How's Your Culinary Creativity?

Most of us probably don’t need a recipe for everything we cook or assemble. Have you ever just looked in the pantry and fridge without any preconceived notions of what you were going to make and simply created a dish or meal from what you had on hand? That might sound impossible to some folks, or like a fun challenge to others.

Aunt Nellie’s Vegetables and READ Salads are inviting you to give it a try. Four prizes will be awarded. The first two entries received using Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets and the first two using READ Southwestern Bean Salad will receive coupons for free products and a $25 gift card.  Please submit your creations using only one of the products.  

 

 

Here’s how it works.  Tell us what you would prepare if these were the only ingredients in your kitchen by commenting below. You do not need to submit a recipe-just a description of your dish using all of the following ingredients.  No additions or substitutions!

Here’s the list!

  • Aunt Nellie's Pickled Beets OR READ Southwestern Bean Salad
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh herbs
  • A baguette
  • Leftover grilled or roasted chicken

GOOD LUCK!

 

Celebrate Dad

Sunday, June 18  is Father’s Day!  Start the celebrating early with a surprise breakfast or brunch skillet. Aunt Nellie’s Baby Beet & Potato Hash with Chorizo will keep everyone satisfied until the late afternoon barbecue that many families will be hosting for Dad.

 

 

Dad’s grilled steak, chicken, sausage, chop or whatever he favors, deserves a great accompaniment, and READ Salads and Aunt Nellie’s Vegetables have some other ideas that the guest of honor will love. Check out: Bean, Tortellini & Pesto Salad, Bean Salad Stuffed Tomatoes, Beet & Corn Salad and  Beet & Avocado Salad.  They’re so easy to make, you might want to choose a couple! Plus they can be made ahead and refrigerated until serving time.

 

 

If you don’t yet know what to serve, Southwestern Marinated Chicken with Bean Salad is a perfect choice for the dad who likes food on the spicier side.  The liquid from the can of Southwestern Bean Salad, accented with lime and garlic, makes a spicy marinade for the chicken. Add chopped tomato and cilantro to the bean salad, and you’ve got a delicious side salad.  The recipe can be doubled if you’re feeding a crowd.

 

 

So, plan the menu and get ready to celebrate Father’s Day with Dad…deliciously!

Creative Solutions from Aunt Nellie's

Does panic set in when you’re getting ready to cook and you realize you don’t have an ingredient or the correct sized pan? Often there are solutions right in your kitchen!

The internet has many excellent substitution lists, as do cookbooks. Always turn to a reliable source. And, always keep in mind what kind of recipe you’re making.  For example, if you need a substitute for white wine, either chicken or vegetable broth would work just fine in a savory dish like a casserole or sauce.  But not in a dessert. Think about white grape juice or apple juice to replace the wine in this case.

In a recipe calling for diced or chopped Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets, you have many choices for substitutions. Chopped or diced pickled beets can be made from whole or sliced pickled beets or baby whole pickled beets. Or try individual serving-size cups of diced pickled beets…they make a quick and easy substitution, plus they’re great for making a recipe for one or two instead of opening a jar of beets.

 

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Have you ever thought about using drained Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage in place of sauerkraut in a Reuben sandwich, for example, or in a dish such as choucroute garni? It’s a great substitute…it’s just a bit milder flavor than sauerkraut.  Try it as a pasta sauce ingredient in place of the usual tomatoes. Once you get started, you’ll think of lots of ways to use it...as an addition to vegetable-based soup or as the base for bacon jam, for example.

Pantry staples READ Bean Salads can come to the rescue is so many ways.  Straight from the can, they are a ready-to eat accompaniment when you’ve forgotten to plan ahead, so always keep them on-hand in the pantry.  Or with a few additions, they can become a main dish in minutes.

 

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Southwestern Bean Salad can substitute for kidney, pinto or other beans in chili or soup. For the quickest bean soup ever, coarsely mash about half the can or bean salad, add to sauce pan with remaining salad. Add on-hand vegetables like diced onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the veggies are cooked. Add water or broth if needed for the consistency you like. Seasonings such as chili powder, cumin, black pepper, oregano can also be added. Stir in chopped spinach or kale at the end of cooking for another nutrition boost.

Wondering about 3 and 4 Bean Salads and how they can become mealtime solutions? Check these out:

Pizza (Southwestern Bean Mexican Pizza), Sandwiches (Mediterranean Bean & Pita-wiches), Salads (Steak & German Potato Salad/Quick Italian Bean Salad/Antipasto Bean Salad)

Share one of your memorable kitchen dilemmas with us and tell us how you fixed it. The first 3 solutions submitted will receive coupons for free Aunt Nellie's and READ Salads products along with a $10 gift card! Comment below!

