04/9/17

Chef Perry’s Favorite Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

leftover easter egg recipes

Okay, Easter is coming to an end and, if your house is anything like mine, you have some happy egg-dying junkies, and a whole heap of hard boiled eggs.

So, what to do with all those eggs?

Sure, you can eat a few, straight-up, with a salt shaker; take a couple outside and play with your new driver, and maybe feed a few to the dog (However, I REALLY don’t recommend this…)

OR…you can use them to make some delicious lunches and snacks this week.

Here are three of my personal favorite recipes for that pile ‘o eggs…

153735

Egg Salad BLT Pitas

4 Sandwiches

I’m a big egg-salad fan, but the traditional white bread presentation is both bland, and a little too messy for me. I like keeping my gooey egg and mayo mixture self contained (and off my shirt), so I use whole-wheat pita pockets.

1/4 cup olive-oil mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 stalks crisp celery, diced
3 tablespoons Mexican crema (sour cream)
2 teaspoons deli-style mustard
dash or two of hot sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 hard-cooked large eggs
4 large whole-wheat pita pocket halves, warmed
4 center-cut bacon slices, cooked and coarsley chopped
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
4 large Boston lettuce leaves, whole or shredded

Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.

Coarsely chop the eggs, and add them to the mayonnaise mixture; stir gently to combine.

Arrange warm pita pockets on your work surface. Spread 1/2 cup of the egg mix inside each, then divvy up the bacon pieces, tomato slices (two each), and lettuce between them.

Serve immediately.

Of course, as go-to hard-boiled egg recipes go, good old fashioned deviled eggs are pretty freakin’ awesome….

151_deviled_eggs_p27My Mama’s Deviled Eggs

As I’ve mentioned before, Mama wasn’t a big fan of cooking, but the few dishes she made, she did very well. One of these was her Deviled Eggs, usually reserved for church pot-licks, and “covered dish” parties.

Oh, how I loved them.

Click here for the 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.

 

Cigar del pinar with Yellow Sriracha Sauce

Lastly, here’s an awesome appetizer to keep the zombie hordes away from your grill (or kitchen) at the next cook-out. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times last year, first for a big foodie dinner, and – because it was so good – again for an appetizer for our hautemealz  Easter feast.

Eggs, ground meat, olives, onions, all rolled in a wonton wrapper and fried.

Cuban egg-rolls, baby…how could that not be amazing?

Click here for the recipe.

How about you? Any good old-fashioned, or new and hip, hardboiled egg recipes you’d care to share?  Always looking something fun and tasty…if only to keep them away from this dang dog!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

 

11/27/14

Eating for Black Friday

Black-Friday-Phone-Deals

Consumers spent $59.1 billion on Black Friday last year. With so much up for grabs, shoppers make detailed timelines, store maps, and priority item plans for the big morning…but most don’t think to strengthen the one part of the equation that can make or break a successful shopping spree…themselves!

Planning a light, nutritious, easy-to-make breakfast, that will assure hours of energy and mental focus can be what separates the uber-shoppers from the wanna-bees on Friday morning!

Here are 5 ideas for Black Friday Breakfast that can give you the mental clarity and physical energy to elbow your way to the best deals, stay focused on your plan, and win that final sprint to the toy aisle! (Personally, I’ll be home sleeping off a turkey coma, but…best of luck to you!)

Much like preparing for a marathon, the secret to staying in black Friday fighting form is to eat a breakfast rich in high–quality carbs with some protein.

(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.)

Consider these winning morning meals…

(Oh, and each of these can be pre-made and packed along for you seriously…um…committed shoppers who will be in line the night before…)

BR73721. A whole–wheat bagel topped with nut butter and banana slices. Pack in a sandwich baggie, and you’re ready to go! If you’re going to be waiting in line for several hours, cut your finished bagel into quarters and eat one quarter per hour, finishing just before the doors open, to ensure that your energy stays peaked.

2. Scrambled eggs, sliced tomato and whole–wheat toast sandwich.

Egg_Tomato_Mozzarella_Basil_Sandwich

oatmeal3. Oatmeal topped with berries and nuts/seeds. This will stay warm for hours, in the bottom of your shopping bag. Be sure to bring a zip bag for the dirty bowl and spoon.

