How's Your Culinary Creativity?

Most of us probably don’t need a recipe for everything we cook or assemble. Have you ever just looked in the pantry and fridge without any preconceived notions of what you were going to make and simply created a dish or meal from what you had on hand? That might sound impossible to some folks, or like a fun challenge to others.

Aunt Nellie’s Vegetables and READ Salads are inviting you to give it a try. Four prizes will be awarded. The first two entries received using Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets and the first two using READ Southwestern Bean Salad will receive coupons for free products and a $25 gift card.  Please submit your creations using only one of the products.



Here’s how it works.  Tell us what you would prepare if these were the only ingredients in your kitchen by commenting below. You do not need to submit a recipe-just a description of your dish using all of the following ingredients.  No additions or substitutions!

Here’s the list!

  • Aunt Nellie's Pickled Beets OR READ Southwestern Bean Salad

  • Olive oil

  • Fresh tomatoes

  • Fresh herbs

  • A baguette

  • Leftover grilled or roasted chicken


Celebrate Dad

Sunday, June 18  is Father’s Day!  Start the celebrating early with a surprise breakfast or brunch skillet. Aunt Nellie’s Baby Beet & Potato Hash with Chorizo will keep everyone satisfied until the late afternoon barbecue that many families will be hosting for Dad.



Dad’s grilled steak, chicken, sausage, chop or whatever he favors, deserves a great accompaniment, and READ Salads and Aunt Nellie’s Vegetables have some other ideas that the guest of honor will love. Check out: Bean, Tortellini & Pesto Salad, Bean Salad Stuffed Tomatoes, Beet & Corn Salad and  Beet & Avocado Salad.  They’re so easy to make, you might want to choose a couple! Plus they can be made ahead and refrigerated until serving time.



If you don’t yet know what to serve, Southwestern Marinated Chicken with Bean Salad is a perfect choice for the dad who likes food on the spicier side.  The liquid from the can of Southwestern Bean Salad, accented with lime and garlic, makes a spicy marinade for the chicken. Add chopped tomato and cilantro to the bean salad, and you’ve got a delicious side salad.  The recipe can be doubled if you’re feeding a crowd.



So, plan the menu and get ready to celebrate Father’s Day with Dad…deliciously!

Creative Solutions from READ Salads

Does panic set in when you’re getting ready to cook and you realize you don’t have an ingredient or the correct sized pan? Often there are solutions right in your kitchen!

The internet has many excellent substitution lists, as do cookbooks. Always turn to a reliable source. And, always keep in mind what kind of recipe you’re making.  For example, if you need a substitute for white wine, either chicken or vegetable broth would work just fine in a savory dish like a casserole or sauce.  But not in a dessert. Think about white grape juice or apple juice to replace the wine in this case.

In a recipe calling for diced or chopped Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets, you have many choices for substitutions. Chopped or diced pickled beets can be made from whole or sliced pickled beets or baby whole pickled beets. Or try individual serving-size cups of diced pickled beets…they make a quick and easy substitution, plus they’re great for making a recipe for one or two instead of opening a jar of beets.



Have you ever thought about using drained Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage in place of sauerkraut in a Reuben sandwich, for example, or in a dish such as choucroute garni? It’s a great substitute…it’s just a bit milder flavor than sauerkraut.  Try it as a pasta sauce ingredient in place of the usual tomatoes. Once you get started, you’ll think of lots of ways to use an addition to vegetable-based soup or as the base for bacon jam, for example.

Pantry staples READ Bean Salads can come to the rescue is so many ways.  Straight from the can, they are a ready-to eat accompaniment when you’ve forgotten to plan ahead, so always keep them on-hand in the pantry.  Or with a few additions, they can become a main dish in minutes.



Southwestern Bean Salad can substitute for kidney, pinto or other beans in chili or soup. For the quickest bean soup ever, coarsely mash about half the can or bean salad, add to sauce pan with remaining salad. Add on-hand vegetables like diced onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the veggies are cooked. Add water or broth if needed for the consistency you like. Seasonings such as chili powder, cumin, black pepper, oregano can also be added. Stir in chopped spinach or kale at the end of cooking for another nutrition boost.

Wondering about 3 and 4 Bean Salads and how they can become mealtime solutions? Check these out:

Pizza (Southwestern Bean Mexican Pizza), Sandwiches (Mediterranean Bean & Pita-wiches), Salads (Steak & German Potato Salad/Quick Italian Bean Salad/Antipasto Bean Salad)

Share one of your memorable kitchen dilemmas with us and tell us how you fixed it. The first 3 solutions submitted will receive coupons for free Aunt Nellie's and READ Salads products along with a $10 gift card! Comment below!

Pantry Cooking Tips from READ Salads

Having a well-stocked pantry (and that’s including the refrigerator and freezer) makes it easy to prepare a meal, snack or even an impromptu cocktail party entirely with what’s on hand.

