Monday, April 25, 2016

Meal Planning Resource + Downloadable Shopping List

Meal Planning + Downloadable Shopping List

The simplest way to make cooking easy is to have the right items on hand. Knowing your base items and making recipes off of there, is a simple way to make your meal planning more efficient.

Every family has different needs, so feel free to download this shopping list and make it your own:

So, now all you need is some recipe inspiration!  Check out these awesome Pinterest boards for 6 ingredient or less recipes:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Beginner's Guide to Variety Onions | Melissa's Produce

Can you imagine a world without onions? 

There is no doubt that you are familiar with the everyday cooking onions like, Red, White, Yellow, and Vidalia onions.  But the onions you will read about today are not your traditional onion.  The shapes, sizes, flavors, and textures all create a unique eating experience.

These alliums—members of a family that also includes garlic and chives—are indispensable, adding a baseline of sweet and earthy flavor to many cooked dishes and contributing a spicy accent when served raw. With about a dozen varieties readily available in most grocery stores, as well as several less common types, it can be hard to know which kind of onion to choose for your marinara sauce and which to select for your pico de gallo.  Read on to learn more about the onions you may have been curious about.

Cipolline Onions

The many varieties of onions from Melissa’s can be divided into two main classifications: Green Onions or scallions (onions harvested when green) and Dry Onions (mature onions) harvested when their flesh is juicy and covered with a dry skin. Melissa’s Cipolline Onions, originally grown in Verona, Italy (and now in the U.S. too) fall into the dry onion category.

Baked, broiled or stuffed, premium growing conditions ensure that these onions will have a sweet, delicate flavor! Melissa’s Cipolline Onions are delicious in any dish where extra flavor is needed. Sure to be one of the sweetest onions you will taste, try this onion variety barbecued on skewers with chicken, beef, or lamb, or use in soups, stews, and casseroles. Cipolline Onions are also a favorite when added to roasts or when baked "Verona Style" (see package for recipe).

Melissa’s Cipolline Onions are hand selected for excellent quality and should be firm and heavy for their size, with dry, papery skins. When selecting dry onions, avoid any signs of moisture, green shoots or dark spots. Keep in mind humidity can breed spoilage in dry onions. Store Melissa’s Cipolline Onions in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for up to two months (depending on condition when purchased). Once cut, tightly wrap any unused onion in plastic, refrigerate and use within four days.

Pearl Onions

These tiny onions are smaller than boiler onions and contain a sweet, mild flavor. They are available in white, red and gold varieties. Although often used in a variety of dishes, Melissa’s Pearl Onions are a favorite when creamed or pickled.

Melissa’s Pearl Onions are hand selected for excellent quality. Look for Pearl Onions that are firm, heavy for their size and have dry, papery skins. When selecting Pearl Onions avoid any signs of moisture, green shoots or dark spots. Keep in mind that humidity breeds spoilage in dry onions. Store whole Pearl Onions in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for up to two months, (depending on condition when purchased). Once cut, tightly wrap any unused onion in plastic, refrigerate and use within four days.

French Echalion Onions

French Echalion (Banana) Shallots are covered with a thin, paper-like skin that can range from pale brown or light gray to a soft rose. Once exposed, the ivory shallot is usually marked by a pale green or purple color. Since each head is made up of several cloves, shallots actually resemble a clove of garlic rather than an onion. 

As members of the onion family, Melissa’s French Echalion Shallots are tender in texture with a milder flavor than other onion varieties. The delicate flavor of these shallots complements sauces and salad dressings, and they may be substituted for onions in all your favorite recipes.

Boiler Onions

Melissa’s Boiler Onions are available in white, red, and gold and fall into the dry onion category and are almost two inches in diameter. They impart a sweet, pungent flavor.

Boiler onions can be used in casseroles, stews, or as a side dish. They are superb grilled with assorted meats and vegetables on shish-kabobs. They are also favored for use in pickling.

Melissa’s Boiler Onions should be firm, heavy for their size, with dry, papery skins. When selecting dry onions, avoid any signs of moisture, green shoots or dark spots. Keep in mind that humidity breeds spoilage in dry onions.

Store whole dry onions in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for up to two months (depending on condition when purchased). Once cut, tightly wrap any unused onion in plastic, refrigerate and use within four days.


