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August 23, 2015

Chickenless chicken chili: how to rock the taste, but lose the meat {vegetarian}

Floribean bean chili: how to turn a favorite chicken recipe into a meatless wonder!

Susan, a long-time reader of The Perfect Pantry, wasn't always a vegetarian. She often writes to me about how she's changed up one of my recipes to fit her current way of eating. Susan lives in New Hampshire, where she and her husband formerly owned a health food store. She's a wonderfully creative cook, and the first person ever to tell me that she made my beef brisket recipe -- without the beef! Intrigued, I asked her to share more about how she approaches adapting meat recipes for her meat-free lifestyle. This is Susan's first guest post for The Perfect Pantry.

I might be an anomaly. I’m a vegetarian who seeks out meat recipes. Selectively, yes... but why?

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August 19, 2015

Turkey, black bean, and three-chile taco boats {gluten-free}

Three-chile taco boats filled with turkey and black bean sauce. Just add your favorite toppings! #glutenfree

My friend Mary has been gluten-free and dairy-free for a couple of years, and one day she confessed to me that, sometimes, she gets a little bit bored with her cooking. I understand, because really, don't we all get in a rut once in a while? I do. To break out of the rut, you don't always need to invent something new; you might just need to jazz up the presentation a bit. I found Ortega gluten-free tortilla flats in my supermarket, in the Latin foods aisle. I made a slight variation of our favorite Tex-Mex turkey and black bean sauce, using some green chile powder my friend Kalyn sent me, and piled the sauce into the tortilla flats. The dish looked, and felt, brand new -- and my grandsons loved it, too.

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August 12, 2015

Viking chicken with honey, butter and herbs {gluten-free}

Viking chicken with honey, butter and herbs: picnic perfect.

I've got to be honest: I don't really know what's "viking" about this chicken, but the original recipe came from the locally-published The Viking Cookbook that Cousin Martin brought home from Svalbard, Norway, where he went to view the solar eclipse earlier in the year. I didn't expect to find any recipes for which I had all of the ingredients -- whole Baltic herring? young nettles? swedes? (which turn out to be rutabagas, though I had no idea) -- but then I found this honey-grilled herb chicken. The recipe calls for a whole chicken; I had lots of boneless, skinless chicken breasts on hand, so I adapted, with delicious results. You can use skinless chicken thighs, if you prefer, or a couple of small Cornish hens. I ate the picnic-perfect leftovers cold the next day with cucumbers, which seemed somehow a bit Norwegian to me.

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July 22, 2015

Burgers, burgers, burgers! The Perfect Pantry's favorites for summer grilling

Nothing beats an old-fashioned cheeseburger!

Nothing tops a juicy cheeseburger cooked to perfection on the grill. Nothing. I'm pretty sure I'd opt for a burger over my favorite jambalaya or garlic chicken skewers for my last meal. I love turkey burgers, and salmon burgers, and the occasional veggie burger, but at heart I'm a purist and adore my dribble-down-the-chin beef burgers. However, when it comes to toppings, I'm open to new ideas. Salsa and avocado, feta cheese, hummus -- I'll try it. How about you? Are you open-minded when it comes to burgers?

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June 24, 2015

Asparagus and mushroom fried rice

Asparagus and mushroom fried rice, a quick and easy main dish.

Our 11-year-old grandson, a lefty in a sea of right-handed eaters, has been teaching himself to use chopsticks. Instead of starting with something easy and stabbable, like chunks of chicken, he goes straight for the hard stuff: slithery noodles and slippery grains of rice. Both are staples in our house (he and I have even cooked stir-fry noodles together), so he's getting lots of practice. Whenever I make rice in my rice cooker, I fill it to the max, and keep leftover cold rice in the refrigerator or freezer for quick fried rice meals made with whatever else I have on hand. At this time of year, that "whatever" often includes asparagus; our season is short, and we tend to overdose just a bit for the six weeks when asparagus are everywhere. Think of this as a good, basic fried rice recipe, adaptable to any vegetables on a moment's notice. You'll thank me during zucchini season later this summer.

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  • 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. Thanks so much for visiting.

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