February 15, 2015

Salsa verde turkey and brown rice bowl with avocado and cheese {gluten-free}

Salsa verde turkey and brown rice bowl, topped with avocado and cheese, makes a perfect one-dish meal.

When I set out to create a recipe for The Perfect Pantry, I often begin by jotting down ingredients and the quantities of each that I think will bring the dish to life. As I cook, I adjust and fine-tune. When the recipe works, you see it here. When it doesn't, I go back to the drawing board and start again. In the first notes about this salsa verde turkey, I was certain I'd add a can of chopped green chiles. Fortunately -- and here is the important lesson -- I tasted the salsa first. I used a jar of Trader Joe's Hatch Valley Salsa, a hot-hot-hot green chile salsa, and it was plenty hot enough for me. In the recipe, I caution you to taste your green salsa, as there are so many varieties of store-bought salsa that will be great in this recipe. Use a mild tomatillo salsa, or an incendiary one; it doesn't matter, as long as it's green, and you like the taste.

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January 18, 2015

Turkey, brie, roasted red pepper and arugula panini with honey mustard sauce

Turkey, creamy brie, roasted red pepper, spicy arugula: piled into one great sandwich!

Nothing, but nothing, beats a really great grilled cheese sandwich. If you've seen the movie Chef, you know how much of an event a grilled cheese sandwich can be. Like the dad in the movie, my father was our family's official grilled cheese master, carefully buttering white bread, precisely positioning a few square slices of yellow cheese, pressing it flat under a plate in a frying pan on the stove, tending it until the bread turned perfectly golden. Well, that was a bit of heaven to me. Nowadays my grilled cheese creations tend to end up in the panini press, and there's usually more between the pieces of bread than just one type of cheese. Greens, meats, multiple cheeses, roasted vegetables: anything goes. In this sandwich, the honey-mustard sauce marries the mild turkey and cheese with the spicy arugula and red pepper. You can swap rotisserie chicken for the turkey.

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January 11, 2015

Slow cooker chicken stew with onions, mushrooms, and at least 40 cloves of garlic

The more garlic, the merrier in this crockpot chicken stew.

Cross a traditional French coq au vin, chicken with forty cloves of garlic, and old-fashioned chicken stew, and only good things can happen. And then, add more garlic! This recipe sprung from my husband Ted's craving for chicken stew, a half bottle of unspectacular red wine that needed to be used, and my own wish to toss something into the slow cooker that would make the house smell wonderful all day. Please don't be afraid of the amount of garlic in this recipe; it mellows and sweetens with the long cooking, and is essential to the success of the dish. Serve the stew on its own, or over rice or egg noodles, with a bowl of sliced crusty bread for mopping up every last bit of the sauce. Like all stews, it's wonderful on the day you make it, and even more wonderful the following day.

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December 28, 2014

Mango-jalapeño turkey meatballs

Healthy baked mango-jalapeno turkey meatballs. #appetizer

For the past few years, before he retired, my husband Ted spent several nights each week in Boston, where he had no kitchen save for a tiny fridge and microwave. So, for the past few years, I would cook on the weekends and send him off for the week with bags and containers of frozen food, including tons of turkey meatballs. Ted's favorite way to eat them was in a bowl of crispy salad, which I have to admit tasted pretty good. One week, I hadn't cooked anything, and he'd run out of frozen meatballs, so we headed to the market and found mango-jalapeño chicken meatballs. Oh, so good. After all, they were loaded with sweet mango and brown sugar! I decided to adapt the concept to my basic turkey meatball formula, by adding a bit more heat and reducing the sugar. Ted loved these little sweet-hot meatballs in his salad; I served them as an appetizer, alongside chunks of crunchy jicama. I think they'd make a great starter at a New Year's Eve party. Look for cans of mango nectar in the Latin foods aisle at the grocery store.

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November 28, 2014

Spicy turkey, bell pepper and noodle stir-fry

Spicy turkey, bell pepper and noodle stir fry: make it with leftover turkey and lots of heat.

Two things about our typical Thanksgiving feast contribute to my craving for this particular way to use leftovers: the meal is overwhelmingly brown (turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing), and it's overwhelmingly family-friendly and spicy-free. So, after cooking and eating brown food for days, all I want is heat. Spicy heat. Chile pepper heat. And a little bit of bright color. Oh, and noodles. So easy to accomplish with leftover shredded turkey, dried noodles from the pantry, and a few other fridge bits.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • 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.

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