Soup Solutions!

Winter is here and with it comes cold and flu season–a particularly bad one this year. We all gravitate towards a nice hot bowl of soup or broth when we’re under the weather, but why? Well, turns out that aside from soup’s warming and comforting factors, there is some evidence out there that chicken soup helps to treat the symptoms of a cold.

Studies have suggested that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that help ease upper respiratory infections, while other studies have shown that the aroma, spices and heat from the soup can help clear your sinuses.

While the medicinal benefits of soup are up for debate, its health benefits aren’t. Soup provides a nutrient dense and healthful way of getting a meal in, especially when your body isn’t up for eating anything too hearty.

Not feeling great or just craving a warm bowl of soup? Just Add Cooking to the rescue!

You can check out our Add-On Marketplace, accessed via your Just Add Cooking Meal Planner, to find soup kits that make chicken or veggie soup quick and easy to throw together, along with a variety of healing bone broths from local purveyor Five Way Foods. Jonesing for a soup fix? Check out some of our favorite soup recipes!

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Avgolemono Soup

Put a little Greek into your chicken soup recipe. Avgolemono means “egg-lemon” sauce in Greek, thickened with egg and flavored with lemon. This Mediterranean take on chicken soup features chicken and orzo and is seasoned with dill.

Get the recipe here.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Get a little spice in your cold and flu remedy with delicious chicken tortilla soup. It’s a lovely combination of cumin, chili, coriander, garlic and Mexican oregano for a flavorful and hearty soup.

Get the Recipe Here

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Italian Wedding Soup

This comforting recipe has pork meatballs, savory chicken broth and hearty kale that’s sure to warm you up on these cold winter nights!

Get the Recipe Here

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Tomato Soup (with Grilled Cheese)

Nothing says comfort like soup and a grilled cheese! We’ve got a recipe for a delicious and simple tomato soup with a yummy grilled cheese on the side.

Get the Recipe Here

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Turkey Lion’s Head Meatball Soup

This soup’s unusual name is derived from the meatball’s shape, which resembles the head of a lion. We’ve created a recipe with lighter turkey meatballs and added earthy mushrooms and bok choy. Slightly sweet, savory and hearty, this is a perfect take on comfort food soup!

Get the Recipe Here

Just Add Cooking Add-On Marketplace

 

Just Add Cooking has introduced an Add-On Marketplace! Check out our curated selection of delicious local products, from veggies and proteins to quick lunch or dinner kits and pantry staples. You can order your Add-Ons when you select your recipes right in your Just Add Cooking Meal Planner.

Here’s the current selection:

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Breakfast / Snack Pack
88 Acres Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt bar,
Green Mountain Creamery Greek yogurt,
Carlson Orchards Apples
$21.99
FreshZen & Salmon Kit
10 0z salmon, 1/2 cup FreshZen Ginger Scallion Sauce, 16 oz broccoli florets
$18.99
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88 Acres Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Bar
$2.49
88 Acres Apple & Ginger Bar
$2.49
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88 Acres Triple Berry Bar
$2.49
Green Mountain Greek Yogurt
$7.99
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Vegetable Soup Kit
16 oz vegetable broth, 1/4 cup orzo,
diced vegetables
$11.99
Chicken Soup Kit
10 oz chicken breast, 16 oz chicken broth,
1/4 cup orzo, diced vegetables
$15.99
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Cauliflower Florets
$5.99
Broccoli Florets
$5.99
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Five Way Foods Vegetable Broth
$5.99
Five Way Foods Fish Broth
$7.99
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Five Way Foods Chicken Broth
$7.99
FreshZen Ginger Scallion Sauce
$7.99
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Pain D’Avignon Multigrain Bread
$6.49
Pain D’Avignon Sourdough Bread
$5.49
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Stone and Skillet English Muffins
$5.99
Vermont Creamery Butter
$5.99
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North Country Smokehouse Bacon
$11.99
Pete & Gerry’s Certified Organic Eggs
$6.49
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Sweet Potato Fries
$6.99
Broccoli Florets
$5.99
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Coleman Natural,GMO & Antibiotic Free Pork
$3.99
Allen Family Farms All-Natural,
GMO & Antibiotic Free Chicken Breast
$5.99
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Niman Ranch All-Natural, GMO & Antibiotic Free Ground Beef
$5.99
Red’s Best Maine Raised Salmon
$9.99

Order Your Add-Ons Through Your Meal Planner Now!

