Category Archives: Recipe

Cheese Blog Series: Everything’s Better with Cheddar!

Aged Cheddar Cheese from Figi'sWelcome to the first installment of the Figi’s Cheese Blog Series! In this series, you’ll learn about the flavor, versatility and history of different types of cheeses; we’ll also give you cheese pairing options, answer common cheese questions and give a few recipes along the way.  Our series begins with cheddar.

Foodies, and those for whom eating is a more casual affair, agree: cheese makes many dishes more delicious.  Of all cheese options out there, cheddar is arguably the ‘cheese of choice’ for the largest number of people.  It’s easy to see why: cheddar offers flavor variety; from mild to rich and sharp.  Add cheddar cheese to a bland dish, and voilà!  Loads of taste!  Add cheddar cheese to an already flavorful dish, salad or sandwich to enhance other ingredients.

What kinds of cheddar are there?  There are many varieties of cheddar available; here is a breakdown for you:

  • Fresh unpressed (cheese curds): Unripened curds, straight out of the vat, have become very popular – especially in our home state of Wisconsin. We especially like them battered and deep-fried!  Cheese curds are a healthy snack…when not deep-fried :) and they nicely compliment fruit and veggie trays.
  • Mild: This cheddar is soft and mild in flavor as it ripens for a short time; typically for three months.
  • Medium: This cheddar is more firm in texture and tastes a bit like hazelnuts.  It typically ripens for four to nine months.
  • Sharp: This cheddar has a firmer, dryer and more granular texture.  This cheddar ripens for nine months to two years and as its name indicates…tastes ‘sharp.’  Some would say this cheddar is slightly sour or bitter in taste.
  • Extra Sharp: Because this cheddar ripens from two to ten years, it has a strong ‘sharp’ flavor.  The older the cheddar, the more crumbly and more difficult to slice it becomes.

Why is some cheddar cheese white and other cheddar cheese yellow?  Some think a cheddar’s color indicates it’s flavor (sharpness).  Color has no bearing on a cheddar’s flavor.  All cheese typically is white or off-white; the orange or yellow coloration found in cheddar is the result of…well, I found a good article on that topic for you here.

Cheddar GorgeWhere did cheddar cheese come from?  England – specifically, the Cheddar Gorge!  Sounds ‘made up’ but that’s the truth.  Farmers in Somerset, England began making a distinctive cheese in the 12th century.  Cheddar cheese was stored in the caves of the Cheddar Gorge (shown above – photo Wikipedia), as the caves kept the cheese at just the right temperature and moisture level for aging.  Pretty interesting!  I learned that back then, cheddar’s flavor was tainted by an undesirable bacteria that developed because milk could not be refrigerated.

Then, in 1857, a guy named Joseph Harding standardized a process to suppress the growth of this undesirable bacteria.  Mr. Harding’s process became known as “cheddaring.”  In short, cheddaring gets rid of flavor harming bacteria and keeps the desirable bacteria that give cheddar its distinct flavor.    

The ‘Big Cheese’ gets all the cheddarKing Henry IIHistory tells us in the year 1170, King Henry II of England (photo superstock.com) purchased 10,240 pounds of cheddar cheese at a farthing (a quarter of a penny) a pound.  King Henry II declared cheddar to be the best cheese in all of Britain.  Henry II’s son, Prince John, reigned from 1199 and 1216; he continued to buy cheddar for royal banquets.  A few hundred years later during the time of King Charles I, parliamentary records show that all cheddar cheese was purchased before it was made, and in fact, was not available outside of the king’s court.

Nowadays, you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy cheddar – thankfully! Cheddar cheese is made and distributed around the globe.  Some of the very best is made right here in Wisconsin and can be found at Figi’s!  So enjoy your cheddar cheese – it’s fit for royalty!  Shop all of our excellent cheese gifts here.

How long can I keep cheddar cheese in the refrigerator?  Here’s a short, informative article about storing cheddar cheese to maximize its shelf life here.

Can I Freeze Cheddar Cheese? It depends on the cheese and who you ask. Learn more here.

Wine and Cheese PairingSuggested Cheddar Pairings:

Wine: Red Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Reisling, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Food: Apples, grapes, cherries, pears, nuts, dark breads, whole grain crackers.

Beer: Ciders & Fruit Beers, Stout, Bock, Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Porter.

I found a really nice resource for pairing cheese with food and beverages at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s website hereSimply select your cheese variety to match up with complimentary wine, spirits and food!

Wisconsin Cheese Pairing Guide

Is it safe to eat moldy cheddar cheese? It depends on a few factors such as block cheese vs. shredded and the size of the cheddar block. Learn more about this from the Mayo Clinic here.

Be sure to check out our Classic Aged Cheddar and our Mix ‘n Match Cheese & Sausage where you can put together your own cheese and sausage tray – including our delicious cheddar. Our 4-way Cheese Horn is a great way to enjoy cheddar with other cheese varieties for a unique, bold taste on sandwiches or crackers.  Finally, if you would like a spreadable Wisconsin cheddar, try Figi’s Signature Kave Kure Cheese or Creamy Country Cheese Spreads and Logs!  Our spreads will be available for purchase again in September.

