Organizing Your Kitchen Like a Pro (AM Northwest appearance)

Free Printable Shopping List Reminder

If, like, me, you have the memory span of a brain-damaged goldfish, keeping one of these list reminders on the fridge is a HUGE help in having the ingredients you need, when you need them.

Just right-click on the image and save this PDF to your desktop, for a handy list reminder that you can print as needed!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Oh, and if you tuned in to AM Northwest this morning for my segment on Kitchen Organization (I’ll post the link to the clip here, this afternoon), thank you!

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the video…(click on image)

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And here’s some notes on what we talked about (and a couple we ran out of time for…)

The “two step” kitchen plan

  • The tools and utensils you use most for cooking should be within two steps of the cooking area
  • The tools and utensils you use most for prep should be within two steps of the cooking area

Your Knives

  • Have them sharpened (honing is NOT sharpening)
  • Magnetic holder vs. knife block.

Your Spices

  • No spices, oils, or vinegars over the stove
  • Write your purchase dates on bottles
  • Buy in bulk, and refill bottles (squeeze bottles for oils)

Cupboards

  • Middle (eye level to counter): Items you use most
  • Upper (eye level and above): Items you use frequently, and/or hard shelf life (cookies, crackers, cereal)
  • Lower (Counter and below): Items you use the least, bulk storage, etc.

The Fridge

  • Meat on the bottom shelf
  • Leftovers on the Middle shelf
  • Names and dates on kitchen tape
  • Packaged, unopened on the top

The Freezer

  • Names and dates on kitchen tape
  • Vacuum sealers
  • Have a defrosting schedule

Make a List

  • Checkbox shopping list & pen, on fridge
  • Download mine (above)
  • Make your own
  • Pre-print the items you get every time you go to the store
  • Organize list for a single path through the store
  • Never shop hungry, or without your list

Or, check our my FREE 52 Weeks of dinner plans, and weekly shopping lists.

Available in Classic, Heart Healthy (Diabetic Friendly), and Gluten Free!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

Home Chef Cookbooks

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Kitchen Tech Saturday: Online Cooking Classes

If you’ve read “The Home Chef”, you know I’m a big fan of online cooking classes…when their good. Here’s a great post from a fellow food-blogger I trust, that has some great tips and info…

Check it their page, as well, lost of good stuff!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

I'm Gonna Cook That!

Happy Weekend, my lovelies!

The big grocery store chain in the Chicago area, Jewel-Osco, is running a Monopoly game promotion right now. The cashier hands out game pieces according to how much you spend at check-out, with some items in the store being worth bonus pieces. Of course, we’ve probably all played a Monopoly game like this before. I know that the big prize, in this case, $1 million dollars, is likely not going to happen for me. Buuuut, since they’re handing me those game pieces anyway, I always pop them open to see if any of them are instant winners or have any good coupons. So far, I’ve won a free tub of potato salad, a free Shutterfly photo book, and two online cooking courses from Rouxbe Cooking School.

Kinda crazy, right? I’d never heard of Rouxbe, so of course I went poking around the interwebs for some reviews…

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Turkey Tips: Stock & Gravy

 

If you find that your turkey drippings are too salty for stock and gravy, or you just don’t want to wait until the turkey’s done roasting to get started on them, here’s a quick tip…

Spatchcocked Turkey

Spatchcock your turkey BEFORE you brine it, and roast the back-bone, wing tips, giblets, and trimmed fat, with a little salt and chopped onions while the bird’s brining.

Homemade Turkey Stock

THEN make your stock from those pieces (you can also buy a couple of turkey thighs, and roast them if you like a “meaty” gravy…which I do!) This allows you to season your stock to taste, and defat it (if you choose) while the turkey is roasting, so you can start your dressing and gravy before it’s done.

Creating a roux

Lastly, always start your gravy by making a roux (equal parts fat and flour.) The darker you cook your roux, the deeper the flavor of your gravy. Once your roux has cooked to your liking, thin it to gravy using your stock.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

 

 

Volunteering: Columbia Gorge Fire

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Hot, dry and gusty east winds have fanned the flames of the Eagle Creek Fire, which is now rapidly moving west, swelling to 10,000 acres (currently). The fire has “jumped” the Columbia River, and has sparked several new fires on the Washington side, as well. I-84 has been closed to all public traffic.

Sheriff’s offices in Multnomah and Hood River Counties have issued Level 3 (Go!) evacuations for Larch Mountain and the communities of Dodson, Warrendale, Latourell, Bridal Veil, East Corbett, and everything south of I-84 in Cascade Locks. The number of towns on this list are growing by the hour. Many more are under a Level 2 (Be Ready) evacuation status. A number of evacuation shelters have been established at a number of local community colleges and fairgrounds.

