Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

Potato Rosti Lunch

Happy Hanukkah! The next eight days are sure to be full of family, fun and of course, food. Also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah represents religious freedom and national survival and is a time for families to light the menorah, sing songs and play games of dreidel. During the celebration people come together to commemorate the Jewish holiday by eating fried foods in relation to the miracle of the burning oil lamps in ancient Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. One food that perfectly represents the story of Hanukkah and how it came to be are none other than latkes. Latkes are essentially crispy pancakes made of grated potatoes, flour and egg and often contain garlic, onions and other seasonings. The smell of freshly frying latkes in the kitchen is simply heavenly. Once cooked, they can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings from traditional applesauce or sour cream. Let’s take things a bit further this year with the addition of smoked salmon and a deliciously decadent dill sour cream. The result is a gorgeous appetizer or breakfast which can be accompanied with our other Hanukkah creations such as Challah French Toast or Sufganiyot.


Russet potatoes are usually a favorite for making latkes because of their high starch content. Yukon Gold potatoes are also a fantastic choice and give off a lovely golden yellow color. However, don’t underestimate the power of Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes. Once you tasted the light, buttery flavor of these miniature spuds, you’ll be swapping out all your former potato choices. And although they’re small in size, they hold their shape well during the cooking process, making them an excellent choice for frying until a crispy golden brown. Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes are perfect quintessential ingredient for the holiday season, from Hanukkah to Christmas to even Passover, which we celebrated earlier this year with a beautiful DYPs® Kugel Gratin. For other delicious spud-worthy recipes, check out our 10 ways to Enjoy Melissa’s Potatoes story.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

Yields: 6 servings


  • 2 lbs of Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes
  • 1/2 lb of smoked salmon, sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped dill for garnish

1. Prepare the potatoes. Use a food grater or food processor to shred the potatoes and onion. Move them over to a paper towel and squeeze out any excess liquid.

2. Mix together the potatoes and onion with the flour, egg, baking powder, salt and pepper.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, lemon juice and dill. Set aside or chill in the refrigerator when ready to assemble the potato pancakes.

4. In a large skillet, heat up the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Drop about 2 tablespoons of the potato pancake batter onto the hot oil. Use a spatula to flatten batter into a pancake. Repeat the steps with more of the batter, but make sure none of the pancakes are touching.

5. Cook the pancakes for around 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the edges are browned. Remove from the heat and place onto paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

6. Repeat these steps until all of the potato pancakes are cooked.

7. Top the potato pancakes with a generous dollop of the sour cream and dill mixture. Then layer some smoked salmon on top. Garnish with chopped dill.

Cheesy Fennel Gratin

Homemade Cheesy Fennel Gratin

Every great winter tailgate has something hot and bubbly. Eating outdoors during the cold weather months requires something a little heartier and more robust than typically traditional tailgate fare like burgers and hot dogs. This is the perfect time to break out the soups, stews and casseroles. Casseroles make great game day food because they’re quite easy to put together with a minimum amount of time and effort. They feed a crowd effectively and is easy to transport from a casual gathering at home to an exciting tailgate at the stadium. However, this week’s casserole is not just any casserole. We’re staying warm with our Cheesy Fennel Gratin. A gratin can be described as any type of dish that’s browned in the oven with a topping of cheese or bread crumbs. This one is a  delicious baked vegetable casserole with plenty of melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs and fresh herbs. The result are tender roasted fennel bulbs bathed with chicken stock and wine with a scrumptious crunchy topping. This recipe is best served hot right out of the oven but can also be transported to any game day event and kept warm.


There’s something special about fennel. With its celery-like base and dill-like leaves, one may wonder what to expect from this unusual looking vegetable. Fennel dates all the way back as far as 1500 B.C. and has been long enjoyed by the Italians, French and Greeks. Its flavor is quite unique with a slightly sweet and spicy licorice taste and a crunchy texture.  Perfect for adding a bright snap to a variety of dishes, fennel is a very popular ingredient, one that you’ll love utilizing during these cool winter months. You can slice them thin and enjoy them as part of a salad like in this Cocktail Grapefruit with Mixed Greens, Fennel and Parmesan. Braised or caramelized, fennel becomes tender and fragrant with an irresistible sweet, anise flavor. It also adds special depth to soups such as in this Fennel Potato Soup.

Cheesy Fennel Gratin

Yields: 6 servings


  • 3 fennel or fennel bulbs
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, grated
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare the fennel. Remove the fronds and stalks of the fennel. Then cut the fennel bulb into quarters, then smaller 2-inch pieces.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish with the olive oil. Arrange the wedges in a single layer inside the baking dish.

3. Pour in the chicken stock and white wine. Then add the salt and pepper. Distribute the 2 tablespoons of diced butter throughout the dish.

4. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the fennel for around 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and raise the heat to 425 degrees.

5. Combine the melted butter, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, panko bread crumbs, and lemon zest. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the fennel.

6. Bake the fennel gratin for around 30 minutes until the top is nicely browned. Remove from the heat. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve hot.