Pantry Cooking Tips from Aunt Nellie's

Having a well-stocked pantry (and that’s including the refrigerator and freezer) makes it easy to prepare a meal, snack or even an impromptu cocktail party entirely with what’s on hand.

Rule #1 is to stock up on foods that you and your family enjoy, in addition to the basics. That means stocking the pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

Rule #2 is to learn to be flexible and creative.  Just because you don’t have an exact ingredient on hand does not mean that the recipe can’t be prepared. If a recipe calls for a red onion and the only one you have on hand is a yellow onion, try it; it will work just fine. No chicken broth? Try vegetable broth, or white wine, depending on the recipe.

Aunt Nellie’s vegetables and READ Salads are pantry basics that can pair up with numerous other ingredients to create dishes that don’t require a trip to the supermarket before you can prepare them.

Need help setting up your pantry? Email us at foodexperts@mpfood.com for Aunt Nellie's and READ Salads Well-Stocked Pantry Guide.

 

 

OK let’s see what we can create. How about an appetizer…Baby Beets & Olives? Grab a jar of Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets and drain them. Then select some olives from the pantry or refrigerator. They can be assorted as the recipe calls for, or if you only have one kind on hand, use those. Add some orange zest…no oranges? Try lemon or another citrus zest. No citrus on hand? Get creative; toss in some fresh herbs or herb paste, or perhaps a no-salt seasoning blend. Add coarsely ground black pepper, and salt if needed. Pull out some nuts, cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine and you’ve got an impromptu cocktail party ready to go.

 

 

Need a quick dinner? Make Aunt Nellie’s Whole Onion and Fresh Tomato Sauce and toss it with spaghetti or angel hair pasta for a really quick and delicious meal. Drain a jar of Holland-Style Onions. Sauté some garlic and simmer with the onions and wine or broth. Add tomatoes and roasted bell peppers. No fresh tomatoes on hand? Then drain canned tomatoes and substitute them for the fresh. Pair with the pasta and dinner is served.

 

 

Need a salad‒no problem. Always keep a few cans of READ Salads in the fridge. Then, when you need a salad in a hurry, just open the can and serve chilled or room temperature is fine, too. They taste like homemade, so no embellishing needed. But…the experienced impromptu cook knows that these salads are also the springboard to a variety of other delicious dishes such as Bean & Vegetable Salad. Open a can of 3 or 4 Bean Salad and drain. Use 2 tablespoons of the drained liquid along with vinegar, olive oil and garlic to make a dressing. No olive oil? Use canola. No apple cider or wine vinegar? Use rice vinegar or balsamic for a change of pace. Slice up some on-hand vegetables and red onion (use green or yellow onions if red isn’t available in your pantry). Toss with the bean salad and homemade dressing. Or, skip making the dressing and use your favorite from the fridge!

Stock the pantry and find other great recipes at AuntNellies.com.

Healthier Eating Tips from Aunt Nellie's

Just a few ingredients can add an extra nutrition boost to your existing recipes.  Herbs and spices, whole grains, nuts and dark leafy greens are a few of the healthy ingredients that are making news today.

Take herbs, for example. Fresh herbs are an easy way to add color, flavor and vitamins to a recipe. Did you know that fresh parsley provides vitamins A, C and K? It’s so easy to chop up a handful…and the benefits are many. Toss them into salads and add to salad dressings. Sprinkle over soups and stews.

 

 

Golden, peppery turmeric is very popular, not just for the color and flavor it imparts to a dish. Turmeric contains antioxidant-rich curcumin. Add it to salad dressings, soups, stews, casseroles and grains. Or cayenne pepper...that’s something found in most spice racks.  Research has shown that capsaicin, the compound that helps give the pepper its hot flavor, may help fight cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

 

 

Whole grains, run the gamut from whole wheat and oats to barley, freekeh, millet, spelt, quinoa, and so many others. They are so important because they contain a number of nutrients such as fiber, protein, antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals including iron and zinc.

 

 

Most of us need to eat more produce…canned, frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables are all great choices.  For example, Aunt Nellie’s Beet & Corn Salad is a vegetable powerhouse, chock-full of tangy-sweet pickled beets, celery, corn, bell peppers, sugar snap peas and parsley.  Think about how you could amp it up even more.  Serve the colorful combo over mixed greens or toss in some baby spinach; add a dash or two of turmeric to the dressing. Toss the salad with cooked quinoa or farro. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to add a nutrition boost.