4. Yogurt with granola and fruit.

Cup-o-coffee-not_small5. AVOID COFFEE! I know, you hate me, but it’s a diuretic, and do you really want to put all this energy into the one Black Friday of the year, just to miss the last PlayStation, ’cause you were waiting in a mile-long line to pee? Reward yourself with a trip to your favorite java shack when the battle is over.

Remember to drink plenty of water the day before (but not for the three hours proceeding the store opening) and be sure to finish your breakfast at least 20 minutes before the shopping spree starts!

Happy Black Friday!

-Chef Perry

funny-celebrity-pictures-those-black-friday-sales-are-the-scariest-things-ive-ever-had-to-face

07/23/14

Top 3 Ultimate Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes

I love hot dogs on the grill primarily because they taste great, but also because they are one of those foods that are almost idiot-proof. Heat…place in bun…top with something. Dinner is served. Your meal plan doesn’t get any easier than that! Still, even if your Labor Day grilling involves dozens of hungry guests, there’s always something you can do to take an uber-basic food to the next level.

With the venerable hot dog…there are many, many things you can do.

The Dog

Putting great toppings on a mediocre hot dog is a gimmick, but putting great toppings on a great hot dog is gourmet!

So, first of all, let’s get something straight. When I say “hot dog”, I’m talking about a 100% all-beef frankfurter. Chicken, turkey, pork, bison, or (god forbid) tofu…is not a hot dog. Polish sausages are great, a good bratwurst rocks, but they ain’t hot dogs either.

There…now we know where we stand.

What to look for:

I like my ‘dogs with a natural casing. “So when you bite into it, it snaps,” says Barry Nemerow, co-owner of The Weiner’s Circle in Chicago. “You get a real burst of flavor with all the seasonings and everything in there.” Again, 100% all-beef.

I did an informal survey of 1000 friends on Facebook, and asked them for their favorite brand of dog, method of cooking, and type of bun.

The overwhelming winner in the frankfurter contest was Hebrew National All Beef Hot Dogs, followed by Nathan’s, and Costco’s 1/4lb beef dog. Nolan Ryan’s was a local favorite (Texas) as well. I tested these first three myself, and I have to agree with the popular view…Hebrew National won my vote as well. Not too salty, a nice “snap”, and the perfect (for me) meat-to-bun ratio.

The Bun

Stadium/hoagie rolls came in a dead-even tie with “cheap white hot dog buns” for first place (I prefer the latter), with some interesting options like sweet Hawaiian rolls, and pretzel buns having a few faithful followers.

Whichever you choose…

1. Use fresh buns, preferably within 24 hours of baking. Nothing ruins a hot dog quicker than a dry, stale, crumbly bun. Never freeze leftover buns for future use, either. Fresh is best!

2. Butter and lightly grill the buns just before assembling your hot dogs. Like Mom’s grilled cheese sandwiches (or anything fried in butter)…it just makes ‘em better.

3. Always, always, always put the heated dog in the bun and then wrap it in foil to steam the bread a bit. This is one of the major secrets to a great hot dog or any hot sandwich.

Given the option of grilling, boiling, microwaving, or pan frying, the overwhelming favorite was…

The Grill

Again, the preferred method of cooking was the grill, and again, I agree. For flavor and texture, cooking over flame, with a little smoke (from wood or natural drippings) is hard to beat.

I like “pre-cook” the dogs in some liquid (see note, below) so I can grill them and still get the inside heated through without burning the casing.

Grill your dogs directly on a charcoal grill or a gas grill over medium-high heat, rolling them ½ turn every couple of minutes to ensure nice, even grill marks. Plan on 10 to 12 minutes so that the hot dog browns slowly. If you like to cook by internal temp., you’re looking for 175 to 180 degrees.

For extra crisp-to-meaty dogs, a great method I recently learned is to spiral-slice your dogs before grilling, to increase the area directly exposed to the heat. This works great, and all you need is a wooden skewer and a sharp knife! Google “spiral hot dog” for more details!

