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August 1, 2013

Recipe for lentil and chicken salad with raisins and feta cheese {gluten-free}

Lentils, chicken, raisins and feta: a meal in a bowl.

Lately, it's been too hot to turn on the oven or tend anything cooking on the stove. In our house, salads rule. However, not every salad begins with lettuce. This lentil and chicken salad, bumped up with chunks of crisp cucumber, sweet raisins and salty feta cheese, defines the kind of meal-in-a-bowl dishes we love, and because there's no mayonnaise, it's perfect for picnics or potluck. If your market sells pre-cooked lentils (in airtight packages, in the produce section of the store), and rotisserie chicken, this salad becomes a very easy assembly job. If you're cooking lentils and grilling a chicken breast, it's still a quick and easy summer lunch or supper. You can make the salad several hours ahead, and store in the refrigerator until it's time to serve.

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July 9, 2013

Recipe for Greek chicken salad with lemon and dill {gluten-free}

Greek-inspired chicken salad, with lemon and dill.

Every May, with great optimism, I set four or six dill plants, purchased at the local organic garden center, into my herb garden. I choose the most vigorous plants I can find, ones that look like survivors. I plant, and I water, and I whisper sweet nothings to them. And I count the days -- usually not more than two weeks' worth -- until the plants shrivel and keel over, deader than dead. Until this year. As I write this (I'm whispering so I don't jinx anything), my dill plants have survived for almost six weeks. I've snipped them back so they don't set seed this early in the season, and with my trimmings I couldn't resist making this Greek-inspired chicken salad. I added sun-dried tomatoes; you could add (or substitute) kalamata olives. Keep your fingers crossed: I'd love to have dill in my garden all summer, or at least for a few more weeks.

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June 25, 2013

President Obama's chili recipe, with some (not political) advice {gluten-free}

President Obama's chili recipe, kicked up a notch.

Anyone who knows me in real life or follows me on Facebook knows how proudly I support President Obama, but despite the fact that today is a special election day in Massachusetts (please vote!), this post isn't about politics. It's about chili. I found the recipe for the president's chili online, and I have to tell you, I have issues. Well, one issue. Mr. President, I hope you don't think it presumptuous that I've altered your recipe just a little bit. With all due respect, it needs more heat. The flavor is great, and really, I've never used turmeric in chili before, so that was fun. Now, you've got to spice it up! In the recipe, I've called for up to three teaspoons of hot sauce, but that's just a guideline. When it comes to chili, every cook has the right to choose.

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June 23, 2013

Recipe for chicken and egg salad with tarragon mustard vinaigrette

Chicken and egg salad with fresh tarragon, mayo-free, perfect for picnics.

Does it really matter which came first? What's important is that the chicken and the egg came together in this summery salad, tossed with a tarragon mustard vinaigrette that loves them equally. On the day I took these photographs, I made the salad with celery, the stalk plus the leaves. Had I waited a few days, I would have swapped in lovage from my herb garden. The young tarragon leaves, also from my garden, added a nice undertone of licorice; if the flavor isn't your thing, substitute fresh parsley or dill. Serve on toasted bread with some lettuce leaves, or use the leaves as a wrap for a lovely presentation with fewer carbs. This salad contains no mayonnaise, and that makes it a perfect candidate for the picnic basket.

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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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