Add-On Marketplace is now integrated into the Meal Planner!

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At Just Add Cooking, we’re all about convenience. That’s why we’ve integrated the Add-On Marketplace into our Meal Planner. It’s now easy to select local Add-On items like sides, sauces, proteins, soup kits and more. Just check out your options when you’re planning your weekly menu and pick anything you’d like delivered along with your meals!

Important: In this version of the marketplace the totals for the meals and the add-ons are still calculated separately and there will be two separate charges on your card. We will continue to work hard to improve this functionality further!

This week, we’re excited to bring a local sauce to our Add-On Marketplace. Ginger Scallion Sauce from Fresh Zen in Boston shows that great, fresh sauces without any additives or preservatives do exist! Fresh Zen Ginger Scallion Sauce is made from freshly grated root ginger, fresh scallions, canola oil and salt–and nothing else! No preservatives, no added sugars, and it’s gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free. Give this dscf9195delicious pop of flavor a try next week by adding it on to your regular meal box.

Fresh Zen is a family-owned, artisan sauce company that makes handcrafted, all-natural sauces from Chinese farmhouse recipes. We came across the company in our hunt for great sauces that help make dinner quick and flavorful while still keeping a high quality of ingredients. This sauce adds a fresh and bright, healthy flavor to any dish. It works great with any meat or fish, but we encourage you to try it in a few unexpected places. Try a dollop on your morning eggs, in your soup, or as a spread on a sandwich to amp up the flavor.

We’re also offering up a delicious FreshZen Salmon Kit, featuring the sauce, salmon from local purveyor Red’s Best and broccoli for a quick and complete weeknight dinner or lunch, available in our Add-On Marketplace. You can access this week’s offerings in your Meal Planner.

(Looking for more convenient kits? Try our Vegetable or Chicken Soup kits, perfect to cure a winter cold and featuring broth from local company Five Way Foods.)

Shop Fresh Zen and our other local purveyors by logging right into the Just Add Cooking Meal Planner. When you select your week’s menu, you can also select convenient, locally sourced Add-On items!

Serve Up Breakfast in Bed for Valentine’s Day!

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a complicated and expensive dinner out, fighting the crowds. We love the idea of showing your love with a thoughtful gesture that makes the day a little bit special. And what better way to start things off than Breakfast in Bed? Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year, so wake up a few minutes early and put together the perfect breakfast to start the day off right!

As always, we’re here to make it extra-easy for you. As part of our new Add-On Marketplace, you can choose to order up all the ingredients for Breakfast in Bed. We’ll deliver them in your box on Sunday or Monday and you’ll be ready to scramble some eggs and fry some bacon for your Valentine! Choose individual breakfast items or a whole kit, and choose from a vegetarian or non-vegetarian option!

Having the best ingredients for breakfast is just the half of it. Knowing the insider tips for cooking them is the other!

For the best stovetop bacon, start with a cold pan. This allows you to better control the heat and lets the flavor slowly build, rather then shocking the meat. Continue to cook it slow on low heat. We know that waiting for bacon to be done is brutal but it’s worth the patience to have the best bacon you can!

Now, let’s talk scrambled eggs. While they may seem so simple, there are a few things you can do to make sure they are perfectly fluffy.

1. Crack eggs into a bowl instead of directly into the pan
2. Whisk vigorously with salt to incorporate air into the eggs (adding the salt when whisking helps to keep the eggs extra soft when cooking).
3. Use a non-stick pan and a non-stick spatula if you have them.
4. Enjoy the most pillowy, luxurious eggs….IN BED.

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Our Breakfast in Bed package features eggs from Pete & Gerry’s, Bacon from North Country Smokehouse Meat and Stone & Skillet English Muffins. Simply prepare your eggs any way you want, fry up your bacon and toast your English muffins and you’re on your way. (Tip: we’ve also got Vermont Creamery Butter available, which makes for a decadent toast topping!)

Click here to order your Breakfast in Bed kit or any of our delicious, locally sourced Add-Ons for next week’s box! You must order a meal kit in order to select Add-Ons, and the deadline for order is Wednesday, February 7th at noon.

