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Meet Natalie

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Natalie Perry of Perry's Plate.

This week, our featured member is a self-taught home cook who got her love of food from the southern women she grew up with, then fed it with endless hours of Food Network while her husband was deployed in Afghanistan. She’s funny, creative, passionate about the quality of food that she makes, and incredibly talented. Generous too, for sharing the recipes in her recipe box with us. Let’s all say hello to Natalie!

Natalie (Perrys’ Plate) is a full-time wife and mother. She met her husband in Russia (she says it’s a long story, but maybe we can prod her to spill some of it) and they’ve been married six years. They have two little girls, and live in California while her husband finishes chiropractic school.

Natalie confesses that she spends more time thinking about food than she likes to admit. All that thinking must be part of the reason she can get so creative with her dishes. A few weeks ago, she ran a Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto week in her blog, Perrys’ Plate, after realizing that her husband didn’t like sun-dried tomatoes and being stuck with a large warehouse-club-sized jar of it. So she made pesto, then proceeded to create six different dishes using the pesto. It made me hungry for sun-dried tomatoes all week.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Natalie Perry of Perry's Plate.Left column, top to bottom: Easy Homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Swiss Chard and Sun-Dried Tomato Skillet Mac. Center column, top to bottom: Spinach, Bacon and Feta Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, Sun-Dried Tomato Tuna Melts, and Balsamic Grilled Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. Right column, top to bottom: Creamy Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Fettucine and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus.

Natalie graduated from BYU with a degree in Travel and Tourism and a minor in German. “I should really get the award for the most useless diploma for a stay-at-home mom,” she says. She loves spending time in the kitchen because it allows her “to taste and create a lot of different things in a relatively short amount of time, compared to, say, furniture restoration or needlework.” As a bonus, it makes her feel like a multitasking superstar to be able to get creative in the kitchen while also feeding her family.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Natalie Perry of Perry's Plate.Clockwise from left: Coconut Curry with Cauliflower, Carrots, and Chickpeas, Steak-Inspired Slow-Cooked Beef, Spicy Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash over Creamy Polenta, and Grilled Chicken Salad with Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette.

When it comes to specific ingredients or favorite foods, Natalie loves bacon, and is almost convinced that it can find a home in any recipe. She especially likes it with sweet potatoes or butternut squash (her Bacon, Kale, and Sweet Potato Breakfast Burritoslook absolutely scrumptious). She can’t do without fresh onions and garlic, saying “I feel blind/baked/armless without them.” She also loves the brightness that vinegars and fresh citrus bring to a recipe.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Natalie Perry of Perry's Plate.Clockwise from left: Natalie’s prize-winning Coco-Kiwi Mango Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps, Nutty Lemon-Herb Brown Rice with Avocado, Mayo-Free Egg Salad, and Garlic Bread with Bacon, Greens and Provolone.

As for professional chefs or food celebrities, she likes Tyler Florence. “He emphasizes the importance of quality ingredients and goes the extra mile to create the best flavors in a dish.” Of course, having grown up with those food-loving southern women, she is also greatly inspired by her Grandma Inez, who taught her not to be afraid of bacon grease. Grandma Inez also taught her some pretty wicked looking desserts, including an “Impossible Pie” that creates its own crust. One thing Natalie is adamant about: “When I want a dessert, I want a dessert.

Of course, some of her breafkast items look good enough to be eaten as dessert, too.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Natalie Perry of Perry's Plate.Clockwise from left: Grandma Inez’s Impossible Pie, Grandma Inez’s Pineapple Pie, Toasted Coconut Cheesecake Cups, Spiced Carrot Waffles, and Blueberry-Lavender Ricotta Pancakes.

Those are just a few of the goodies in Natalie’s recipe box. But enough of me talking. Let’s get to my favorite part of these posts, when we ask all kinds of questions and hear directly from our featured member. The floor’s yours, Natalie!

