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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In the Morning:

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

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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.


Slow Cooker Pork and Sweet Potato Curry in the Ninja Cooking System

Ninja Cooking SystemFinally had a chance to use my newNinja Cookertonight. For those of you who don’t know, I attended Foodista’s 2012 International Food Bloggers Conference this  summer.

Euro-Pro unveiled the latest product in their Ninja Line, the Ninja 3-In-1 Cooking System, with a series of impressive cooking demonstrations: searing, roasting, baking, and slow cooking all in one unit. At the end of the demo, all of us attendees were pleasantly shocked to discover that we would be receiving one of the units, for free, upon its September release.

Obviously, we were all pretty excited! Especially me, as I took it upon myself to “grill” the presenters about this gizmo, and was pretty confident that it would turn some of my favorite dishes like pho, boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet, curries, etc…quicker and easier that before, and with less clean-up (which is key, until such time that my daughter is old enough to place into dish-washing servitude.)

So, tonight was my first test run, with an experimental recipe…peanut-pork and sweet potato curry. Couldn’t be happier with the results!

Got a great sear on the meat, onions caramelized beautifully, then switched over to the slow-cook option, and let ‘er sit 4 hours on high. Meat and potatoes came out fork tender but not mushy, broth reduced nicely, and (best of all) the whole thing cleaned up with a swish o’ hot water and a quick wipe with the sponge.

Seriously, no more baked-on crock-pot crud for this boy! Here’s the recipe and photos…enjoy!

(Oh, and thanks again to the awesome folks at Foodista and Ninja…I’m lovin’ this thing!)

Chef Perry

Slow Cooker Pork and Sweet Potato Curry.
Serves 4   Active Time: 20 Min    Total Time: 4 hrs 20 Min – 10 hrs 20 min.

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound bnls pork (shoulder or loin), cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp. mild curry powder
1 tbsp. garam masala
1/2 lb roma tomatoes, diced
15 oz can coconut milk
2 Tbs chunky peanut butter
2 cups jasmine rice, cooked.
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 scallion, sliced

Set the Ninja to “Stovetop High” and heat the oil (or heat oil to high in a large skillet.)

Ninja Cooking System Recipe

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Add half of the pork to the skillet and brown it over moderately high heat, about 12 minutes.

(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!)

Ninja Cooking System Recipe

Transfer the pork to the plate. Repeat with the remaining pork.

Ninja Cooking System Recipe

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato,  ginger, curry, garam masala, and cook over low heat, stirring, until fragrant and the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Ninja Cooking System
Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker (skip this step if you have a Ninja, and just keep cookin’ baby!) Add the tomatoes and their juices, pork, and coconut milk.

Switch the Ninja over to “Slow Cook High”, cover and cook for 4 hour (or on low for 10.)

Ninja Cooking System
Spoon off as much fat from the surface of the curry as possible, stir in peanut-butter.

Serve 1/4 of the curry over steamed jasmine rice in deep bowls, garnished with cilantro and scallions.

Ninja Cooking System Recipe
This dish can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

NOTE: If you like a little (or a lot) of heat, add 1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes, or 1/2 of a habanero or scotch-bonnet pepper (seeded and chopped fine – WEAR GLOVES) while searing the meat.


Chef Perry


Easy slow-cooker brown rice

Next week’s Stuffed Chard with Fresh Marinara, calls for brown rice as part of the stuffing. While much more filling and nutritious than white rice, it also tends to take quite a bit longer to prepare.

If you need to “hit the door eating” this week, save yourself some time by letting your slow-cooker do the work while you’re away. The rice will be ready and waiting for you when you get home!

Slow Cooker Brown Rice
Yield: 4 cups cooked rice
Active Time: 5 min.
Total Time: 8 hr. 5 min.

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth*
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • salt, to taste

Rub crock-pot/slow cooker lightly with butter. Pour in rice, water and salt. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Season with salt, if needed, before serving.

 *Chicken broth can be replaced with beef, seafood, vegetable broth, or water, depending on the entrée. When turned off, crockpot/slow cooker will keep rice warm for serving 2 to 3 hours.

(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!)


Volume 1: Issue 9

The “Amazing Meals Made Easy” system for the busy food lover!

Week of April 8, 2012

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” –  Harriet Van Horne

Happy Easter everyone!

How many of you are doing our “Elegant (and easier) Easter Dinner” recipe tomorrow? I’ve already got the Garlic and Rosemary Leg o’ Lamb rubbed with spices, and my Potato, Leek, and Asparagus Gratin is tucked safely in the fridge. Can’t wait to dig in tomorrow! If you’re doing one of these recipe, let us know how it goes, and post some pictures on the Facebook page or the hautemealz.com blog!

The hand’s down big hit on this week’s menu, for me, has to be the Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Simple Snow Peas. Savory, sweet, sticky beef candy…need I say more?

Continue reading


Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Simple Snow Peas

Because my very dear friends, Kathy and Joel, asked for it…here’s a freebie from next week’s menu…I’m eating this as I type, and it’s pretty freakin’ awesome.

This is my new favorite “quick and easy” bbq sauce…I can’t wait to try in on brisket!

Dinner 6

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Simple Snow Peas

Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs (6a)

Yield: Serves 2  Active Time: 10 min.    Total Time: 9 hr. 10 min.

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 lb. boneless beef short ribs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce*
  • 3 tbsp. chili sauce
  •  1 tbsp. minced garlic

Put flour, salt and pepper in a bag, add ribs and shake them well to coat.

Brown the ribs in butter in a large skillet, over medium heat, then transfer the ribs to your slow cooker.

In the original skillet, combine remaining ingredients and bring them to a boil, stirring constantly.

(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!)

