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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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October 12, 2014

Basque chicken with bell pepper and tomato {gluten-free}

Basque chicken baked with bell peppers and tomato. #glutenfree

The older I get, the more I like to keep my cooking simple. Honestly, I like to keep everything simple. So, when I revisited this recipe for chicken basquaise, originally published in 2007, I knew I could streamline the steps without sacrificing any of the flavor. The Espelette pepper lends a muskiness to the chicken; if you haven't got it on your spice rack, substitute mild smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper, or urfa pepper. As good as the chicken is on the day you make it, the dish is that much better the next day. Enjoy this stew hot, served with noodles or rice, or cold. It's a great make-ahead entertaining dish, too.

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October 8, 2014

Smashed white bean, chicken sausage and kale soup {gluten-free}

Smashed white bean, sausage and kale soup, great to make ahead and freeze.

In retail, October means Halloween. At the farmstand, October means pumpkin. In The Perfect Pantry's kitchen, October means soup, and signals the return of dark leafy greens to the cooking rotation. The first of many new soup recipes to come, this white bean, chicken sausage and kale soup draws on ingredients I always have in the pantry, plus a bunch of fresh kale. All of my local grocery stores stock a good variety of chicken sausages these days, and I always have a few varieties in my freezer. Use something like tomato and basil, or garlic and onion, in this recipe. Or, if spicy is your thing, try this soup with your favorite spicy sausage. Use a wooden spoon to smash some white beans against the side of the pot; aside from being lots of fun and a great way to purge yourself of any frustrations, this helps to thicken the soup base without any additional thickening agents needed. This is a quick and easy soup to make ahead and freeze, or toss together at the last minute for weeknight dinner.

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October 5, 2014

North African harissa turkey and butternut squash stew {gluten-free}

Turkey and squash stew spiced with North African harissa hot pepper paste. #glutenfree

When we first moved into the log house fifteen years ago, we installed radiant heat under the kitchen floor. A small probe sticks out the side of the house, and when the temperature outdoors goes below 50°F, the probe triggers the thermostat and kicks on the gentle heat in the kitchen. At about that same time of year, when it's cooler outside, my cooking heats up, too. There's no shortage of hot chiles, hot pepper sauce, and hot ground peppers in my pantry from cultures around the world. One of my favorites, harissa -- a smoky, fiery, little-goes-a-long-way red pepper paste from North Africa -- adds the zing to the mild turkey and butternut squash in this dish. I use my favorite rice cooker to cook brown rice, which makes an ideal base for the stew; start the rice an hour before you're ready to make the rest of the recipe, or make it ahead of time and reheat before serving.

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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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