Note: Props to my friend and food blogger Anthony Wilkinson for this piece of brilliance: “If I have to boil them, forget water…simmer in beer, onions, garlic, and butter.” Um…yes, please!

The “Stuff”

Okay, the beauty of the hot dog is there are about a million ways to top them, from the old stand-bys to exotic gourmet “fusion” recipes, to the truly horrifying. The problem with the hot dog is… there are about a million ways to top them…

But you know something…it’s a hot dog, not a filet mignon…it’s relatively inexpensive and, by golly, there are seven more in the package! Feel free to experiment, try new things, think outside the box…in the words of Thomas Edison, “I did not fail a thousand times, I found a thousand ways NOT to make a perfect hot dog” (Okay, that was about a light bulb or something, but you get the point.)

That said, here three of the new “gourmet” hot dog recipes I tried specifically for this article, and liked best.

I’ll end with one that’s probably my new favorite dog, and the only one that really needs a recipe.

#3 – Seattle-Style Hot Dog

This dog is awesome. AWESOME! If you don’t like the interplay between cool, creamy, smooth cream cheese, spicy sauce, and a sizzling, salty, beef dog…something in your mouth has died. In my nearby Seattle (a cream cheese crazy town) this one reigns supreme. Cream cheese, grilled onions, and Sriracha sauce, or sometimes grilled jalapenos for the hot-heads). So good!

#2 – The Bahn Mi Dog

I love Southeast Asian food, and here’s a great way to add a Vietnamese twist! Spicy mayo (mayo, garlic-chili sauce, and fish sauce, mixed to taste), thin sliced cucumbers, shredded carrot, and a few fresh mint and basil leaves.

#1 – The System Dog

The System Dog is a staple of Rhode Island food culture, where it is sold as the “New York System” in restaurants. This was, hands down, the best new hot dog I tested. A beef dog, served in a steamed bun, and topped with celery salt, yellow mustard, chopped onions, and a seasoned meat sauce.

If you’re a local, you order it “all the way.”

I have been assured, by those in the know, that this is a “real deal” system meat sauce recipe:

Ingredients
  • ½ lbs. of 80/20 hamburger
  • 2 Tbs. of lard
  • 2 oz. of water
  • ¼ large onion, finely minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • 
½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • 
1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • 
Dash of Tabasco
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the lard in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until softened. Add the spices (except the salt and Tabasco). Add hamburger, chopping and stirring until crumbly and cooked through.
  2. Add the water and simmer until the water almost completely evaporates. Remove from heat and let rest several minutes. Now, you should have a smooth meat sauce with very little liquid.
  3. Add salt and Tabasco to taste. (Remember – you’ll be adding celery salt to the finished dog, too.)

If those aren’t enough to keep you busy, here are a few more that caught my eye…

Happy Grillin’!

-Chef Perry

The Caprese Dog – topped with fresh thinly sliced mozzarella, chopped basil leaves, and cherry tomato slices. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.

Peach Salsa Dog – Mix finely diced peaches, chopped jalapeños, and cilantro. Let rest 3-4 hours or overnight. Top dog and serve.

Cubano Dog – Top dogs with shaved ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and spicy mustard for a tasty take on a Cuban sandwich.

The Mexican Dog – Avocado slices, diced red onions, crumbled cotija cheese, a squirt of hot sauce, and some fresh chopped cilantro top this dog.

05/24/14

National Clean Your Grill Weekend!


Happy “National Clean Your Grill Weekend!”

Okay, I made that up…but let’s face it, for a lot of folks today (and tomorrow) are when we pull the trusty ol’ Webers or gas grills out of the back of the garage to kick the tires and light the fires.

How to clean a grill for Spring.Even though I tend to keep the bbq running year-round, I do look forward to the more favorably weathered outdoor cooking months, as I tend to have more company around the grill.

Shirt-sleeves, chilled adult beverages, lawn chairs, and lots and lots of beautiful smoke!