InciWeb (Incident Information System) reports that a “A thermal trough will continue with hot, dry and unstable conditions with east winds overnight and through tomorrow.”

I’m a local chef, who grew up and went to school in the gorge, and I’m volunteering to help feed folks displaced by the fire, and/or fire fighters and volunteers. Food prep, serving, washing dishes, wherever I’m needed. Right now it looks like I will be in Washougal, at the evacuation center, as early as tomorrow to help establish an on-site kitchen, then moving on to Cascade Locks to help feed the fire crews through the weekend.

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With the MY KITCHEN cargo van, I can do pick up and/or deliveries of food or supplies, we well.

If you would like to help me out with gas, supplies, and donations to the emergency shelters I’m working with, etc., please make donations via PayPal* to: mykitchendonations@gmail.com

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*You do not need a PayPal account to donate. Tax-deductible donation receipts are available on request. Any funds not used to cover costs will be donated to the locations I’m volunteering at.

17 Ways to Beat the Heat in the Kitchen

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Well, apparently, the devil is taking a vacation in the Pacific Northwest this week, with temps sky-rocketing to the 100+ (I’ve seen forecasts as high as 110F for the Portland/Metro area…Oy!)

Ways to Beat the Heat

1. Cook up a couple of pounds of pasta, rinse (this is the only time you EVER want to rinse you pasta!) and tuck in the fridge.

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This Zucchini and Bow-tie Pasta with Shallot Sauce, is one of my favorites!

2. Toss with some fresh veggies (tomatoes, cukes, etc.) a little fresh basil, and some dressing (I like Italian, or sun-dried tomatoes) for a refreshingly cool pasta salad. Penne and orzo are my favorites. I usually add some…

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3. 12 Minute Chicken
Use your microwave, and this recipe to poach enough chicken breasts for a couple of dinners. Great for salads and sandwiches.

4. Stock up on sandwich fixings, and toss a couple of extra loaves of bread in the freezer.

5. When the heat hits, both ice and bottled water will be at a premium, and likely limited to a couple of bags per purchase. Stock up now.

6. Likewise, the price of fresh fruit will likely go up (especially high water content items like melons, grapes, berries, etc.,) Buy extra and store in the fridge.

7. Deli meat is a life-saver.

Salads with deli-meat, chopped chicken, salad-shrimp, or some good canned tuna, and easy and refreshing.

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This Shrimp with Fresh Pico is a favorite.

My Sesame-Cilantro Slaw is lovely in hot weather, as well. 🙂

8. Keep some cherry tomatoes and sliced celery sticks in a pitcher of water, in the fridge, for snacking.

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9. The last thing you want to do, is kick-start the heat by cooking in the morning. If you’re not a cold cereal person, scramble up a big mess of eggs with some chopped bacon, onions, peppers, etc., and keep it in the fridge for a quick-nuke breakfast. Avoid using mushrooms, as they’ll get slimy.

10. Hard boil a dozen or more eggs, for a quick, cool, easy to peel protein source. Eat them straight-up, in salads, or as sandwiches.

11. If you must cook, use your crock-pot, or get up a couple of hours early, and cook while it’s still cool. Open the kitchen windows to let the heat out.

12. Invest in freezer pops!

As much as I hate to say it, don’t plan to BBQ or grill. 105F is too hot to be cooking outdoors, and standing over a grill in that heat it brutal (believe me, I know!)

13. This is a good time to invest in a rice cooker, and learn to make your own sushi! If that seems too daunting, toss up a sushi salad:

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Non-Food Tips

14. Toss some damp wash-clothes in a zip bag, and put them in the fridge. A cool cloth on the back of the neck (or anywhere else that’s overheated) is a wonderful thing.

15. Periodically, add some ice-cubes to your pet’s water bowl. Imagine wearing a fur coat in this heat!

16. Plan chores (especially outside chores) for early morning. Let the friggin’ grass grow, a perfect lawn isn’t worth heatstroke.

If like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon Page!

Lastly, and this is a personal note…

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17. Carry a small cooler of ice and bottled water in your passenger seat.

Keep an eye out for homeless folks at intersections and street-corners, and pass along a couple of cold bottles to them, when you can. (Your local homeless shelter is probably desperate for a case of three as well, just sayin’…)

This kind of heat can be miserable for all of us, but people who don’t have shelter can (and do) die in these kinds of temps. 

Stay cool!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com