 

Mad for March

March… the harbinger of Spring! Thoughts turn to warmer weather, more time outdoors, ditching the scarf and gloves, and giving our menus a spring update.

 

 

Aunt Nellie’s Chicken Soft Tacos with Pickled Beet Salsa is a perfect pick for spring. Chopped pickled beets star in this delicious take on salsa along with red onion, cilantro and lime juice to create a tangy, sweet and tart, taste bud wake-up call. Serve it with arugula, chicken and feta cheese on flour tortillas topped with sour cream–jalapeño mustard sauce.

 

 

Beet & Bean Salad with Warm Basil-Bacon Dressing is one of Aunt Nellie’s iconic recipes, and for good reason. This bowl is power packed with pickled beets, cannellini beans, mixed greens, celery and onion. The dressing is beet liquid, basil pesto and bacon–so yummy, and nutrient-rich with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Plus, it’s a complete meal. What a bowl!

Happy Spring! Check out other great recipes at AuntNellies.com

Happy Presidents' Day!

If you’re lucky enough to have the day off, try this quick and easy recipe for dinner. You will call on it again and again! If you don’t try it today, put it in the dinner line-up for later in the week.

 

 

Aunt Nellie’s newest product, Glazed Small Sliced Carrots, teams up with lentils, onions, celery and tomatoes to make a colorful, hearty stew in under an hour. Great for tonight or any night- a dinner winner! Keep a few jars of the carrots in the pantry… they are your kick-start to mains, sides, even dessert. Check out more at AuntNellies.com.

Send us your favorite way to enjoy a jar of Aunt Nellie's Small Sliced Carrots! The first 5 responses will receive a jar of carrots.

National Pizza Day: February 9th!

Close kin to the pizza, flat bread and open-faced tarts are also easy and delicious options on National Pizza Day. These two from Aunt Nellie’s made with jarred pickled beets can be enjoyed as an appetizer or served as a main dish. Perfect for casual entertaining or family meals, these two are destined to become part of your go-to recipe repertoire.

 

 

Tasty Tip:

Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces are delicious additions to pizza. Add them along with the spinach, onion and mushrooms and other veggie toppers. They’re antioxidant rich, and add a pop of color and flavor.

 

 

Oh, and don’t forget… Valentine’s Day is next week! Check out these ideas for some super sips and appetizers for your Valentine.

Savor the Season with Aunt Nellie's

Savor the Season With Aunt Nellie's

Happy February! Winter is still with us, and we have Valentine’s Day to look forward to.  It’s on a Tuesday this year and many of us plan an at-home celebration during the week and perhaps a night out during the weekend to celebrate the occasion.

Aunt Nellie’s suggests starting off your at-home celebration with beautiful ruby-red Pickled Beet Martinis and a yummy Beet & Blue Cheese Spread.

The delicious, decadent spread starts with a jar of Aunt Nellie’s sliced pickled beets or baby whole pickled beets. Important…don’t toss the beet liquid!  Save it for the martinis!  Simply puree the drained beets and add garlic, blue cheese, Parmesan cheese and walnuts plus a few other simple, savory ingredients and pop it into the oven for about 10 minutes…just the amount of time you need to stir up those martinis!  Serve with crostini…and a martini!


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Stir up the pitcher of martinis while the spread bakes. Gin or rum, reserved pickled beet liquid, orange liqueur, and lime juice...so simple and so perfect for the occasion!  Garnish with baby whole pickled beets (or sliced pickled beets cut in half) and citrus wedges or curls for an extra festive presentation.


 

These just might become your signature cocktail party fare!

 

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Aunt Nellie's

Spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying family, friends and delicious food. We rounded up some of our favorite, tried-and-true side dishes that will be a welcome addition to your holiday table.

Beet & Blue Cheese Spread with Garlic Crostini

Holiday Coleslaw with Beets & Cranberries

Nutty Orange-Glazed Beets and Sweet Potatoes

Classic Creamed Onions

Hearty Roasted Winter Vegetables

And for dessert... Holiday Cranberry-Beet Bundt Cake with Orange-Walnut Glaze!

For more Thanksgiving inspiration ... check out our Pinterest board with recipes from Aunt Nellie's and our friends at READ salads! Start with a jar of Aunt Nellie's and you're on your way to satisfying sides.