Q: What is your go-to dish or meal?
A: I make a lot of sweet potato fries because my kids inhale them, and I often marinate and grill chicken to cut up and throw on some salad greens. (Luckily my husband is a salad man. When we go to a restaurant, he’s more likely to order a salad and I’m the one who gets a burger and fries. We frequently have to switch our plates around after the server leaves.)

Q: What is the strangest food or food combo that you enjoy?
A: Oh my. When I was living at home we’d mix a little ranch dressing into some cottage cheese and dip Baked Lays into it. It’s a lot more amazing than it sounds.

Q: Do you have a memorable kitchen disaster?
A: During the first semester at college, my roommate and I wanted to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving. We got to the point where we needed to put the turkey in the oven bag, so one of us held the bag (just open over the floor, like a trick-or-treat bag … do you see where this is going?), and the other “dropped” the turkey in. The bottom of the bag gave out and the turkey ended up sliding across the kitchen floor. We laughed, rinsed the turkey off and grabbed another bag. (Thank goodness those come in pairs.) No harm done.

Q: What gives you the most trouble in the kitchen?
A: It has to be melting and dipping things in chocolate. I’ve had so much chocolate seize up and rarely do the things I dip end up looking smooth and shiny. It’s a huge mess.

Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
A: Hands down, my Lamson-Sharp santuko knife. It makes cooking so much more enjoyable when you can slice through produce effortlessly. I am quite clumsy, though, and have almost cut clear through the tip of my thumb, halfway into my thumbnail. Twice. In the exact same place. (The second cut is healing as we speak.) I make a conscious effort to tuck my thumb in now when I’m chopping.

Q: Give us one of your favorite kitchen tips that you wish you’d always known.
A: Using open ramekins for salt. I can’t believe how much of a time saver it is. I hated digging out my salt box every time I needed more than a shake. I also like feeling the salt in my fingers and having more control over how much goes in.

Q: What food item do you always make at home and never buy at the store anymore?
A: I make a big batch of roasted garlic pasta sauce and freeze it into quart-sized Ziploc bags. I use it in pasta dishes as well as on pizzas. It’s great. I also make my own taco seasoning. I should really post that on Tasty Kitchen. No one has put cocoa in theirs yet, have they?


Thank you for answering our questions, Natalie! And I know I won’t be the only one waiting for that taco seasoning recipe.

To see all of Natalie’s recipes here at Tasty Kitchen, check out her ever-growing recipe box. Then head to her blog Perrys’ Plate for even more of her dishes, wit, and mouthwatering food photography. Natalie says she loves to cook something new every day, and if you’re the same way, your family will love you for making her dishes some of the new additions to your repertoire.



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debbieh500 on 7.8.2010

All the recipes look wonderful, I can’t wait to try them.

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RestrainedChaos on 6.27.2010

These look like wonderful recipes. I don’t know why, but I’m always surprised when I find out people on the blogs I read are LDS or have gone to BYU. I liked them before, but that makes it extra special for me.
Actually the most useless stay-at-home mom degree: Latin with a history minor. ;)

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Natalie | Perry's Plate on 6.25.2010

I did learn how to make chili from scratch while living in Austria, but that was from the American girl I was living with :) I also learned more about using fresh produce, particularly making pasta dishes and of course, making Austrian food. I also discovered Nutella, which has become a common craving of mine.

Amber Polk on 6.24.2010

I love the idea of premaking and freezing pasta sauce! Your dishes look fantastic.

Did you learn any of your recipes or styles from your trips abroad?

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Natalie | Perry's Plate on 6.23.2010

Thank you soufflebombay…that means a lot. :)

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soufflebombay on 6.23.2010

Beautiful dishes Natalie, thanks so much for sharing!
And from my family to yours sincere thanks for the sacrifice you, your kids and husband make to keep mine safe.

April on 6.22.2010

I’ve made and used the taco seasoning and it’s WONDERFUL! I love the addition of the cocoa powder. Girl, get that posted ASAP!

