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July 21, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker Sloppy Joe beef quesadillas

Slow cooker Sloppy Joe beef quesadillas. So easy!

Some dishes will never win a beauty contest. These slow cooker Sloppy Joe beef quesadillas may not take the swimsuit competition, but oh, they are good. And, like real Sloppy Joes, they're sufficiently messy to eat. You can cook the meat ahead of time, in your slow cooker, and freeze it in portions to fill quesadillas, tacos or burritos, whenever you want them. Add something green -- chopped avocado, lettuce, cilantro leaves -- or serve them with nothing more than melted cheese, and a bit of salsa on top. Summer should be just that easy.

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July 2, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker sweet coffee flank steak nachos {gluten-free}

Slow cooker sweet coffee flank steak nachos.

In the house where I grew up, there were no nachos. In fact, I can't remember ever having nachos until I went off to college, where my favorite near-campus bar served ooey-gooey-drippy-cheesy nachos with beer and free movies a couple of nights a week. I've eaten my share of nachos since those college days, but I don't make them at home, for the same reason I don't bake brownies every day: much too tempting. However, I've been experimenting a lot with coffee syrup while working on the Rhode Island Recipes cookbook, and when I made this slow cooker sweet coffee flank steak, I couldn't help turning it into these unusual nachos. The meat is so flavorful that you really don't need a lot of toppings, but who am I to stop you if you want to add some guacamole or sour cream?

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May 19, 2013

Cocoa powder (Recipe: cocoa-cumin-allspice rubbed rib-eye steak) {gluten-free}

First published in July 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos, links, and significant changes to the recipe, just in time for the holiday weekend. Get your grill on!

Get your grill on! Rib-eye steak rubbed with cocoa, cumin and allspice.

Sometimes I uncover an item in my pantry that's a bit of mystery. I know I should have it. In fact, I'm never without it. I just don't know why.

Cocoa powder is the mystery du jour.

What, exactly, is cocoa powder? What makes some of it Dutch-processed? Is natural cocoa powder better, or just different?

Here's what I've learned.

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May 14, 2013

Tomato sauce (Recipe: one-one-one spaghetti sauce) {gluten-free}

First published in February 2008, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and an important change to the recipe. I've been making a version of this sauce since my college days. Recently, I began adding one more "one" ingredient to make it even better, and eliminating one ingredient: the olive oil, which really isn't needed at all.

Spaghetti sauce made with one of everything, on The Perfect Pantry.

On the list of things without which my pantry feels incomplete, tomato sauce is somewhere in the middle.

I always have it, I always need it, I always use it. And yet, I'm not entirely sure what it is, and how it differs from the other canned, tubed, bottled, and boxed tomato products I always have, need, and use.

Right about now, you're probably adding up the number of tomato variations in your own pantry. Tomato paste? Chopped or diced tomatoes? Canned whole tomatoes? Maybe a jar or two of "emergency" prepared marinara sauce? Slow-roasted tomatoes in the freezer?

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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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