5 Fan Favorite Football Recipes & Some Extra Game Day Snacks

Black Bean Nachos

Black Bean Nachos

Football season is upon us! College Saturdays & NFL Sundays are sacred for many, especially here in New England. Have your Pats jersey washed (or not)? Nail down that lucky spot on the couch? Prepare the same first & second half apps, entrees & ‘sserts as you did for every win last year? Once you can check all of your ritualistic items off the list, you can rest comfortably. Or at least on a full stomach.

Pre-Game in the Snack Zone

If you’re looking to incorporate simple game day snacks that feature a healthy twist, we’ve got coverage. Our Marketplace is chock full of tasty grab & go items that can easily enhance your spread:

We’d like to add more to your plate, in a good way… here are 5 fan favorite recipes that can make game day even more delicious than in years past.

Regulation Time Recipes:

Black Bean Nachos 

 Where else would we kick off? Yes…we know you’re excited for nachos and we are, too! There’s no denying our love of oozy cheese melted over a heap of deliciousness. This vegetarian version of one of America’s favorite football foods turns to black beans for protein and includes pickled jalapenos to add a bit of a kick…pun(t) intended!

Andouille Gumbo

You can count on us to put a regional spin on a recipe straight out of NoLa. And you can thank Bianco & Sons for the sausage in this hearty stew that is brimming with juicy vegetables, aromatic spices, and a thick, flavorful stock.

Jambalaya

In keeping with the theme of southern comfort food, we bring to you a mouthwatering Creole tradition: bell pepper, onion, and celery mixed with chicken thighs & spicy Italian sausage. This dish is a literal melting pot of the French and Spanish cultures that form the culinary makeup of Louisiana. So be prepared to take a trip to the Deep South with your taste buds in this filling recipe!

Sloppy Joes  

These may take you back to childhood, but there’s nothing childish about them. So be prepared to roll up your sleeves and amp up your Sloppy Joes with a variety of toppings, sauces and condiments for the ultimate sandwich. Our version doesn’t come on a plastic tray served by a surly lunch lady in a hair net, but it’s quick, easy, and perfectly complemented by a crisp, refreshing beer.

Tex-Mex Mac & Cheese

This comforting dish has it all: the flavors and textures of chili, plus the warm gooeyness of mac & cheese. Ground beef and kidney beans provide the protein for this dish, and the Monterey Jack cheese adds a creamy richness. Add some chili powder for a burst of heat!

What are your favorite game day recipes?

 

Our Favorite Burgers for #NationalBurgerMonth!

May is #NationalBurgerMonth, and the timing couldn’t be better as we New Englanders bust out the grills and start dining al fresco – the perfect situation for burgers! We’re rounding up some of our top burger recipes today, as well as a few expert tips for the best tasting burgers. Enjoy!

Burger Tips

  • Ensure consistent size and shape. Burgers are better with friends, so you’re most likely grilling up a bunch at the same time. If you’re creating your own patties, use a food scale or a cut-out or lid to ensure that all the burgers are the same shape and size – consistent done-ness is key!
  • Use cold to your advantage. Shape patties when the meat is cold to ensure the juiciest burgers (otherwise you run the risk of the fat and meat separating), and dip your hands in cold water before handling the patties to ensure the meat doesn’t stick.
  • Don’t squish your burger while grilling. Fight the instinct to press down on your burger. See those flames leaping up every time you do it? Those are all the fat – and flavor – leaking right out of your burger!
  • Don’t cut into that burger! It’s tempting to check the center of a burger visually to see if it’s to your liking, but the safest way to check for doneness (and to ensure that you don’t sacrifice a burger in the process) is by using a meat thermometer. Guidelines for cooking temps are as follows, though it’s important to note that the USDA temperatures under 160 degrees are not considered safe for ground beef consumption:
    • Rare: 120 to 125
    • Medium Rare: 130 to 135
    • Medium Well: 150 to 155
    • Well Done: 160 to 165
  • Pick the right bun. When testing burgers in our JAC kitchen, we always use the best, most hearty local buns. Nothing dampens the mood more than a soggy, falling apart vessel for your burger. Be sure to choose a sturdy bun to stand up to your burger and toppings.