However, if your grill needs to come out of hibernation, here are my top 5 tips for spring cleaning and tunin’ her up for summer…

(In step-by-step order)

5. Kick the tires

At least once a year (and this is as good a time as any) I recommend disconnecting, cleaning, and reconnecting all tubes and hoses. Things swell, shrink, rot and rust in cold weather––and propane leaks can take all the fun out of that first bbq of Spring!

A good rule of thumb: if I see something that makes me think, “I wonder if I should replace that?” I should. Is there a loose wheel, or a squeaky hinge that’s going to bug you for the rest of the year? Take it apart and clean, tighten, or replace it now…you’ll be too busy cooking later.

Dragon Claws Recipe

Dragon Claws (click on pic for the recipe)

Oh, make sure to sweep out and hose down your favorite grill spot on the deck or patio. Leaves, branches, pet toys, and other miscellany…in other words: tinder…have a habit of gathering in those corners over the winter.

“A little clean up now will make that first BBQ party of the year much more enjoyable. Making sure everything is in good working order will pay off big, later.” – Chef Chris

4. Clean the Interior

If you haven’t already, shut off, then disconnect the gas supply to your grill.

Remove the cooking grates and, using a soft wire brush, clean any loose debris from the insides of the body and lid. If your gas jets aren’t removable, I recommend covering them with a length of tape before you start cleaning. This helps minimize the chances of gunking up the holes with loose debris.

Remove the cooking grates and, using a soft wire brush, clean any loose debris from the insides of the body and lid. Scrape your "flavor panels" with a putty knife or scraper, and use a wire brush to remove ash. Remove the plates and brush any gunk off of burners with a wire brush.

Scrape your “flavor panels” with a putty knife or scraper, and use a wire brush to remove ash. Remove the plates and brush any gunk off of burners with a wire brush. Brush all debris from inside the grill into the drip pan, and dispose of it.

Oh, and just one guy’s opinion: I never line my drip pans with aluminum foil. I know it makes for easier clean-up, but it can also prevent the grease from flowing properly, which can be a fire hazard (not to mention it can negatively affect the flavor of my food). Scrape out the pan with a putty knife or scraper, and all the debris should be scraped into the grease trap.

3. Prep the Grates

This is an easy way to clean grill grates and get them ready for Spring.Now, I know this has never happened to you, but I’ve heard of some folks who open their grill in the spring and find the remnants of the meal they cooked on it last season.  Lucky for them, cleaning these nasty, neglected grill-grates is actually easier than most people realize, and you can usually forego the brushes, a dirty sink and a bunch of elbow grease, if you start the day before.

Lay a plastic bag on the ground, top with damp newspaper, then lay your grate on top. Give the grates a healthy spray of oven cleaner, and cover with another layer of moist newspaper (dampening the newspaper keeps it from sticking to the grates). Follow this with another plastic bag. Batten down the edges so the whole mess doesn’t end blowing into the next yard.

Grilling the perfect hamburger

Grilling the perfect hamburger…click the pic to learn how!

The next day, hose down the grates thoroughly, and then wash off any remaining oven cleaner residue with hot soapy water. Rinse the grates again, dry, and coat lightly with vegetable oil, and you’re good to go! (Just a note: only use this method after checking with your owner’s manual. Some manufacturers warn against using oven cleaner on any part of their grill.)

Lastly, plan to fire up your grill for 30 minutes or so (on High) to burn off any possible remaining residue, before the first use.

Cleaning grill grates is easier than most people realize, and you can skip the brushes, a dirty sink and a bunch of elbow grease, if you start the day before.

2. Pretty up the Exterior

Let’s face it, we eat first with our eyes, and I’ve eaten more than one perfectly good steak that probably would have tasted a lot better if the grill hadn’t looked like it had been yanked out of the bottom of a drainage ditch just before cooking.

First things first, power hose the exterior to get rid of any dirt, crud, or creepy-crawlies. Next, use a bucket of hot, soapy water, an old towel, and maybe bristle brush, or a putty knife, and clean every nook and cranny.

You don’t want to use abrasive cleaners to clean any painted, porcelain or stainless steel parts. I’ve found that a mild dish-soap (the stuff made for hand-washing) works just fine. Porcelain enamel components must be handled with additional care (read your user’s manual, or contact the manufacturer).