Mix n Match Cheese and Sausage from Figi'sClassic Aged Cheddar Cheese from Figi's4-way Cheese Horn from Figi's

 

Country Cheeses SpreadsCreamy Country Cheese Logs

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed our exposé on cheddar.  Our second installment will look at another popular cheese who’s identity we’ll keep secret until the appointed time.  We’ll throw in a recipe or two as well.  Thanks again for reading Gourmet Market.  Don’t forget – you can stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ pages.

Please use the comments field below to share any cheese pairing or cheese recipes ideas you have; we’d love to read them!

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Tips for Hosting Easter Brunch – Part 2

brunch table

Welcome to part 2 of our Easter brunch blog series.  If you missed part one’s tips and featured products, you can access it here.  In part 2, we’ll finish our Easter brunch tips and provide you with three brunch recipes from Martha Stewart Living.  As mentioned in part 1, Easter is just a few short days away and we’ve got a few more tips to help you plan your Easter Brunch.  We covered the importance of planning ahead and how ordering Easter brunch and dinner items from Figi’s can help save you time and stress.  You can shop our entire Easter brunch assortment here.  And with that, here are a few helpful tips to help your Easter brunch run smoothly.

Get By With a Little Help from Your Friends:  dividing up Easter brunch and dinner responsibilities between you and your friends and family attending is another great idea.  As the host, perhaps you handle a main dish, preparing the table settings and perhaps the coffee.  Other guests can be invited to bring side dishes and desserts.  Maybe someone brings everyone’s favorite hot or cold drinks from the corner coffee shop.  There are lots of ways to spread the fun!  This tip can be a tremendous time saver and stress reducer.  The trick here is to know what guests are bringing in order to avoid duplication and know what will need to be assembled, reheated, baked  or refrigerated at your brunch.  Be sure to accept any offers to help with the clean up as well.

Setting up in Advance:  brunches take place in the morning.  The morning of your brunch is not the time to frantically prepare your home, table settings, your meal, etc.  An easy way to avoid this is to do the house cleaning, decorating and set your table and other dining areas the night before your Easter brunch.  If you’ve planned ahead properly, you’ll already know how many guests are coming and what they’re bringing; setting your table and decorations in advance is a great way to reduce the stress of hosting Easter brunch.  Also identify and prep as much of your Easter brunch or dinner foods and beverages the night before as possible.  Many dishes, beverages and desserts can be prepared in advanced and kept refrigerated.  If you’ve ordered items from Figi’s, it’s as simple as following the heating and serving instructions for you ham, pastries and side dishes.

Decor and table setting:  for some egg-citing Easter brunch inspiration, check out our Easter Brunch Pinterest Board here.  You’ll find table decoration ideas, beverage and brunch food inspiration and more!

Easter Brunch Recipes:

menning mimosaMenning Mimosa (makes 1 cocktail)
Ingredients
• 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
• Prosecco, chilled
• Fresh mint leaf

Directions
Step 1: In a Champagne flute, mix together orange juice, lemon juice, and liqueur. Fill with Prosecco. Garnish with mint leaf and serve immediately.

Frittata with Ham and SpinichFrittata with Ham and Spinach (serves 6)
Ingredients
• 6 large eggs
• 1/4 cup ricotta
• 1/2 cup chopped ham
• 1 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 cup baby spinach

Directions
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk eggs, ricotta, and chopped ham; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. In a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add baby spinach; cook until wilted. Stir in egg mixture and cook until edge sets, 1 minute. Transfer skillet to oven. Cook frittata until center is set, 15 minutes. Invert frittata onto a plate to serve.

oven brownsOven Browns:
Recipe reprinted with permission from Maria Helm Sinskey, copyright 2012.
prep: 20 mins, total time: 1 hour 40 mins, servings: 8

Ingredients
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (8 cups)
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1 yellow onion, finely diced (1 cup)
• Garnish: 1 to 2 rosemary sprigs
Directions
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook potatoes until just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Let potatoes dry 10 minutes, then spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Step 2: Drizzle potatoes with oil, and dot with butter. Taste a potato for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary, and season with pepper.
Step 3: Roast potatoes until beginning to turn golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Distribute onion evenly over potatoes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees, and roast until potatoes are golden and onions are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Garnish with rosemary.

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Aw Nuts! April is National Pecan Month

Bourbon Pecan Pie from Figi's

April is National Pecan Month and we’re back to share some great gifts, recipes and fun trivia to honor this most delicious and versatile nut.  Figi’s has a ‘tree-mendous’ selection of pecan gifts and products to choose from: everything from pecan pies and pecan tortes; nuts and snacks; pecan cookies; caramel pecan clusters and much more!  I’m getting hungry as I type this; a cup of coffee and a slice of that pie pictured above sure would hit the spot right about now!  Let’s take a closer look at some great way to celebrate National Pecan Month; and don’t forget to check out the two yummy recipes included for you at the end of this post.