Fresh Homemade Salad Dressing Ideas

One of the big keys to healthy eating is bringing delicious, fresh flavors to the table as often as possible. Keeping food varied and flavorful is key to staying interested. And since a huge part of many people’s meal plans can be salads, especially for lunch or a quick dinner, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite, homemade salad dressings for you to give a whirl.
These salad dressings can be made with ingredients you likely have around your kitchen and are as simple as measuring and whisking together. We’re including a few suggestions for salad ingredients that pair well as well as links to Just Add Cooking recipes that you can try, but feel free to get creative and experiment!

 

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Fall Harvest Salad Dressing

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together.
Pairs well with fall flavors like roasted root veggies, sharp cheddar and roasted nuts. Try it in our Fall Harvest Salad.

 

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Rosemary Dressing

1 clove of garlic (minced)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (pick leaves from stem and chop)
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tbsp red wine vinegar
1½ tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together.
Pairs well with almost anything! Try it with a protein-topped bowl or in our Beef & Bread Salad.

 

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Massaged Kale Dressing

Not sure how to get kale to be tender and delicious without cooking it? Try massaging it!

2 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil

Add garlic to a cold skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil. Turn heat to medium and slowly stir the garlic. Sauté until light brown and fragrant, but do not let the garlic burn. Add the hot oil and garlic to the bowl of kale leaves. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1/4 tsp salt to the kale. Stir to combine and make sure the oil is no longer hot. Using your hands, massage the salt and dressing into the kale for a few minutes. Let rest until plating.

 

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Tropical Salad Dressing

1 lime
2 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
Zest ½ lime. Combine lime zest in a large bowl with mayonnaise, and juice from ½ a lime. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pairs well with spicy flavors (it cools them down) and fruit toppings. Try it in our Caribbean Chicken Salad recipe.

 

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Mint Greek Dressing

1-2 sprigs mint
1 shallot
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon
salt and pepper
 
Remove leaves from 1-2 sprigs of mint and finely chop. You should end up with at least 2 tbsp mint. Peel and thinly slice the shallot lengthwise. In a large bowl whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, zest and juice of the lemon, shallot, and chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Pairs well with almost any fresh veggies and plays well with salty feta. Try it in our Greek Warm Barley Salad.

Winter Cooking Tips: Using Local Ingredients

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When New Englanders think of winter ingredients, they often can’t get too excited about their prospects. While the bounty of summer brings fresh fruits and veggies of all kinds, winter often gets a bad rap around root veggies and other hearty crops that can withstand long storage and cold weather. But it doesn’t need to be that way!

At Just Add Cooking, we believe in using what you have locally whenever you can. And thanks to some of the incredible advancements in food tech here in the Boston food and farming scene, you can get some surprising items even in these frigid winter weeks. And as for those traditional winter root veggies? It’s all in knowing what to do with them. Here are our tips for using local ingredients all winter long!

Say hello to hydroponic produce

If you’re committed to eating local, you may think that salads are out of the question. You’d be wrong! Hydroponic produce is huge in the New England area right now and is a technique used by a number of our vendors to produce fresh, delicate greens all winter long.

Hydroponic farming is done indoors, and is a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Since hydroponic greens are not weather-dependent, they can be grown all year long. During the winter, you’ll see produce from Lef Farms, Backyard Farms and FreshBox Farms in Just Add Cooking boxes–and it’s just as fresh, natural and delicious as it is in the summertime.

We especially love the advent of hydroponic farming in New England because we’re able to get produce to our customers with fewer than 100 food miles–produce that otherwise might have to come from as far as Southern California!

Make local, seasonal ingredients interesting with global influences & spices

While there’s a lot more local food available in winter now than there’s been in New England’s past, ingredients are still more limited than they are in the bumper crop season. So, you have to be a bit more creative about using what’s in your backyard. Because we’re committed to local ingredients, when coming up with our winter recipes we take influences from around the world to use a smaller family of ingredients in new and interesting ways.

Try adding local produce to ramen noodle recipes, or local squash to a tagine for the best combination of local and international flavors. Because ingredients are more limited, get creative with your spices. Try Aleppo pepper on Brussels sprouts to change them up or give eggplant a miso glaze. Change up the flavors so your palate doesn’t get bored with what New England has to offer.

You can also re-think New England classics, which often prominently feature readily available local ingredients. Try adding cumin and poblano to your corn chowder to give it a Latin spin. Or, make chicken and dumplings with masa instead of flour for the dumplings.

Many of our customers love Just Add Cooking for this very purpose: they can be adventurous with spices and flavors without having to buy huge quantities, and receive guidance on how much spice to use or perhaps exposure to spices they’ve never heard of!