Touch-up enamel, and high-heat spray paint is available from your dealer.

Exterior grill surfaces should be cleaned while warm to the touch, with warm soapy water.

How to grill the perfect hot dog

How to grill the perfect hot dog – Click pic for our tips!

1. The Test Run

My number one piece of advice, when gearing up for grill season, is to do a full blown test run…on a night when failure is an option.

The last thing you want, when the boss and his wife are ready for their rib-eyes, or you’ve got a house-full of hungry dinner guests, is to discover that the reverse glamfram widget in the secondary intake fluxuator has burned out and your grill won’t throw enough fire to thaw an ice-cube.

Plan a simple grilled dinner for the family, using all the burners, and any special accessories on your grill (have the local pizza-joint’s number on speed-dial, just in case), and make sure that everything works, from fuel, to ignition, to temperature control.

Grill a dinner for the family, using all the burners, and any special accessories on your grill to make sure that everything works, from fuel, to ignition, to temperature control.

Makes notes of any issue that arise, or improvements you’d like to see, and make those upgrades before the boss is standing there with an empty plate!

Also, when you clean up your grill, be sure to clean up your cooking area as well. Patios and decks can gather a lot of debris (read: tinder) in the off season, so make sure you give them a good sweep before lighting the fires.

Speaking of which, have a great Memorial Day weekend, and sometime during all the fun, laughs, and great good, take a moment to reflect, remember and send up a thank you to the brave men and women of our armed services who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free.

Happy Grilling!

-Chef Perry Simply
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

05/15/14

All about Omelets

om·e·let – noun: omelet; plural noun: omelets; noun: omelet; plural noun: omelets

A dish of beaten eggs cooked in a frying pan until firm, often with a filling added while cooking, and usually served folded over.

Origin

French omelet, earlier, from lemele ‘knife blade’, from Latin lamella. The association with ‘knife blade’ is probably because of the thin flat shape of an omelet.

29History

The fluffy omelet is a refined version of an ancient food. According to Alan Davidson, the French word omelet came into use during the mid-16th century, but the versions alumelle and alumete are employed by the Ménagier de Paris in 1393.

According to the founding legend of the annual giant Easter omelet of Bessières, Haute-Garonne, when Napoleon Bonaparte and his army were traveling through southern France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessières. Napoleon feasted on an omelet prepared by a local innkeeper that was such a culinary delight that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelet for his army the next day.

Simple French omelet

A beautiful omelet prepared by one of our MY KITCHEN students!

Styles

The French omelet is smoothly and briskly cooked in an extremely hot pan specially made for the purpose. The technique relies on clarified butter (to ensure a high smoke point) in relatively great ratio to the eggs (prevents sticking and cooks the eggs more quickly). Good with just salt and pepper, this omelet is often flavored with tomato and finely chopped herbs (often fine herbs or tarragon, chervil, parsley and chives) or chopped onions. French omelets are also removed from the pan in a manner different from an American omelet. They can be rolled out in a trifold design or just simply slide out of the pan directly into a plate and when made correctly have little to no color to them.

American style omelets are different from a French style in that it is placed in the pan and left until the eggs have cooked through. It will have a nice golden brown crust. The filling is placed into the middle of the omelet towards the end of the end of the cooking process. It is then folded in half and served.

The American omelet/Folded Omelet is definitely a simpler method than the French. It is cooked in a sauté pan with out stirring. The filling is is placed on the eggs just before it is finished. Fold it in half and slid it onto a plate.

A frittata is a kind of open-faced Italian omelet that can contain cheese, vegetables, or even leftover pasta. Frittata are cooked slowly. Except for the cooking oil, all ingredients are fully mixed with the eggs before cooking starts.

And, of course there’s Chef Perry’s favorite: Hangtown fry, containing bacon and breaded oysters, is an unusual omelet that originated in Placerville, California during the gold rush.