Just Add Cooking Beef Burgers

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Classic Burgers with Oven Fries

Start dreaming of July with this American classic. These burgers come loaded with all the goodies for you and your family: lettuce, tomato, onions, and avocado. Paired with oven fries this dish screams shorts and flip-flops, even if it’s not quite summer yet.

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Black ‘n Bleu Burger

Salty blue cheese plus a perfectly spiced beef burger make this dish a fantastic treat. Cajun spices are mixed into the all beef patties and then topped with fresh tomatoes, red onions, and blue cheese. Served on the side is a batch of crispy sweet potato hash.

Vegetarian Burgers

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Eggplant Burgers with Roasted Parsnip Fries

Parsnips look like big, white carrots but they have a spicier, nuttier flavor. Once roasted they take on a sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the chili powder. Our spiced eggplant burgers are coated in panko bread crumbs and seared on the stove top to give them a crisp crunch. Smoky, spicy, sweet, and savory, this dish has it all!

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Stuffed Portobello Burgers with Herbed Potatoes

In this vegetarian take on a stuffed hamburger, we cook hearty and earthy portobello mushroom caps filled with a tangy goat cheese stuffing. Topped with spicy arugula and juicy tomato slices, this meal is sure to please both the carnivores and vegetarians in your family.

Twists on the Classic

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Chorizo Burger with Massaged Kale Salad

Our Chorizo Burger is a Spanish twist on the American Classic. We’ve replaced the beef patty with chorizo from local meat vendor Bianco and Sons. Topping the burger are slices of fresh tomato and a quick aioli. A side salad of garlicky massaged kale rounds out the dish.

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Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

We decided to put a fun twist on a classic cheeseburger by turning it inside out! Creamy, delicately flavored Monterey Jack cheese is stuffed inside savory turkey patties, giving them mouthwatering, gooey centers. Sweet potato fries and a sweet, tangy sauce heighten this dish further.

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Wicked Good Pastrami Burger

Wicked Good Burgers ain’t your daddy’s patty on a bun. We love Andy Husbands’ recipe for a super tasty burger and bet you do too.

Spring Grilling Recipe Roundup

Grilling season is here! It’s been a long wait for Boston with a winter that stretched into spring, but we’re finally emerging from the snow banks. There’s no better way to celebrate spring than grilling outdoors, which is why many of our spring recipes can be made on the stove or on the outdoor grill. We’ve put together a roundup of our favorite grilling recipes and sides so you can get an early jump start on the season!

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Gourmet Hot Dogs

We’ve taken a classic hot dog and kicked it up to a new level. Top your hot dog with crunchy fried onion flakes and tangy zucchini relish, and pair it with a side of creamy horseradish slaw.

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Grilled Portobello and Cabbage

Satisfy your grill cravings in a healthy way with this flavorful portobello burger that even meat lovers will want to sink their teeth into. Topped with sharp blue cheese and crunchy red onion this burger is satisfying in texture and flavor. Grilling the cabbage gives it deep, caramelized notes.

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Grilled Salmon & Summer Salad

This salad is a perfect summer meal. Grilling the vegetables outside lets you enjoy the summer and keep the heat out of your kitchen. The addition of lime to a simple vinaigrette takes this dish to another level. The charred taste of roasted corn, peppers, and squash work perfectly with the fresh lime juice.

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Grilled Veggie Pita Pockets

Our Grilled Vegetable Pita Pockets are a great summer grilling recipe that’s super portable too! Whether you’re playing an intense game of badminton, or relaxing by the pool you can take these pita pockets with you anywhere. The grilled veggies and marinated chickpeas are topped with briny feta cheese and cool tzatziki yogurt sauce.

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Spiced Latin Sliders & Bean Salad

These spiced sliders are a great summer treat that can be prepared easily on the grill or in a skillet. Fresh fresno chili is complemented with cumin and queso fresco in these beef sliders. A marinated black bean salad adds a cool creaminess to this spicy dish.

