like to add some carrots, celery, and shallots, if I’m making more stock than I need for this recipe.)

Once the stock has cooked, scoop out the big pieces with a slotted spoon, discard, and then strain the solids. Then do a second straining, through cheesecloth, to get a clean stock.

Once your stock is strained, wipe the pot clean, set in on a back burner over low heat, and return the stock to it. Keep it warm.

FOR THE CHOWDER:

Peel russet potatoes, and slice them into large cubes, set aside in a bowl, covered in cold water.

Melt butter in a large frying pan, and sauté the chopped celery and onions, over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. You just want them with a little caramelization on the outsides, but still crunchy.

Add the cooked, chopped bacon, and stir it in with the veggies. Let this cook a few more minutes, until the bacon has rendered and is heated through. Remove the bacon and veggies from the pan, reserving as much of the butter and bacon drippings as possible.

Once all of the solids are moved from the pan, raise the heat to medium-high. You can add a little oil here, if needed.

Season both sides of the salmon steaks with fine sea salt.

Fry the salmon until it’s nicely browned, then flip and do the same to the other side. The salmon is still basically raw at this point, but it’ll finish cooking in the stock. This browning is what really adds the flavor to your chowder.

While your browning the salmon, it’s a good time to start heating up the stock, on medium heat. Add the potatoes, then bring the stock to a high simmer.

When the salmon has brown on both sides, move it to the stock pot, on top of the potatoes, and reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Add some butter to the frying pan, if needed, to reach about 1/4 cup of fat in the pan.

Add 1/4 of flour to the fat in the frying pan. Mix and keep it moving until your roux becomes golden brown, and starts to smell nutty.

Once your roux in golden (which means the flour has been cooked), it’s time to start adding the salmon stock, a half a cup at a time. At first, your roux is going to sizzle and seize up into a paste. DON’T PANIC! This is what it’s supposed to do.

Keep adding hot stock, and stirring until smooth, then adding more stock, etc., etc., until you reach the consistency of a thin gravy. Somewhere along here, you’ll want to trade in you spoon for a whisk. Keep whisking, until it’s smooth, with a silky looking finish.

Remove the potatoes and salmon from the stock, and add in your thinned roux, whisking until smooth.

Set the stockpot aside, on low heat, UNCOVERED.

Break the salmon steaks into large chunks. You can go smaller, or even shred it, if you prefer, but I like it like this. Set aside.

Add two cups of WARMED whole milk to the broth, and whisk it in.

Next, add in the salmon chunks. Carefully add the cooked potatoes, celery, onions, and bacon into the pot, and stir gently, just enough to combine everything.

After tasting our chowder, add a little more sea salt, if needed.

Add black pepper, to taste, and then the Mexican Chili Powder. (If you can’t find the Mexican kind, regular chili powder works, too.) Stir those lovely seasonings into your chowder!

Allow the chowder to rest for about a half an hour, to let the flavors, and then portion it into bowls for serving.

Add some garlic butter croutons on top, then a sprinkle of coarse black pepper (to taste). Finally add a sprinkle of Italian parsley, to give the dish a little color.

And there you have it! Chef Perry’s soon to be famous (hopefully!) Bacon Salmon Chowder.

Guaranteed to warm all the down to those frozen toes!

Serve immediately.

For more delicious, simple, and (mostly) healthy Home Chef recipes, tips, and kitchen tricks, pick up my latest “next level” cookbook, “BACON!: A Home Chef’s Guide” at www.perryperkinsbooks.com

And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you don’t miss a dish!

Let’s Cook!

~Chef Perry

04/17/17

Bacon & Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Bacon Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Here’s a sneak-peek from the upcoming Home Chef Guidebook: “Bacon!” Let’s face it, as comfort foods go, scalloped potatoes are pretty hard to beat, and this version is completely over the top!

Creamy, cheesy goodness with a umami blast of bacon…these potatoes are my happy place!

