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October 12, 2014

Basque chicken with bell pepper and tomato {gluten-free}

Basque chicken baked with bell peppers and tomato. #glutenfree

The older I get, the more I like to keep my cooking simple. Honestly, I like to keep everything simple. So, when I revisited this recipe for chicken basquaise, originally published in 2007, I knew I could streamline the steps without sacrificing any of the flavor. The Espelette pepper lends a muskiness to the chicken; if you haven't got it on your spice rack, substitute mild smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper, or urfa pepper. As good as the chicken is on the day you make it, the dish is that much better the next day. Enjoy this stew hot, served with noodles or rice, or cold. It's a great make-ahead entertaining dish, too.

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October 11, 2014

Ketchup: like or dislike?

Ketchup

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. Do you like, dislike, love, crave, despise, wish for, use in your own kitchen? The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell!

In the house where I grew up, ketchup occupied a place of honor in the refrigerator door. I ate everything with ketchup: eggs, burgers, chicken, and fish, and the occasional piece of calf's liver my mother tried to pass off as healthy food (the liver required an extra-large dose of ketchup). More recently, I've added it to Pad Thai (weird?), barbecue sauce (less weird) and turkey meatloaf (not at all weird). I still put ketchup on my cheese omelets, and I mix it with Greek yogurt to make a low-fat "Russian" dressing for salads. There's always a place for ketchup in my refrigerator door.

Ketchup: like or dislike?

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October 8, 2014

Smashed white bean, chicken sausage and kale soup {gluten-free}

Smashed white bean, sausage and kale soup, great to make ahead and freeze.

In retail, October means Halloween. At the farmstand, October means pumpkin. In The Perfect Pantry's kitchen, October means soup, and signals the return of dark leafy greens to the cooking rotation. The first of many new soup recipes to come, this white bean, chicken sausage and kale soup draws on ingredients I always have in the pantry, plus a bunch of fresh kale. All of my local grocery stores stock a good variety of chicken sausages these days, and I always have a few varieties in my freezer. Use something like tomato and basil, or garlic and onion, in this recipe. Or, if spicy is your thing, try this soup with your favorite spicy sausage. Use a wooden spoon to smash some white beans against the side of the pot; aside from being lots of fun and a great way to purge yourself of any frustrations, this helps to thicken the soup base without any additional thickening agents needed. This is a quick and easy soup to make ahead and freeze, or toss together at the last minute for weeknight dinner.

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October 5, 2014

North African harissa turkey and butternut squash stew {gluten-free}

Turkey and squash stew spiced with North African harissa hot pepper paste. #glutenfree

When we first moved into the log house fifteen years ago, we installed radiant heat under the kitchen floor. A small probe sticks out the side of the house, and when the temperature outdoors goes below 50°F, the probe triggers the thermostat and kicks on the gentle heat in the kitchen. At about that same time of year, when it's cooler outside, my cooking heats up, too. There's no shortage of hot chiles, hot pepper sauce, and hot ground peppers in my pantry from cultures around the world. One of my favorites, harissa -- a smoky, fiery, little-goes-a-long-way red pepper paste from North Africa -- adds the zing to the mild turkey and butternut squash in this dish. I use my favorite rice cooker to cook brown rice, which makes an ideal base for the stew; start the rice an hour before you're ready to make the rest of the recipe, or make it ahead of time and reheat before serving.

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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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