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Pork Chops & Potato Salad

This home-style meal is a great dish for any time of year. Juicy pork chops are topped with a delicious tart jam featuring the bounty of Massachusetts fruits made by Deborah’s Kitchen. Served with the pork chops is a warm potato salad with spicy arugula and subtle sherry vinegar.

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Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

We decided to put a fun twist on a classic cheeseburger by turning it inside out! Creamy, delicately flavored Monterey Jack cheese is stuffed inside savory turkey patties, giving them mouthwatering, gooey centers. Sweet potato fries and a sweet, tangy sauce heighten this dish further. Cook on a skillet or outside on the grill, your choice!

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Succotash with Lamb Kabobs

Our take on succotash combines sweet corn, silky avocado, crisp cucumber and aromatic basil. Lamb kebabs are the perfect foil for the fresh flavors.

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Eggplant Burger with Roasted Parsnips

Parsnips look like big, white carrots but they have a spicier, nuttier flavor. Once roasted they take on a sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the chili powder. Our spiced eggplant burgers are coated in panko bread crumbs and seared on the stove top to give them a crisp crunch, or try them on the grill for a smoky flavor! Spicy, sweet, and savory, this dish has it all!

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Halloumi Skewers & Couscous 

Halloumi is a style of cheese from Cyprus that has a very high melting point, which makes it the perfect cheese for grilling. Our recipe pairs it up with a Greek-style couscous salad that features kalamata olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

#TacoTuesday Recipe Roundup

Ready to celebrate #TacoTuesday? It’s our favorite day of the week! Taco recipes are simple, convenient and a huge hit with every age. Plus, they’re full customizable for even the pickiest eaters. Today, we’re rounding up our top Just Add Cooking taco recipes that think a bit outside the box to give you some #TacoTuesday inspiration!

Vegetarian Tacos

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BBQ Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos

Hearty chickpeas and creamy cauliflower are an excellent blank canvas for Boston’s own Bondat’s custom spice blend. Taste tested from years of grilling and smoking meats, this taco seasoning includes cumin, salt, chili, coriander, garlic, and Mexican oregano. You can count on us to bring local inspiration even to taco night!

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Mixed Mushroom Tacos

Just Add Cooking is bringing all the fun of taco night to your dinner table with our fantastic Mixed Mushroom Tacos! Meaty crimini and oyster mushrooms make the base of our taco fillings and are rounded out with some creamy pinto beans. You can pick your own toppings with a fresh slaw, avocado, and tomatoes.

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Tofu Crumble Tacos

We’ve reimagined the classic taco with tofu! Tofu is the perfect vehicle for showcasing the warmth and flavor of taco seasoning, and this recipe brings together all your favorite toppings: crunchy iceberg lettuce, tangy monterey jack cheese, spicy pickled jalapenos, and crisp onion.

Fish Tacos

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Blackened Monkfish Tacos

In this delicious recipe blackened does not mean burnt! Instead, blackened refers to the flavorful crust that the fish develops when coated in creole seasoning and is then seared. A fresh salsa of jalapeno, pineapple, and lime brightens up the dish and adds a punchy contrast to the spiced fish.

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Fish Tacos with Avocado Creme

Taco night comes together in a very tasty way with our distinctive recipe. The lightness of pollack, bright lime, and fresh cilantro, paired with the richness of a homemade avocado creme make for an easy, mouth watering dinner that will satisfy everyone around the table.

Fusion Tacos

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Five Spice Pork Tacos

We’re throwing out the rulebook with this recipe for Chinese-inspired tacos. Pork shoulder gets tossed in fragrant five spice seasoning and is then seared until juicy and crisp. Topped with a bright vegetable slaw, sweet chili sauce, and toasted sesame seeds, these tacos bring together the best of two delicious cuisines.

