Green Bean Casserole

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Roasted turkey? Check! Mashed potatoes? Check! Stuffing? Check! Now what else could we be missing here? The answer would be a green bean casserole. Casseroles are perfect for feeding a crowd with enough leftovers for the day after. No traditional Thanksgiving feast would be complete without it at the dinner table. With its combination of crunchy organic green beans, sautéed mushrooms and garlic tossed together in a creamy sauce and topped off with plenty of crispy fried onions, it’s the ultimate comfort food classic. And this recipe isn’t put together using the canned or frozen stuff; it’s the real deal here with everything made entirely from scratch. Sure, there are a few extra steps such as making your own flour based cream sauce as opposed to using cream of mushroom soup. But we guarantee you it’s well worth it. A great thing about this recipe is if you’re pressed on time trying to put together Thanksgiving dinner on the day of, you can assemble your green bean casserole for up to three days ahead of time. Simply put together all of your ingredients, excluding the fried onions, wrap it up with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. When you’re ready, add the fried onions on top and then bake it in the oven.

green string beans in a bowlWhen it comes to making a green bean casserole, the age old debate over what to use still prevails: canned, frozen or fresh? While you can save on time and cost using canned or frozen, nothing beats using the fresh kind. Melissa’s Organic Green Beans are vividly green, long and offer a sweet flavor with a crisp texture. They’re a great source of vitamins, nutrients and fiber and are preferred for their delicious taste, better health and environmental-friendliness. These versatile, high quality beans can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Enjoy them in a simple green bean salad or in one of our special holiday recipes, Christmas Time Green Beans, which you can enjoy at any time of the year.

Green Bean Casserole 

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of organic green beans, sliced
  • 1 can of French-fried onion rings
  • 1/3 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 cup of Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms for around 5 minutes until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for around 1 minute.

2. Clean and cut the green beans. In a pot, boil the green beans in the chicken broth for 10 minutes. Once boiled, drain them and set aside.

3. Add the flour to the mushrooms and garlic and stir to cook evenly for around 2 minutes. When the flour is no longer dry, add the milk, soy sauce and pepper. Simmer until the mixture has become thickened for around 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Remove the sauce from the heat and combine with the green beans and 1/2 the can of the fried onions. Stir to combine evenly. Then transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

5. Sprinkle the top of the mixture with the other 1/2 of the can of fried onions. Bake until golden brown for around 12 to 15 minutes.

6. Once finished baking, remove the casserole from the heat and allow to cool for around 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Wild Mushroom Pizza

Gourmet Homemade Mushroom PizzaWhat food goes perfectly with a game day party other than pizza? We can’t think of many things. Pizza is something that everyone loves and is always a great way to feed a crowd without breaking the bank. How does that sound for this week’s tailgating recipe? And we’re not talking about the store bought kind that’s delivered to your door! Sure, it would save some time and effort in the kitchen but why do that when it’s so easy to throw together your own special pizza? And you know it’ll taste even better piping hot and fresh straight out of the oven. For those who already have meat or wings on the menu, a homemade mushroom pizza is an incredible meatless addition to any tailgating party. Now we’re not talking about just any ordinary mushrooms. Wild mushrooms give this pizza an robust, earthy flavor thats can’t be replicated anywhere else. Fresh wild mushrooms are hard to come by but Melissa’s Dried Mushroom selection makes this recipe possible. You can use just about any wild mushroom you’d like but we find the delicate, nutty flavors of Chanterelles and succulent, woodsy flavor of Porcini Mushrooms make for one dynamite pizza! A generous drizzle of truffle oil, though not entirely necessary, adds the final touch to this newly appointed tailgating favorite.

Dry mushrooms in jar on wooden table.

