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March 10, 2013

Recipe for turkey pesto meatball sliders

Make these turkey pesto meatballs ahead and freeze, for quick and easy sliders..

I'm glad you can't really tell from my photographs that these turkey pesto meatball sliders look a bit, well... green-ish. Yes, the meatballs are wearin' the green for St Patrick's Day, thanks to a good bit of garlicky basil pesto that perks up both the color and the flavor. I formed the meatballs with a two-inch ice cream scoop, a perfect fit for my favorite slider buns, but they'd be equally delicious in a smaller size, tossed with some pasta, garlic and olive oil. It takes just a few minutes to make your own pesto, or you can use good-quality store-bought pesto, if that's what you have in your pantry. Like all of the many turkey meatball variations I've shared here in The Perfect Pantry, these pesto meatballs freeze well, so whip up a double batch when you have time, and store the cooked, cooled meatballs in ziploc bags for easy worknight dinners or party fare.

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January 31, 2013

Recipe for easy Jamaican meat patties

Jamaican meat patties made with store-bought empanada dough. So easy for a party!

To get to the trains in Boston's Back Bay Station, you navigate between two of those famous Northeast donut shops and a vendor selling Jamaican meat patties from his cart. On most days I can resist the temptation of lattes and chocolate glazed doughnuts, but the aroma of curry wafting from that cart pulls me in. The last time I walked through the station, I promised I would make Jamaican meat patties for you. Though I prefer mine with extra-lean ground beef, you can substitute freely with ground chicken or turkey, pork or even goat, which is a Caribbean favorite. The filling comes together quickly from ingredients you already have in your pantry, and to make it even easier, use store-bought discos (empanada dough), another pantry staple, for the wrapping. If you have time, make a double or triple batch. Freeze them after they're baked, and reheat in a warm oven whenever you're ready to serve. These tasty little hand pies make a great take-to-work lunch, and a popular party appetizer.

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November 25, 2012

Recipe for turkey, kale and cheese quesadillas

Turkey, kale and cheese quesadillas, a great way to use leftovers.

To tell you my husband Ted and I loved these quesadillas would be an understatement. So, I'll just tell you that we devoured them three days in a row, which, if you have lots and lots of turkey leftovers, is a good thing to know. Pull out any shredded cheese you have in your freezer, any salsa (or chutney, or even leftover cranberry sauce) from the fridge, and any type of tortillas you have on hand; I love these habanero-lime tortillas from Trader Joe's, which are both orange and spicy. Cook the kale with salsa or sofrito to give it a bit of a kick, and you have a quesadilla so good you'll forget you're eating Thanksgiving leftovers.

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October 21, 2012

Recipe for chicken salad with walnuts, celery, and pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce

Chicken salad with walnuts, celery, and pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce, from The Perfect Pantry.

In Boston's South End neighborhood, where my husband Ted and I moved more than thirty years ago, almost every corner used to boast a spa (Boston-speak for an all-purpose market), or a Middle Eastern grocery, or a bar. The bars have long since closed -- many replaced by the fine restaurants that now define the South End -- and, sadly, most of the Middle Eastern businesses have gone, too. The spas endure, and almost every one that offers prepared food sells a basic, uninspired, too-much-mayo chicken salad. My new chicken salad recipe with walnuts and celery features a pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce that reminds me of the wonderful ingredients I used to buy at the local Middle Eastern markets. It's sweet and tangy, and as spicy as you want to make it, perfect in a sandwich or lettuce wrap. If I owned a spa in the neighborhood, I'd make this my signature chicken salad.

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July 22, 2012

Recipe for grilled portobello mushroom and goat cheese sandwich with smoked pepper spread {vegetarian}

Grilled portobello mushroom and goat cheese sandwich with smoked pepper spread, from The Perfect Pantry.

When my husband Ted and I acquired a panini press last year, we spent the first few months smooshing anything we could find into beautiful, Italian-style flat sandwiches. (Easier and more sanitary than running over them with the car, but you get the idea.) Later, influenced by the wonderful Panini Happy blog, we began to consider the panini press as a more versatile kitchen tool. With the addition of waffle plates, we celebrated our first Wafflepalooza last summer, but overall it's the grill plates that get the most workout. For dishes like this portobello mushroom and goat cheese sandwich, the panini press is perfect. It holds four burger-size mushroom caps, and cooks and flattens them in minutes. No heating of the grill or broiler, though either would give the mushrooms the "meaty" flavor that tricks carnivores into thinking they're really eating hamburgers. Use the freshest goat cheese you can find (my friend Christine's creamy homemade chevre paired so well with the mushrooms), and don't skip the smoked pepper spread that sets this sandwich apart.

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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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