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Moo Shu Pork Tacos

Moo shu pork is a dish of northern Chinese origin that is a hot seller in Chinese-American cuisine. This is not your typical takeout moo shu pork, however. For starters you get to make it yourself! Second, we’re crossing borders and using flour tortillas as the vehicle to hold the tasty filling and topping it all with a spicy sriracha mayo.

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Spicy Korean Tacos

This Korean-Mexican fusion style meal is inspired from the food trucks of Los Angeles. Our pork gets its spicy kick from gochujang, a Korean red chili paste, and the napa cabbage slaw cools down every bite while adding a bit of crunch.

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Thai Beef Tacos

The “holy trinity” of French and Italian cuisine is a trio of vegetables: onions, carrots, and celery. In Thai cuisine the trio is a little different: lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. These ingredients form the backbone of much of Thai cooking. The funkiness of the fish sauce is balanced perfectly by the sugar and lime juice.

Classic Tacos

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Chicken Tinga Tacos

Chicken tinga is a Mexican dish of shredded chicken in a rich tomato sauce brimming with smoky chipotle chilis, aromatic onions, and fresh tomatillos. In our recipe we’re filling warm corn tortillas with the chicken tinga and topping it off with creamy, tangy feta, and crunchy onion.

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Classic Beef Tacos

Celebrate this taco Tuesday with our Classic Beef Tacos! This recipe is a comforting family meal that brings together all your favorite taco toppings: crunchy iceberg lettuce, tangy monterey jack cheese, spicy pickled jalapenos, and crisp onion.

A Spring Break Staycation in Your Kitchen

Spring Break is just around the corner here in Boston. If you’re experiencing major FOMO as you watch other people climb aboard planes jetting to places that have emerged from a deep freeze (we’re almost there, New England!), we have the solution: a Staycation in Your Kitchen!

Our culinary team is inspired by recipes from around the world and that includes all the warm places you can imagine. So take a trip with us and try transporting yourself and your family to a new (much warmer) land with these delicious recipes. The best part is they can be made in around 30 minutes–much less painful than the security line at Logan!

The Tropics

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Caribbean Chicken Salad

Take a grilled chicken salad to the next level with spicy jerk seasoning! You can find all the flavors and fun of the Caribbean in this easy summer recipe. Sweet diced pineapple meets crunchy bell peppers and a creamy lime dressing for a delicious salad that keeps the party going all night long!

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Jerk Salmon with Caribbean Slaw

Jerk seasoning is a spice blend indigenous to Jamaica that is predominantly made up of allspice and hot peppers. Many other ingredients can be added, giving each jerk seasoning a unique taste and style. Our interpretation couples flavorful jerk salmon with a refreshing Caribbean slaw.

Mexico

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Mexican Pollock

Mexican spices and herbs like chili powder and oregano combine to flavor a piquant tomato sauce. The fish is then poached in this sauce and absorbs all of the bright and tangy flavors. Served over a bed of rustic mashed potatoes and garnished with fresh cilantro, this dish has it all.

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Classic Beef Tacos

Celebrate Taco Tuesday with our Classic Beef Tacos! This recipe is a comforting family meal that brings together all your favorite tacos toppings: crunchy iceberg lettuce, tangy monterey jack cheese, spicy pickled jalapenos, and crisp onion.

Greece

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Greek Meatballs & Salad

Take a trip to Greece without having to leave your kitchen! These meatballs, made with succulent lamb, fresh mint, and spicy garlic and served with a cool and creamy tzatziki sauce will transport you right to your favorite restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Hawaii

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Hawaiian Pork Chops

For this pork chop dish we’ve brought together sweet brown sugar, savory soy sauce, and tangy cider vinegar in a flavorful sauce for pork chops and bell peppers. An herbaceous cilantro rice is studded with pineapple to soak up any extra sauce and add a sweet bite to this savory meal.

The South

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Jambalaya

At the heart of many cuisines is a set of aromatics that form the base. In French, it’s mirepoix (carrot, onion, and celery). In the Creole tradition of Louisiana, it’s bell pepper, onion, and celery. This dish is a great mix of the French and Spanish cultures that form the culinary makeup of Louisiana.

