Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is a time of gathering with the loved ones and sharing an abundant meal with one another. While turkey is usually the star of the show, it’s the side dishes and accompaniments that often steal the spotlight. Anyone who’s put together a Thanksgiving dinner knows that time is of the utmost essence. After all, there’s only so much time in the day to make sure each dish comes out a smashing success. The last thing any dinner host wants is a crazed rush while trying to get everything onto the table in time. In between the mad dash of making sure each dish is finished cooking in a timely manner while keeping guests entertained before the main event, Thanksgiving dinner can be one challenging time for the cook.
Getting a head start on the holiday feast is the key to ensuring that you’ll have enough time to get everything ready without the hustle and stress. While there’s nothing like a roasted turkey or ham fresh from the oven, many side dishes can be made a few days before Thanksgiving or even on the day of. From mashed potatoes to soups to stuffings, we’ve got plenty of delicious time-saving recipes that’ll give you plenty of time to enjoy the festivities of the holiday.
Soup’s on! If there’s one menu item to make ahead of time for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s definitely soup. Our warm, creamy autumn soup is made with mildly sweet Asian pears and nutty butternut squash. Plan for this recipe a day or two before and allow it to cool before placing into the refrigerator. Simply reheat on the stove and toss in a few croutons into each bowl right before serving. Comfort food at its finest, there’s nothing like a bowl of this fall dish to kick off Thanksgiving dinner!
Roasted brussels sprouts are a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving table spread. Ours get an extra kick of heat from a little red chile flakes. A simple yet delicious side dish, brussels sprouts, once roasted, are incredibly fragrant with an unforgettable caramelized flavor. These brussels sprouts can be made up to one day in advance and reheated in the oven at 350 degrees. Or if you prefer to make this dish on the day of Thanksgiving, you could also season the brussels sprouts, store in the refrigerator until cooking and pop into the oven before serving.
Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without a hearty helping of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes, is it? When it comes to preparing Thanksgiving dinner on the day of, we’re sure you have other things to do rather than sweat over mashed potatoes. This recipe for mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with spicy grated horseradish can be prepared up to a couple of hours in advance and left at room temperature or refrigerated up to one day in advance. To reheat, simply place the potatoes covered into a saucepan over medium heat and add a bit of milk to bring the consistency back to your preferences.
Nothing says comfort food like a roasted vegetable gratin fresh out of the oven. Instead of having to use separate dishes to house your roasted vegetables, serving them as part of a gratin keeps things organized yet delicious on Thanksgiving day. This gratin offers all your vegetable favorites such as sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini and more and can be prepped up to one day in advance. When you’re ready to make this recipe, allow for the dish to come to room temperature and then roast in the oven as directed. Make sure to give an additional 5 minutes to your cooking time.
Our Chestnut Stuffing is one of those recipes we find ourselves coming back to each Thanksgiving. This holiday stuffing is made with our Steamed Chestnuts, which are so full of flavor and ready to eat or use in various recipes. Stuffings are very easy to make ahead of time and can be made all at once and refrigerated for up to three days. Or you can also take care of the prep work beforehand by sautéing the chestnuts and vegetables ahead of time and combining with the bread and chicken broth when you’re ready to cook.
From turkey to pork tenderloin to salmon, our Pomegranate Blueberry Sauce makes one incredible accompaniment at the dinner table. This fruity sauce is very easy to prepare and is bursting with fresh blueberry flavors along with glittering pomegranate arils. To save on time, prepare the sauce a few days before your Thanksgiving feast and store it in the refrigerator until it’s ready for serving. This sauce can be served either chilled or at room temperature.
One of the best things about Thanksgiving dessert is how easily they can be made in advance. While we can all appreciate a good pumpkin pie, there are many other pumpkin-based desserts that are just as scrumptious. Take our Pumpkin Flan for example, which is made with a decadent gingersnap cookie crunch for an extra touch of holiday flavor. To get dessert out of the way, prepare this recipe up to two days in advance and cover with plastic wrap in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be sliced and served.

You didn’t think we’d have a Thanksgiving menu without pumpkin pie, did you? The quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkin pie embodies the warmth and comforting feeling we crave during the fall season and is the single most requested dessert during the holiday season. Save time on this recipe by making your pumpkin puree in advance. Once you have your puree ready, you can make this pie a day ahead of time and cool on a wire rack overnight. This pie is best served at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.
Wine Recommendations
The 2011 Darioush Signature Shiraz boasts an exceptional depth of flavor with notes of juicy blackberries, cola, black tea and aromatic notes of dried orange peel and cinnamon–the perfect holiday blend. This wine is evocative, smokey and fragrant, making it wonderfully food-friendly for those who want to sip on a big, bold red wine during their meal. Drink this vintage with the savory, peppery dishes in your Thanksgiving spread.