~ Chef Perry

Bacon & Four-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, unpeeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup sweet cream butter (for cheese sauce)
  • 1/4 cup AP Flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded raclette or comte cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 oz Thick bacon lardons, fried crisp and drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Generously brush a large baking dish with butter. Combine the mozzarella, asiago and raclette in a bowl (but NOT the Parmesan).

Cut bacon into lardons.

Bacon Lardons

Fry until crisp, drain on paper towels, and set aside.

Fried Bacon Lardons

For the Roux: In 2-quart saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper (this is a roux). Cook the roux, stirring constantly, until smooth and golden brown; remove from heat. Stir in milk a little at a time, repeat with heavy cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

You now have a Béchamel, one of the 5 French “Mother Sauces” and the backbone of cheese sauces.

Remove the white sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese blend, 1/2 a cup at a time, until smooth. Keep warm.

Sliced Yellow Potatoes

Slice the potatoes skin on (optional). I like mine a little thicker, but you can slice them thinner than this, according to your preference. Blanch the potato slices in simmering, salted, water until just starting to soften. Shock in cold water to stop cooking.

Sliced potatoes in dish

To the baking dish, add half of the potatoes, spreading them out. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, half of the cut-up butter, half of the bacon lardons, half of the cheese sauce, and pepper to taste. Arrange the remaining potatoes and bacon on top. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour the remaining bacon, then cheese sauce over the potatoes, then add the nutmeg. Dot the potatoes with the remaining cut-up butter.

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.

 Sprinkle the potatoes with the Parmesan.

Bacon Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Bacon A Home Chef's GuideThe Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen” was your overview of the basic concepts and tips for taking your cooking to the next level, but let’s face it, you can only fit so much information into one book!

Each Home Chef Guidebook delves more deeply into the professional quality recipes and techniques of specific cooking styles and cuisines.

This one is all about BACON.

amazon

04/7/17

Chicken Georgia with Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

 

DSC_6843

This is one of my favorite comfort-food dishes.  Creamy, umami, and enough veggies to keep the guilt away. I’m not, typically, a big fan of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts…but this is the kind of recipe that’s the exception to the rule!

Enjoy,

Chef Perry

Chicken Georgia with Garlic Mashed Cauliflower & Green Salad

Chicken Georgia (4a)
Active Time: 5 min.                                                   Total Time: 35 min.


  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
  • 4 tsp. butter
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 pinch ea. salt & black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced shallots
  • 4 tsp. flour
  • 2 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pre-bagged salad

Toss the salad with dressing, and set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon.

Dust chicken with flour and add to the pan. Cook 10 minutes on each side, or until tender. Transfer chicken to platter and sprinkle with grated cheese. Return the veggie mixture to the pan with drippings, add a teaspoon or two of hot water, and whisk to create your pan sauce.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving or just until the cheese has melted, top with mushroom sauce.

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.

 

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower (4b)
Active Time: 15 min.                                                     Total Time: 21 min.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 3 tsp. cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 dash ea. salt & black pepper
  • 3 tsp. butter

Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces.

Place rinsed cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl. No additional water is needed! Cover the bowl with microwave safe plastic wrap, leaving one corner open to vent. Microwave on high for four minutes.

In a food processor (or with a good old fashioned potato masher), puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper until almost smooth.

Serve hot with pats of butter (opt.)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

IMG_3999Check out many more recipe, and next level techniques in my new book, “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen!”

Part syllabus, part autobiography, part call-to-arms, The Home Chef is about the rapidly evolving landscape of cooking in America, and how to cook real food, the best food possible, in your own kitchen, and more importantly…why you should.

Filled with insider tips and tricks from the professional kitchen, hundreds of links and resources to (free) professional level education, and easy to follow instructions from a professional cooking instructor…

Everything you need, and nothing you don’t, to take your own culinary creations to the next level, while saving time, money, and waste doing so.

The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen is culinary school for the home cook.