Enjoy seasonal fresh, local fish with winter recipes

New England fishermen don’t rest in the winter. There’s no need to eat frozen fish unless there’s a Nor’easter and you can’t make it to the market! Braised or roasted fish that’s available fresh at the market is a perfect option for a winter dinner.

Thanks to its quick cook time, fish is a great protein to feature in a healthy weeknight meal, and when served with winter grains like a farro or buckwheat salad, and some hearty greens, is a complete seasonal meal. You can also try making fish–both fresh and smoked–into soup like our Irish smoked haddock chowder.

 

Winter Cooking Tips: Time Savers

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A lot of us lose the motivation to cook as the winter months bear down. Gone are the pretty displays of fresh local veggies at sunny farmer’s markets and long evenings at the grill and on the patio. The idea of making soups and stews and braises – perfect options for wintertime cooking – can seem overwhelming when you’re coming home from work in the pitch black. Our resident culinary expert (and working mom) Amanda Mayo has put together three easy, doable ways to save time and cook locally with winter ingredients and recipes.

Roast Everything for Dinner on One Sheet Pan

One pan dinners mean easy cooking and cleanup, and they pair perfectly with hearty winter veggies. When you come home to that chilly house, turn on the oven when you bump up the heat and let it help warm the house. Use the pre-heat time to prep your ingredients – everything from veggies to proteins. Toss it all together on a sheet pan and throw it in the oven.

Sheet pan dinners are a hands-off way to cook dinner, the flavors meld together in the oven and you have easy cleanup. Roast your meats on top of veggies so they get naturally basted with the juices and fats from the meat.

And roasting veggies in the oven is an ideal way to prepare them. The dry heat helps to concentrate the flavors and caramelizes the natural sugars in winter veggies.

Find Shortcuts for Making Stews & Braises More Quickly

Stews and braises are perfect winter meals, but if you’ve been saving them for the weekends, you’re missing out. Amanda suggests one kitchen tool to revolutionize your stew and braise making: a pressure cooker. With a pressure cooker, chicken soup “from scratch” can be made in 20 minutes.

Homemade stock makes everything taste slow-cooked and it can be made quickly in the pressure cooker. Use a chicken carcass, onion peels, carrots, celery, mushrooms, water and bay leaves. Make a big batch and freeze it in muffin tins for quick hits later on. You can also store red or white wine from that unfinished bottle in muffin tins for half-cup portions that can be used in braises, sauces and stews anytime.

When thinking about a braise or stew, choose a fatty meat, but be aware it takes awhile to cook. (A pork shoulder not cooked long enough will taste more like pork leather.) At Just Add Cooking, to allow these slow-cooked meals to come together in 30 minutes we ensure that the meat is sliced thinly, so you can sear it quickly and braise for 20 minutes, but it tastes like it cooked for two hours.

And sneak in extra flavor to any of your stews, braises, soups or sauces by saving your Parmesan rinds or adding herbs on their last legs to the mix. (Hard stemmed herbs like rosemary and thyme should be added whole and stems pulled out when done, soft stems like parsley and cilantro can be finely chopped.)

Use a Meal Kit to Skip Winter Veggie Prep

The best and most hearty winter veggies can be the hardest to break down – especially on a weeknight. That’s why Just Add Cooking breaks down hard to prep items like squash, providing you ready to cook ingredients with no waste and little prep time. A hearty dish like a butternut squash risotto from Just Add Cooking requires almost no chopping or prepping. Brussels sprouts are cleaned for you, broccoli florets chopped, cauliflower rice processed and ready to go.

We take the things we love about winter veggies and do as much of the prep work as possible to make it easy for customers.

Now that you know more about how to save time when cooking with winter ingredients, stay tuned next week for our ideas on adding major flavor boosts to these fresh local ingredients and making them shine!

Take Advantage of Add-Ons with Just Add Cooking!

Fresh local veggies are a big part of our recipes at Just Add Cooking but it’s important to get those vitamins in for breakfast and lunch too. That’s why we’re introducing fresh produce to our Add-On marketplace in the coming weeks. We’ve got fresh, prepared veggies like broccoli florets, sweet potato fries, carrot and zucchini rice, confetti rice and more. Keep an eye on your emails and our social media for your chance to add them to your meal kit, making fresh, delicious veggies delivered conveniently right to your door!