Did you knowpecans provide essential nutrients and are a good source of dietary fiber.  Pecans are rich in thiamin, vitamin E, copper, magnesium and oleic acid (helps lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels).

Bourbon Pecan Pie from Figi'sBourbon Pecan Pie:  pecan pie is one of my absolute favorite desserts and Figi’s has a terrific version of this classic available right now!  Our pie is topped with sweet and tender, yet crisp nuts in a rich praline filling.  Our pie has an extra deep, moist and flaky crust, filled with loads of luscious bourbon-enhanced filling and bountiful pecans.  Figi’s also has miniature versions of this pie (also available in sugar-free).  Our pecan pies and tortes can be found here.

Did you knowspeaking of pecan pie, Okmulgee, OK once hosted the annual “Downtown Okmulgee Pecan Festival.”  Reportedly, it was at this festival, the world’s largest pecan pie was created.  The pie weighed in around 35,000 pounds and was 40 feet in diameter!

Caramel Pecan Clusters from Figi'sCaramel Pecan Clusters:  a customer favorite year after year, this gift is made with big chunks of crisp pecans in smooth, buttery-rich copper kettle caramel, enrobed in smooth chocolate.  Our clusters are available in both milk chocolate and deep dark chocolate.  If you limit yourself to one cluster each day, you might make it through National Pecan Month with one tin :)

Did you know…pecan trees are ‘alternate-bearing’ (producing nuts every other year) and produce 25 to 45 pounds of nuts per tree in alternate years.  Researchers are working to develop a pecan tree that will produce a large crop of nuts annually.

Holiday Nut Mix from Figi'sHoliday Nut Mix:  this a terrific snack mix for any nut lover!  It includes jumbo roasted cashews and fresh roasted pecan halves.  These nuts are slowly roasted, lightly salted, and sealed fresh in tins that perfect for treating guests or sending a gift.  Pecans can be found in many other nuts and snacks gifts here.

Did you know…the U.S. produces roughly 90% of the world’s pecans, with an annual production of over 250 million pounds!

Personalized Go Nuts Gift BasketPersonalized Go Nuts Gift Basket:  here’s a great gift basket idea with a generous selection of delicious treats: our aforementioned caramel pecan clusters are included with nougat nut logs, cashew brittle, chocolate covered peanuts, peanut caramel clusters and more.  Everything is carefully arranged in a beautiful black willow basket, wrapped with personalized silky ribbon embossed with your personal message in attractive gold script!

Did you know…pecan trees are native to North America.  Native Americans widely consumed and traded pecans long before Europeans settled North America.

Recipes: There are so many ways to use pecans in recipes; it was hard to pick just two for you, but here goes…

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie BarsChocolate Chip-Pecan Cookie Bars

Feel free to swap walnuts or almonds for the pecans, or use half nuts and half dried cranberries for tart, chewy bars (recipe from foodandwine.com).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flower
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden. Chop the pecans and let cool.
  • In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the butter and oil with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt; beat the dry ingredients into the mixer at low speed.  Add the chocolate chips and pecans; beat just until incorporated.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned and nearly set in the center. Let cool completely, then run a knife around the edges and invert the rectangle.  Peel off the paper and invert onto a cutting board.  Cut and serve.

Chopped Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, Blue CheeseChopped Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cranberries, Pecans & Blue Cheese

Yield: Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Chopped brussel sprouts with dried cranberries, toasted pecans, blue cheese and a simple apple cider Dijon dressing (recipe from two peas and their pod).

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cinder vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:

  • Rinse brussel sprouts and remove any damaged or dirty outer leaves.  Place on a cutting board and slice off the hard root end. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the brussel sprouts.  When you’re done, use your fingers to gently separate the leaves so that the shredded sprouts resemble a very fine slaw.  Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  • To toast the pecans, place a medium frying pan on the stove top.  Turn on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a single layer of pecans. Stir frequently with a spatula until they start looking darker and you can smell the toasted nuts. Remove from heat and spread out on a plate to cool to room temperature.  Make sure you watch the pecans closely, they can burn pretty quickly and they will keep cooking after removing them from the pan.
  • While the pecans are cooling, make the dressing. In a small jar, add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.  Put a lid on the jar and shake until mixed well.
  • Add the toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and blue cheese to the chopped brussel sprouts.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all of the ingredients are well coated. Serve immediately.  Note: you can also use a mandoline or food processor to chop the brussel sprouts.

If you try either of these recipes, share with us how they turned out.  Please also share any of your favorite pecan-based recipes with us. Use the comments field below or connect with us socially on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ pages.  As always, thanks for reading Gourmet Market!Shelled Pecans

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March Madness Watch Party Essentials Round 2

basketball fans

March Madness 2014 is at its midpoint and the action has been fantastic!  As the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four draw near, it is time to game plan on what to serve or bring to your next party.  Whether you are hosting or visiting a March Madness watch party, you know having great tasting snack foods is essential.  Here is where Figi’s come in; let our 70 years of experience helping people celebrate special events and holidays make you an MVP.  Even if you are not into March Madness yourself, chances are, you have a friend or relative that is; surprise them with one our snack gifts delivered.  

