Instant dinners, hot and healthy!


Quick Dinner Tip:

Not enough time to make a hot, healthy, and delicious dinner after work?

To rushed to make it ahead, in the morning?


Using a slow-cooker with a removable insert, mix up your ingredients the night before, separate the meat and veggies in two zip-bags, place in the insert and top with the lid,  and put it in the fridge. In the morning, just pop the insert back into the slow cooker, cover with lid, and set it for an 8-hour cook! Chilling the insert gives you a little lee-way in the cooking time. As most folks work an 8-hour shift, this allows for a bit of commute time without over-cooking the meal.

  • Tip #1: Take the insert out of the fridge, as soon as you get up, and let it rest on the counter-top until right before you leave.
  • Tip #2: If you’re recipe calls for a six-hour cook time, leave the insert in the fridge until right before you leave, and cut any vegetables slightly larger than the recipe calls for.

Most recipes that call for a 4-hr cook time on HIGH, turn out just as tasty at 8-hrs on LOW.

If you don’t own a slow-cooker, you can do the same thing with a heavy, lidded casserole dish or dutch oven, following the same steps and cooking at 200F in the oven. See more in my last post, “Converting Crock-pot Recipes for the Oven.

A hot dinner for the family, and the house will smell wonderful when you walk in the door…you might even be able to put your feet up for a few minutes!

Here are some of my favorite slow cooker dinner recipes…

Crock Pot “Baked” Potatoes
Roast Beef Po’ Boy
Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew
Perfect Pot Roast

~Chef Perry

 Home Chef Cookbooks


Bacon Burgers with Creamy Bleu Sauce

Bacon Bleu Burger

A nice juicy medium-rare bacon-mushroom-swiss has always been my go-to burger, but this Bacon & Bleu might just give it a run for it’s money!

The blue-cheese sauce is amazing, and would make an ideal crudites dip, as well.

Bacon Burgers with Creamy Bleu Sauce

  • 1-1/3 pounds lean ground beef patties* (80/20% lean)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted on grill.
  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • Additional slices of cooked pepper bacon to add whole (optional)

*Take your burgers up a notch by using your own custom burger blend.

Here’s mine, using brisket, sirloin, and bacon!

Creamy Bleu Cheese Sauce

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 slices of thick bacon, cooked crisp and chopped

Combine the cream cheese, blue cheese and chopped, cooked bacon. Set aside at room temp.

Spread each bottom bun with mayo, and top with lettuce, then tomato.

Salt and grill the beef patties, and sprinkle each with a little garlic powder, as it comes off the grill, then place on the bottom buns, on top of the tomatoes. Spoon the bacon-cheese spread the top of grilled burger patties.

Top with remaining buns.

Get out there and grill!

~Chef Perry

PS ~ For even more BBQ and grilling articles and recipes, check out my outdoor cooking blog at



4th of July Grilling Party Menu

Here’s the menu (and recipes) for my”4th of July BBQ Party” raffle winners, Ron & Karen Wilkinson!

If you were there, thanks again!

*This menu was designed to serve 40.


  • Bacon Wrapped Pickles
  • Dragon Claws
  • Bacon Wrapped Pork Loins (whole)
  • Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Maque Choux
  • Sesame Cilantro Slaw


Bacon Wrapped Pickle Spears

  • 60 “Crunchy Dill” pickle spear
  • 60 slice of thin-sliced bacon (I like the double smoked apple-wood.)
  • You favorite brand of Buttermilk Ranch dressing, for dipping
  • 60 toothpicks

Pre-heat the grill.

Follow video instructions for prep, and grill over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp.

Serve hot, with cold Ranch Dressing for dipping.


Ultimate Bacon-Garlic Pork Loin Roast

BRINE (for both)

  • 1 gallon water                         
  • 1 cup salt.
  • 1 cup sugar

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. When done with the brine, remove from brine, rinse under running water and pat dry. You may season some at this point but DO NOT ADD SALT if you brine.