03/16/17

Chef Perry’s Perfect Pot-Roast

Perfect Pot Roast

I’m all about the comfort food and, let’s face it…it doesn’t get much more comforting that a rich, beefy, unctuous beef pot roast.

Now, you can train a monkey to flop a hunk of cow in a crockpot and douse with with French onion soup mix, but for a next-level roast, prepared with a refined French-style layering of flavors you need to do a little more work, a little more attention to detail…a little more love.

Little things like using two steaks instead of a single, thicker roast, allow a better marriage of beef and veggie flavors. Roasting your mushrooms, and sauteing the shallots and garlic allow them to maintain their own distinct flavors, a little acid cuts the rich fattiness of the meat, and cooking your ingredients at varying times allows for a consistent texture, nothing too tough and nothing too mushy. Perfection isn’t easy, but it’s so, so worth it.

And, let’s face it…a cow died for your dinner, you owe him that.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

Chef P’s Pot Roast

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tsp bacon drippings
2 boneless chuck roast steaks, trimmed (3-pounds total)
2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp porcini mushroom powder
2 cups coarsely chopped shallots
8 garlic cloves
3 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups peeled baby carrots
12 oz white mushrooms, halved and roasted
2 pounds russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut in half
1/4 cup soft butter + 1/4 cup flour
Sea salt to taste
Fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Roast your mushrooms and set aside.

Heat olive oil and bacon drippings in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt, pepper, and porcini powder, dredge in flour.

Perfect Pot Roast recipe
Add shallots and garlic cloves to the skillet; sauté 8 minutes or well browned and crusted, remove solids, and set aside. Add steaks to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on both sides. Remove meat from pan.

Perfect Pot Roast recipe
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.

Return one browned steak to slow cooker. Layer onions and garlic, then cut potatoes over the top. Dust with more mushroom powder, and top with second steak.

IMG_4711 (1024x768)

IMG_4714 (1024x768)

IMG_4715 (1024x768)

Add beef broth, vinegar, Worcestershire, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Perfect Pot Roast recipe
Carefully remove potatoes and set aside. Add the carrots and roasted mushrooms. Cover and cook 2 more hours. Remove bay leaf from cooker, discard.

Defatting beef stock
Pour off juice and defat, heat the resulting broth in a medium saucepan to simmer. Combine flour and butter to make a smooth paste.

Thickening with butter and flour

Whisk the mixture vigorously into the simmering broth until thickened. Taste for seasonings, adding salt and pepper, vinegar or Worcestershire sauce as desired.

adding butter to stock

IMG_4733 (1024x768)

Shred meat with 2 forks, return to slow-cooker along with broth and all veggies. Stir and allow to warm through. Garnish with cilantro leaves, sprinkle with coarse black pepper, smoked paprika, and serve with hot dinner rolls.

BTW, like most roasted meals, this dish impoves with age. It’s better the next day, it’s divine on day three.

Perfect Pot Roast

01/9/17

My Favorite Tomato Soup Hacks

Tomato Soup with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Growing up with a “kitchen-challenged” mom, ice storms meant Campbell’s tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches…

…and it still does!

Nowadays I like to do a few things to bring my soup up to the next level:

2 cans Tomato Soup
1 “can” 1/2 & 1/2
1 can “fire roasted” Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded fine (or mozzarella pearls for a caprese thing)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

Over medium heat, slowly whisk milk into he condensed soup. Stir in the tomatoes and basil.

Bring all to a simmer, stir in cheese, and stir until melted.

American and Smoked Gruyère Grilled Cheese with Tomato n Dill Rye breadServe with a great grilled cheese sandwich (I like American and Smoked Gruyere with Tomato on Dill Rye bread).

What’s your favorite “Icy Weather” dinner, and does it hold a special memory?

Keep Warm!

Chef Perry
joinmykitchen.com

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.

 

01/4/17
IMG_4027 (1024x1024)

Patatas y Huevos Tacos and a Second-Hand Christmas

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

In the winter of 1975, my parents divorced. My mother had a chronic heart condition that made it impossible for her to work and the two of us couldn’t quite make ends meet that first year on our own.