In our first March Madness Watch Party Essentials post, we scouted some great snack ideas from Figi’s.  Today’s post will add additional snack ideas and a recipe for you to try.  Also feel free to vote in our championship poll below; who do you think will win it all this year…Arizona, Michigan State, Louisville…or another team?

Savory Sixteen Meat Cheese Sampler from FigisSavory Sixteen Meat and Cheese Assortment: Get the crackers ready!  Snack-sized cuts of assorted favorite Wisconsin cheese and sausages combine for a delicious lineup for your party. We have included Summer, Mettwurst, Steakhouse, Pizza, and Garlic flavored sausages with Wisconsin Cheeses including Cheddar, Colby, Brick, Onion, Bacon, and Salami flavored.  Please check out our other Cheese and Meat assortments here.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels from FigisChocolate Covered Pretzels: We haven’t had many sweets in our snack recommendations thus far, so here’s tried and true veteran you can count on to satisfy a sweet tooth.  We take salted golden pretzel twists and sweeten the deal by coating them in milk chocolate and white creme coatings. Half of these yummy treats are then coated with colorful candy sprinkles.  Figi’s has two chocolate covered gift sizes available to help with any sized gathering. Check out more wonderful Chocolate Covered Gifts from Figi’s here.

Bagel Chips and Cheese Spreads from FigisBagel Chips & Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads: We have teamed up our famous best-selling Figi’s Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads with toasted bagel chips for the ultimate snack!  You and your watch party guests will savor light and crispy New York Style® Traditional Bagel Chips topped with our Creamy Country® Cheese Spread trio of  Cheddar, Cheddar with Bacon, and Nacho Jalapeno flavors. Our cheese spreads are also great for dipping veggies, spreading on sandwiches and crackers and so much more!

Tempting Twosomes from FigisTempting Twosomes Meat and Cheese Assortment:  Figi’s has put together another great combination for your March Madness watch party! We’ve included two of our savory Smokehouse Beef Sausages with two of our finest Wisconsin Cheese: Cheddar and Colby.  But that’s not all – we added two of our delicious Kave Kure® Cheese Logs.  Our Swiss log is coated with with almonds and our Cheddar log is coated with pecans and almonds.

Chocolate Nut Teasers from FigisChocolate Nut Teasers Snack Mix:  Here is another sweet and savory best-selling snack mix from Figi’s.  This gift includes everyone’s favorite nuts – made even better by being enrobed in rich chocolate!  Check out this starting roster: Milk Chocolate Peanuts, Mocha Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Dark Chocolate Almonds, plus Milk and Dark Chocolate ‘All Nut’ Mix.  Just open this tin and let the snacking begin!

And there you have it: more great snack ideas for watching the rest of March Madness 2014 or sending to your favorite fans.  For other great snack ideas, be sure to view our entire assortment of snack gifts here.

As promised, here is a quick and easy recipe I found from Marzetti. Give it a try and let us know how you liked it in the comments field below.  Do you have a game time recipe you would like to share with our readers? Please do so in the comments field below.

grilled potato skins

Recipe: Grilled Potatoes with Tomatoes and Scallions

Grilled Potato Skins with Tomatoes and Scallions
Grilled Potato Skins with Tomatoes and Scallions

Ingredients:
Marzetti Classic Ranch Dressing
Large raw potatoes
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped scallions
Chopped parsley
Preparation:
Bake several large potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a knife. Allow them to cool. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out most of the cooked potato (save this for another use). Cut each potato half into 4 pieces. Arrange the potato wedges on a tray. Fill each piece with shredded cheddar cheese. Prepare a grill pan or a grill to medium heat. Brush the pan or the grill grates with oil. Transfer the wedges to the pan and grill until the cheese melts and the bottom of the potatoes are marked. Remove from grill and top with chopped tomatoes, scallions and parsley. Drizzle a generous amount of Marzetti Classic Ranch Dressing over the potato wedges and serve.

Readers Poll: Who Will Win March Madness 2014?

 

As always, thanks for reading Gourmet Market. Connect with Figi’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ to learn more about our products, service and promotions.

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Memories: Grandma Gene’s Cranberry Salad

Cranberry SaladNovember is a personal favorite time of the year because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I have very fond memories of getting together with family at my Grandma Gene’s house. Her first name was actually Rogene, but she didn’t care for the name at all. We lived just a few blocks from her house in Illinois , so thankfully, the trip was quick. I can still recall how Grandma opened the door to let us in from the cold; we would be bathed in the warm, delicious air from her kitchen. Nothing ever smelled as good as Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving!  I remember how Grandma would greet us with kisses and hugs. I can recall wanting to eat right away…and wanting to eat a lot, but then having to wait until the appointed time. It felt like dinner time was never going to arrive; much the way it feels when waiting for springtime to arrive here in Wisconsin.