  • 20 pounds pork loin not tenderloin                
  • 28 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper         
  • 2 teaspoon paprika


Grill pork loin over direct heat just to sear on all sides.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Mix the seasonings in small bowl and rub it on the pork. Coat with the garlic on top of the fat cap.

Lay out your bacon on a large cutting board, edges touching, to the length of yoru pork loin. Set the roast in the lower third of the bacon and wrap the bacon, one slice at a time, over the roast, securing both ends at the side of the roast.

Add the pork loin to a baking pan, on a rack, and insert your thermometer probe in one end.

Cook the pork for 60-75 minutes or until it has reached a temperature of 145F.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing & serving.

Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon

  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1/4 cup McCormick’s Maple Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • 2 (10lb) salmon fillets with skin (1 1/2 0- 2in. thick)
  • Cedar grilling planks (about 15 by 6 inches)

Soak your cedar grilling plank(s) in water to cover 2 hours, keeping it immersed.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure . Open vents on bottom and lid of charcoal grill.

Portion your salmon filets as large as possible, but still fitting the on the planks.

Stir together (warmed) honey, McCormick seasoning, salt and pepper. Spread mixture on flesh side of salmon and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.

Put salmon on plank, skin side down (if salmon is too wide for plank, fold in thinner side to fit). Grill directly over hot coals, covered with lid, until salmon is just cooked through and edges are browned, 13 to 15 minutes.

Let salmon stand on plank 5 minutes before serving.


Maque Choux with Bacon

Any Southerner worth his Moon Pie knows that bacon and corn go great together. I mean, bacon goes great with just about everything, sure, but pair it with fresh, sweet corn and you really have something special!

This old school, simple side-dish is one of my all-time favorites. Corn and bacon drippings with onion and bell pepper, topped with crispy bits of bacon.

If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, something inside of you has died.

  • 48 cups fresh sweet corn kernels                           
  • 2 lbs bacon
  • 4 1/2 cups chopped sweet onions (3 large)                       
  • 3 cup chopped red, yellow, bell pepper
  • 3 tsp. salt                                                              
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper                                
  • 12 firm Roma tomatoes
  • 2 cup chopped green onions                                 
  • 4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tbs sweet cream butter

Cut the sweet corn from the cobs. Chop the sweet onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, pat dry, crumble and set aside. Pour off the melted fat, leaving a thin layer in the pan.

Add the remaining ingredients (except corn & cilantro) to the bacon drippings and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often, over medium heat.

Pour the cooked ingredients into a baking dish. Stir in the raw corn, green onions, and reserved bacon. Let rest 2-3 minutes, and serve, topped with fresh cilantro.

If using frozen corn, pop the pan in a 350F oven for 15 minutes, before serving.

IMG_3499-800x600Sesame-Cilantro Slaw

  • 30 cups slaw mix                                       
  • 20 Tbs rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 40 Tbs Best Foods mayonnaise                 
  • 40 tsp sugar substitute
  • 20 tsp black pepper                                   
  • 40 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 10 cups fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mayo, sugar sub, and pepper until smooth. Add cabbage and cilantro, and toss to coat well.

Chill 20 minutes.

In the meantime, toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, until golden and aromatic. Set aside to cool.

When ready to served, give the slaw a stir, spoon onto plates (or sandwiches) and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.




It’s the shame that makes it taste so good…

guilty pleasure food

People who love to cook, and Chef’s and professional cooks especially, know that we’re judged by what we eat, or at least my what we ADMIT we eat. 😉

be-honest-is-this-too-much-lettuce-because-bacon-7079897Based on the types of memes that readers share on my Facebook pages, it seems like most folks think I live solely on bacon and brisket, and little else. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a middle-aged chef, who wants to be an OLD chef, I don’t eat bacon nearly as often as I post about it which, in a strange way, seems to make it taste better the few times a month that I indulge.

Brisket, I smoke maybe 5-6 a year, which makes upwards of 30 meals for my family of three.

Another thing that those of us who excessively (or annoyingly) post recipes and photos of our better creations can attest to, it that we don’t get invited over for dinner much.