There’s a certain special earthiness found only in wild mushrooms. Foraging for mushrooms takes practical skill and not everyone can just head to the woods to find them. There are thousands of varieties out there, some of which are quite popular in the kitchen. Melissa’s brings to you some of the most popular varieties in dried form so that you too can use them your favorite recipes. Dried mushrooms are not only a wonderful alternative to fresh mushrooms but economically friendly as well. To use them, all you need to do is reconstitute them is to blanch them in boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes or soak them in lukewarm water or wine. You can even reserve the remaining liquid to add flavor to your dishes. Some of our favorites include the highly coveted Chanterelles and hard to find Morel Mushrooms. We also have varieties you may not have heard of but should definitely try such as Wild Lobster Mushrooms, which are simply fabulous in vegetable sautés, soups, entrees and rice dishes. And if you’re unfamiliar with wild mushrooms, our Gourmet Mushrooms Variety Pack is perfect to do some sampling and include Dried Chanterelles, Dried Morels and Dried Porcini Mushrooms. What other recipes would you like to make with them?

Wild Mushroom Pizza

Yields: 1 10-inch pizza

Ingredients

 

1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and saute for around 20 minutes until the onions are softened and turning golden. Season with salt and pepper.

2. While the onions are cooking, prepare the mushrooms as well. In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter with 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat and saute the mushrooms, shallots and garlic for around 4 minutes.

3. Add the white wine and simmer while stirring until all of the liquid is cooked off for around 10 to 12 minutes. Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

4. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out your pizza dough to a thin rounded shape. Place the dough onto an oiled baking sheet and drizzle with more olive oil.

5. Bake in the oven for around 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the mozzarella and fontina cheese, mushrooms, onions, garlic and shallots. Place the pizza back into the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and become bubbly.

6. Remove from the heat to cool for a couple of minutes. Drizzle on some truffle oil (optional). Slice into wedges and serve while hot.

Smoked Mackerel and Pearl Onion Dip

Smoked Mackerel Dip

Fall weather has officially kicked in which means some of you may be wanting to bring the game day party indoors. When it gets too cold to break out the grill, party dips are always a safe bet. This week’s recipe pays homage to both the classic French onion dip and smoked mackerel dip with a little twist by tying them together into one out-of-this-world appetizer. The mildly sweet flavors of the pearl onions are intensified by roasting them in the oven and are combined with the smokey flavors of the mackerel. The result is a creamy dip that’s simply addicting when eaten with potato chips or crackers. You can enjoy this recipe in front of the television or if the weather permits a tailgating event, make it ahead of time to serve alongside the rest of your game day spread.

Many raw pearl onions in a wooden bowl

Small, petite Pearl Onions are one of our favorite onions to work with. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of having to peel them. We cover how to do so in just a couple simple steps in this recipe. And believe us, they’re well worth the effort! Pearl onions contain a mild, sweet flavor with a similar bite to boiler onions, though smaller in size.  Both happen to be sweeter than regular sized onions, which makes them a neat ingredient to use in this game day worthy dip. They’re available in white, red and gold varieties and are a favorite to use in not only creaming and pickling but also for cooking into casseroles and stews. Perfect for the fall and winter seasons when you’re craving something a little more comforting!

Smoked Mackerel and Pearl Onion Dip

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of pearl onions
  • 3/4 cup of smoked mackerel, flaked
  • 2 cups of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Potato chips or crackers, for dipping
  • More chopped chives, for garnish

1. Begin by roasting your pearl onions. Scatter the onions onto a baking sheet and coat with olive oil, Kosher salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for around 30 minutes.

2. Allow for them to cool before peeling. Once they have cooled off, cut the root end of the onion with a sharp knife and squeeze the onion out of its skin.

3. Roughly chop the onions with a knife until you have small pieces. You can also pulse them in a food processor to make this step easier.

4. Place the chopped into a large bowl. Mix with the rest of the ingredients, stirring together the smoked mackerel, Greek yogurt, chives, lemon juice, garlic powder, paprika and more salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

5. Sprinkle on more chives on top of the dip for garnish. Serve with potato chips or crackers for dipping.

Dodger Stadium Championship Series Eats with Melissa’s

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2017 is sure to be one amazing year for the Dodgers as they take on the Houston Astros in the biggest baseball championship series of the year. After all, it’s been nearly three decades since the Dodgers last made it all the way into the World Series. The only thing that’s just as exciting is all the limited edition food featured at Dodger Stadium. The culinary team had been hard at work crafting up some special eats only available during the World Series. If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket into one of the four games played here, make sure to take the time to enjoy all of the unique creations throughout the stadium.