Spicy Glazed Meatballs

BlogPost_SpicyGlazedMeatballs.jpgFootball and finger food go together like peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk and all the other timeless combinations you can think of. However, when it comes to game day parties, we like to keep things simple. No need to get all fancy with any complicated recipes that take a long time to put together. No, we like to keep things simple, especially when tailgating in the wintertime. And what could be more simple than serving up meatballs? Meatballs always make a great savory finger food and are perfect for keeping the body warm against the bitter cold. These mouthwatering meatballs are made with either ground beef but you can substitute them with ground turkey if you’d like to opt for less calories; the choice is yours. Serve them up in a sweet and spicy sticky glaze made with sweet chile sauce and Sriracha. However, the secret is in the spices–ground cumin and ginger takes the sauce to a whole new level. It’s truly a flavor explosion, in all the best ways possible! These meatballs can be prepared in bulk ahead of time and kept hot inside a crockpot or a food buffet warmer. In the event you make a large batch, you can even freeze them and pull them out for any future parties when needed.

Ginger rootThe flavor of ginger is optimal to many fall and winter recipes. Its potent fragrance and spiciness gives warmth to many recipes, something that the holidays are always in need of. Melissa’s Ground Ginger is ginger root in powder form and makes it easy to flavor a variety of items from spice rubs to marinades and even desserts. While fresh ginger root has a fiery, pungent taste, the ground-up form is a lot more warm, mellow and subtle, making it great for adding a nice subdued kick to recipes. Melissa’s Ground Cumin is wonderful in savory recipes as an aromatic spice with a distinct pungent flavor and strong aroma. This spice is often roasted before grinding, which gives it a toasted, nutty flavor that’s simply divine with beans, chicken, curries, lamb, potatoes and other delicious savory dishes.

Spicy Glazed Meatballs 

Yields: 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 lb of ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic chile sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Chopped mint leaves, for garnish

For the glaze

  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1/3 cup of sweet chile sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger

1. Start off with making the meatballs. In a bowl, mix together the ground meat, egg, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, garlic chile sauce, parsley and salt. Add the bread crumbs and use your hands to mix them in.

2. Roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Add the vegetable oil into a skillet and heat up over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in the hot oil for about 5 to 6 minutes, making sure to cook them evenly on all sides.

3. Place a paper towel onto a plate. Transfer the meatballs onto the plate to drain off any excess oil.

4. In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, sweet chile sauce, Sriracha, soy sauce, cumin and ginger together and bring to a slow simmer until the mixture has thickened.

5. Place the meatballs into the glaze, making sure they’re all well coated. Transfer them to a serving dish. Insert a toothpick into each meatball to making serving them easier. Garnish with mint leaves.



Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Pasta with pumpkin and cheese creamyAs the fall weather continues to cool, we find ourselves craving more comfort foods even during our tailgating and game day weekends. While many football fans may not mind the cold, they still need to prepare themselves for even the most blistery days. Grilling burgers and hot dogs are great for the earlier parts of fall but as we go later into the season, cooking for the wintertime makes for a better experience while keeping you warm. Casseroles and baked dishes are not only hearty and comforting but also help feed a crowd of people. For this week’s recipe, mac and cheese gets a delicious and healthy makeover with one of fall and winter’s most exciting seasonal vegetables–butternut squash! While you may enjoy this dish on its own, adding butternut squash gives it extra richness and creaminess, something that’s always welcome in this party favorite. If you’re having this indoors, serving it fresh right out of the oven is the optimal way to go. However, if you plan to bring it to a tailgate, simply transfer it in an buffet food warmer to keep it hot.

Fresh butternut pumpkin (squash) .There’s something magical about the rich, buttery taste of butternut squash that makes it a standout from other winter squashes. It has a distinct sweetness reminiscent of butterscotch with a dose of nuttiness, similar to the flavor of carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. In fact, combined with butter, fresh aromatic herbs or warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg helps bring out its warm autumnal flavors. This squash is not as stringy as certain squashes, making it a wonderful ingredient in soups, stews and purees. They can be used as a substitute for sweet potatoes in most recipes. Boiling them is a quick way to cook them but you can also steam them or roast them in the oven. A versatile ingredient enjoyed especially during the fall and winter season, butternut squash can be made into a Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, Dried Cranberry and Basmati Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash and Butternut Squash Risotto with Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops and much more.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Yields: 6 servings


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 4 to 5 cups)
  • 1 lb of elbow macaroni
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the butternut squash, milk and chicken stock. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for around 25 minutes until the squash is fork tender.

2. Remove the squash mixture from the heat. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and mash everything together, making sure everything is well combined.

3. While the butternut squash is cooking, make the macaroni. In a pot, bring some water to a boil. Add salt to the water and cook the macaroni for around 8 to 9 minutes or until al dente. Once cooked, drain and remove from the heat.

4. Combine the macaroni with the butternut squash mixture. Add all of the cheeses and stir together to combine.

5. Spray a 9 inch baking pan with cooking with cooking spray. Pour in the macaroni and top with paprika. Bake for around 40 to 45 minutes until the top is browned and bubbly. Once cooked, remove from the heat and serve immediately.

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


  • 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



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


  • 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.