As members of the onion family, Melissa’s Organic Shallots are tender in texture, mild in flavor (less pungent than the onion), and quick cooking. Since each head is made up of several cloves, Shallots often resemble garlic rather than onions. Covered with a thin, paper-like skin, 

Melissa’s Organic Shallots are hand selected to insure excellent quality and organically grown in accordance with the 1990 California Organic Foods Act. Melissa's Organic label reads: "Melissa's Certified Organic Produce is free of artificial or synthetic fertilizers and full of unforgettable, great tasting flavor. Our farmers use traditional earth-friendly farming methods inspected by a nationally recognized agency to verify organic authenticity. Melissa's Organic Produce, a choice made closer to nature." 

Organic Shallots are preferred for reasons of taste, health and the environment. Melissa’s Organic Shallots make excellent additions to sauces and salads.

Use the same method to select Organic Shallots as you would in selecting onions. Melissa’s Organic Shallots should be firm, heavy for size, with dry, papery skins. When selecting Shallots, avoid any signs of moisture, green shoots or dark spots. Keep in mind humidity breeds spoilage in Shallots. Store whole Shallots in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for up to one month (depending on condition when purchased). Once cut, tightly wrap any unused Shallot in plastic, refrigerate and use within four days.
Which onion variety is your favorite?  
Tell us in the comments below

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Where to Eat Healthy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 2016 Edition

Race fans have a lot to be excited about this year!  Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) hosts nearly 1400 events year round.  Annually, they host events such as NASCAR's Sprint Cup event weekend, two National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) National event weekends, one NASCAR Truck Series event, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.  With over 1 million fans traveling to the speedway each year, you know they're serving up lots of food!

A recent post on Racing Forums titled "Las Vegas Motor Speedway Welcomes Fans Suffering From Celiac Disease" talks about some of the struggles of visiting sporting venues with limited food choices. The writer praises the Speedway for its many options:

"The superspeedway, through its partnership with Levy Restaurants, is providing a number of unique food items and menus designed for those looking for healthier options or avoiding gluten to thrill the most sophisticated of palates. In addition, Levy and Melissa's Produce will continue to serve fresh and healthy selections in the Neon Garage, including fruit, blended fruit smoothies, salads and more. The partnership between Levy and Melissa's Produce began in 2012 and gives fans fresh options to enjoy during their time at LVMS."

Here is a list of concessions serving healthy options at LVMS:

Levy’s Speedway Alley Concessions: More than a concession stand, this 120-foot-long "alley" offers everything from rice bowls to tacos to barbecue. 

Farm to Fan Concession: Look out for the fresh display of apples and oranges as you make your way through the concourse. This healthy stand serves up fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in convenient grab-and-go cups.

Speedway Farmers Market: Located in the Neon Garage, the Speedway Farmers Market offers fresh salads, club sandwiches, whole fruit and fruit and vegetable cups.

Clubs and Suites: From mac-and-cheese, potato salad, tri-tip and charcuterie to healthy salads and sandwiches, the Speedway's clubs and suites serve up options for every taste. 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Food Facts:

Ketchup at 250 gallons ordered

Hot dogs at 18,000 ordered

A whopping 10,000 lbs. of fresh produce will be washed, cut, shredded and peeled for the NASCAR Race!

Three Square Food Bank: LVMS donates to the Three Square Food Bank following each major event held at the Speedway. LVMS staff also volunteer at the food bank.

Republic Services Waste Management: LVMS and Levy Restaurants have placed recycling bins throughout the property so that they can capture most recyclables after each event.

Monday, March 7, 2016

All-Star Chef Classic Global Grand Tasting + Turmeric Infused Confetti Quinoa Salad Recipe

Showcasing chef talent from around the world, All-Star Chef Classic’s new addition of the Global Grand Tasting will provide guests the opportunity to sample the diversity of world cuisine from over 20 chefs! 

Melissa's Produce is a proud presenter of the Global Grand Tasting event and wanted to give you a sneak peek at one of the signature dishes being featured on Friday, March 11th 2016.  Details here: 

Turmeric Infused Confetti Quinoa Salad Recipe
By Chef Tom Fraker

1x 8 ounce package Quinoa
1 tablespoon fresh Turmeric - minced
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Organic Bell Pepper (use Green Bell Pepper) diced
1/2 cup Organic Bell Pepper (use Red Bell Pepper) diced
1/2 cup Organic Bell Pepper (use Yellow Bell Pepper) diced
1 (8 oz.) bottle of your favorite Italian Marinade/Dressing

Prepare quinoa as directed on the package and let cool to room temperature.

In sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat.

Quickly sauté the bell peppers stirring constantly, just until they are well coated with the oil and heated through.

Remove from pan and let cool.

In a large bowl, gently combine the quinoa, bell peppers, salt, pepper, garbanzo beans and Italian marinade dressing until well incorporated.

Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Where to Store Fresh Produce {Infographic}

Produce Storage Guidelines

  1. Do Not Store Fruits and Vegetables Together. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables. (Think of the "one bad apple" adage.)
  2. Room Temp should be between 68-73 degrees
  3. Fridge Temp should be between 35-38 degrees

For Vegetables: 

Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.

For Fruits: 

Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas in particular ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.

Store in the Refrigerator:

Photo credit: Bosch

apples (> 7 days)
Asian pears (nashi)
Belgian endive
Brussels sprouts
cut fruits
cut vegetables
green beans
green onions
herbs (not basil)
leafy vegetables
lima beans
summer squashes
sweet corn

Store at Room Temperature:

Photo credit Pinterest

apples (< 7 days)
basil (in water)
dry onions*
sweet potatoes*
winter squashes

*Store garlic, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in a well ventilated area in the pantry. Protect potatoes from light to avoid greening.
†Cucumbers, eggplant and peppers can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days if they are used soon after removal from the refrigerator.

Monday, January 11, 2016

8 Good Luck Foods for Chinese New Year + Recipes

While the traditional United States New Year is more about drinking, the Chinese New Year is an opportunity to honor family and friends, and to enjoy some culinary traditions. We crafted a list of 8 foods you should have on hand, to ensure a prosperous and happy year to come, and recipes that will inspire you to use them.  

Our good friend, Chef Martin Yan, has a few things to say about Chinese New Year, this year: 

8 Foods that Symbolize Good Luck for Chinese New Year

1. Noodles
If noodles are being served, then you want to keep them as long as possible, representing long life.
Recipe from Melisa's 50 Best Plants on the Planet

2. Tangerines/Oranges
In Chinese, the words for gold and orange sound alike, while the word for tangerine echoes luck.  Also, displaying and eating these fruits is said to bring wealth and luck.  This Watercress and Orange salad is packed with nutrients and flavor.

3. Pummelo
This large citrus fruit is popular because it is said to bring status and prosperity. The tradition comes from the way the Cantonese phrase for pomelo sounds similar to the words for prosperity and status.

Sweet and young, or white and brown, coconuts symbolize togetherness for Chinese New Year.  Good thing everyone loves them!

5. Pineapple
Eating Pineapple during Chinese New Year is supposed to bring luck in gambling.  Enjoy some before the Big Game and you may come out a winner?!

6. Leafy Greens and Long Beans
Long Beans and/or Leafy greens, such as Chinese broccoli (aka Gai Lan), are served whole to wish a long life for parents.  Here is a tasty way to prepare Long Beans this year: Twice-Fried Long Beans

7. Whole Fish
The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance, says Lum*. It’s important that the fish is served with the head and tail intact, writes Gong, “to ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.”
Photo: NY Times

8. Jai
This vegetarian dish is eaten because it’s “part of the Buddhist culture to cleanse yourself with vegetables,” says Lum*. It’s also packed with good-luck foods, writes Gong, breaking it down by ingredient: sea moss for prosperity; lotus seeds for children/birth of sons; noodles for longevity; lily buds to “send 100 years of harmonious union”; Chinese black mushrooms to “fulfill wishes from east to west”
Photo: Chowhound

* Reference: Chowhound

Resource: Visual Guide to Asian Vegetables

Click the photo above for the full article:

Melissa's Asian Essentials

Vegetables are not only fundamental to Chinese New Year but also to Chinese cuisine as a whole. People love to eat green, leafy vegetables at each meal because they’re not only incredibly healthy but also versatile in a vast number of recipes. When it comes to popular green Asian vegetables, we at Melissa’s have the best of the best from top quality growers. Let’s take a look at some of the Asian vegetables we’re offering that would be perfect for Chinese New Year and other Chinese-inspired dishes. We also have a wide variety of essentials for Chinese New Year including vegetables, tropical fruits, noodles and other great items to make tasty dishes for the holiday. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Recipe Roundup

We are so incredibly blessed to be a part of an amazing community, the food blogger community!  The passion and creativity is unbelievable, as well as the combinations of flavors and unique recipe ideas.  We recently hosted a SoCal Food Blogger event in our test kitchen, where everyone brought their favorite holiday dessert.  Not only did they share with us, but now they are sharing their recipes with you!

Hopefully some of these will inspire your holiday festivities.

Here is our Holiday Recipe Roundup

Best Dessert Recipes for the Holidays

Here's what's on our Holiday Menu:

Delight your family with the perfect Christmas Dinner recipes

Don't forget about your favorite Foodies!  

Here are the gifts that any food lover will appreciate:

Skip the ugly sweater this year and give the foodie in your life something they really want