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In honor of the Dodgers making it into the series, the culinary team baked up a few special themed desserts that showcased the championship’s official logo. We have to say, as tasty as they looked, these were almost too pretty to eat!

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If you have access to the Dodger’s Dugout Club, you’re in for an extraordinary treat. Known as the “best seat in Major League Baseball” according to USA Today, the Dugout Club is the ultimate VIP exclusive experience for Dodger fans. Fans can enjoy a complimentary full service buffet from Levy Restaurants, in-seat waiter/waitress service, concierge service, premium seating and much more. When it comes to giving members the best experience possible, the secret lies in its endless dining options.

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The Dugout Club offers just about anything you could ask for in a high-end buffet.  There’s a carving station with plenty of choices of meats as well as other game day snacks like sliders, pastas and more. Of course, Levy Restaurants has not forgotten about providing healthy options with all of the best premium salads you can eat made with fresh produce from Melissa’s. In fact, for Game 1, we saw a Classic Caesar Salad, Spinach and Fennel Salad tossed with fresh raspberries, Gem Lettuce Salad and even Muffuletta Salad!

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There was no shortage of ballpark worthy treats to be found inside the Dugout Club either. Cheetos or Flaming Hot Cheetos dusted corn on the cob elote, anyone? As one of this year’s biggest food crazes found around fairs, food festivals and more throughout the nation, these were definitely a hit. Or how about a classic chicken club slider stuffed with chopped bacon and topped off with fresh cherry tomatoes?

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In honor of the upcoming Halloween, the Dugout Club’s dessert spread featured one of our signature Freaky Fruits, Dragon Fruit in this gorgeous panna cotta. This rich and creamy sweet treat combined with its subtly smooth tropical flavors was scary delicious!

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We’d also like to give a shout out to Chef Marco Zapien, owner and Executive Chef of Zapien’s Salsa Grill & Taqueria  and Corporate Chef at Melissa’s. Chef Marco was hard at work throughout the series making sure all operations were running smoothly and even held a special demo inside the Dugout Club featuring Melissa’s seasonal fruit. There, members enjoyed a taste of our famous Cotton Candy Grapes as well as tropical dragon fruit.

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Elsewhere, there are also other special limited edition food specials available. We snacked on seasoned popcorn during the game and sampled specialty caramel apples. This one was loaded with crushed Oreos and could be found at the Trolley Dodger Treats on the Field Level at Section 46, the Marketplace on Loge Level at Section 137 and the Reserve Level at Section 5.

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Whether you’re rooting for Houston or the Boys in Blue, competition between the rival teams is incredibly fierce and there’s no predicting who will come out victorious. The Dodgers took their first win in the series but the Astros unexpectedly came back in one of the wildest games in recent history with their first World Series win in franchise history. Until the very end, all we can do cheer on as we witness history in the making between the most exhilarating baseball face off of the year.

We at Melissa’s would like to give a big thank you to the chefs and culinary team at Dodger Stadium, Levy Restaurants, all staff members and fans who have made this all possible. It’s been an incredible season for us and the Dodgers and we look forward to another amazing one next year.

Mini Pumpkin Spiced Bundt Cake

Yummy Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes

With Halloween right around the corner, we can’t help but dive into the pumpkin recipe trend. Last week, we brought you Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes for a crisp autumn morning. This week, we’ve got another pumpkin-laced treat for you that makes a perfectly festive treat for the upcoming holiday. Adorable and delicious mini bundt cakes take the spotlight for Halloween this year and are made with real pumpkin puree and of course, all the wonderful pumpkin spices we’re obsessed with. Funny enough, when sandwiched together, these bundt cakes actually come to resemble mini pumpkins. In the end, you have yourself a Halloween decoration that’s both decorative and delectable. Who knows? You may find that these Mini Pumpkin Spiced Bundt Cakes are simply too cute to eat!