By the way…our pride is our downfall, as our friends and family tend to think that they can’t cook as good, or at least as fancy, as we do, and are maybe a little intimidated to serve their own “home cooked” favorites to us.

Again, not true…

If you play the classic “What’s your death-row meal” with 10 cooks, 8 or 9 of the responses are going to be a simple, inexpensive, home-cooked dish that our moms or grandmas cooked for us, and not some Thomas Keller 22-course tasting menu, as five-hundred bucks a pop.

Most of us love the same foods you do, and we LOVE to have other folks cook for us.

Likewise, Chef’s especially, often have a laundry list of some of the nastiest, unhealthy, processed comfort foods on their “guilty pleasures” list, even as we preach natural, organic, farm-to-table menus to the masses.

We just don’t talk about it, and we don’t post THOSE pictures. 😉

Top 3 on MY Guilt Pleasure list:

Earns KraftBoxed Mac & Cheese
I grew up on this glowing orange stable of the American pantry.

And not the “good stuff” either, but the store-brand, ten for a buck, boxes of stale macaroni, and powdered “cheez food”. Loved it then, love it now.

Disclaimer: I’ve upgraded Mom’s “water and margarine” version with whole milk, sweet cream butter, and sometimes a handful of extra-sharp cheddar, but it’s still basically the same stuff.

ravygaly2Canned Ravioli and Sauce
No explanation. Didn’t eat it growing up, and only discovered it in college when my kitchen was reduced to a hot plate and tiny microwave (both hidden under my bed, as both were against the rules…screw “the man”).

I still like it straight-up, 2 minutes in the nuke-box, right from the bowl, or stuffed into soft potato rolls.

Some of my fellow-students would eat it cold, straight from the can, but I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t want us to do that.

Microwave Bean & Cheese Burritos
photoThese are my go-to “I’ve been writing for 12 hours and I can’t leave my laptop” meal (in fact, it was lunch today).

I always have a stack of them in the low-boy freezer next to my desk. Wrap in paper-towels, nuke two minutes, and slather in Taco Bell Fire Sauce (God help me), and…if I’m feelin’ fancy, a fistful of queso…they’ve kept me going through many a nail-biting deadline.

How about you?

What are YOUR favorite convenience or comfort foods that you relish with a fair spoonful of shame?

What’s your guilty pleasure?

~Chef Perry

The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenAnd…in complete contradiction to this post… 😉

We are entering the age of the “Home Chef”, a title that’s available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.


Chef Perry P. Perkins


The King is Dead. Anthony Bourdain gone at 61


“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed pope-mobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head?

I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”

~ Anthony Bourdain

Like most of the food world, I was shocked and saddened by the morning’s report of Anthony Bourdain’s death in a Paris hotel-room.

My (completely one-sided) relationship with Bourdain has always been conflicted. I can think of no other public figure in my life of whom I have, over a great deal of time, been so equally drawn to, and repulsed by.

His snarky, “New York Bad-ass” persona, far-left leanings, and compulsion for adolescent penis-humor, have more than once found me turning off his shows, mid-stream, muttering angrily to myself. And yet his obvious and hard-earned culinary skills, his love of adventure, his amazing mastery of the written word, and those few and (seemingly) far between “peek-behind-the-veil” moments of a deep ability to love, of great compassion, of fierce loyalty to his “crew”, always drew me back.


And maybe it was that – those brief glimpses of vulnerability and heart, that kept me from being able to quit Tony.

“He was a Hero of Human Curiosity.” ~ CNN

a5fc09fb5af9a23abc2bffee407f89cdI’ve read all of his books, and watched every episode of every series, and for every instance in which he’s pissed me off, there are an equal number (probably more) of moments where he taught me something shockingly important, broadened my worldview, or pointed me down a new path of personal growth and adventure.

His no-compromise, “This is who I am, and fuck you if you don’t like it…” approach to life, resonates deeply with my own, often pig-headed, take me or leave me, attitude.

And, in that, I’m unsure whether Tony was was an inspiration to me, or an enabler of my own selfish hubris.

Like family, sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but most often you float somewhere in the nebulous ether between the two.