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Nashville Hot Tempeh with Creamy Grits

Nashville-style hot chicken is all the rage these days. This unique preparation of chicken uses a sweet and spicy glaze to coat the chicken after it’s been fried. We’re subbing in tempeh for this vegetarian recipe and serving it along with some cheesy cheddar grits and braised greens.

The Southwest

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Poblano Pork & Dumpling Stew

We took nana’s chicken and dumplings on a trip to the Southwest. Masa, traditionally used for making tortillas and tamales, is perfect for the dumplings in this hearty stew with just a bit of heat from the mild poblano. We’re sure this will warm you up on even the chilliest of winter days.

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Southwest Chopped Salad

In this ample dinner salad sweet cherry tomatoes, charred corn, earthy black beans, and red onion come together on a bed of mesclun tossed with a zippy avocado dressing. This salad is bright, vibrant, and fresh thanks to a burst of lime and cilantro.

Family-Friendly Recipes for the Weeknight Crunch

If you’re a parent, you know how crazy the weeknight crunch can be. No matter how much pre-planning or prep you do, there’s always that rush to get dinner on the table, all the while a distant voice in your mind reminding you that you’re supposed to be developing your kids’ palates, feeding them new foods, making their meals well-rounded. Ack!

But there are solutions beyond just scouting what’s organic in the freezer. (No judgement there, we all do it!). We’re rounding up some of our top family friendly recipes today to help get you through the weeknight crunch. These recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less and feature kid-friendly ingredients but also help you to stretch their palates and combat weeknight boredom.

(Of course, if having ingredients on hand is an issue too, we’re always happy to help. Our weekly meal kits provide a variety of family-friendly meals and we deliver all the local ingredients to you. Check out this week’s menu here.)

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Black Bean Nachos

Your kids will freak when you tell them you’re serving them crunchy nachos for dinner! This is delicious and vegetarian, sneaking in protein with black beans and some veggies. Leave off the pickled jalapenos if your kids aren’t into spicy (or serve them on the side).

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Cauliflower Flatbread

Can’t go wrong with pizza night! Up the healthy factor with a cauliflower crust – it’s surprisingly easy to make with our instructions. We top with a traditional fresh mozzarella, tomato and pesto combo but you can add anything your kids like.

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Flank Steak & Cheddar Grits

Yummy steak and creamy, cheesy grits on the side? It might be a little off the beaten path of a traditional weeknight meal but with plenty of familiar flavors this one will please everyone. There’s a reason why it’s one of our top-rated recipes!

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Lemon Chicken Naanwich

Lemon and garlic chicken is always a winner for everyone in the family. Make it extra-fun by using naan, a traditional Indian bread, instead of a wrap or pita. Delicious, well-rounded and can be eaten with minimum utensils–can’t go wrong with that!

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Meatballs with Thai Dipping Sauce

If there’s one thing we know about kids it’s that they love to dip. Plus dipping sauces give picky eaters the chance to branch out to new flavors without fully committing. The beef meatballs are familiar and the Thai dipping sauce spices things up for the more adventurous.

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Quinoa Mac ‘n Cheese

This healthy and gluten-free take on an American classic is an instant crowd-pleaser. Cheesy sauce joins some veggies and protein-packed quinoa to fill up without weighing down.

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Moo-Shu Pork Tacos

Many kids will eat anything wrapped in a tortilla, especially when they can top it themselves, so our Moo-Shu Pork Tacos are a perfect opportunity to introduce a new dish in a way that’s ultimately familiar. Plus, it is de-lic-ious!

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Roast Pork & Apples with Curry Polenta

Familiar pork paired with sweet apples ensures everyone at the table gets a bite they like, and for those who want to get a little crazy with their sides, a curry polenta provides an other-wordly adventure!

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Shrimp & Creamy Orzo

With creamy orzo spiked with parmesan, this dish is a great way to draw everyone in with comfort food punctuated with healthy shrimp and peas.

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Spinach Fettucine Alfredo

If you wince giving the kiddos creamy, cheesy pasta, this is a great balance of nutrient-packed spinach and the familiar alfredo dish they love.

 

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

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.

Demystifying Winter Vegetables

Credit: wikiHow

Credit: wikiHow

If you find yourself making a beeline for the butternut squash and sweet potatoes at the Winter Farmer’s Market, we’re coming to your rescue! We get it: a long day where it gets dark at 4 pm makes it easy to fall into old favorites. But winter’s produce can be just as exciting as summer’s. Let’s take a step outside your culinary comfort zone and try some of those unfamiliar foods that you usually walk right past!

Winter’s bounty is so much more than potatoes and parsnips–and there are lots of delicious options you can get locally right here in New England. Let’s demystify some of the peculiar produce you’ll see this time of year, and give you a head start with some recipes to check out. 

But first, three rules for winter food adventures:

  1. If you’ve never heard of it, try it.
  2. If it looks funky to you, definitely try it.
  3. If you can’t pronounce it, absolutely, most definitely try it right now!
Credit: MarthaStewart.com

Credit: MarthaStewart.com

Persimmon

The Latin word for this tomato-look-alike means “food of the gods.” Also a fruit, it originated in Japan where it’s actually the country’s national fruit. Generally deep-orange in color, the most common varieties are the Fuyu and the Hachiya. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. Make it into a salsa, a savory tart, add it to stuffings and curries, or make it into a jam to serve alongside meat dishes. Check out this simple salsa recipe and grab the chips.

Credit: Great British Chefs

Credit: Great British Chefs

Celeriac (Celery Root)

This is the definition of don’t judge a book (or a vegetable) by its cover. Celery root, also known as celeriac, looks like it should be part of a Halloween display. It has a more concentrated celery flavor that is very appealing as it’s slightly creamier than the upfront vegetal taste of celery. We love making it into a puree with a little cream and butter (well, more than a little butter…), check out this recipe. Celery as we know it grows directly out of the celeriac root. They can be interchanged in most recipes, so stop leaving celeriac out of the winter veg party, it’s feeling neglected.

Credit: Ful-Filled

Credit: Ful-Filled

Kohlrabi

These funky vegetables look like something from another planet: hard, bumpy bulbs with long stems shooting out of the top that end in leaves. Sounds appealing right? Actually, they are, they’re delicious! This vegetable is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, which is fitting as the word “kohlrabi” is German for “cabbage turnip.” It is a member of the brassica family (think broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) and it can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s very versatile. Slice it and use it as a vehicle for dip, or add it to salads or slaws for some crunch. It can also be baked, boiled, steamed, roasted, or grilled. Here are two of our favorite ways to use it: one raw, and one cooked.

Credit: Karista's Kitchen

Credit: Karista’s Kitchen

The Chicories: Radicchio & Belgian Endive

These leaves get a bad rap for their bitterness, but when combined with other flavors they can be a great complement to any cooked dish or salad. Many of us know endive as a conveniently sturdy leaf to scoop up a ton of dip at a party with. While this is an excellent use for it, try chopping it finely and tossing it into a salad for added crunch or get a little fancy and braise it. Radicchio can also be served raw in a salad. It stands up especially well to the sturdiness of kale, but we love it sauteed or grilled. It’s delicious when the leaves wilt and caramelize a bit. Sauteeing it with some honey and balsamic vinegar also tones down the bitterness, check it out here.

Credit: BBC Good Food

Credit: BBC Good Food

Kumquats

While we have the more earthy flavors of root vegetables on our minds in the cold winter months, it is also citrus season! A little zest from a lemon or an orange always brightens up a dish, but let’s stop and smell the kumquats. Really though, they are wonderfully fragrant and add a lovely layer of citrus flavor to any dish. They are native to China but are also grown in Japan and the U.S. Just bigger than an olive, they look like tiny navel oranges, and fun fact – you can eat the entire thing, skin and all. They are quite tart but also a little sweet. Use them in dressings, preserves, stuffings, or any slow cooked dish to add some zing. We love this tagine recipe that incorporates them. 