Records

On March 19, 1994, the largest omelet (1,383 ft²) in the world at the time was made with 160,000 eggs in Yokohama, Japan, but it was subsequently overtaken by an omelet made by the Lung Association in Brockville, Ontario, Canada on May 11, 2002 — it weighed 2.95 tonnes (6,503.6 lbs.). (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Ham and Cheese Omelet

Chef Chris’s Basic Filled Omelet

Omelets are one of my favorite meals. It was one of my first adventures in cooking. My father would cook them on Saturday mornings while us kids were watching cartoons. When I was older he taught me to cook a classic filled omelet. Now I am passing this tradition to my children. While now days I add things like sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms. The basics are still the same.

Active Time: 5min.                                                        Total Time: 15min.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. milk or cream
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1-2oz. your favorite cheese
  • 1-2oz. Ham
  • Salt & black pepper

Mise en Place

Grate the cheese. Dice the ham. Crack eggs into a small mixing bowl.

Preparation

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk the eggs together with the milk/cream (the milk will help the eggs be a little fluffy) and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Add the ham and the cheese (reserve a pinch or two of cheese for plating) once when the bottom is firm but still runny on the top.

When the eggs are cooked through use a spatula to gently fold omelet in half and slide onto a warm plate. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Serve with a side of fruit and toast or toasted bagel.

04/17/14

Tips & Recipes for an Amazing Easter Dinner (and leftovers!)

It’s almost Easter!

Here are some of the best recipes, menus, and leftovers tips we’ve put together over the last few years…

Just click on the picture to view each post!

Happy Easter!

Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

Lamb Easter Dinner

Garlic and Rosemary Leg of Lamb, Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin, Strawberry Spinach Salad, and Petits Pots de Crème au Chocolat.

Easter Ham Dinner

Honey Baked Ham with Roasted New Potatoes & Green Beans

Reheating Turkeys and Hams

Reheating Turkeys and Hams

Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

Leftover Easter Egg Recipes

03/28/14

Steak for a crowd, without breaking the bank.

Flank Steak & Pasta

SimplySmartDinnerPlans subscriber Nicole asks:

My high school daughter has a dance next weekend and her and her friends have decided to have a home dinner instead of going out.

They want Steak & pasta. Do you have any suggestions for a menu? There will be 10 of them. Me and one other mom will be putting this together and would like something fairly easy, not too pricey and teen friendly.

Any help would be appreciated

– Nicole

———————-

Nicole,

Thank you for your email!

Okay, steak and pasta for 10, without breaking the bank…we can do this! To get the most bang for your buck, flavor-wise, I would go with skirt or flank steak. It’s fast and easy to pan fry, moderately priced, melts in your mouth, and brings HUGE steak flavor to the table, without needing to provide a huge serving of steak.

Keep in mind that for most of history (and still in much of the world), meat was used as a flavoring agent to enhance dishes, not a giant slab of protein served as the centerpiece of a meal. Not only is this a more economical eating style, but it’s healthier, too.

This is one of my favorite steak recipes, and I think it would be a perfect fit by adding some nice hot al dente fettuccine, tossed in the pan juices. Top with the thin-sliced flank steak, alongside a big salad and some steamed veggies, and you’ll have a winner!

If you REALLY want to rock it, sprinkle everything with some grated asiago cheese, just before serving!

flank-steakThe flank steak, also known as bavette, is a beef steak cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It is long, thin, and full of tough connective tissue.

It is usually marinated before being broiled or grilled whole. Because it is tough, you usually slice it thinly on a diagonal across the grain to sever the tough fibers and make the flavorful steak chewable.

I’ve found that if I cook it quickly, over the hottest heat I can manage, I don’t need a marinate, and get more the true beef flavor. For my money, this is one of the best tasting cuts on the cow.

Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Fettuccine
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. fettuccine pasta
2 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1½-lb. piece flank steak, about ¾” thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced (green and white parts)

Cook the fettuccine in salted water, until al dente. Keep warm. See our post: “5 Tips for Perfect Pasta” Reserve 1-2 cups of the pasta water.

Warm butter and garlic in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Discard garlic. Set butter aside in a warm place.