Ground cinnamon and spices

Although pumpkin spiced items are everywhere these days, many of them don’t actually contain any actual pumpkin. Pumpkin spice is the combination of spices people typically use when baking pumpkin pie. A blend of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground cloves and ground ginger, these are all the quintessential flavors of fall. This fragrant concoction can be used to make all sorts of recipes from desserts to drinks. Rather than going out to purchase store-bought pumpkin spice, it’s simple to make your own at home. Here at Melissa’s, we carry a wide selection of various spices, including the ones needed to create your own pumpkin spice blend. If you’d like to purchase any of the spices you see here, please call us at 800-588-0151 or email hotline@melissas.com.

 

 

Mini Pumpkin Spiced Bundt Cakes

Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients

For the Mini Bundt Cakes

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of Pumpkin, pureed
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 6 pieces of Toberlone Chocolate
  • Faux leaves

For the Glaze

  • 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Orange food coloring

1.  If you need to make your pumpkin puree, please refer to the instructions in our Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves.

4. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs and continue to mix.

5. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and gently mix. Then add the dry ingredients, followed by the milk.

6. Grease your mini bundt cake pans. Spoon the mini bundt cake mixture into the pan.

7. Bake the mini bundt cakes for 20 to 25 minutes until the cakes are golden brown.

8. Once the cakes are finished baking, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before removing them from the pan.

9. While the cakes are baking, make your glaze. Put your powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl along with the salt and gently whisk together with an electric mixer.

10. Add your hot water to the mixture and fold to combine everything. Add your vanilla extract and a few drops of orange food coloring. Stir to mix.

11. When the cakes have finished cooling, you may assemble them. Arrange the cakes onto a wire rack with parchment paper underneath.

12. Place one mini bundt cake upside down and top with some of the orange glaze. Place another mini bundt cake on top, sandwiching the glaze in between.

13. With a rubber spatula, slowly drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.

14. To create the pumpkin stem, place one piece of Toberlone chocolate in the center. Add 1 or 2 faux leaves next to the stem.

Wine Pairing Recommendation: Darioush Chardonnay 2011 Although many wines are often paired with savory items, the oaky nature of Chardonnay can hold up well against certain desserts. The rich butteriness of the Signature 2011 Chardonnay integrates layers of stone fruits and citrus, as well as notes of nutmeg. This unique combination pairs wonderfully with the rounded flavors of pumpkin as well as its warm fall spices.

What are some other recipes you can make with pumpkin spices? And what will you be feasting on during your Halloween celebration? 

Vegetarian Sheet Pan Nachos

Homemade Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos

Baseball fans, gather round! The ultimate championship baseball series has finally arrived and it’s going to be the most exciting one yet this year. Whether or not your favorite team made it, this set of games are definitely a suspenseful affair worth gathering around the TV for. As we wait in anticipation, many questions are sure to pop up. How many home runs will we see? Who will take the victory this year? And the real question begs: what will we be eating? Even if you can’t make it to the actual game, making your own party eats are the next best thing. No baseball game is complete without nachos on hand and this week’s recipe is sure to hit it out of the ballpark. This is our quick, easy and (slightly more) healthy take on nachos which are layered with plenty of toppings including corn, chiles, tomatoes and cheese and then baked onto a sheet pan. Once finished in the oven, take the sheet right out of the oven while it’s still hot and bubbly and serve it in front of the television for everyone to enjoy family style. This recipe is vegetarian but you can easily customize it to suit everyone’s tastes.