In previous years, Christmas had been a grand event in our home. Money had always been scarce, but my parents scrimped and saved for the holidays.

My first memories are of bright lights, rich smells and a pile of gifts with my name on them. That year, however, would be different. My mother received a meager social security check each month that almost, but not quite, covered the bare essentials, with nothing left for the luxuries of Christmas.

I remember that most of our meals consisted of potatoes and the big blocks of American cheese that the government passed out at the Social Security office.

My mother, alone for the first time in her life, found it difficult to put aside her own hurts and fears and participate in the holidays. I do remember that we had a small tree and brought a box of decorations down from the closet shelf, but there wasn’t much joy in our home that year.

One thing that did worry my mother was that there was no money for gifts. She fretted over this for weeks but the funds just were not there for presents. One day, a neighbor told her about a local toy charity, an organization dedicated to providing donated presents for children in need. My mother applied for the program and visited their office, bringing home a small box of gifts, which she wrapped and hid under her bed.

The night before Christmas, we ate our baked potatoes, and Mom read to me from a book of children’s Christmas stories.

Just before bedtime, there was a knock at the door, and my mother answered to find a young woman who had just moved in next door to us. She was Hispanic, speaking very broken English, and had twin sons who were my own age. She was also divorced and was in as bad, or worse, financial straits as we were. She came to the door asking to borrow some flour and looked so exhausted that Mother invited her in and made her a cup of coffee. I was hustled off to bed (lest I still be up when Santa made his appearance) and they stayed up and talked awhile.

I remember my mother coming into my room and gently waking me up, then sitting on the side of my bed and asking me if I minded if we had company for Christmas. I said no, unused to have my opinion asked in such matters. Then she took my hand and asked if it would be all right with me if Santa gave some of my presents to the two little boys next door. I thought about this for a while, wondering why Santa couldn’t bring them their own presents, but somehow my young brain sensed that it would make mother happy, and she hadn’t seemed happy in a long while, so I hesitantly agreed.

Mother kissed my forehead, and I went back to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to the most wonderful smell wafting under my  bedroom door. Hunger banished even the memory of Christmas from my mind, and I ran from my room to the kitchen to find the source of that glorious aroma.

I skidded to a stop as I rounded the corner into a strange dark-faced woman standing at my mother’s stove. She was rolling out tortillas and dropping them into a smoking pan, while our cast-iron skillet sizzled noisily on the back burner.

I blinked one or twice in confusion, until my mother walked in, then remembered that we had company, and even more importantly, that today was Christmas! I spun on my heels and ran into the living room to look under the tree. Two little Mexican boys sat, looking uncertainly around them, on our couch. Several small wrapped packages lay beneath the tree.

Mom followed me in and began to pass out presents, there were just enough for one gift each. I gazed longingly at the brightly wrapped packages in these stranger’s hands, knowing they should have been mine, clutching my solitary present tightly to my chest.

I unwrapped the box to find a GI Joe action figure, the old fashioned kind with the moving knees and elbows, the kind that came with a little rifle and a little backpack and a string that you pulled to make them say cool army things. Except mine didn’t have a rifle, or a backpack, and there was only a hole in the back where the string had once gone. I stood there in the middle of the living room, my lip trembling, clutching my broken toy.

I looked to see what the other boys had gotten, what gifts I had missed out on. One package revealed a cap pistol (without caps) and a worn plastic holster (I had a much nicer set in the toy box in my room), the second box revealed a plastic bag full of Legos, in various shapes and sizes. I stood there and watched these two boys whooping and laughing like these were the only toys they had, turning their meager gifts over and over in awe, and suddenly I realized, that these were the only toys they had.

Soon I would learn that these two, who would become my closest pals, each had exactly two shirts, two pairs of pants, and a worn sleeping bag that they shared on the floor of their room.

