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February 12, 2013

Recipe for red curry shrimp dumplings

Dunk these red curry shrimp dumplings in a sesame dipping sauce.

Buried in the deepest corner of my freezer, an "emergency" bag of shrimp and vegetable dumplings waits for the times when I crave dumplings and nothing else will do. The dumplings I buy from the Chinese market are okay, not great, not sensuous like these spicy, salty, red curry shrimp dumplings. I can microwave the storebought dumplings in a couple of minutes and get my fix, but it doesn't take all that much longer to create these one-bite shrimp dumplings from scratch, especially with all of the ingredients sitting in my pantry. The technique is the same one I use to cook potstickers: pan fry the dumplings to get a nice chewy crust on the bottom; then, steam them in the same pan to finish the cooking. Once you master the method, you can build your own dumplings with wonton skins and any mix of fillings (chicken, cabbage, tofu) you have on hand.

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February 3, 2013

Recipe for baked three-cheese bow-tie pasta {vegetarian}

Three-cheese bow tie pasta, a real kid-pleaser, and perfect for Meatless Monday.

Sometimes -- very lucky times, indeed -- you find yourself with a house full of kids and grandkids having so much fun playing in the snow that afternoon turns into evening and, while wet jackets and mittens and shoes bang around in the clothes dryer, everyone decides to stay for dinner. If that happens, and you have nothing prepared, you'll be glad you stored this recipe for baked three-cheese bow-tie pasta in your recipe box. It's a mac and cheese made easy, combining low-fat ricotta and cottage cheese with just enough nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano and a buttery bread crumb topping. Toss together a side salad for the adults; then, with dinner under control, get out of the kitchen and have fun with the kids.

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January 8, 2013

Recipe for teriyaki turkey meatballs with cabbage and ramen noodles

Teriyaki turkey meatballs with cabbage and ramen noodles: not the ramen of your college days!

Ramen gets a bad rap. Too many college dorms, too many hot plates, too many quick and cheap dinners on the run between classes. This dish of teriyaki turkey meatballs with cabbage and ramen noodles is not the packet-o'-soup food we boiled up in our frugal college days, though the noodles are the same. In this recipe, low-fat turkey meatballs take center stage, and cabbage cooked in with the noodles bathe in a sweet and salty sauce. With the exception of the meat and cabbage, all of the ingredients in this dish come straight from your pantry; you can substitute spaghetti or angel hair pasta for the ramen. At the beginning of the year, I try to eat foods that are a bit lighter, and this ramen dish fits into a healthy eating plan. Also, it's just plain good food.

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December 4, 2012

Recipe for chicken pesto pasta

This chicken pesto pasta came entirely from the pantry and freezer!

With apologies to Rachael Ray, anyone with a well-stocked pantry can turn out a fantastic thirty-minute meal. Pesto (made weeks ago and frozen in meal-sized portions, or even store-bought), dried pasta, slow-roasted tomatoes (also from the freezer, though sun-dried tomatoes would be fine), frozen chicken breasts, pine nuts, and good cheese:  the only thing in this chicken pesto pasta that isn't directly from my pantry is... me! This dish is a garlic lover's dream, and a make-ahead cook's dream, too. Multiply the recipe to feed a crowd; prepare it the day before, and let it come to room temperature before you serve with a green salad, crusty bread, and a nice glass of wine.

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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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