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November 10, 2013

Recipe for slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with ricotta, tomato and basil {gluten-free}

Slow cooker turkey breast stuffed with tomato, ricotta and basil.

Continuing my experiments with cooking boneless turkey breast in the slow cooker, I decided to go back to my roots. No, I'm not Italian, but one of my earliest, and best, experiences as a food writer came courtesy of a well-known Italian-American Boston police officer. I'm pleased to share this reinvention of his recipe for stuffed chicken, which works so perfectly with turkey breast. The slow cooker frees your oven for all those amazing side dishes that taste best when cooked at the last minute, and the slow braise helps retain moisture in the meat. Be sure to buy a turkey breast that hasn't been shot full of salty brine, or stabbed with a plastic pop-up timer. Your butcher will be happy to butterfly it for you; unless you have mad butchering skills, leave this step to the professionals. You can do the rest. Stuff, roll, tie, cook, and collect the oohs and aahs when you bring this turkey to the table.

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November 7, 2013

New! Meatless Holidays e-book, and my herb dressing with figs and pine nuts recipe {vegetarian}

Meatless Holiday, an e-book for holiday cooks.

Around the holiday table here at the log house, you'll find a giant stew pot of turkey lovers, vegetarians, diabetics, picky kids, picky adults, at least one vegan, and occasional guests who are gluten-free, dairy-free, or both. Getting a meal on the table for all of them reminds me of a scene from a Steve Martin movie. (You know the one I mean.)

If this sounds like your house, you're probably wondering how to please everyone without making seventeen different meals, without serving the vegetarians and vegans only the side dishes cast aside by the omnivores, and with your sanity intact at the end of the feast.

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November 5, 2013

Recipe for roasted butternut squash with smoked paprika yogurt sauce {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Roasted butternut squash with smoked paprika yogurt sauce.

Here in New England, butternut squash dishes tend to go more sweet than savory. And, really, who can argue with a little bit of butter, some brown sugar, cinnamon and gooey nuts? However, I'm not a sweets person, so this butternut squash with a sauce made from yogurt, Spanish smoked paprika and lime juice really appeals to me. Smoked paprika (pimentón) comes in sweet or mild, bittersweet, and picante (hot). In this recipe, use the dulce (sweet/mild) version, so the paprika doesn't overwhelm the other ingredients. When roasted, butternut squash turns creamy and sweet, as the natural sugars caramelize in the oven. Paired with a bright, slightly tart sauce, it's a healthy and easy side dish to serve with turkey, roast chicken, baked fish or brisket. You can make the sauce far in advance, and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to roast the vegetables.

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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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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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