Roto Pool

There was always a lot of great food, a lot of talking and laughter.  I remember how my mom would help Grandma with preparations and how they would chase us out of the kitchen; we were like vultures picking an nibbling on anything left out unguarded.  And though football would be on TV, I wasn’t very interested in watching football back then. I was more interested in playing the pinball machine in the basement; It was a “Roto Pool” machine just like the one shown.  We all had some good times around that machine on holidays; I so wish I had that machine in my basement.

When it was finally time for dinner, I recall there were too many people to fit around the kitchen table, so my brother and I (being the smallest) got to site at the ‘kid’s table’ which wasn’t really a table at all. There was a small alcove built into the kitchen wall; it had a small counter top on which sat small black and white TV, a telephone, some stationary and a calendar; it’s where the bills and other mail was collected.  That stuff was cleared off so my brother and I could sit (more like squish) together at the counter…facing the wall…and it’s where I had the best meal of the year!

Ham

pumpkin pieBrown and Serve RollsPersonally, my Thanksgiving meal has to have the following: brown and serve rolls, ham/ham gravy, dressing, pumpkin pie (lot’s of Cool-Whip) and my Grandma Gene’s Cranberry Salad.  This recipe went to my mom and then to me; I have been making this for Christmas and Thanksgiving for years. You probably haven’t heard of Cranberry Salad, and it’s not for everyone (it’s a unique mix of sweet and tart), but I’m going to share the recipe today in honor of Grandma Gene and all the memories this holiday has for me, and no doubt has for you, too.

  • 2 bags of fresh cranberries, washed and removing the soft berries
  • 2 one pint cartons of whipping cream
  • 1 cup of granulated cane sugar
  • 1 and a half  20 oz. cans of crushed pineapple – drained
  • 2 one lb. bags white miniature marshmallows
  1. Chill a mixing bowl and beater in freezer for  30 minutes
  2. Chop cranberries in a food processor to suit your taste (I like my pieces bigger, but it’s up to you)
  3. Whip the whipping cream in chilled bowl with chilled beaters until the whipping cream thickens
  4. Mix in berries, marshmallows, pineapple and sugar; stir completely
  5. Cover the bowl and chill in refrigerator overnight
  6. Serve and enjoy :)

Cranberry Salad 2

I’ve heard some people who have alternatively added small apple chunks, pecans, or walnuts, but personally haven’t tried those variations. Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it in our comments field below. We’d love to hear from you!

PS: if you still need a Turkey, Ham, desserts of side dishes for Thanksgiving or Christmas, order from Figi’s today!

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A Happy Thanksgiving with Figi’s Pumpkin Classics!

Figi’s has some delicious pumpkin treats that our customers rave about. Here’s a review of the many pumpkin pie flavored Thanksgiving gifts that will be sure to please this holiday season!

Cream Cheese Pumpkin CakeCream Cheese Pumpkin Cake: I can tell you that many Figi’s employees LOVE this cake! If you like pumpkin, you have to try this gift for yourself.  Here’s a five-star product review from a Figi’s customer that sums up this Thanksgiving gift nicely: If you like pumpkins, this is the treat for you! It is the best pumpkin dessert I have ever tasted! The frosting is amazing and the cake is very rich! You can really taste the flavor of the pumpkin and of the cinnamon and other spices! It was so good I ordered a second one!”

Figi's Pumpkin Cake Roll Pumpkin Cake Roll: Let the good times ‘roll’! We’ve got pumpkin cake and generous layers of sweet cream cheese filling wrapped up together for a wonderful taste combination. This is a ‘can’t miss’ bakery gift for the pumpkin lover on your gift list. Speaking of cake rolls, be sure to check out the new Cookies and Cream Cake Roll and the ever-popular Chocolate Mint Cake Roll from Figi’s.

Spiced Pumpkin Candy GiftsSpiced Pumpkins: Unfortunately, these little guys just became unavailable…and too bad: they’re super-cute and very delicious! They were very popular around Halloween; you can see why! But the real proof is in the taste; be sure to try these next fall if you get a chance.

Figi's Pumpkin KringlePumpkin Kringle: Perfect for brunch or any time the pumpkin mood strikes, our Pumpkin Kringle has luscious pumpkin pie filling wrapped in flaky pastry layers; it’s lightly spiced and topped off with caramel icing and chopped pecans. We also have some other brunch gift ideas in our Brunch blog post here.

Figi's Pumpkin Maple CakePumpkin Maple Cake: this is a brand new, web exclusive gift you won’t find in your Figi’s catalog. This pumpkin flavored gift cake is rich, delicious and big enough for all your Thanksgiving guests! The moist pumpkin pie like batter is sweetened with a touch of maple that’s accented nicely by spiced cream cheese frosting and brown sugar streusel. This would also be a terrific dessert option for Christmas or any other special occasion where pumpkin connoisseurs are present.

Figi's Whoopie PiesPumpkin Whoopie Pies: Have you ever heard of Whoopie Pies? Apparently named for the reaction one gets when eating them (whoopie!), these little cakes are a big hit! We’ve got pumpkin, red velvet, and chocolate mini cakes filled with luscious white cream fluff. Some of the chocolate cakes have peppermint flavored fluff. Even if the name seems a little strange, these bakery gifts are yummy!

Pumpkin-Caramel-Pecan-CheesecakeWhile we have a lot of great Pumpkin pie flavored items to choose from, you may also want to check out this delicious looking pumpkin pie recipe. Well, it’s actually a “pumpkin, caramel and pecan cheesecake” recipe from kraftrecipes.com.

Do you have a pumpkin pie recipe you’d like to share with us? Please leave us a comment below; we’d love to hear from you.  You can also join the conversation on our  Facebook or Google+ pages. Thanks for reading!

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Start ‘Spreading’ the News…I’m Eating (Figi’s Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads) Today!

Figi's Cheese Spreads

I’d like to think Frank Sinatra would have loved Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads; at least I’d hope he wouldn’t have minded me taking a few liberties with his song :)  In today’s blog, you’ll discover delicious & easy Figi’s Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads recipes and learn how you can help us create a new Cheese Spread flavor!

Nearly everyone loves cheese spreads; they’re our top-selling gift and they’re one of our favorite treats, too! It’s hard to beat the great taste of Figi’s award-winning Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads. After all, they’re made with fine Wisconsin’s cheese, and true to their name, they’re soooooo creamy! We have fifteen flavors available including Cheddar Bacon, Cool Ranch, Port Wine, French Onion and the NEW Smokey Cheddar! Reduced fat versions include Cheddar, Swiss and Almond and Garden Vegetable. These terrific spreads are great with your favorite fruits, crackers, and sausages and are available in 8 oz. and 16 oz. varieties.

Maybe you already knew that, and maybe you already knew these are one of Figi’s “Buy More – Save More” gifts, making them a great value…but did you know the ancient pyramids were a mistake? Oops…wrong topic, but thanks Bing.com and GEICO for the video.

Anyway… did you know our spreads are very versatile and can be incorporated into many different recipes? We’ve included a few easy, cheesy Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads recipes below:

Better Than BLTs: The classic Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich with a power-boost of cheddar and bacon flavor! Ingredients and directions: create your favorite BLT, replace the mayonnaise with Figi’s Creamy Country® Cheddar Bacon Cheese Spread and Voila! You have a Better Than BLT Sandwich!

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs: These eggs are fluffy, cheesy… delicious! Ingredients and directions: 4 Eggs, Milk, Garden Vegetable Creamy Country® Cheese Spread (or your favorite variety).  Coat a skillet with a little olive oil and heat it up. Scramble eggs and milk, and add to skillet. Stir eggs, flipping and scraping the pan to prevent burning. Heat Creamy Country® Spread in a microwave safe bowl in microwave for 10 seconds and pour over cooked eggs, or add cheese spread to the skillet when the eggs are almost done.

Stuffed Mushroom CapsCheese Stuffed Mushrooms: A tasty party starter! Ingredients and directions: 24 medium mushroom caps, 8 oz. Creamy Country® Roasted Garlic Spread, 3 tbsp. bread crumbs. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place mushroom caps, hollow side up, on a buttered baking sheet. Fill each cap with 2 tsps. of the Garlic Spread, and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 12-15 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 24 appetizers.

Cheese Dip Sandwich RecipeCheese Dip Sandwich: A delicious hot sandwich for chilly winter days! Ingredients and directions: slices of your favorite bread or sandwich roll, your favorite Creamy Country® Cheese Spread, shaved roast beef, ham, turkey, etc.  Preheat oven to 375°. Place both halves of the sandwich on a baking sheet and layer one half with shaved meat. Coat the other half with a layer of Cheese Spread. Bake for 3-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and bread begins to brown. Add green peppers and onions if desired.

Yes, Figi’s Creamy Country® Cheese Spreads are yummy and very versatile! We hoped you enjoyed our serving suggestions and recipes. We have a lot more recipes available on our recipes page at Figis.com; click here to see them.  Please let us know if you try them out; we’d love to hear from you. Also, if you have any recipe ideas based on our spreads, please share them with us as well.  Join the conversation in the Reply field below or on our  Facebook or Google+ pages.

We’re also working on ideas for our next NEW flavor of Creamy Country® Cheese Spread. You can suggest a flavor idea here on our Cheese Spreads page at Figis.com – we’d love to see your suggestion!

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Irresistible Ideas for the Perfect Harvest Brunch!

At coffee break the other day, some of us at Figi’s were talking about our favorite foods; we then voted ‘brunch’ as our favorite meal.  Brunch is typically a weekend meal, which means of course, you can sleep in. A second benefit of brunch, depending on your outlook, is sitting down and gorging yourself on just about any food you love from breakfast and lunch…after all you’re technically eating two meals in one!

In the warmer months (sigh – I miss them already…), brunches tend to be on the ‘lighter side': fruit, muffins, and juice are typical. However, in the fall, brunch often becomes heartier: eggs, smoked breakfast meats, potatoes and the like. So now that we’re in autumn and heading rapidly toward winter (sigh again…), here are a few of our ‘hearty’ brunch recommendations for you to try.

Danish Kringle from FigisDanish Kringle: One of our absolute favorite brunch treats (and we are true lovers of bakery, cakes, and pastries of all kinds!) Figi’s Pecan Praline Danish Kringle is rich and luxurious with pecans in a brown sugar filling, topped with icing and chopped nuts… yum! Figi’s Raspberry Danish Kringle has raspberry filling and is sweetly frosted, but isn’t topped with chopped nuts. Yeah, they’re both very tasty! But don’t just take our word for it; here’s what a customer shared recently regarding our Danish Kringle: I’ve ordered the Danish Kringle a couple of times, and I always forget how delicious it is until I take that first bite again. Like heaven. Sweet and moist, with the hint of cinnamon and brown sugar, nuts and delectable vanilla frosting. I’d recommend this to everyone.”  Our Red Velvet Kringle is a website exclusive; this tender, flaky pastry is captivating with a sumptuous red velvet chocolate and cream cheese filling. We top it off with cream cheese icing and more red velvet chocolate. Finally, we’re offering a delicious new Pumpkin Kringle which seems especially appropriate on a crisp fall day! As far as serving Kringle; it can be served at room temperature, chilled or some people like to heat Kringle in their oven or microwave.

Easy Homemade Eggs Benedict: One co-worker shared that she had her first taste of Eggs Benedict at a fancy hotel while on vacation and it was absolutely delicious, rich and decadent! Her Eggs Benedict made her feel such a sense of luxury that she now enjoys a “mini-vacation” any time just by ordering Eggs Benedict when she goes out for brunch or breakfast. Recently this same coworker discovered a recipe that, while not the gourmet Eggs Benedict she first fell in love with, is an easy-to-create version that is tasty and satisfying. We’d like to share this recipe with you:

Eggs Benedict Recipe
Makes 6 servings
6 slices Canadian bacon
1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
6 eggs
1 cup butter
5 egg yolks
1 ½ tablespoons heavy cream
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
6 English muffins, toasted

Fry Canadian bacon on each side. Meanwhile, simmer a few inches of water in a saucepan, then add vinegar. Carefully break eggs into the water. Cook 2 to 3 minutes; when whites are set and yolks are soft, remove with a slotted spoon.
Melt the butter in the microwave, covered; heating until it bubbles.
Whip up the egg yolks, cream, pepper, and salt in a blender. Add half of the hot butter in a steady stream, so it blends in as you pour it. Blend in the lemon juice the same way, then the remaining butter. Top one English muffin half with a slice of Canadian bacon and an egg. Add sauce and enjoy!

Smokehouse Brunch Meat from FigisBrunch Meats: Nothing stirs the sense like the aroma of sizzling bacon, sausage and ham! You can smell it already and oooh…it’s sooooo tasty!  If you enjoy smokehouse meats with your brunch as much as we do, we’d like to recommend our  Smokehouse Brunch Meats.  This bountiful, mouthwatering gift basket includes a whole pound of sizzling Sliced Bacon, Smoked Sausage Links, Applewood Smoked Sausages, and Canadian Bacon – both Maple flavored and Original! We’ve found this variety to be a wonderful way to round out breakfast or brunch for you and your guests.  In fact many delicious smokehouse brunch meats can be found at Figis.com’s brunch gifts. Check them out today; you won’t be disappointed in our selection of bacon, sausage, ham and more!

Bloody Mary: For many, a favorite favorite brunch beverage is a good Bloody Mary, with lots of veggies and even bread sticks.  Bloody Marys are often made with Vodka, but you can make a non-alcoholic version as well. Here’s a recipe from a coworker; we hope you enjoy it.

“My Favorite Bloody Mary” Mix:
3 cups V8 Original Vegetable Juice with a hint of black pepper
6 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons sweet bread & butter pickle Juice
1 tablespoon cream style horseradish
1 tablespoon reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Add-Ins:
Vodka
Sweet bread & butter pickles
Celery
Pickled cauliflower, carrots, onions or other veggies
Bread sticks

Combine first nine ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a glass pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Time to enjoy! Fill each glass with ice. For a “Saucy” Bloody Mary, Add 1 ounce of Vodka to each glass; then fill the glass with the Bloody Mary mix. Stir well, and garnish each glass with veggies and bread sticks. For a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary, leave out the Vodka; simply pour the Bloody Mary mix over  ice, stir well, and garnish each glass with veggies and bread sticks.

Perfect Pancake Breakfast from Figi'sFigi’s has many great gifts for brunch. You can see all of them here: we have everything from pancakes and waffles, ham and bacon and brunch breads and jams! We even have gift baskets and assortment gifts perfect for breakfast or brunch! They’re especially ideal to send as holiday gifts for loved ones…or to simply enjoy yourself.

Do you have a favorite brunch gift or perhaps a brunch recipe to share? We’d love to hear about it! Tell us about it on Facebook or leave us a comment below.