Rule #1 is to stock up on foods that you and your family enjoy, in addition to the basics. That means stocking the pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

Rule #2 is to learn to be flexible and creative.  Just because you don’t have an exact ingredient on hand does not mean that the recipe can’t be prepared. If a recipe calls for a red onion and the only one you have on hand is a yellow onion, try it; it will work just fine. No chicken broth? Try vegetable broth, or white wine, depending on the recipe.

Aunt Nellie’s vegetables and READ Salads are pantry basics that can pair up with numerous other ingredients to create dishes that don’t require a trip to the supermarket before you can prepare them.

Need help setting up your pantry? Email us at for Aunt Nellie's and    READ Salads Well-Stocked Pantry Guide.



OK let’s see what we can create. How about an appetizer…Baby Beets & Olives? Grab a jar of Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets and drain them. Then select some olives from the pantry or refrigerator. They can be assorted as the recipe calls for, or if you only have one kind on hand, use those. Add some orange zest…no oranges? Try lemon or another citrus zest. No citrus on hand? Get creative; toss in some fresh herbs or herb paste, or perhaps a no-salt seasoning blend. Add coarsely ground black pepper, and salt if needed. Pull out some nuts, cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine and you’ve got an impromptu cocktail party ready to go.



Need a quick dinner? Make Aunt Nellie’s Whole Onion and Fresh Tomato Sauce and toss it with spaghetti or angel hair pasta for a really quick and delicious meal. Drain a jar of Holland-Style Onions. Sauté some garlic and simmer with the onions and wine or broth. Add tomatoes and roasted bell peppers. No fresh tomatoes on hand? Then drain canned tomatoes and substitute them for the fresh. Pair with the pasta and dinner is served.



Need a salad‒no problem. Always keep a few cans of READ Salads in the fridge. Then, when you need a salad in a hurry, just open the can and serve chilled or room temperature is fine, too. They taste like homemade, so no embellishing needed. But…the experienced impromptu cook knows that these salads are also the springboard to a variety of other delicious dishes such as Bean & Vegetable Salad. Open a can of 3 or 4 Bean Salad and drain. Use 2 tablespoons of the drained liquid along with vinegar, olive oil and garlic to make a dressing. No olive oil? Use canola. No apple cider or wine vinegar? Use rice vinegar or balsamic for a change of pace. Slice up some on-hand vegetables and red onion (use green or yellow onions if red isn’t available in your pantry). Toss with the bean salad and homemade dressing. Or, skip making the dressing and use your favorite from the fridge!

Stock the pantry and find other great recipes at

READ Salads...Healthy Tips & Techniques

Yes, healthy eating should be a year-round commitment, but often the goal to eat healthier and get into shape really kicks in when spring arrives.  And yet the concept of healthy eating still eludes us.  We think the food will be boring, not very tasty, not many choices, etc.

If you think a plain salad is the highway to healthy eating, READ Salads wants to change that view by taking one recipe that’s good for you (a bean salad), and showing how it can be changed up with other healthy ingredients to make delicious variations. So here goes!



Bean & Vegetable Salad is made with READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad, fresh veggies and a cider vinegar dressing. Easy and delicious. Makes a great side dish, or enjoy a larger portion as a main dish. Don’t stop there.  Consider these other ideas:

  • Toss in some sliced chicken…grilled, baked or rotisserie. Or add cooked shrimp.
  • Sprinkle with lots of chopped fresh herbs for color, flavor and extra nutrition. 
  • Top with walnuts or almonds.
  • Serve over favorite mixed greens…the darker the greens the more nutrients you’re adding.
  • Add a grain or pasta to the salad.  Cooked quinoa, barley, whole wheat couscous or whole wheat pasta such as penne all work well.

Mad for March

As spring begins many of us like to add exciting new main dish salads to our repertoire.



Southwestern Bean & Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing is a keeper. The bean salad is so delicious on its own, so it makes everything it’s paired with extra tasty. Its just-right spiciness totally transforms cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, bell pepper and quinoa into a super salad. Try it; we think you’ll like it!

Happy Spring! Check out more great recipes at

Happy Presidents' Day!

Are you enjoying a holiday today? Need a quick, warming idea for dinner tonight? READ has got you covered with a chili that's desitined to become a favorite today or any day.



Southwestern Bean Chili is a warming choice for dinner on a chilly night. Instead of ground beef or poultry, this 30-minute chili uses quick-cooking lean pork tenderloin or chicken breast, paired with a can of the spiced-just-right bean salad, and a few other ingredients like beer or broth, chopped tomato and bell pepper. Lots of other delicious ways to use this versatile bean salad can be found at

Send us your favorite way to enjoy a can of READ Southwestern Bean Salad! The first 5 responses will receive a can of bean salad!

February is Canned Food Month!

Cans in the kitchen are the cook’s friend. Of course everyone knows you can open a can and serve up a quick vegetable, or soup, but not many of us think beyond that. It’s time to think “outside” the can.