Mixed Chilies

Whether you like your chiles mild, medium or hot, Melissa’s has a vast selection of chiles and peppers ranging from common jalapeno chiles to specialty finds like bhut jolokias chiles and shishito peppers. Chiles play an important role in many cuisines and are integral to giving dishes extra flavor and heat. These pulled pork nachos definitely get that extra kick of spice from the addition of chile peppers. You can use any of your favorite chiles for this recipe but we highly recommend either jalapenos, Anaheim chiles or Serrano chiles. Each chile pepper brings a different kind of flavor and heat. If you’re looking for something on the mild side with a slight sweetness, Anaheim chiles are a great versatile choice. Jalapenos have more of that extra kick and boast a green vegetable flavor. If you want to take things even further up a notch, then throw in some Serrano chiles if you dare. They have a Scoville rating ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 making them some of the hottest chiles commonly available.

Vegetarian Sheet Pan Nachos 

Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray with cooking spray or drizzle oil onto a baking sheet.

2. Spread the tortilla chips onto one layer onto the baking sheet. Top with the cheese, corn and black beans.

3. Bake the tortilla chips for around 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese has melted and becomes bubbly.

4. Remove from the heat and top with the avocados, onions, tomatoes, chiles, cilantro and sour cream. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Spiced Macarons

Halloween Macaroons

Halloween is lurking just around the corner. October is the quintessential month for all things pumpkin and pumpkin spiced. What’s not to love about the cozy autumnal flavors of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg? From cookies to pancakes and just about anything else you can think of these days, pumpkin spice is everywhere. This week’s recipe is perfect for celebrating our favorite spooky holiday coming up in just a couple of weeks. Macarons are thin, airy meringue cookies sandwiching a creamy buttercream, frosting or ganache filling. Now, don’t be too frightened by the thought of making these French cookies. As long as you weigh out and sift your ingredients carefully, you shouldn’t have any problems. This Halloween worthy treat boasts cookies flavored with everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie spices and filled a simple, rich pumpkin cream cheese frosting. The more pumpkin, the better, we say!  Pipe on some spooky faces using black decorating icing and you have yourself some edible jack-o-lanterns that are scarily delicious!

Spices for Christmas Gingerbread Cookies in Spoons

There’s something about pumpkin pie spices that always seems to evoke a nostalgic, comforting feeling every year as we welcome in the fall season. But here’s a fun fact: Pumpkin spices don’t actually contain any pumpkin. Instead, what you’re craving when you think about traditional pumpkin pie is a concoction of commonly found spices, namely ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground cloves. While actual pumpkin pie spice can be found at the grocery store, making your own blend at home is not only more cost effective but also allows you to make your own tweaks if you prefer more or less flavor from any of the spices. After you’ve put together your own, you too can enjoy all your favorite things pumpkin spiced.

Pumpkin Spiced Macarons 

Yields: 20 macarons

Ingredients

For the macaron shells

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup of almond flour
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 drop of orange food coloring
  • Black decorating icing

For the pumpkin cream cheese filling

  • 1/4 cup of fresh or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese, softened

1. Take parchment paper and line two separate baking sheets. Draw 12 1.5 inch circles onto the parchment papers, spacing them about 1 inch apart from each other.

2. In a food processor, process the almond flour, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves until finely ground. Take a sieve and sift the dry ingredients.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, pour in the egg whites and beat them at medium speed until the mixture is frothy. Reduce to low speed and add the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Then increase the speed to high and beat for around 5 minutes until you see stiff peaks form.

4. Take a rubber spatula and gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Do not over mix. Then add the food coloring to the batter. Fold the mixture again until it loosely falls into a ribbon into the batter.

5. Take a pastry bag and fit it with a 1/2 inch rounded tip. Fill the bag with the batter and pipe into the circles you have drawn onto the parchment paper.

6. Tap the bottom of the baking sheets and make sure there are no air bubbles present. Let the batter sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and bake the cookies for around 10 to 15 minutes.

8. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely for around 15 to 30 minutes.

9. While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Combine the pumpkin puree and cream cheese together until well mixed.

10. Take two of the cookies and pipe a teaspoon of the filling onto each side of the cookies. Sandwich the two cookies together to form one macaron. Repeat this step.

11. Take your black decorating icing to pipe Halloween designs onto your macarons.