Pat steak dry with paper towels, then season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. When pan begins to smoke, coat with oil, then add steak (oil will spatter). For rare (or “properly cooked”), sear until almost black, about 4 minutes on each side.

Don’t move steak until ready to turn.

NoForksNote: Never, ever, ever turn a steak with a meat fork, a knife, or anything else that punctures the meat (and lets all of those amazing juices escape). Always turn your steaks (or chicken, or pork) with tongs.

Transfer the steak to a platter, and top with garlic butter. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm, and allow steak to rest for 15 minutes. Pour 1/2 of any juices that collect in the platter, back into the pan, reserve the other half.

While the steak is resting, bring the juices in the pan up to medium heat. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of pasta water and reduce by half. Using tongs, add your pasta to the pan and toss to coat evenly. Remove pasta from from hot pan immediately, and set aside. Keep warm.

Cut across flank steak the grain into ¼” slices and portion beside (or on top of) the noodles. Spoon the reserved juices over steak, and top with green onions and grated asiago cheese (optional).

Serve with a big green salad and steamed veggies.

Enjoy!

-Chef Perry

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mother and Daughter Making a SaladAt SimplySmartDinnerPlans, we’re all about helping busy families get back to the dinner table and share delicious, nutritious meals together, by helping you with the research, planning, and list-making that takes so much time…time that most of us just don’t have.

We create and personally test “real food” recipes for every night of the month, provide an easy-to-follow itemized grocery list for every week of the month, and offer constant support and training through our weekly newsletter, interactive blog, and social media sites…all for just $5.00 a month!

Classic, lighter-side, diabetic-friendly, and gluten-free meal plans in 2, 4, & 6 servings, are available.

Click here to learn more!

 

03/7/14

What’s New at Hautemealz

1551712_719287194762404_1321413378_nHey everyone,

We’ve seen some big changes to hautemealz.com since we launched our 2.0 initiative on January first, and the feedback has been awesome. We’re so glad to hear how you’re enjoying the expanded menu options each week.

But, as the old saying goes…you ain’t see nuthin’ yet!

One of the challenges that we’ve had in the past is that the name “hautemealz”, because of its pronunciation and spelling, is difficult for folks to remember, doesn’t play well in audio marketing, and does not convey a clear meaning of what we offer – many folks still assume that we deliver “hot meals” to their door!

ILP1Also, as we do more and more community outreach, and other food-related adventures, we want to make sure that we’re not muddling the message by having “all of our eggs in one basket” (and under one name).

So, after much consideration, and input from several top marketing professionals, we’ve decided it’s time to re-brand ourselves.

As part of this re-branding phase of 2.0, we started working on some new business name ideas.  We came up with 20-plus snappy titles, narrowed those down to our top half-dozen, and then submitted those to some of our amazing friends in the marketing and promotions fields.

The new name had to clearly define the purpose of our meal plans – quickness, nutritional value, and ease of use –  be easy to spell, and easy to remember.

What we came up with (and are VERY excited about) is…

SSDP NEW LOGO tweaked

Is that what we do, in a nutshell, or what?

As you can see, we’re keeping the hautemealz.com name and style…but it will become the “umbrella” over our various culinary projects.

Under that umbrella are SimplySmartDinnerPlans (the weekly recipes, shopping list, blog, and helpline), as well as our local private chef services, personal tutoring and workshops, and our community outreach programs (to be named soon) as well as whatever else the future brings.

cleaning retroSo, all of that to say…please pardon our dust, over the next few weeks, as we start shifting our branding of the meal plans to the new format, but never fear…Terry, Chris, and I will still be here for you, and we will remain “the chefs at hautemealz.com!”

Also, please feel free to share the news with anyone and everyone you know who’s life might be made a little easier with dinner plans that are, well…”Simply Smart!”

What do you think?

-Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans

PS – Just to say thank you, for reading to the end...here’s a yummy (and super-simple) dessert, just for you! Our “Chocolate Peanut-Butter Pot de Creme!”

