Home Cooking Recipes
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Time to dine al fresco

Warm weather is welcome for a variety of reasons, but for many of us it signals the season for dining al fresco. Whether stepping out back onto a porch or patio, or planning a picnic at the beach or park, the food is the star.

These recipes showcase exciting flavors and easy preparation. One way to liven up outdoor menus is with unexpected ingredients, such as pickled beets. They add flavor, color and nutrition to a variety of dishes. Aunt Nellie’s line of pickled beets tastes homemade—only the peeling and pickling are done for you. Just open the jar and you’re on your way to fabulous appetizers, main dish wraps and, even, dessert. For a colorful vegetable side, a can of READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad is the perfect base. Just add fresh vegetables cut into thin strips and toss with a quick dressing. Dine al fresco—cheers to fresh air and fabulous food.

For more delicious recipes made with Aunt Nellie’s products, visit www.AuntNellies.com. Additional ideas for READ salads can be found at www.ReadSalads.com.

Herbed Eggplant & Beet Dip

1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Pickled Beets, drained
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt (Greek or traditional), optional
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Pita chips, fresh vegetables

Coarsely chop beets. In large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add eggplant, onion and garlic; cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if mixture seems too dry or begins to stick. Salt and pepper, as desired. Place eggplant mixture in bowl of food processor; process until mixture is chopped and combined. Measure out 1/2 cup chopped beets; set aside. Add remaining chopped beets to eggplant mixture. Process until dip is desired consistency. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Stir in yogurt, if desired. Stir in herbs and reserved 1/2 cup chopped beets just before serving. Serve with pita chips and vegetables for dipping. If not served immediately, cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Allow to stand about 15 minutes before serving if chilled. Makes 8 servings (approx. 1/4 cup each)

Spicy Beet, Fruit & Nut Bars

1 jar (15.5 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Harvard Beets
1 package (15.25 ounces) spice cake mix
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup dried mixed fruits, chopped if necessary
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds (or a combination), toasted
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Drain beets. Puree beets in food processor or blender until smooth; set aside. Line 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Place cake mix in large bowl. Add pureed beets, brown sugar, oil and egg. Beat on low speed of electric mixer 2 minutes or until completely combined, scraping bowl as necessary. Stir in fruits and nuts. Spread dough evenly in prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into bars. Makes 28 bars.

Beef & Horseradish Wraps

1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Pickled Beets
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 cup spreadable cheese (such as goat cheese or herb/garlic soft cheese)
2 large soft flour tortillas (about 10- to 12-inch diameter)
10 green onions (green part only)
10 thin slices deli roast beef

Drain beets; chop. Discard beet liquid. In medium bowl, combine beets, carrots and horseradish. Spread 1/4 cup cheese evenly over each tortilla, leaving 1-inch border. Arrange 5 green onions (do not chop) on each; press lightly into cheese. Place 5 slices beef on each tortilla covering green onions, then sprinkle beet mixture evenly over beef. Roll up in parallel direction of the green onions. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 4 hours. To serve, remove plastic wrap; cut each tortilla into 2 pieces. Makes 4 servings.

Baby Beets & Olives

1 16-ounce jar Aunt Nellie’s Whole Baby Pickled Beets, drained
3/4 cup assorted pitted olives
1 to 2 tablespoons orange zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 6 servings.


Bean & Vegetable Salad

1 can (15 ounces) READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad
2 cups vegetables, cut into thin strips*
1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion, optional
Cracked black pepper
Chopped parsley, optional


2 tablespoons reserved bean salad liquid
1 tablespoon apple cider or wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced

Drain bean salad; reserve 2 tablespoons liquid. For dressing, combine reserved bean salad liquid, vinegar, oil and garlic. Whisk until combined. In large bowl, toss together drained bean salad, vegetables and onion, if desired. Toss with dressing. Season with black pepper and stir in chopped parsley, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 4 servings.

*Cut vegetables into thin strips about 2- by 1/4-inch. Vegetables can be one or a combination of: carrot, celery, bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, yellow squash, or other favorite vegetable.

Smoked Salmon & Beet Wraps

1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Pickled Beets
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 to 2 tablespoons capers
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup spreadable chive cream cheese
2 large soft flour tortillas (10- to 12-inch diameter)
8 slices smoked salmon
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves

Drain beets; chop. Discard beet liquid. In medium bowl, combine beets, onion, capers and lemon zest. Spread 1/4 cup cream cheese evenly over each tortilla, leaving 1-inch border. Place 4 salmon slices over cream cheese; press lightly. Top each with spinach. Sprinkle beet mixture evenly over spinach. Roll up. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 4 hours. To serve, remove plastic wrap; cut each tortilla into 2 pieces. Makes 4 servings.


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