Bring on the bubbly! Just because New Year’s Eve isn’t here yet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a refreshing sparkling wine during dinnertime. The bubbles pair beautifully with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie and can act as a palette cleanser between side dishes. The 2011 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs is dry and crisp with fresh aromas of green apple, pear, grapefruit and lime zest. Its bright and citrusy flavors are riddled with grapefruit, lime and pineapple and is a light yet memorable choice for a Thanksgiving dinner.

 source: http://melissasfoodies.com/2015/11/16/make-ahead-thanksgiving-recipes/
What do you plan to serve for your Thanksgiving dinner? What are some of your tried-and-tested recipe favorites you like to have each year?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pinterest Approved Thanksgiving Leftovers

It's never too late to start thinking about what you're going to do with all that leftover Thanksgiving food!  Here are 

25 Pinterest Approved Recipes for after Thanksgiving

If you're a bit bored with the traditional Thanksgiving leftover practices like reheating them or making a sandwich, this post is for you.  We've scoured the depths of Pinterest to find the most crave worth Thanksgiving Leftovers.  If you like this post, please click the image below to repin:

We are a HUGE proponent of re-purposing leftovers in creative ways. We all know, there are only so many times we can roll stuffing up in sliced turkey and call it lunch. We can be thankful for our ability to feast as well as our ability to be resourceful.

Let’s continue our Thanksgiving celebration by using our leftovers like champs! Here are 25 leftover Thanksgiving recipes for you to enjoy until all them leftovers have done been used up!





Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving Leftover recipe you want to share?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

16 Inspiring Food Instagram Accounts to Follow

Are you posting follow worthy food pics?

Leave your Instagram URL in the comments!

16 Inspiring Food Instagram Accounts to Follow

Instagram is a mobile force to be reckoned with. With 400 million users, it’s larger than Twitter, and advertisers report that ads on the service outperform those on other platforms.

But beyond the photo filters, Instagram can also be a new way to generate business. Food professionals like Tyler Florence, Tess Masters, and Giada de Laurentiis all make Instagram a core part of their branding and marketing efforts. Companies like KitchenAid and Melissa's Produce have turned the mobile app into a powerful new way to connect with people and showcase new items.

If you’re looking to spruce up your Instagram feed, learn what’s working when it comes to food photography and recipes, or simply figure out if the app is right for you, we’ve put together a list of 16 inspirational Instagram accounts worth following.

Yvonne - @Yvonne_Deliciously_vegan

Sarah - @FitChick428

A photo posted by Sarah (@fitchick428) on

Christy - @SweetenedWithDates

A photo posted by Christy (@sweetenedwithdates) on

Sarah - @Food

Nick - @ThatsNickQ

A video posted by Digital Marketing Strategist (@thatsnickq) on

Ally - @AllysKitchen

Ana - @ColorfulFoodie

Carlene - @Healthfullyeverafter

A photo posted by Carlene Thomas RDN, LD (@healthfullyeverafter) on

Julie - @JuliesKitchen

Jamie - @Jamiexfrancis

Natalie - @dvlwearsparsley

Catherine - @weelicious

Jenny - @paleofoodiekitchen

A photo posted by Jenny Castaneda (@paleofoodiekitchen) on

Natasha - @Thefeistykitchen

Bob - @that_paleo_guy

Taryn - @Vegetaryn

A photo posted by Taryn | Vegetaryn (@vegetaryn) on

Want to stay in touch with Melissa's on Instagram? We're there too:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fuyu Persimmons and Hachiya Persimmons

Fuyu Persimmons and Hachiya Persimmons : 

What's the Difference?

Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons are the two most common persimmon varieties available in North America. They are both from a genus called "fruit of the gods" in Greek and they are both in season in the fall. Here are some facts/tips to remember how to buy, store, and use them below.

Fuyu Persimmons

Fuyu persimmons are distinguished by their "flat" bottoms and squat shape. Fuyus should be more orange then yellow and are at their best when just barely soft. You eat them like an apple, so slightly firm fruit is OK.  They will ripen after being picked, so buying rock-hard fuyus and allowing them to ripen at home can be a good strategy. They can also be roasted to great effect. They have a mild, pumpkin-like flavor, and are often used as decoration during the Fall.

Note: If you encounter seeds, simply remove and discard them.

Hachiya Persimmons

Hachiya persimmons are mouth-puckeringly tart unless extremely ripe. Ripe hachiyas are unbelievably soft - and are often almost liquified into a smooth pulp inside. You can tell the difference between Hachiya and Fuyu persimmons, because Hachiyas are elongated and oval shaped instead of squatted and round. They will ripen once picked, so you can let them soften on the kitchen counter until ready to use.

Hachiyas are commonly thought of as "baking" persimmons and are usually peeled and pureed into a pulp to add to baked goods. They add stable moisture and a mild, pumpkin-like flavor to cakes, puddings, smoothies, and other treats.

And, because we are the leader in specialty product varieties,, we would be remiss if we didn't include the Cinnamon Persimmon.

Cinnamon Persommons 

Once native to China and Japan, persimmons, also known as kaki fruit or Sharon fruit, are now widely grown for commercial use in California. Melissa’s Cinnamon Persimmons are also known as "Hyakume" or "Howard's Amagaki". This so-called 'cinnamon' variety is named for the sweet flesh and dark speckling inside, reminiscent of cinnamon. Prized throughout the Orient as a 'goma' or dark-fleshed variety, they are often softened or cured in alcohol fumes. This curing means the cinnamon persimmon has very little tannin, which is often associated with regular persimmons.

Our Cinnamon Persimmons are a great winter salad ingredient when accompanied by walnuts and pomegranate seeds. For a real taste treat, enjoy this sweeter variety of persimmon with a crisp, juicy flavor. Cinnamon Persimmons, exclusively from Melissa’s!

Beneath the deep orange skin lies a golden flesh with flecks of brown, an indication that this is no ordinary persimmon. Many liken the fruit of this variety to both the Fuyu and Hachiya combined with a sprinkling of cinnamon. They can be eaten out of hand when they become soft to the touch as well as used in cakes, tarts, and puddings.

Cinnamon Persimmons from Melissa’s are hand-selected for excellent quality. Choose smooth, brightly-colored Cinnamon Persimmons that are plump and firm. Ripen at room temperature and store refrigerated for several days. Then simply rinse, peel and slice.

How to Buy and Store Persimmons

Whether Fuyu or Hachiya, look for persimmons that are bright and plump and feel heavy for their size. They should have glossy looking skin without any cracks or bruises. Persimmons from Melissa’s are hand-selected for excellent quality. Ripen at room temperature and store refrigerated for several days. Then simply rinse, peel and slice.  You could speed up the ripening by storing them in a paper bag.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

PopSugar Food's Top 10 Superfoods + Giveaway!

From Acai to Chia Seeds, Superfoods have been the rage in the culinary world.  Adding these ingredients to menus/dishes have been producing global benefits; such as flourishing farm regions around the world, increased awareness of nutritional values, and good will throughout the food industry.

A recent video with Brandi Milloy, from PopSugar Food, suggested these are the Top 10 Superfoods that you need to be eating on a regular basis.  

10)  Golden Berries (Cape Gooseberries)
9)  Cocoa Nibs
8)  Flaxseed
7)  Acai Powder
6)  Brussels Sprouts
5)  Turmeric
4)  Chia Seeeds
3)  Beets
2)  Maca Root Powder
1)  Red Wine

Find out why they are so healthy, as well as, inspiration on how to use them in the video below:

From Acai to Turmeric — 10 Superfoods to Try Right Now
These nutrient-packed foods are here to stay!
Posted by PopSugar Food on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Superfoods Giveaway Below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 4, 2015

5 Whole Ingredient Popsicles (No Sugar Added)

Fruit Popsicles for a Hot Day

Let’s face it, we all have a sweet tooth ingrained in our lack of free will. We can stay disciplined for a short while, but sooner or later we give in to the temptation of that sweet and delectable treat.

So how do we combat this craving? Well, we don’t really have to fight it per se, we just need to be strategic about our sugar intake.

Here we have 5 Popsicle recipes made with whole ingredients. No chemicals, artificial colours, no added sugar of any kind, no other ingredients other than whole produce, and the best part is, the kids will eat them up!

All it requires is a bit of patience, some of your favorite produce items, and a good blender.  Heck, this is even something the kids can help you make!

5 Whole Fruit Popsicles (No Sugar Added)

Strawberry + Blueberry + Coconut
Layer 1: Blended Strawberries (add a little water to smooth it out)
Layer 2: Sweet Young Coconut Meat + Water blended
Layer 3: Blended Blueberries (add a little water to smooth it out)

Strawberry + Coconut
Layer 1: Blended Strawberries (add a little water to smooth it out)
Layer 2:  Sweet Young Coconut Meat + Water blended

Blueberries + Coconut
Layer 1: Blended Blueberries (add a little water to smooth it out)
Layer 2:  Sweet Young Coconut Meat + Water blended

Strawberry + Coconut + Kale
Layer 1: Blended Strawberries (add a little water to smooth it out)
Layer 2:  Sweet Young Coconut Meat + Water blended
Layer 3: Blended Kale (add a little water to smooth it out)

Yellow Watermelon
Layer 1: Blended Yellow Watermelon


1) Working with one fruit at a time, puree in a blender. Rinse the machine out between fruits.

2) Carefully spoon a layer of fruit at the bottom of each popsicle mold. Gently rap the mold on a firm surface to level the puree. Freeze until solid.

3) Spoon another layer of fruit into each mold and stand a stick upright in each. Force it down gently into the frozen bottom layer so it will stand up straight. You are not going to use the plastic top for this recipe, just leave it off. Again firmly tap the mold down on the counter to level the puree and freeze again until the second layer is solid. (The freezing time between layers will vary with your freezer temp, but it might take 45 minutes or so)

4) Continue on until you have filled the molds. If any of the purees are a little too thick to work with, stir in a little water. Clean up any spilled puree from the insides of the molds as you go so they won’t mar your design, just scrape the drips down with a popsicle stick.

5) To un-mold, fill your sink with hot tap water, and hold the mold in the water, just up to, but not over the top edge, for a few seconds. If the popsicles don’t slide out, hold the mold in the water a little longer.