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02/21/14

The Secret to Winter Grilling – The Rotisserie

Rotisserie Grilling Tips
“Spit-roasting is one of the world’s most ancient and universal forms of grilling, and there’s nothing like it for producing exceptionally moist meat with a crackling crisp crust.” – Steven Raichlen

Okay, it’s cold out there, and grilling might be the last thing on your mind, but never fear…you CAN have your delicious, flame-kissed goodies, and still keep feeling in all of your fingers and toes…

The secret is that unsung hero of the backyard bbq…the rotisserie!

You can literally run out to the grill, fire it up, run back in and prep your food, then run back out, load it up, close the lid and go back inside until your timer goes off! The rotisserie just chugs away out there, evenly cooking and self-basting your dinner while you chug your cocoa (or hot toddy) and warm your toes in front of the fire!

I like chicken just about any way it can be prepared, but for the juiciest, most flavorful bird, I’ll hang my hat on rotisserie grilling, even more so now with the grill accessories that are available. This even-heating, self-basting method ensures a perfectly cooked bird, with crispy skin all around. Using a grill (with a rotisserie burner) is especially convenient when cooking for parties or holiday get-togethers, as it frees up the oven and stove-top, and you don’t even have to remember to flip or baste your entrée!

Start with a good dry rub, end with proper treatment of the finished fowl, and you’ll have a winner chicken dinner that folks are going to remember!

Plus, rotisserie cooking is thought to be the oldest cooking technique known to man… so that’s pretty cool, too.

Here are 5 things to remember when grilling a chicken rotisserie style:

Dry rub 8-24 hours in advance

Rotisserie Grilled ChickenA dry rub is a combination of salt, spices, herbs, and sometimes sugars, that’s used to flavor meat in advance of cooking. Unlike a marinade or brine, a dry rub forms a crust on the outside of the meat when cooked.

The salt draws out the juices in the meat, making it more moist and tender, while the sugars caramelize and form a seal that traps in flavor and juices.

You can add just about anything you want to a rub (and you should experiment with some of your own favorite flavors) but here’s my go-to dry rub for chicken: 2 Tbsp. sea salt + 1 Tbsp. each: dark brown sugar, coarse black pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, and Italian seasonings. Combine all in an airtight container and mix until completely blended.

Once you’ve sprinkled, then rubbed the spices into (and under) the skin, and trussed it, wrap the whole bird in plastic wrap and refrigerate until 1-2 hours before you plan to start cooking it. Be sure to sprinkle some of your seasonings into the body cavity of the chicken or turkey, as well.

Truss the bird

3Trussing (tying up) a whole bird before cooking is always a good idea as it helps keep it moist and promotes even cooking (and a prettier presentation), but for rotisserie grilling it’s absolutely essential. A non-trussed bird will loosen up on the bar, legs and wings floppin’ ever which-a-way, and start burning at the extremities long before the rest of the chicken is cooked through to the bone.

Trussing isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take some practice to perfect. Google “How to truss a chicken” for any number of excellent videos and step-by-step guides to trussing.

Watch the heat

4I like to preheat my grill (burners on full, lid down) before putting the pre-loaded spit (the rod that holds the meat) in place. Watch the bird closely, checking every few minutes at first, and adjust your flame as needed to avoid hot spots or burning the skin.
Cook to the right temp

Figure about 25 minutes per pound to cook a chicken on a rotisserie, but what you’re really looking for in an internal temp in the thickest part of the thigh of 175 °F. A lot of variables can affect the number of minutes it takes a bird to cook to the bone, including starting temp of the meat, the heat of your grill, and the weather while cooking, but 175 °F is done regardless of outside influences.

Give it a rest

Once your chicken is removed from the heat, it’s vital that it be allowed to “rest” for 15-20 minutes, tented loosely in foil.

Resting allows the meat to relax and reabsorb its own juices back into the muscle fibers as they cool. The reason for tenting in foil is to keep the surface temperature from dropping much faster than the internal temp, which can lead to drying.

Once the chicken has rested go ahead and snip away the trussing (I use a pair of kitchen shears for this), cut the bird up as you see fit, and serve.

Oh, and be sure to save those lovely roasted bones and extra bits for making stock or flavoring soups or gravies. It’s gold!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry