How to Enjoy National Picnic Month Like a Pro

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich by JAC

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich by JAC

After another long, cold winter, ‘tis finally the season to enjoy the sunshine and spend as much time as possible outdoors. From BBQs and birthday celebrations to poolside parties and beach days, there are a ton of ways to enjoy nature’s bounty. But none quite like dining al fresco on a good, old-fashioned picnic in the park!

Here are 10 ways that you can picnic like a pro as we wind down National Picnic Month:

  1. Make the event as easy & eco-friendly as possible: Try to stick to 1 or 2 cooked or pre-prepped dishes that can be eaten with your hands. This nifty tip will reduce the need for excess cutlery and will help to reduce waste.
  2. Stack up on sandwiches: Bee’s Wrap sandwich wraps are a sustainable way to promote food storage. And who doesn’t love to bite into a satisfying sandwich on a picnic?
  3. Seek out a level patch of ground located mostly in the shade: As we all know, eating at a place like the beach can be a challenge without umbrellas & coolers because of the power of the almighty sun. Set up your picnic on an even patch of ground in the shade to help preserve the freshness of your food.
  4. Leverage the power of insulated bottles: Whether you’re transporting a hot item like soup or a cold liquid like water, or something a little stronger, keep it simple. Make sure you have an insulated bottle on-hand that’s built to last.
  5. Water Bottles vs. Ice Packs: On that same note, try to use cold, water bottles to keep your food cool versus gel or ice packs. We use Givn water bottles in our own meal kits to make them more environmentally-friendly.
  6. Invest in a collapsible cooler: If your childhood consisted of lugging bulky coolers to every outdoor event, it’s time to fully erase those distant yet haunting memories. Collapsible coolers make transport much easier, fold up into compact pieces & can often double as seating support!
  7. Save the ice cream for later: Although a cold, refreshing dessert may sound like a great idea, it’s best to bring a treat that doesn’t melt too easily. Consider cookies or fruit to help cleanse your palate!
  8. Bug spray: Be prepared. The vision of a perfect picnic is often just that; a vision. Keep bug spray on-hand in case you find yourself in a typical New England mosquito melee.
  9. Sustainable threads vs. paper products: Bring some smaller dish towels or biodegradable napkins to use instead of paper products or wet wipes.
  10. Leave Fido at home: We all love our pets, but our pets love our food, chasing small animals and trying to make nice with strangers who have food. Try to keep your picnic party as problem-free as possible so that you can enjoy a stress-free outing!

What are your favorite picnic tips and tricks?


Support Local Farms this National Ice Cream Month

Did you know that ice cream was originally called “cream ice” and dates back to the 17th century? It seems to have a much smoother ring to it with its current moniker. Whether the phrase “ice cream” means just that, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, gelato or sorbet to you, this cold, refreshing treat can be consumed in its simplest form via cup or cone, or as a unique addition to a variety of delectable desserts. With the wealth of flavor combos that has come to fruition over the course of its evolution, don’t be surprised that vanilla and chocolate still reign supreme in North America.

Crescent Ridge Ice Cream (Photo courtesy of Boston Magazine)

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, we’re coming to you with the scoop on the best local spots in the area. Beat the heat as we cruise through July at one of these flavorful and festive farms:

