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A note to readers: For the next several months, a bit of medical mischief (new hips! new knees!) will knock me off my feet. To get ready, I've been cooking up a storm, and I have a summer's worth of brand new recipes to share with you. Though I might not be in the kitchen or scouring local markets for new pantry ingredients, and blog posts might not always reach you on their usual days, I'll be here, responding to comments, answering questions, and working on ebooks. (Truth? I'll probably be reading legal thrillers and binge-watching Modern Family, and maybe Mad Men, again.) To make sure you never miss a recipe, use the box at right to sign up for free email updates.

May 22, 2014

Seven super recipes for grilled boneless chicken or turkey breasts {gluten-free}

Grilled tamarind chicken breasts, made with tamarind concentrate from the supermarket. #chicken #grilling

At a holiday barbecue, it's always good to offer a chicken option for your guests who don't eat red meat. Preparing chicken for the grill is so easy. In most cases, a marinade of a few hours (or overnight) is all that's needed, along with a vigilant eye at grilling time  -- and a willingness to poke the chicken with your finger -- to make sure it doesn't overcook. You can even grill most of these recipes ahead of time, which makes your life easier and leaves more room on the grill for those last-minute burgers or tofu hot dogs. Use frozen chicken breasts from your pantry, or buy a boneless, skinless turkey breast at the supermarket; then mix and match the marinades, as any of the ones for chicken will be just as good on turkey. Note: the marinades are naturally gluten-free when you use gluten-free condiments, such as tamari soy sauce. Now, get your grill on!

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May 20, 2014

Seven super salad recipes for holiday BBQ and potluck

Corn and black bean salad with sweet lime dressing. #salad #vegan #glutenfree

When I'm hosting a party, it's never a potluck. I guess this marks me as a control freak, but when I'm organizing a meal, I like to know what will be on the table. However, invite me to bring a dish to a barbecue or potluck, and I'll happily oblige. A few basic questions (main dish or side salad? food allergies or aversions?) help me select a recipe to make. This summer, if you invite me, you'll likely get one of these seven super salads (a few are sides, and a few are main dish salads) for your holiday meal.

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May 18, 2014

Slow cooker chunky marinara sauce, with tomatoes, bell pepper and onions {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker chunky marinara sauce recipe, with any kind of pasta. #pasta #vegetarian

Two weeks ago my husband Ted spent a few days battling a nasty Spring cold. I plied him with soup, soup and more soup, but there came a moment when neither of us could stand the sight of another bowl of it. With comfort food on my mind, I ransacked the pantry and found all of the ingredients for this recipe, a very traditional meatless marinara sauce. I tossed everything into the slow cooker for six hours; then I added the magic ingredient, the rind from a small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and continued to cook the sauce for an additional two hours. (For a vegan sauce, simply omit the cheese rind.) You can make this marinara recipe exactly the same way in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, except that you'll have to stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking. Pour the sauce over a bowl of spaghetti or gluten-free pasta, top with more parmesan cheese, and let the comforting begin.

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May 17, 2014

The Pantry Quiz #87

Kosher salt

Multiple Choice

[This weekend my husband Ted and I are in San Francisco, visiting our cousins Ben and Sandra. Ben is a chemist, so he's got an advantage here, but if you took chemistry in high school, you're ready for this quiz.] Salt might be the world's most common seasoning, found in everyone's pantry. I've got several types of salt on hand at all times. So, today's question: what is the chemical composition of kosher salt?

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May 15, 2014

Pasta with Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, onions and bell pepper in white wine mustard sauce {vegetarian}

Pasta with Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and bell pepper in a white wine mustard sauce. #pasta

Somewhere in the world, there's a retail marketing genius I need to thank. I don't know who came up with the idea to thinly slice Brussels sprouts and sell them in a bag in the produce department of my local supermarket, but my hat's off to that person. Although I've never been crazy about whole Brussels sprouts, I've incorporated these shaved sprouts in lots of recipes, like this Brussels sprouts and bacon quiche and Brussels and broccoli with maple vinaigrette. All it takes is a quick rinse, and a trim of any woody stems, and you have ready-to-cook tender bits of Brussels sprouts. For this dish, use any long noodle like spaghetti or angel hair pasta; I've used curly ramen noodles, just for fun. Wouldn't this be a perfect recipe for Meatless Monday?

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives. Thanks so much for visiting.

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