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May 18, 2014

Slow cooker chunky marinara sauce, with tomatoes, bell pepper and onions {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker chunky marinara sauce recipe, with any kind of pasta. #pasta #vegetarian

Two weeks ago my husband Ted spent a few days battling a nasty Spring cold. I plied him with soup, soup and more soup, but there came a moment when neither of us could stand the sight of another bowl of it. With comfort food on my mind, I ransacked the pantry and found all of the ingredients for this recipe, a very traditional meatless marinara sauce. I tossed everything into the slow cooker for six hours; then I added the magic ingredient, the rind from a small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and continued to cook the sauce for an additional two hours. (For a vegan sauce, simply omit the cheese rind.) You can make this marinara recipe exactly the same way in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, except that you'll have to stir occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking. Pour the sauce over a bowl of spaghetti or gluten-free pasta, top with more parmesan cheese, and let the comforting begin.

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May 15, 2014

Pasta with Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, onions and bell pepper in white wine mustard sauce {vegetarian}

Pasta with Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and bell pepper in a white wine mustard sauce. #pasta

Somewhere in the world, there's a retail marketing genius I need to thank. I don't know who came up with the idea to thinly slice Brussels sprouts and sell them in a bag in the produce department of my local supermarket, but my hat's off to that person. Although I've never been crazy about whole Brussels sprouts, I've incorporated these shaved sprouts in lots of recipes, like this Brussels sprouts and bacon quiche and Brussels and broccoli with maple vinaigrette. All it takes is a quick rinse, and a trim of any woody stems, and you have ready-to-cook tender bits of Brussels sprouts. For this dish, use any long noodle like spaghetti or angel hair pasta; I've used curly ramen noodles, just for fun. Wouldn't this be a perfect recipe for Meatless Monday?

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May 11, 2014

Slow cooker curry carrot and lentil soup {vegan, gluten-free}

Slow cooker carrot and curry lentil soup #vegan #glutenfree #slowcooker #crockpot

Improbable as it seems for someone who isn't really in love with carrots, I found two pounds of carrots in my vegetable drawer the other day. (I should clarify: I love carrots raw, but not so much when they're cooked.) The carrots, at that use-them-or-compost-them stage, were a natural for soup. Orange soup, with orange carrots and orange juice. I didn't have a recipe in mind, and as it turned out, I didn't have any of the red lentils I thought would be a perfect color match. No matter: I started with the carrots, and began to build flavors from my pantry until I found a pleasing balance of warm and sweet. I'm glad I kept good notes as I went along, because this is a recipe I want to make again and again. Make it ahead and freeze it, and serve it hot or try it chilled, with a plop of yogurt or sour cream on top. I just might learn to love cooked carrots after all.

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May 8, 2014

Greek spinach, artichoke and feta egg and cheese breakfast casserole {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Greek spinach, artichoke and feta egg and cheese breakfast casserole (great for dinner, too!). #recipe #glutenfree

On a visit to Chicago several years ago, my friend Kalyn and I made a pilgrimage to The Spice House. We met the owner, Patricia Penzey Erd (yes, of that Penzeys family), and discovered many wonderful new-to-us herbs and spices. I bought some Greektown "Billygoat" Seasoning, probably because of the wacky name, and I've become unabashedly addicted to it. (Go to The Spice House web site to learn about the Billy Goat.) Greek seasoning combines the Mediterranean flavors of oregano, lemon peel, salt and pepper, onion and garlic. You might not think of it as a natural with your morning eggs, but in this breakfast casserole recipe, with sharp feta cheese, mild artichoke hearts, and earthy spinach, the Greek seasoning brings just the right amount of emphasis to the dish. As good as this egg casserole is to start your day, it's even better for a light supper, paired with some crusty bread.

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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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