  • Bedford Farms: This hometown fave has been whipping up and scooping award-winning ice cream since 1880. Yup, that’s over 100 years and an expansion of over 60 flavors of fresh made, locally sourced ice cream, frozen yogurt and soft serve. With locations in Bedford, Burlington and Concord and 22 flavors always on tap with a rotation of others, PLUS custom cakes, pies & ice cream sandwiches, Bedford Farms has something to satisfy anyone’s creamy craving.
  • Crescent Ridge: “Serving Smiles Since 1968”, the Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar in Sharon, MA offers over 40 flavors of premium ice cream. From the tried and true like chocolate, chocolate chip, strawberry and vanilla to unique fusions like Black Bear, Graham Central Station and Cow Prints, each flavor starts with the Parrish family’s 50-year old recipe that has withstood the test of time.
  • Kimball Farm: With its flagship location in Westford, MA, the Kimball name has been legendary to the local ice cream industry since 1939, and expanded with the addition of 3 other locations in the late 1980s. Jack and Clara Kimball kicked off their legacy with 3 original flavors: maple walnut, frozen pudding and peppermint stick. Today, their rich and creamy offering features over 50 fantastic flavors. And the Westford location now offers a variety of exciting activities for families to enjoy including, but not limited to: batting cages, mini golf, bumper boats, restaurants & more.
  • Richardson’s Farm: These are listed in no particular order, but is there truth in the saying ‘save the best for last’? Located in Middleton, MA, the Richardson family has been operating the dairy farm for over 300 years. The ice cream stand came to fruition in the early 1950s with the idea of creating “one perfect ice cream”. Today, Richardson’s award-winning ice cream stand offers over 50 flavors and has been featured on the Phantom Gourmet.

What’s the one local ice cream spot that you can’t live without and the flavor that makes your mouth water?


How To Plan a Perfect Cinco de Mayo Party


Not only does May signify the true beginning of a long-awaited season filled with flowers in bloom and sunshine in New England, it also marks one of the most famous Mexican celebrations: Cinco de Mayo! While many of us immediately associate this holiday with delicious food & refreshing cervezas, it’s important to acknowledge that this day truly represents a celebration of Mexican heritage, as well as Mexican-American culture in the U.S.

So how do you ensure that your fiesta is set up for success? Here’s a checklist that includes everything from party decorations & ideas to appetizers, dinner recipes and cocktail creations:


First thing’s first – Add some flair to your fiesta:

  • If you’re planning a kid-friendly party, a colorful pinata filled with goodies is always a hit!
  • If you really want to liven up your gathering, hire a Mariachi band to serenade your crowd with authentic Mexican music.
  • Want to look & act the part? Accessorize with sombreros, shake the night away with maracas, and outfit your tableware with festive & fun Mexican-themed items.

Kick off your celebración con la comida tradicional:

  • Fresh & Homemade: Who doesn’t love to start off an evening of Mexican fare with salsa & guac? If you don’t want to do the work but want the taste of authenticity, check out the local products available at Nola’s Fresh Foods!
  • Hunger is ‘nacho problem: …as long as you load up your spread with a variety of mouthwatering platters. From beef and chicken to refried beans, black beans, spicy jalapenos, gooey melted Monterey Jack cheese from Cabot Creamery & more, your guests will be gushing about your tasty toppings & the crispy Mi Nina Tortilla chips you so wisely choose as your vehicle of goodness! Need some inspo? Check out our easy, vegetarian Black Bean Nachos recipe!


Let’s Taco ‘Bout the Main Event:

  • No Cinco de Mayo feast is complete without an array of tasty taco recipes. The good news is, we’ve got you covered on that front. From veggie options to fish and fusion creations, there’s no shortage of unique & easy ways to make this traditionally simple dish as delicious as possible. Especially if they’re made with fresh corn tortillas from local partner Vermont Tortilla Company!
  • Wrap it up with a burrito bar! The only problem with burritos? They tend to spill the beans… that one landed, didn’t it? If you’re looking for a simple yet satisfying recipe, try our filling & flavorful Vegetarian Bean Burrito!


Libation Station:

  • Margarita Magic: Keep the ingredients to a minimum and sip on a classic marg as you enjoy the evening’s festivities.
  • More of a beer drinker? Make sure to fill your cooler with Modelo, Corona, Dos Equis, Sol & the like.
  • Turn it up a notch with a fruity concoction like Mexican Sangria!

Buenas Noches:

  • Cheers to churros! A fan favorite among children & adults alike, traditional Mexican churros are a perfect way to end the night.

Have party planning advice to share? We’d love to hear!


