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November 3, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with wild rice and cranberries {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast with wild rice stuffing.

In real life, retail dictates the start of the seasons, which is why Halloween costumes arrive on the shelves in August, and Santa slides down store chimneys in October. In the mail order catalogs, Thanksgiving arrived two months ago, but I'm old-fashioned and wait until the calendar page flips to November. Now it's officially Thanksgiving season, so I offer the first of two recipes for stuffed turkey breast. I began experimenting with turkey breast in the slow cooker last year, when we hosted a very small holiday gathering of people who, it turned out, weren't huge dark meat fans. This gluten-free stuffing packs in all of the flavors of a New England harvest -- apples, thyme and cranberries -- and the slow cooker keeps the meat moist. If you're not buying directly from a farm, be sure to look for an organic turkey breast that hasn't been impregnated with brining solution or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. The butcher at my local supermarket's fantastic meat department happily butterflied the turkey breast for me.

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October 20, 2013

Slow cooker hoisin chicken, bok choy and sesame brown rice bowl recipe

Hoisin chicken, bok choy and sesame brown rice bowl.

On a wire rack in the corner of my kitchen, you'll find dozens of stacked blue-and-white Chinese bowls in almost every size and shape and pattern you've ever seen. (No, I'm not running a store. Yes, I have a little bowl problem.) However, the bowl in these photos is one-of-a-kind in my collection -- it was made for export, and obviously hand-painted, though it isn't precious -- and it happens to be the absolutely perfect size for a rice bowl dinner for one. This slow cooker hoisin chicken, so easy to make with just three ingredients, is a component I like to make ahead and freeze in small portions. Then, when I'm craving a rice bowl, I fire up the rice cooker, and at the end of the cooking time, I toss the chicken and bok choy on top of the rice, close up the cooker, and let them steam together for 15 minutes. It's Chinese take-out at home, and it couldn't be easier.

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October 15, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive dip or spread {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker white bean and olive dip or spread.

To be honest, I had a hard time deciding what to call this slow cooker white bean, garlic and olive concoction. Dip? Sandwich spread? Pizza topping? Yes, yes, and yes. If you love assertive flavors, this dish will make you happy. The creamy white beans serve as a base for plenty of garlic, and just a few kalamata olives, and, of course, for lots of cheese. The slow cooker does most of the work, with a quick zap from an immersion blender at the end (a potato masher will get you to the same result, with a bit more elbow grease). I haven't tried it, but I'm thinking that some flatbread spread with this white bean mixture, topped with fresh arugula and maybe a sliced fig, would be divine. You can make this white bean dip a couple of days in advance, and reheat in the microwave before serving.

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September 15, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker tandoori pulled chicken

Slow cooker tandoori pulled chicken.

What's more fun than cooking something until it falls apart, and then coaxing it into a state of total collapse by having at it with two forks? If this sounds like your idea of a good time in the kitchen, you need to get your slow cooker on and make a batch of tandoori pulled chicken. While a slow cooker can't replicate the smoky char of a tandoor oven, the spices do a good job of mimicking the flavor. Use the shredded chicken on wedges of naan bread, as we have here, or in a salad or wrap. You can go a bit further, and dress it up with typical Indian condiments, like yogurt, chutney, or chopped nuts. When I make this chicken, I use a kabsa spice blend I found at a gourmet market; it's easy to make your own, or substitute turmeric, as indicated in the recipe. Tandoori pulled chicken freezes well, so you can make it ahead and have lunch or dinner at the ready.

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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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