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October 29, 2014

Apple raisin walnut spice muffins

Apple raisin walnut spice muffins, for Thanksgiving or for afternoon tea.


First, I have to tell you that these muffins freeze well. I know that because the only way my husband Ted and I could stop eating them was to hide them way in the back of the freezer, out of sight and buried too deeply for an easy grab. I have a soft spot for baked apples and the aroma that permeates the house when I have anything apple in the oven. Even more, I love muffins that can be baked ahead and frozen. We first served these spice muffins for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, as a perfect bite of sweetness on the dinner buffet table, and again for breakfast the following morning. They would be lovely for afternoon tea, or on the brunch menu, too. If you keep powdered buttermilk in your refrigerator, you can substitute that for fresh buttermilk; buy an apple or two, and pull all of the remaining ingredients from your pantry shelves. The batter comes together quickly, and in less than an hour from start to finish, you can fill your house with the perfume of baking apples. If you have more willpower than we do, the muffins will last for two days in an airtight container on your kitchen counter.

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October 26, 2014

Egg and cheese breakfast casserole with butternut squash, bell pepper and leeks {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Egg and cheese breakfast casserole with butternut squash, bell pepper and leeks. #meatlessmonday #glutenfree #vegetarian

In my house, we're big on breakfast-for-dinner. We also love breakfast in the morning, at brunch, and for light lunches. Whether I'm feeding a crowd, or just want to cook once and make enough for several breakfast portions during the week, I love egg and cheese casseroles. Mix in any vegetables you have on hand (use up leftover steamed or roasted vegetables, if you have those). Stir in some beans, or shrimp, or roast chicken. Play with color. For this casserole, I started with half of a butternut squash left from a soup-making day. Using the large-holed side of a box grater, I (carefully!) shredded the squash so it would cook quickly and evenly. Red bell pepper added sweetness and color, and the one leek (also left from soup-making) contributed its own sweet onion flavor. In my egg casseroles, I often prefer a store-bought low-fat Italian cheese blend; you can swap in shredded mozzarella and provolone mixed with a bit of parmesan cheese. Served with crusty bread and a simple green salad, this vegetarian dish would be perfect for Meatless Monday.

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October 25, 2014

Bacon: like or dislike?

Bacon-and-egg-tartine-bacon-only

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. Do you like, dislike, love, crave, despise, wish for, use in your own kitchen? The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell!

Bacon. In my non-pork-eating world, it's the one salty, fatty, forbidden exception. I can't imagine a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich without it. Or bacon guacamole. Or bacon jam. My husband Ted goes for pancakes and bacon, and an amazing creation called The Obama from the market across the street from our Boston apartment: turkey, provolone cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato and mayo, piled on grilled bread. (Is this the president's favorite sandwich? I don't know.) I'm not really a bacon and eggs person, but I tuck a crispy slice of bacon into a breakfast burrito every now and then.

Bacon: like or dislike?

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October 22, 2014

Traditional turkey meatloaf

Traditional turkey meatloaf with a ketchup glaze.

In the house where I grew up, my mother was a big-time name dropper when it came to what we ate. Our tuna was Bumble Bee, our bread was Wonder (yes, really), and our ketchup was Heinz. Always. And, though Wonder Bread is long gone from my pantry and I don't eat much canned tuna, I'm still a Heinz girl. When my husband Ted requested a turkey meatloaf, I considered many of the same flavor combinations I love in turkey meatballs, but in the end, I went traditional (almost) all the way, with ketchup as one of the primary seasonings. Any brand of ketchup will work; just make sure the one you choose is more tangy than sweet. Greek yogurt helps keep the meatloaf moist, and an egg holds it together. This turkey meatloaf passed the most important test; it sliced perfectly for sandwiches on the next day. Make it ahead and stash it in the freezer for a night when you don't have time to cook. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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