Just Add Cooking’s Food Lover Gift Guide


Looking for the perfect gift for the food lover in your life? How about someone who loves to support small local businesses? Our staff at Just Add Cooking shares these passions and we’re here to help you out with this gift guide! We’ve polled our staff on their go-to gifts this holiday season. They came up with some unique gifts for both the locals and for friends and families outside of town who love to cook or eat (who doesn’t?)!

Jan, Co-Founder & CEO

Fish Spatula

This is a great stocking stuffer and one of Jan’s go-to’s because it makes cooking fish–one of his favorite foods–so much easier! For a recipient who eats a lot of fish, a fish spatula can be a game changer in making it easier to cook!

Red’s Best Gift Card

At Just Add Cooking, we use Red’s Best to supply fresh, local fish for our recipes, but you can also order it online or buy it in various locations around Boston like the Boston Public Market or local farmer’s markets. What’s amazing about a Red’s Best gift card is that they’ll ship fresh fish anywhere in the continental US, so it’s the perfect way to give someone a taste of what makes Boston seafood so delicious.

Fredrik, CFO

Rubber Spatula

One of our Chief Gastronomic Officer’s essential cooking tools, Fredrik loves a rubber spatula as a stocking stuffer for anyone who’s in the kitchen. It makes cooking nearly any recipe easier to cook.


Source: 4A Coffee

Coffee from 4A in Brookline

An avid coffee lover, Fredrik loves the java at 4A in Brookline. It’s roasted in small batches locally, and a perfect gift for someone who loves to try new and interesting brews.

Amanda, Chief Gastronomic Officer

Sous Vide Machine

This is one of Amanda’s new favorite kitchen tools to use at home. Sous vide is a pro technique that’s increasingly making it into home kitchens and is perfect for a foodie who likes to experiment. It delivers restaurant quality results by using precise temperature control. The process vacuum seals the food into a bag and cooking it in a water bath.

Jam Sessions Jam

As a nod to her previous career in the music industry, Amanda’s selected Jam Sessions Jam, a locally-sourced, small batch jam company for the perfect hostess gift or stocking stuffer. The company’s local owner also has a music career and founded Jam Sessions Jam from her love of all things pickled and preserved. The awesome sweet and savory spreads feature local New England ingredients and for a larger gift you can check out their gift collections.

Dan, Head of Recipe Development & Meal Planning

20160922-knife-steels-vicky-wasik-3Sharpening Steel

As the recipe development guy, Dan knows that a sharp knife is a must. Sharpening steel is a perfect way to make time in the kitchen more enjoyable and ensure knife safety too–a sharp knife is a safe one!

Immersion Blender

This small kitchen tool doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it’s super helpful for making soups and purees. While it’s not a requirement for Just Add Cooking recipes, you’ll find yourself saving time and dishes with it as opposed to using a regular blender. As the name says, just immerse it right into the liquid and go, no separate blender required.


Katie, Customer Success Manager


Another great stocking stuffer, a microplane is a small, inexpensive tool that does unlimited duty in the kitchen. Use it for grating ginger, citrus, cheese and more to add flavor to any recipe without a lot of effort.


Source: Taza Chocolate

Taza Chocolate

You can’t go wrong with this delicious, locally made chocolate out of Somerville. Taza Chocolate is organic, stone-ground chocolate with bold flavor. It’s high quality and a step above your typical “stocking stuffer candy,” and who doesn’t love a hit of chocolate for an afternoon snack? They’ll ship your gift and have some lovely gift sets available.

Kevin, Director of Operations


An avid whiskey drinker, Kevin recommends this bottle as a special occasion gift for the whiskey lover in your life.


Source: PieBox

Wood Pie Carrying Box

If you’re always toting treats around, these boxes will make life 20x easier (and look a million times better than tupperware). We’re lucky at JAC that Kevin’s girlfriend owns local pie company Pie Curious, and he’s always bringing us samples to the office. For family or friends who are avid bakers, this is a great gift.