What I do know is that I’ll miss him greatly.


Wherever you have moved on to, Tony, I hope you’ve found peace…and a good bowl of Pho.

~Chef Perry

My Mama’s Favorite Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

Hot Roast Beef Sandwich

636114443114791851--1-Kresge-s-Lunch-counter-sheboyganToday would have been my Mama’s 73rd birthday and, like we did every year on her birthday (and every year since she moved to Heaven) we’ll be having her very favorite dinner… a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich.

This was also our traditional meal at the Newberry’s lunch counter in Downtown Portland every Christmas season, when we made our annual trek to the “big city” to see the window displays, ride the Christmas monorail, and get my picture taken with Santa.


Every bite of the delicious comfort food dinner brings a wave of happy childhood memories.

Mama’s Favorite Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1/2 bunch of celery, leaves removed
1 sweet onion, peeled, ends trimmed, quartered root to stem
1/2 lb white mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 lbs beef top round roast
4 garlic cloves, halved
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/2 cup red wine
1 stick butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. browning liquid
8 slices white bread, for serving
Creamy Mashed Potatoes

The Roast

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onion in the bottom of a roasting pan, and add wine and just enough water to just cover the vegetables.

Poke 8 holes in the sides and top of your roast and inster the the garlic pieces. Rub the whole roast with oil and sprinnkle generously on all sides with steak seasoning.

tritip6Over medium-high heat, heat a dry skilliet for 5-8 minutes and sear all sides of the roast until well browned.

Place the roast on top of the veggies (do not wash the skillet – we’ll use it again), cover the pan with foil, and roast until the meat reaches 130F (about 2 hours). Move the roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then move to the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

IMG_4515The Gravy

Strain the roasting-pan juices; discard the vegetables (do not wipe out the pan!) Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour to make a roux, and whisk until the roux is a golden brown, and smells nutty. Slowly whisk the roasting pan juices and the browning liquid, and simmer until thickened, whisking constantly.

Slice the roast beef as thin as possible, and add the slices to the hot gravy. Set a slice of bread on each plate, and heap with beef gravy mixture.


Top the beef with another slice and bread, add potatoes to the plate, and ladle the remaining gravy on top.

Happy birthday, Mama!

~Chef Perry

The Home Chef: Transforming the American KitchenWe are entering the age of the “Home Chef”, a title that’s available to nearly everyone, regardless of age, or financial standing.

That’s what this book is about…because something amazing has begun to happen in the last two decades, something that has never before happened in the history of cooking…instead of growing wider, the gap between the home cook and the professional chef has actually begun to narrow, and continues to narrow exponentially with each passing year.

The time when these specialized skills were limited to those who could afford the cost and time required for culinary school are quickly passing into history.

The time when the sole requirement to elevate your cooking skills to this level…passion…is emerging.

It’s an amazing time to become a Home Chef…and if you have that passion, I’ll show you how.


Chef Perry P. Perkins





Who to Believe…

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Rule #1 when fact-checking a “warning” post…is the site that the article is posted on trying to sell you something? A book? An online course? A membership?

And, especially in the case of food warnings…a cookbook, supplement, or pill to replace the “bad” food?

80% of sales is pure BS, and the other 20% is misleading statistics. 😉

Rules of thumb:

  1. If the site is advertising a product to replace the thing they’re warning you about…close the window.
  2. If there are no links, or specific references to legitimate studies and supporting evidence…close the window.
  3. If all of the posts on the site are on the same subject, ie: “The evils of…” close the window. (I call these “ax-grinders”)
  4. If a high percentage of the posts on the site seem to be making outlandish claims on a variety of subjects…close the window. (tin-foil hat blogs)
  5. Click Bait: If th site is peppered with lots of “Sponsored ads”, there’s a good chance the article is pure click-bait.
  6. Sensational subject lines: “5 Things your eating that will kill you…”, “Eat ***** everyday to avoid Alzheimers”, “The Cure for Cancer, Found!” Again, click-bait.


You want reliable, established sites with plenty of verifiable evidence from professional sources. Like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t get hooked.

~Chef Perry