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Natalie | Perry's Plate on 6.22.2010

@ Rebecca — That dish would be great in the fall. We’ve been struggling to get out of the 60s all spring and I forget that people in other parts of the country are already in swimsuits.

Ya, theater is for sure on that list. Haha… although, do you think it helps when dealing with drama at home? JK

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Rebecca on 6.22.2010

Oh! And another round of “you’re awesome, Erika!”. You always make it so fun to learn about our fellow members.

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Rebecca on 6.22.2010

That sausage and sweet potato hash over creamy polenta looks like the ultimate in fall comfort food. Come ON Fall. I want to try that when I’m not dripping sweat… Sorry.

I really enjoyed learning more about you Natalie. I might be able to rival your least-practical stay-at-home-mom college major; Theater. Oh yeah.

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cookbooknbead on 6.22.2010

I never heard of the the cottage cheese/ranch dip until I met my roommate – Love it now!

Will be making the grilled chicken/chipotle lime salad soon.


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sweetebakes on 6.22.2010

Sweet potato fries are one of my go-tos as well! And I can’t wait to try out your bacon, spinach and feta pizza! YUMO.

Jennifer H on 6.22.2010

It’s great to see a fellow BYU alum on here! I can’t wait to try the swiss chard mac dish and roasted garlic pasta sauce. Congrats on being featured!

Marisa on 6.22.2010

In fact, I do put cocoa into my enchilada sauce and chili!

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Natalie | Perry's Plate on 6.21.2010

Sare – Aw… thanks :) *hugs*

Kathie – I can’t wait to meet you, too. Where do you guys live? “Perry Butt”… LOL. I’ve never heard that! I wouldn’t worry too much about Steve, though. He’s somehow managed to lose about 25 lbs since we moved to California and he keeps my baking impulses in check. (Which is nice because other wise we both might have the “butt”. :))

Kathie on 6.21.2010

I can’t wait to meet you, Carrie & I drool over your recipes! Better watch out, my cousin may end up with the “Perry Butt” if you keep feeding him so well!

Sasha @ Global Table Adventure on 6.21.2010

Mmm those pancakes look super tasty :) My husband would be all over them.

Sarah on 6.21.2010

That’s my BFF!!! Seriously, even if I didn’t have the privilege of knowing her personally, I would still love her food. It is amazing. Honestly all of her recipes are gold stars!

Georgia Pellegrini on 6.21.2010

Looks like you have a lot of creative energy when it comes to food and cooking for your family. Keep it up!

Memoria on 6.21.2010

LOL @ the Thanksgiving disaster story. Thanks for introducing her to us. The dishes look amazing.

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Natalie | Perry's Plate on 6.21.2010

Thanks Tina. I’m glad, too. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 years since he came home. He’s completely out of the military now, so there’s no chance of re-deployment. :)

Oh ya, the story… I went to Moscow fall of ’00 to teach English with a volunteer program and Steve was there as a missionary for the LDS church. We talked a couple of times but nothing big. I left to come home after 4 months and continued to write him as he finished his service. He came home, then I left for a similar mission to Austria for 18 months. He wrote me while I was gone, then finally we were able to date when I got back and were married within 6 months, 2 years after we met and struck up a pen-pal relationship. (Only to have him leave 4 months after we were married for an 18-month deployment overseas. We’re pretty good at keeping a good long-distant relationship!)

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DessertForTwo on 6.21.2010

Hi Natalie! I’ve been a long-time fan of yours–it’s great to see you featured! I didn’t know your husband was in the military–that’s awesome! Tell him THANKS FOR SERVING :) Glad he’s home safe!

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Natalie | Perry's Plate on 6.21.2010

Great job Erika!!! Thanks again for featuring me!

Window On The Prairie on 6.21.2010

The slow cooked beef looks delish!
Suzanne- Window On The Prairie

Jessica @ How Sweet on 6.21.2010

Perfect! I also love to cook something new everyday. In fact, I crave it. I get bored easily. :)