Katerina, Chief Marketing Officer

Just Add Cooking Gift Card

As our head of marketing, Katerina is a big believer in spreading the Just Add Cooking love! By giving a gift card, you’re providing family and friends with fresh, local ingredients delivered right to their door, a week off of grocery shopping and fun dinners to bring their family together. Perfect for people who love to cook or those who are learning.


Source: Formaggio Kitchen

Formaggio Kitchen Gift Basket

Supporting small local businesses is part of the fabric of our staff and Formaggio Kitchen is a great example. With locations in Boston and Cambridge, this local specialty shop ships delicious gift baskets around the country. They’re available at many different reasonable price points starting at $55, but if you really want to go wild, check out their “Formaggio Kitchen’s Best” Luxury Basket ($400) featuring a $100 bottle of wine, high-end cheeses, foie gras, truffle honey, locally made truffles and more.

Rachel, Marketing/Development Intern

Source: Worst of All Design

Source: Worst of All Design

Sweet Lydia’s Treats

This local treat maker is one of Rachel’s favorites, particularly the artisanal s’mores and potato chip toffee! These are great for elevated stocking stuffers. Or, try a gift box to give someone a sampler of all Sweet Lydia’s deliciousness.

Bites of Boston Gift Card

For locals who love an experience gift, a gift card for Bites of Boston food tours is a perfect idea. They’ll get to explore the neighborhood, taste food from local shops and restaurants and enjoy a walking tour of the area. (Make it a gift card for two and join them!)


Caroline, Product Development Intern

Kitchen Scale

Caroline’s been testing recipes for a long time, and a kitchen scale is a “must” for anyone looking for precision in their recipes.

Mei Mei Sauce

The Mei Mei food truck is a staple on the Boston University campus, where Caroline is a grad student, and their sauce is the perfect gift for food lovers looking to spice up their recipes. Put together all three–the Apple Hoisin, Cranberry Sweet & Sour and Smoked Maple Ginger Sauce–made with local ingredients, for a great gift pack.

Giving Thanks…


As the staff at Just Add Cooking, we’re pretty lucky to work in a place where we get to eat delicious food on a regular basis, help to design recipes that land on the tables of so many families around Massachusetts, and work with some of the region’s best farmers, fishermen and artisans. So we wanted to spend a moment this week giving thanks. Here’s what our team is thankful for when it comes to food this holiday season, and a few of their foodie faves!

Katie, Customer Success Manager
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Pie
Favorite Leftover: Cold pie!

“I’m grateful that my work helps support an industry that places value on the integrity of the food we feed ourselves and our families. By fostering the local food economy, we are able to push back on a system that prioritizes profits over human and animal wellbeing.”

Dan, Head of Recipe Development & Meal Planning
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Cranberry sauce
Favorite Leftover: A turkey sandwich with stuffing, mayo and cranberry sauce. And maybe some gravy. And some mashed potatoes too.

“New England has a great mix of the land and the sea. The seafood we get here is some of the best of the world and being able to pair that with high-quality local produce is a dream come true for home cooks.”

Kevin, Director of Operations
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Potatoes
Favorite Leftover: Potatoes

“I am thankful for the ability to eat food that is produced and grown in a sustainably conscientious way, and for the reduced food miles that eating locally allows for.”

Fredrik, CFO

“As we are going to have lobster on Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be able to eat lobster that is fresh from New England water.”

Jan, Co-Founder & CEO
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Turkey
Favorite Leftover: Pecan pie

“I am thankful for the amazing quality and freshness of local food and most important that together we’re building a local, sustainable food system for the future.”

Katerina, Chief Marketing Officer
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: This will actually be my first Thanksgiving in the U.S. so I am looking forward to exploring this holiday. 

“Since I am from Sweden fresh fish is very important to me. I am thankful to get my fish from Red’s Best, one of our local vendors at Just Add Cooking, and I love the fact that I know who caught my fish and that it is so fresh.”