READ salads are delicious sides just as they are from the can–that’s a fact. But it’s also a fact that they can be the jumpstart to all kinds of main dishes and accompaniments. Here’s how.

It’s still soup season for many of us. Usually we think of soup as: (1) from a can (2) frozen (3) homemade, requiring long simmering, which means planning ahead. But, there’s another tasty option. READ German Potato Salad makes a great soup. It’s a hearty and very tasty combo of the potato, broth and a few other ingredients, topped with crumbled bacon and/or rye croutons. Soup's on in 30 minutes!



Or maybe a casserole is more to your liking. Potato, Turkey & Veggie Casserole has it all… ground turkey, potatoes and veggies baked in a sour cream sauce topped with crispy buttered bread crumbs. This meal is ready to eat in less than an hour. Who knew potato salad could become a fam fave casserole?



Don’t stop yet. Consider a can of READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad and how it can become potluck perfect Antipasto Bean Salad, while a can of Southwestern Bean Salad makes some of the tastiest enchiladas ever!



Stock the pantry, and check out the other great ideas at

Don’t forget Valentine’s Day tomorrow… Aunt Nellie’s Beet Martinis and Beet & Blue Cheese Spread are perfect pre-dinner sips and nibbles.

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February 9th is National Pizza Day!

So celebrate the day and enjoy a slice (or two)!! If you like to make pizza at home, try this Tex-Mex spin on the pie. The folks at READ Salads have come up with an easy recipe that’s ready in about 25 minutes, Southwestern Bean Mexican Pizza. Just six ingredients–a pre-baked crust, READ Southwestern Bean Salad, bacon, bell pepper, cheese and cilantro–make this pizza a winner.



Tasty Tip:

With a can of READ Southwestern Bean Salad on hand, you can assemble a pizza on the spur of the moment with on-hand ingredients. Here’s one of our favorites. Make individual pizzas with large (7 to 8-inch diameter) flour or multigrain tortillas, or whole wheat pitas. Arrange the tortillas or pitas on baking sheets. Drain the bean salad well. Puree half of the can. Spread the puree over the tortillas or pitas. Top with remaining bean salad and other toppers: sliced green onion, chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, shredded spinach, sliced olives–whatever you have in the fridge! Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350°F or until toppings are heated and cheese melts.

Cooking with READ

Quick and tasty family suppers during the busy work week are definitely doable when you take a look at all the ways READ Salads can become a mealtime magic ingredient.

A warming bowl of homemade Southwestern Bean & Pasta Soup served with crusty bread or whole gain crackers and a salad or fruit make a great weeknight dinner. Start with two cans of the Southwestern Bean Salad for the base of this soup. You only need to add a few other ingredients to the flavorful beans, corn and hominy salad combo, then simmer just 20 minutes to let the flavors blend.  That gives you plenty of time to prepare the accompaniments.



This versatile soup starts out vegetarian but it’s also delicious when lean ground beef or turkey is added.

Tasty Tip:  This soup would be great to share with hungry Super Bowl watchers.  Double the recipe if you’re hosting a crowd.  It can be made the day before, then reheated at serving time.

Holiday Sides to Satisfy

The holidays are a time for family, friends, good cheer and great food. It can also be a time of stress, but READ is here to help with easy recipes using our product line-up that are simple to make but make a statement.

Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving or another holiday meal or bringing a dish to share at a friend or family member's home, these ideas are sure to satisfy.

Antipasto Bean Salad

For more delicious ideas from READ and our friends at Aunt Nellie's, check out our Thanksgiving Pinterest board:

Sweepstakes! Savor the Summer with Easy Picnic Recipes

With our friends over at Aunt Nellie's, we're making summer last with a contest! Savor the summer by packing the perfect picnic. Whether you're by the lake, at the park, or in your backyard, easy recipes featuring Aunt Nellie's and READ products make it easy to focus on the beautiful weather and good company.

Throughout the month, we'll be featuring recipes and picnic tips from our favorite bloggers so check out the growing list below as well as following our Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts.

We want to make it easy for YOU to savor the summer, too. Simply fill out the form below and you'll be entered to win FREE Aunt Nellie's and READ products of your choosing and a $500 VISA® gift card! All you have to do is sign up for our email list and share which Aunt Nellie's or READ product you love using for picnics ... or which product you're most excited to try. ...That's it!

Sweepstakes entries will be accepted until September 5, 2016 at 11:59pm EST. Good luck!


Which READ or Aunt Nellie's product do you love bringing on picnics? (Or, which product are you most excited to try?)

Click for Official Rules

Lighten up! Easy Spring recipe ideas

The weather is warming up and we're ready to lighten up our meals. These are a few of our favorite recipes to enjoy during the fresh Spring months. Grab a few cans of READ salads and you are just a few minutes away from these delicious dishes. The recipes below are made with READ 3 or 4 Bean Salad and Southwestern Bean Salad.

Mediterranean Bean Pi