As I watched my mother talking to this strange woman in our kitchen, tears running down their cheeks, I was suddenly happy that she had woken me up, and that Santa had shared my presents with these boys, for how terrible would it have been to wake up with nothing under the tree, no presents to play with, no Santa at all?

The boys, Jay and Julio, followed me to my room, where I showed them, to their amazement, the wealth of my toy box. Soon we were playing like old friends, until called out for a breakfast of seasoned eggs and potatoes wrapped in fresh, warm tortillas. It was the best breakfast I could ever remember having.

I’ll never forget that morning, as I’ll never forget my friends from Mexico who taught me that there is always something to be thankful for, often much more than we think.

And that sometimes there is no greater gift than sharing a meal with a friend.

– Perry
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.

 

(“A Second-Hand Christmas” by Perry P. Perkins. Originally published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas, 2007, and Sassee Magazine, Dec 1, 2009,)

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Okay, so this is a little touched up from that Christmas breakfast, but even if you leave out the sausage, poblanos, and toppings, it’s pretty darn good!

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
2 large russet potatos, sliced and seasoned (unpeeled)
1 large ancho chili, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp oil
8 eggs
1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder
3 Tbsp milk
1 cup pico de gallo
1 cup Mexican Crema
1 cup cheddar cheese
10-12 50/50 tortillas, warmed

Brown tacos in a skillet with very little butter. Set aside and keep warm.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Take sausage out of casing and cook in a separate pan, breaking it up, until no longer pink.

Drain, and set aside.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Slice potatoes in thick matchsticks (can use a French-fry slicer.) Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Place potatoes and diced poblano chili in a single layer in pan and cook potatoes until golden brown, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Beat together eggs, milk, and spices with a whisk.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Add egg and milk mixture to pan; heat until almost firm, folding once or twice with a wooden spoon.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Add sausage. When egg mixture is almost firm, add cheese, cover, place in oven and bake until eggs are firm and cheese melts.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Divide evenly between tortillas, topped with potatoes, and serve with pico and Crema.

Patatas y Huevos Tacos

Number of Servings: 6

NOTE: To take this recipe up another notch – substitute 8oz chorizo for half of the breakfast sausage. Just make sure to drain the meat before adding it to the potatoes.

 

11/17/16

Chef P’s Tuna Casserole

Sometimes you just get the weirdest cravings…I probably haven’t had tuna casserole in 30 years, but today, out of the blue, I just had to have some. I looked up Mom’s old recipe (ie: The Betty Crocker Cookbook) made a few upgrades, and whipping up a VERY tasty one-pan dinner.

Very nice on a cold, rainy night!

Here you go,  Joella!

The Best Tuna Casserole

Chef P’s Tuna Casserole

1 (12 ounce) package egg noodles
1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I like Cabot’s), divided
1 cup shredded Grueyre cheese
2 cups frozen sweet green peas
1 lb home-canned tuna (Or, if you must, 3 (6oz) cans, drained)
12 oz. homemade cream of mushroom soup, reduced (it’s super easy, here’s the first step) or 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs, or, for hardcore comfort-foodiness, crushed Ritz Crackers.
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

In a small bowl, toss breadcrumbs, half of each cheese, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika. (You can take this up a notch, btw, if you’re making your own mushroom soup, roast some peeled fresh garlic along with the ‘shrooms. Add these into the next step.)

    
Thoroughly mix cooked noodles, onion, remaining cheese, peas, tuna, and soup. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish, and top with breadcrumb/cheese mixture.

The Best Tuna Casserole
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.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

A casserole is basically just a very thick stew, and like a stew, it gets better with a little time. I like to make mine the day before, or let it rest at least an hour before serving. For the day before preparation, let the cooked casserole cool to room temp before you wrap it that. This keeps the breadcrumbs from getting mushy from condensation.

Serve with a fresh green salad, and enjoy!

~ Chef Perry

 

10/31/16

Next Level Grilled Cheese Tip

Perfect Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese and tomato soup…is there anything better on a rainy Autumn afternoon? I think not!