Squash: Honeynut, Kabocha, Delicata

Anything you would do with a butternut or acorn squash, you can do with these unconventional squashes. Roast them, stuff them, make them into soups and purees, the oven is your oyster here.

Credit: The Martha's Vineyard Times

Credit: The Martha’s Vineyard Times

Honeynut

If Honey I Shrunk the Kids happened to butternut squash, you would essentially get honeynut squash. This mini squash is bright orange on the inside, and while visually similar to butternut, its texture is even more velvety and its flavor even sweeter. Warm spices are a great match for honeynut and we are big fans of stuffing it!

Credit: My Healthy Dish

Credit: My Healthy Dish

Kabocha

Also known as “Japanese pumpkin,” this squash variety looks lumpy and green and mysterious. But it tastes like a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato, so if you’re a fan of those this should be your go-to winter squash. It’s perfect for roasting, stuffing, and pureeing; and you don’t have to peel it (score!). Check out this sweet and spicy recipe.  

Credit: Spoon & Saucer

Credit: Spoon & Saucer

Delicata

Squash can get a bad rap for being high maintenance – difficult to peel and tough to chop. This striped squash is no fuss. It doesn’t require peeling and it’s smaller than most winter squash so it’s easy to handle. It’s flavor is sweet, creamy, and mild, so it pairs well with most spices. As with most other squash, it’s delicious when roasted so the edges caramelize slightly.

So before you steer clear of New England’s winter vegetable crops this year, take a moment to wake up your senses and give something new a try!

A Fresh Take On Thanksgiving Sides

Photo credit: Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Photo credit: Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

While we all love grandma’s secret family mashed potato recipe, it’s no lie that Thanksgiving sides can get a little old. Seriously, how many different versions of stuffing can one really make? It’s time to give the traditional Turkey Day sides a little makeover, with these innovative dishes from around the web! Check out our top 10 Thanksgiving side ideas for 2015.

  1. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots with Balsamic Vinegar: In-season brussels are the star of this easy 4-ingredient dish. We love the touch of sweetness from the balsamic vinegar to balance out the flavors!
  1. Sweet Potato Gratin with Smoky Breadcrumbs: Enjoy one of our favorite seasonal root veggies without the usual loads of marshmallows and added sugar. This sweet & savory side is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
  1. Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots & Sage: Pumpkins aren’t just for carving or table centerpieces! Roast in the oven for a crisp, flavorful dish – complete with fresh sage.
  1. Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary & Garlic: This vegan side has all the flavor without the added butter. Fresh rosemary and minced garlic marry together perfectly in this heart-warming autumnal favorite.
  1. Creamy Farro Pilaf with Wild Mushrooms: Add some hearty grains to your feast lineup with this wild take on rice pilaf! We love the rich, creamy texture the Parmesan and white wine brings.
  1. Florentine Fennel Gratin: Move over, potatoes! Fennel – a member of the carrot family – gets all the spotlight in this twist on a French favorite. Be sure to make extra…it’s bound to go quickly!
  1. Harvest Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing: Enjoy the flavors of the season in this go-to Thanksgiving salad. Kabocha squash, kale, and pomegranate seeds come together for a colorful dish that’s both delicious and good for you. Did we mention the maple balsamic dressing is absolutely to-die-for?
  1. Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese: It’s time to give your traditional mashed potato recipe a bit of a makeover! Creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions, and garlic totally do the trick.
  1. Sautéed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter: We’d be remiss not to tell you to eat your greens, even on Thanksgiving! But when they’re topped with toasted garlic butter, do we really have to tell you twice?
  2. Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits with Chives: Add some pizzazz to your bland cornbread recipe! These melt-in-your-mouth savory biscuits have just a touch of honey for sweetness, and are great for soaking up extra gravy. Win, win.

Now we want to hear from you! What are your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, both traditional and new to the family?