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November 10, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with ricotta, tomato and basil {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with tomato, ricotta and basil.

Continuing my experiments with cooking boneless turkey breast in the slow cooker, I decided to go back to my roots. No, I'm not Italian, but one of my earliest, and best, experiences as a food writer came courtesy of a well-known Italian-American Boston police officer. I'm pleased to share this reinvention of his recipe for stuffed chicken, which works so perfectly with turkey breast. The slow cooker frees your oven for all those amazing side dishes that taste best when cooked at the last minute, and the slow braise helps retain moisture in the meat. Be sure to buy a turkey breast that hasn't been shot full of salty brine, or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. Your butcher will be happy to butterfly it for you; unless you have mad butchering skills, leave this step to the professionals. You can do the rest. Stuff, roll, tie, cook, and collect the oohs and aahs when you bring this turkey to the table.

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November 3, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with wild rice and cranberries {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast with wild rice stuffing.

In real life, retail dictates the start of the seasons, which is why Halloween costumes arrive on the shelves in August, and Santa slides down store chimneys in October. In the mail order catalogs, Thanksgiving arrived two months ago, but I'm old-fashioned and wait until the calendar page flips to November. Now it's officially Thanksgiving season, so I offer the first of two recipes for stuffed turkey breast. I began experimenting with turkey breast in the slow cooker last year, when we hosted a very small holiday gathering of people who, it turned out, weren't huge dark meat fans. This gluten-free stuffing packs in all of the flavors of a New England harvest -- apples, thyme and cranberries -- and the slow cooker keeps the meat moist. If you're not buying directly from a farm, be sure to look for an organic turkey breast that hasn't been impregnated with brining solution or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. The butcher at my local supermarket's fantastic meat department happily butterflied the turkey breast for me.

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October 20, 2013

Slow cooker hoisin chicken, bok choy and sesame brown rice bowl recipe

Hoisin chicken, bok choy and sesame brown rice bowl.

On a wire rack in the corner of my kitchen, you'll find dozens of stacked blue-and-white Chinese bowls in almost every size and shape and pattern you've ever seen. (No, I'm not running a store. Yes, I have a little bowl problem.) However, the bowl in these photos is one-of-a-kind in my collection -- it was made for export, and obviously hand-painted, though it isn't precious -- and it happens to be the absolutely perfect size for a rice bowl dinner for one. This slow cooker hoisin chicken, so easy to make with just three ingredients, is a component I like to make ahead and freeze in small portions. Then, when I'm craving a rice bowl, I fire up the rice cooker, and at the end of the cooking time, I toss the chicken and bok choy on top of the rice, close up the cooker, and let them steam together for 15 minutes. It's Chinese take-out at home, and it couldn't be easier.

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October 17, 2013

Chili powder (Recipe: turkey tacos)

First published in August 2006, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. We love this spicy turkey filling in tacos, on salads, or as the topping for a rice bowl with a dollop of guacamole and a big plop of sour cream. 

Super easy turkey tacos.

Some like it hot.

I like it really hot.

I like it hot enough to make my scalp tingle, my sinuses drip, and my eyes water. (Do I need to mention that I'm talking about food now, not the weather?) I wasn't always like this, but a trip to New Orleans years ago started me down the pepper path, and there is no turning back.

Sometimes, though, unadulterated heat isn't the goal. When I want a more complex depth of flavor in Mexican and Southwestern dishes, I often reach for chili powder.

Are you confused by the whole chili/chile thing? Many people are, and product packaging doesn't really help, with the willy-nilly and often interchangeable use of chile, chili, chillie and chilli.

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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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