Keep these Red Pepper and Spinach Crustless Mini Quiches from The Perfect Bite Co. (above) in the freezer for a spontaneous holiday celebration.
Another item to keep on hand are the heat-and-serve soups from Nona Lim. Serve on their own for a delicious first course, or make a meal with them:
Butternut squash is one of the richest tasting winter squashes, and it pairs so well with other ingredients, as in Valley Fig Growers's Sherry-Braised Squash with Figs and Rosemary (above).
Candy Cap Mushrooms have an extraordinary maple taste that will surprise even the most knowledgeable mushroom lover. The recipe for Candy Cap Mushrooms on Butternut Squash (above) from Wine Forest Wild Foods is not only a great side dish, but it can be used to make a delicious soup, as well.
Simple and good, Roasted Asparagus with Paradise Pepper Sauce from BrannenGourmet, above.
Who knew tea could make green beans taste so good? Numi Organic Tea is the secret ingredients in Rooibos Green Beans.
Or make Rooibos Potato Gratin (below).
Potatoes are like a tasty canvas on which you can paint various complementary flavors. For instance, top a baked potato with Smash Foods' Tomato Smash or Bacon Butter from Fabrique Délices.
Potatoes, cheese and chilies are a super combination in Potato Cheese Chilis with Bell Pepper Salsa, above, which uses Redwood Hill Farm's Chèvre and Feta.
Dried fruit is so accessible, even when it’s cold and blustery outside, and the intense flavors can evoke the sunshine of summer.
Another keep-on-hand-for-unexpected-company item is one of Bella Chi-Cha cheese tortas. Pictured below is Creamy Goat Cheese Torta with Apricots.
Want to have the taste of fine wine grapes, without the risk of being pulled over by the Highway Patrol? D'Vine Crush makes snack bars (below) to showcase the flavor notes of particular wine varietals.
For instance, the Cork Screw Cherry Pinot highlights the cherry notes that are characteristic of Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are available now, and other varieties are coming.
To add a subtle flavor of dried fruit with the sophistication of Spanish-Asian fusion flavors, try Manjaman Broiled Salmon, below.
Inspired by sweet Polynesian barbecue recipes Manjaman Foods' Tropical Secret rub is infused with 100% organic fruit powders: lemon, mango, strawberry and blackberry.
Wild rice is another palette on which other flavors can shine, and nothing could be easier than preparing the wild rice from Fall River Wild Rice. Wild Rice and Dried Fruit Pilaf (below) brings together the nutty flavor of wild rice with the sweetness of dried apricots and raisins.
Kale is so good for you! Rich in beta carotene, vitamins K and C, lutein and calcium. Combined with dried raisins and fresh pineapple, it's pretty and delicious, too. A dash of The Sauce from Sartain's Menu gives Kale Salad (below) a little kick.
Actually a fruit, though we often think of it as a vegetable, tomatoes can be delicious even in the winter, when they are dried ones from Mooney Farms' Bella Sun Luci.
Brighten up even the gloomiest day with Penne Bolognese with Sun Dried Tomatoes.
Cobbler is wonderful any time of year, and adaptable, too. It can just as successfully be made with dried or frozen fruit as with fresh.
Combine fresh pears, available much of the winter, with dried tart cherries from C. J. Olson Cherries for Pear and Dried Cherry Cobbler (above).
Kugel Company makes both savory and sweet frozen kugels, the traditional Jewish noodle dish. Sweet kugel is featured in Kugel with Spiced Peach Compote, above.
Panforte got the Romans across the Alps, so it can certainly get you through the holiday season. This one, above, is made now by Napa Cakes Panforte, and it is pure dried fruit and nut goodness. All you have to do it cut it and serve it.
Everyone likes kisses, mistletoe or no mistletoe. To add to the sweetness of yours, give that "special someone" delectable black mission figs dipped in bittersweet chocolate. Made by the girl & the fig.
Staying with the fig idea, Valley Fig Growers suggests Fig & Goat Cheese Squares, above. The recipe includes suggestions for a more savory version that is a delicious hors d'oeuvres.
How could something so good for you be so pretty and delicious? The Perfect Bite Co. makes Cranberry Walnut Tartlets that go directly from freezer to oven, and from there to the mouths of your very appreciative family and friends.
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