Rachel, Marketing/Development Intern
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Stuffing
Favorite Leftover: Cold pie for breakfast

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to support local farmers and producers who work hard to feed us food whose origin we know. To me, there is nothing like biting into a fresh apple that was picked the same day and hasn’t traveled across the country. Especially since I eat at least one apple every day.”

Amanda, Chief Gastronomic Officer
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: A hybrid of Korean and American cuisine: Kimchi, Bacon and Mushroom Stuffing
Favorite Leftover: Pie, cold and right out of the tin

“I am thankful that I live in a community where there are so many people who take pride in what they do when it comes to growing and producing food. I am fortunate that I get to benefit from their hard work and support them by eating their food.”

Caroline, Product Development Intern
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish: Stuffing
Favorite Leftover: Sandwiches made with leftover dinner rolls, mayo, turkey, cranberry sauce, and kale salad.

“I am thankful for the New England food economy and the opportunity to eat locally because it is an environmentally conscientious choice I can make daily and one that supports local jobs in the agricultural sector.”

Resolutions are So Last Year

26714686 2016 signAs we enter a new year, many of us have been noodling away at our list of resolutions. We look at the coming months as a blank slate on which we can write all of our positive aspirations. Turn a new leaf. Change a habit which we have outgrown or adopt a new habit or regime. We think about how we can improve our finances, reduce stress, go on vacation, take a class, explore new job opportunities or find more time for friends and family or leisure pursuits. We resolve to lose weight, eat ‘healthier’, exercise more, and attain that perfect image we have for ourselves.

Our lists can grow so long or become so rigid that we can find ourselves becoming overwhelmed and frustrated. We look for ‘expert’ advice and guidance only to find that there are many ‘experts’ all with differing ideas and agendas. Is it any wonder many of our resolution lists are scrapped by March? How do we enact positive change to make better and lasting choices for ourselves?

It starts with the idea behind the ‘resolution’. What if, instead of dogmatically resolving to ‘lose weight’ or ‘eat healthy’ this year, we soften that up and set an intention to take care of ourselves this year? That could encompass choosing to eat healthier foods, setting aside some ‘me’ time, having a massage, taking a cooking class, going out for a hike, reading a book or taking a dance class; generally anything that makes us feel nurtured, nourished and cared for. Without rules. Without a set end goal in sight. One small step at a time. Instead of saying “I will eat only ‘healthy’ foods” we can soften that to “My desire is to feel good in body and mind”. How we interpret ‘feeling good’ is up to us. Choosing whole, natural foods can definitely be a part of that.

When we set parameters for ourselves it can become discouraging if we stray outside of them. We can chastise ourselves for ‘eating that ice cream’ or ‘missing that workout’. Folks, we’re only human. We have lives that get messy, spill color outside the lines, throw curveballs our way and challenge us even on the best of days. What matters is the commitment. It is easier to commit to something when it helps us to feel good. So when we have those ‘off’ moments (or days) we can roll with them and not become derailed.

If you are resolving to ‘be healthier’ or ‘try something new’ this year, we’d like to help you with that. We can take it at your pace, and introduce new things to you one step at a time. We can even address some of your other intentions, like spending more time with family or learning a new skill. Whatever your resolutions or intentions are for the coming year may yours be healthy, happy and delicious.

Summer Cooking Tips

Summer is the season for barbecues, picnics, beach time, and relaxed, easy cooking. In order to keep summer cooking just that, easy, we have rounded up a few of the most helpful tips that will keep you on track. Follow the tricks below courtesy of to ensure that your summer stays all around relaxed:

Secrets of the Grill: Chicken

Always do two things when grilling chicken: flatten the bird, which helps it cook evenly, and marinate it before throwing on the grill.

Shape Perfect Kebabs

There’s an art to forming kebabs with ground meat. Click to see 3 simple steps will ensure well – formed kebabs that will grill evenly.

Smoke Meats on the Stove

This technique will mean no worrying about the weather or gathering fancy equipment to make your favorite smoked meat or fish dishes.

Core a Head of Iceberg Lettuce in a Hurry

Perfect for tacos, salads, and topping burgers and sandwiches, this is a great technique if you need to prepare a lot of lettuce quickly.

Memorial Day Recipes

Happy Memorial Day weekend! With the official start of summer comes a whole new menu of recipes that we can’t wait to cook and share with family and friends. Below, see our ideas for hour devours, appetizers and entrees for you to enjoy this weekend. Bon appetit!

White Bean and Bacon Dip with Rosemary Pita Chips

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Grilled Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

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Chicken with Watermelon, Feta and Arugala (available next week!)

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Two – Potato Salad with Crème Fraiche

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Partnership with Mark Goldberg

Just in time for summer and grilling season, we have partnered with Mark Goldberg, Culinary Director of the Grafton Group. Mark oversees the culinary programs at Grafton Group’s four Cambridge restaurants –Grafton Street, Park, Russell House Tavern and Temple Bar. As part of the partnership, he has curated exclusive, limited-time recipes just for our customers! Each of the recipes are easy to prepare and take just about 30 minutes from start to finish.

The first recipe, a delicious Black Bean Burger with cucumber, avocado and lime, will be rolled out next week. Make sure to place your order by Wednesday, May 20 to have it delivered right to your door on Sunday, May 23.Please see below for the other two recipes that will follow. Enjoy!

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Week of 5/25: Chicken with Watermelon, Feta and Arugula (order by 5/27)

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Week of 6/1: Seared Salmon with Summer Peach Salad (order by 6/3)

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Try Fiddleheads This Season

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This week, we are offering a gnocchi dish that includes a vegetable not many people have heard of – fiddleheads! Fiddleheads come from the ostrich fern and get their name from their coiled form that looks like the head of a fiddle. Fiddleheads are known as a springtime delicacy, have a taste reminiscent of asparagus and are easy to prepare. Not to mention, fiddleheads have antioxidant activity, are a source of omega- 3 fatty acids and are high in iron and fiber.

See below for a few additional recipes that incorporate fiddleheads to try!

Sautéed Fiddlehead Ferns


  • 24 freshly picked fiddlehead ferns
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Remove the dry, sheathlike papery particles from the fiddleheads. Fill a medium bowl with cool water; add 1 teaspoon salt and the lemon juice. Add ferns, and push them down into the water several times to clean them. Transfer to paper towel to drain.
  2. On a steamer rack set over an inch of water in a saucepan, steam fiddleheads, covered, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fiddleheads, and cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until golden. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Fiddlehead Ferns and Angel Hair Pasta


  • 1 pound fiddlehead ferns
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Grated Parmesan, for garnish
  • Essence, recipe follows, for garnish


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the fiddleheads until they are crisp-tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the fiddleheads from the water and shock them in a bowl of ice water (unless you are going to use them immediately).
  2. Drop angel hair pasta into the same pot of boiling water used for fiddleheads. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil. Saute fiddlehead ferns, green onions, and red pepper flakes for 2 minutes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss with truffle oil and salt and pepper. Divide pasta among 4 plates and garnish with grated cheese. Sprinkle with Essence and serve.

Fiddlehead Fern and Morel Salad


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces morels, halved lengthwise and rinsed
  • 8 ounces fiddlehead ferns, trimmed (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil, more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons walnut vinegar (preferably Vilux), or Banyuls, Champagne vinegar or other good white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon premium quality aged balsamic vinegar, more for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Winchester aged Gouda, or aged Parmesan, pecorino or other dry, sharp cheese


  1. Melt butter in a medium skillet over low heat and add mushrooms. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Fill a pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Set aside a bowl of ice water. Add ferns to boiling water and simmer for 1 minute. Drain and immediately transfer to ice water to chill. Drain again.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine mushrooms, ferns, oil, 2 tablespoons walnut vinegar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Toss well, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Arrange equal portions of salad in center of six plates. Drizzle a little oil and balsamic vinegar in a circle around each salad, and shave a few slices of cheese on top. Serve immediately.