Here’s a quick tip to bring your good old-fashioned grilled cheese up a notch, by adding another level of cheesy goodness and texture…

Step One: Make your grilled cheese the old fashioned way (white or whole wheat bread, melted butter in a medium-hot pan NOT on the bread, extra sharp cheddar cheese). I threw in a couple of slices of deli ham, but that’s optional.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Step Two: Once you get the first side a perfect golden-brown, flip, and quickly sprinkle a little freshly grated cheddar, Asiago, or Romano cheese over the still-hot surface, and cover.

FullSizeRender3

Step Three: Uncover when the bottom side is done and the grated cheese on top has softened or melted.

Step Four: Flip again and let grill until the grated cheese has cooked to a golden, crunchy perfection.

Cut and serve immediately, preferably with a hot bowl of tomato-basil soup!

Next Level Grilled Cheese

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.

 

 

09/21/16
Easy Skillet Gyros

Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Easy skillet gyros

A gyro (Greek: γύρος, gyros, literally ‘turn’) is made of meat cooked on a large vertical rotisserie, typically the meat is pork, chicken, beef, veal, lamb or mutton, and usually served wrapped in a flatbread such as pita, with cucumber, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.

Middle Eastern shawarma, Mexican tacos al pastor, and Greek gyros are all derived from the Turkish döner kebab, which was invented in Bursa in the 19th century by a cook named Hadji Iskender.

Now, I love gyros (and tacos al pastor, and schwarma, too, come to think of it), but here’s the thing…

vertical gyros rotisserieI don’t know about you, but I don’t happen to have a “large vertical rotisserie” laying around my kitchen (yet), the need to cook meat for 100 people each time I want a sandwich, nor am I ready to shell out seven hundred bucks, just to feed my occasional turning meat jones.

So what’s a cash-poor chef with a big hunk of ground lamb to do? He improvises, baby!

Now, I have grilled many, many thousands of burgers, thick and thin, over the fire, or in the pan, and while I’m the first to admit it’s not exactly the same, but for ease of preparation, flexibility in servings, and simplicity of gear needed…these are pretty freakin’ good.

I skillet-cooked this batch, but I’m very optimistic at the prospect of repeating this recipe over live fire.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
joinmykitchen.com

Easy skillet gyros
Easy Skillet Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce  
Serves 4
The Meat:
1/2 med sweet onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground lamb
1 Tbs finely minced garlic
1 Tbs dried marjoram
1 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbs fine sea salt
2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
Tzatziki Sauce (recipe follows)

The Tzatziki:
8 ounces plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons red wine vinegar
6 mint leaves, finely minced

The Toppings:
8 thick slices of a large tomato
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
4 whole wheat flat breads, warmed
1 fresh lemon, quartered

Prep your toppings and chill, covered.

Easy skillet gyros
Finely chop your onion, then combine in a bowl with the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and mix by hand until evenly combined. process until it is a fine paste.

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.

 

Easy Skillet Gyros
Form into 4 even balls, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place meat in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Bring a dry skillet to medium high heat. Press each meatball between two layers of butcher paper until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

Easy way to make gyros
Fry each lamb patty (I’ve found it’s easiest to leave the top layer of paper on until it’s in the pan, as the heat will make it easier to peel the meat off of it) quickly, 1-2 minutes per side. Again, this step can be done over the direct heat of a hot grill as well, and might taste even better!

Easy Skillet Gyros
Stack the patties as they finish cooking, and keep in a warm over (150F) until done.

Easy Skillet Gyros

Slice and serve on flat bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes, feta cheese, and a spritz of lemon juice.

Oh, and while not part of any traditional gyro recipe I could find, I like to sprinkle the tomatoes with a little more black pepper and a little celery salt, before wrappin’ it up.

Easy Skillet Gyros

Easy Tzatziki Sauce
Tzatziki Sauce:

Place the chopped cucumber in a towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid; discard liquid.

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve on gyros.

Easy Tzatziki Sauce
Tzatziki will stay good in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups