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March 22, 2014

The Pantry Quiz #79

Pomegranate molasses

Do You Know?

Pomegranate molasses is a thick, slightly tart syrup used in sauces, salad dressings, and desserts, and in some savory stews. If you don't live near a Middle Eastern grocery, it can be hard to find; however, you can make it at home, by boiling down store-bought pomegranate juice with which of the following:

1. Lemon
2. Molasses
3. Sugar
4. Water

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March 20, 2014

Recipe for roasted cabbage, apple and pecan salad with mustard vinaigrette {vegan, gluten-free}

Roasted cabbage, apple and pecan salad with mustard vinaigrette (#vegan #glutenfree).

Now that it's Spring, officially, I know you're ready for greener-than-green recipes starring pungent ramps and crunchy peas and crisp spears of asparagus. I'm ready, too, but here in New England, Spring in March is more theory than reality, with snow still blanketing the garden. Nevertheless, I've got something green-ish for you, this lovely side dish of roasted cabbage with apples and pecans. I'm determined to eat more cooked cabbage this year, and roasting turns the leaves soft and sweet. Combine that with some crisp apples, not too tart, and toasted pecans, and this is a side dish that will compliment any main course protein (roasted chicken, grilled steak, baked fish). The ingredients are available year-round, and that's exactly when you should make this salad.

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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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March 16, 2014

Chocolate chocolate-chip mini muffins recipe

Chocolate chocolate chip mini muffins (The Perfect Pantry).

Dear readers, I blame you for the fact that these bite-size chocolate muffins materialized in my kitchen last weekend. I'm sorry, but I do. I've been systematically emptying the house of all quick-and-easy sweet nibbles like chocolate bars and M&Ms, because of late my willpower has been absent. So, last Sunday afternoon when my chocolate craving hit hard, there was no candy in the house; however, I found both cocoa powder and chocolate chips in the pantry. Uh-oh. Before I could reroute myself toward the celery sticks, it occured to me that you, dear readers, would love some chocolate muffins (I wasn't wrong, was I?). Of course I needed to taste a few to be absolutely certain they were worthy of you. They were -- I'm sure, because I tasted plenty of them -- and they were super-easy to make without a mixer. The recipe will make 12-14 large muffins, but I'm glad for the built-in portion control of mini muffins when self-control fails me.

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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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