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May 8, 2014

Greek spinach, artichoke and feta egg and cheese breakfast casserole {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Greek spinach, artichoke and feta egg and cheese breakfast casserole (great for dinner, too!). #recipe #glutenfree

On a visit to Chicago several years ago, my friend Kalyn and I made a pilgrimage to The Spice House. We met the owner, Patricia Penzey Erd (yes, of that Penzeys family), and discovered many wonderful new-to-us herbs and spices. I bought some Greektown "Billygoat" Seasoning, probably because of the wacky name, and I've become unabashedly addicted to it. (Go to The Spice House web site to learn about the Billy Goat.) Greek seasoning combines the Mediterranean flavors of oregano, lemon peel, salt and pepper, onion and garlic. You might not think of it as a natural with your morning eggs, but in this breakfast casserole recipe, with sharp feta cheese, mild artichoke hearts, and earthy spinach, the Greek seasoning brings just the right amount of emphasis to the dish. As good as this egg casserole is to start your day, it's even better for a light supper, paired with some crusty bread.

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May 6, 2014

Quick and easy garlic naan pizza with arugula pesto {vegetarian}

Garlic naan pizza with arugula pesto: who needs takeout? #pizza #vegetarian #recipe

Indian bread with an Italian topping: what could be more fun? When you live five miles from the nearest pizza joint, home delivery isn't an option, but that doesn't mean that pizza can't be on the menu. In less time than it takes to call in a take-out order, you can have garlic naan pizza on the table. And the best part is that, with a well-stocked pantry and some Indian flatbread in the freezer, you can invent pizzas your local pizza place probably never imagined. Naan comes in white, whole wheat, or garlic versions, and all will make wonderful bases for your pizza. (You can use other flatbreads, too, like tortillas, pita and lavash). If you like really crisp pizza crust, toast the naan under the broiler, on a grill, or in a panini press before adding the toppings. Any kind of pesto you have in your freezer will work here, which makes this a quick, easy and flexible recipe for weeknight supper or family pizza night.

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March 18, 2014

Recipe for chicken and spaghetti squash casserole with bell peppers, olives and cheese {gluten-free}

Chicken and spaghetti squash casserole with bell peppers, olives and cheese #glutenfree.

When spaghetti squash made its first appearance on the home cooking scene, I tried hard to believe it could, would and should replace pasta in my favorite dishes. Yes, it looks all stringy and strandy, but no, it is not spaghetti, no matter how many meatballs you pile on top. Because it fell short of my expectations, I cast it aside, and for years did not serve spaghetti squash at all. Now, two things have made me take a fresh look: the slow cooker, and the pressure cooker. Both of these machines make cooking spaghetti squash so easy that I simply had to give it another chance. I'll just say this: I made this chicken and spaghetti squash casserole twice in one week, in order to get any photos at all, because my husband Ted and I practically inhaled the first one. The squash cooked perfectly in both the slow cooker and the "fast" (pressure) cooker, and the combination of chicken, vegetables and two cheeses put an Italian spin on the dish that made it every bit as good as spaghetti. I've included instructions for cooking the squash in the oven, as well, because no matter what's in your kitchen, I want you to make this dish.

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February 27, 2014

Recipe for Mediterranean beef brisket (pressure cooker, slow cooker or stovetop)

Mediterranean beef brisket, made fast (in the pressure cooker) or slow.

When I was a little girl, I witnessed a pressure cooker explosion in my grandmother's kitchen. I can't remember exactly what it was that ended up on her ceiling, but the impression that experience left on me remains, to this day, one of my kitchen nightmares. In a million years, I never expected to be in close promixity to a pressure cooker again, yet thanks to my friend Kalyn, I not only own an electric pressure cooker, but I'm kind of falling in love with it. The first time I pulled the machine out of the box, I made a batch of black beans, without presoaking, in less than an hour. They were perfect, and my kitchen did not blow up. As I learn more about this machine and how to make it work for me, I'm trying a few more recipes. Some have worked, and some have not, but one I really love (and made several times to get the timing right) is this beef brisket with Provencal-style seasoning. Cook it fast, in the pressure cooker, or cook it slow. Like all brisket, it's better on the second day. Now, tell me: do you use a pressure cooker?

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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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