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Figi’s Top 10: Football Finger Foods (Part 1)

It’s that time of year! Baseball might be known as ‘America’s Pastime’, but Football is arguably ‘America’s Passion’. Nothing brings friends, family and neighbors together like a football game…and the party that accompanies it.

Football parties usually come in two varieties: the tailgate and the housegate.  A housegate is essential the same ‘food and fun’ you have while tailgating; only it’s held in the comfort of one’s own home or yard.

Figi’s has some terrific finger food ideas to make any tailgate or housegate football party ‘perfect’!  We’ve put together a winning team of 10 great football finger food ideas & gifts to bring to your next football gathering; let’s look at the first five gifts, in no particular order:

Savory Sixteen Meat and Cheese Sampler1. Savory Sixteen Meat and Cheese Gift Hut-hut! Sixteen of your favorite flavors huddled together for a festival of savory sampling! Check out this roster: Snack sized Summer and Mettwurst Sausages, plus Steakhouse, Pizza, Garlic, and more robust sausages accompany Wisconsin Cheese, including Cheddar, Colby, and Brick, plus specialty flavored cheese, including Onion, Bacon, and Salami. This food gift basket is a great variety of flavors perfect for a cheese and sausage platter with assorted crackers, fruit or breads.

Classic Petits Fours2. Classic Petits Fours: looking for something sweet to compliment the ‘savory’ at your football party or tailgate?  These delicious little cakes are up for the job. Figi’s Classic Petits Fours are snack sized and come in six luscious varieties, each combining real buttercreme or chocolate filling with a rich outer shell. Our flavors include Chocolate, Strawberry, Lemon, Almond, Orange, and Vanilla. These beautiful, hand decorated petits fours are great for entertaining and gift giving!

Country Cheeses Spreads3. Creamy Country Cheese Spreads: you’ll score big points with these classic Figi’s cheese spreads! Year after year, Figi’s sells more of this gift than any other item, and no wonder; it’s made with real Wisconsin cheese and comes in a variety of mouth-watering, easy to spread flavors including: Cheddar Bacon, Swiss & Almond, Cheddar, Port Wine and NEW Smoky Cheddar! Available to ship Oct. 14th.

The Yahoo Sports top five NFL cities to tailgate in: 

1. Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
2. Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Kansas
3. Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, New York
4. Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
5. Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Have you ever tailgated at an NFL stadium? Let us know where; use the reply box below and share your story!

Smokehouse Meat Sticks and More4. Smokehouse Meat Sticks and More: these meat sticks are the perfect finger food idea, whether for a football party, a tailgate or any occasion! They’re a perennial customer favorite because they’re superbly seasoned smoked meat sticks, made in the best smokehouse tradition – just the way you like ‘em. Our Signature Beef Sticks are moist and flavorful; the Pepperoni is perfectly spiced and our Hot & Spicy variety adds a little extra zip to your football celebration! For those who want a bit less ‘zing’, our Honey Ham variety is sweet and savory; it’s a top seller!

Creamy Country Cheese Logs5. Creamy Country Cheese Logs: savor the smoothest, most luscious cheese logs ever made! Real Wisconsin cheese and cream cheese are whipped together and rolled in pecan and almond bits. These cheese gifts go great with your favorite breads and crackers! All four of our most popular cheese spread varieties are included, creating football party experience your die-hard fans can’t get enough of! Available to ship Oct. 14th.

Next time, we’ll look at the rest of Figi’s Top 10 Football Finger Foods; check back soon!

 

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18 Things to Do With Leftover Turkey

Smokehouse Turkey

Photo Credit to Figi's Gifts in Good Taste

Now that Thanksgiving is over, what is there to do with all the leftovers?  If your families are anything like ours, there are always plenty of unfinished dishes after the big meal and there is always plenty of turkey left for what seems like a week’s worth of lunches and dinners. Here are 18 ideas to help you get you started with your meal planning!

Soups/Stews

  1. After- Thanksgiving Turkey Soup – via Taste of Home
  2. Turkey Chili – via Epicurious
  3. Turkey Vegetable Soup with Stuffing Dumplings – via Food Network

Appetizers

  1. Turkey Meatballs – via Rachel Ray
  2. Teriyaki Turkey Kabobs – via Butterball

Pastas

  1. Turkey Primavera – via Butterball
  2. Turkey Tetrazzini – via Taste of Home
  3. Pesto Turkey and Paste – via Betty Crocker

Sandwiches/Burgers

  1. Barbecue Pulled-Turkey Sandwich – via Epicurious
  2. Bistro Turkey Sandwich – via Taste of Home
  3. Crunchy Turkey Salad Sandwich- via Food Network
  4. Chipotle Turkey Salad Sandwich – via Simply Recipes
  5. Turkey Burgers – via Epicurious

Main Courses

  1. Autumn Acorn Squash – via Taste of Home
  2. Turkey Tortilla Lasagna – via Butterball
  3. Turkey Pot Pie – via Food Network
  4. Turkey Noodle Casserole – via Food Network
  5. Turkey Enchiladas – via Simply Recipes

There must be more creative uses for leftover turkey, how do you use your Thanksgiving leftovers?

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