Pour the sauce over the ribs, cover and cook on low for 9 hours.

If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s an amazing, and easy homemade bbq sauce recipe that’s just 8 calories for 2 Tbs!

 Simple Snow Peas (6b)

Yield: Serves 2  Active Time: 5 min.      Total Time: 5 min.

  • 1 cup fresh snow peas (washed/trimmed)     1/2 to 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced                                      Salt & Black Pepper

Heat wok or skillet on medium-high heat, add the oil, get it hot, then dump in the peas. Cook 1 minute, stirring, and then add garlic and seasoning.

Quick fry just till bright green and still crisp.

Remove and serve while still hot.


Volume 1: Issue 6


The “Amazing Meals Made Easy” system for the busy food lover!

Week of March 11, 2012

Hello Peeps! Well, one of my favorite foodie holidays is coming up…St. Patrick’s Day! Bring on the corned beef and cabbage, baby! Speaking of which, we have a great slow-cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage recipe for you this week. A little splash of cider vinegar really brings out the flavor of that brisket!

That said, and as much as I love my corned beef, it’s a toss-up as to which recipe was the biggest party in my mouth this week, that Skirt Steak Taco Salad with Fire Roasted Steak Salsa is pretty amazing, too. If you’ve never experimented with skirt-steak before…are you in for a treat! It’s my favorite cut of beef.

A heads up…my fellow menu planner, and foodie extraordinaire, Terry Ramsey, spent some time at his computer this week, and re-designed the format we use for your weekly grocery lists. We think you’re really going to like the new look!

Oh, and that reminds me, please remember, when you make a hautemealz.com recipe that really fires your rockets, please shoot us an email, or post on the blog, or the Facebook page and let us know so we can work it back into the menu rotation. Otherwise, it might be a long time before you see it again!

Couple of other things to keep an eye out for, this week…

So, this week, in your hautemealz.com menus, you’re going to find several recipes that use chicken meat from pre-cooked deli chickens. If you haven’t cut up a lot of chickens at this point in your culinary history, make sure to visit the blog and watch a short video on how easy it is to carve a whole roast chicken.

For the Skirt Steak Taco Salad recipe make sure to check out our instructional blog post, How to slice Skirt Steak…it could be the difference between chewing on a beef-flavored tire, and savoring a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth-tender slice of steak!

Have a delicious week!

The hautemealz.com team

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and, of course…
Our Blog: http://hautemealzblog.wordpress.com/

Oh, and if you’re one of those crazy pinners (like us)…pin us, baby, pin us!

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Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resultingly tough meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue.

Popular methods in the Southern United States include rubbing with a spice rub or marinating the meat, then cooking slowly over indirect heat from charcoal or wood. This is a form of smoking the meat. Additional basting of the meat is often done during the cooking process. This normally tough cut of meat, due to the collagen fibers that make up the significant connective tissue in the cut, is tenderized when the collagen gelatinizes, resulting in more tender brisket, despite the fact that the cut is usually cooked well beyond what would normally be considered “well done”.

Slow-smoked brisket is a signature dish for our barbecue team, and Pit Master Chris Renner, in particular, has a special touch for turning the tough muscle into smoky beef perfection. Chris’s brisket recipe (and many more of our bbq and grilling specialties) are available in the team’s cookbook, MEAT FIRE GOOD.)  If you’re a hautemealz.com subscriber, contact us to get you member discount on this, or any of our titles.

In traditional Jewish cooking, brisket is most often braised as a pot roast, especially as a holiday main course, usually served at Rosh Hashannah, Passover, and Shabbat. In Hong Kong, it is cooked with spices over low heat until tender, and is commonly served with noodles in soup or curry. It is a common cut of meat for use in Vietnamese phở soup, as well.

Brisket is also the most popular cut for corned beef, though the term comes not from the grain corn, but from the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt.

In the U.S. and Canada, consumption of corned beef is often associated with the Saint Patrick’s Day favorite, Corned Beef & Cabbage. Corned beef is not considered an Irish national dish, and the connection with Saint Patrick’s Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture, and is often part of their celebrations in North America.[13] In Ireland, the closest traditional dish is bacon and cabbage (more akin to Canadian style bacon or ham). Corned beef and cabbage became popular in the U.S. after Irish immigrants in the northeast used corned beef instead of pork in the dish. This substitution was likely due to the low cost of corned beef in the U.S.

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Perry’s Favorite Corned Beef Sandwich

Serves 4

1 whole baguette, soft
16 ounces leftover corned beef, warm
8 ounces Swiss cheese, deli sliced
4 Tbs horseradish mustard

Preheat your oven to 200f.

Bring corned beef broth (reserved from the slow cooker) to steaming on the stovetop, or in the microwave. Remove from heat and add the chopped or sliced corned beef, allow beef to warm in broth for about 10 minutes.

Slice baguette into 4 equal sections (halve, and then halve again), then slice each section horizontally, like a sandwich. Smear the bottom half of each section with horseradish mustard, and arrange corned beef on bottom half of sandwich, dividing meat evenly between the sections.

Arrange cheese to cover the meat, the close up your sandwiches.

The next two steps are the KEY to the awesomeness…

 1 – Wrap each sandwich tightly in foil.

 2 – Place sandwiches in warm over UPSIDE DOWN and allow to rest 10 minutes.

Unwrap and serve as is, or with kosher dill pickle spears.

Note: To “rueben-ize” this baby, replace the horseradish mustard with thousand-island dressing, and add 1/4 cup (warmed & well drained) sauerkraut to each sandwich, just before wrapping in foil.

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E-mail: perry@hautemealz.com
PO Box 21, Wilsonville Oregon, 97062

Copyright 2012, Perry P. Perkins