Wednesday Blog

It’s Good to Have the Blues: Celebrating National Blueberry Month

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

National Blueberry Month


July is National Blueberry Month, and I love blueberries! They are the perfect ingredient for a guilt-free indulgence. Now’s the time to take advantage of peak domestic season and celebrate this wonderful little berry.

Blueberries are called a superfood for good reason. They rank as one of the highest of any fruit for cancer-fighting antioxidants. With 80 calories per cup, virtually no fat and low sodium, blueberries offer many nutritional benefits. One cup delivers about a quarter of the vitamin C you should have each day. Blueberries are also high in manganese. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein. In addition, they’re a great source of dietary fiber, which will also help reduce the risk of heart disease and add bulk to your diet, helping you feel full faster and reducing caloric intake overall. They contain only naturally occurring sugars and provide vitamin K. Even better: they do it all while tasting great!

Most of the blueberries you find in the supermarket are highbush blueberries. They are plump, juicy, and sweet, with vibrant colors ranging from deep purple-blue to blue-black and are highlighted by a silvery sheen called a bloom.

These days, fresh blueberries are available year-round. You can buy North American blueberries from April through October, and South American blueberries from November through March. The peak season for fresh blueberries in North America runs from mid-June to mid-August, with the earliest harvest in the southern states and west coast and the latest harvest in the northern states and Canada.

While they shine in all your go-to summer salads, there’s truly no limit to what you can do with blueberries – their versatile sweet-tart flavor thrives in sweet and savory dishes alike. We have several delicious recipes here on our site featuring this superstar fruit combined with our gourmet sauces and spreads, creating amazing flavors and textures. Check them out! https://bit.ly/2XHRgAA

Happy National Blueberry Month from all of us at Bellisari’s!

Read more

It’s Good to Have the Blues: Celebrating National Blueberry Month

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

National Blueberry Month


July is National Blueberry Month, and I love blueberries! They are the perfect ingredient for a guilt-free indulgence. Now’s the time to take advantage of peak domestic season and celebrate this wonderful little berry.

Blueberries are called a superfood for good reason. They rank as one of the highest of any fruit for cancer-fighting antioxidants. With 80 calories per cup, virtually no fat and low sodium, blueberries offer many nutritional benefits. One cup delivers about a quarter of the vitamin C you should have each day. Blueberries are also high in manganese. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein. In addition, they’re a great source of dietary fiber, which will also help reduce the risk of heart disease and add bulk to your diet, helping you feel full faster and reducing caloric intake overall. They contain only naturally occurring sugars and provide vitamin K. Even better: they do it all while tasting great!

Most of the blueberries you find in the supermarket are highbush blueberries. They are plump, juicy, and sweet, with vibrant colors ranging from deep purple-blue to blue-black and are highlighted by a silvery sheen called a bloom.

These days, fresh blueberries are available year-round. You can buy North American blueberries from April through October, and South American blueberries from November through March. The peak season for fresh blueberries in North America runs from mid-June to mid-August, with the earliest harvest in the southern states and west coast and the latest harvest in the northern states and Canada.

While they shine in all your go-to summer salads, there’s truly no limit to what you can do with blueberries – their versatile sweet-tart flavor thrives in sweet and savory dishes alike. We have several delicious recipes here on our site featuring this superstar fruit combined with our gourmet sauces and spreads, creating amazing flavors and textures. Check them out! https://bit.ly/2XHRgAA

Happy National Blueberry Month from all of us at Bellisari’s!

Read more


Hot Dog Holiday: Our Best Gourmet Dogs

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Hot Dog Month

July is National Hot Dog Month and we hope that you’ll join in the celebration of one of America’s favorite foods. The hot dog is such a vibrant part of Americana.

Sausage makers from Vienna, Austria (where the term "wiener" originates) and Frankfurt, Germany (where the name "frankfurter" was created) are credited with bringing their unique concoctions to the United States. But it was good old American ingenuity that popularized the hot dog on a bun, and it was local cities and regions that created their own personal versions featuring unique toppings – like the Chicago Dog, the Kansas City Dog and the Corn Dog.

Hot dogs also are uniquely American because they are as creative and original as their makers. Ask people how they like their hot dogs, and they won’t hesitate to tell you clearly and emphatically. It might be plain; it might be with mustard and onions; it might be a Chili Dog. Whatever the case, everyone has an opinion about the best hot dog.

Ketchup and mustard are a classic combo, but why not get a little more creative with hot dog toppings at your next summer get together? Whether you prefer to grill or boil your hot dog, there is no limit to the ways you can top it.

The best thing about gourmet hot dogs is they're easy to make. Cook up those hot dogs and pull out your favorite toppings. Grilled dogs become Frito Pie dogs when you smother it in a bowl of Texas Chili. Can't decide between nachos and hot dogs for dinner? Pull out the cheese sauce and make a nacho dog! Watching the baseball game? Make up some Chicago dogs and feel like you're at the ballpark.

While there are a gazillion ways to make gourmet hot dogs, these unique combinations will take your picnic game to the next level.

BBQ Dog - Bellisari’s Barista Sauce, pineapple, diced capicola ham.

Saigon Dog - Bellisari’s Saigon Street Sauce and top with Saigon Slaw.

Calabrian Pepper Dog - Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread, jalapenos and top with crumbled queso blanco.

Fig Dog - Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread and top with caramelized onions and goat cheese.

Balsamic Shallot Dog - Warm Bellisari’s Balsamic Shallot & Black Garlic Spread and toss with cooked diced bacon. Spread generously and enjoy!

Happy National Hot Dog Month from all of us at Bellisari’s!

Read more

Hot Dog Holiday: Our Best Gourmet Dogs

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Hot Dog Month

July is National Hot Dog Month and we hope that you’ll join in the celebration of one of America’s favorite foods. The hot dog is such a vibrant part of Americana.

Sausage makers from Vienna, Austria (where the term "wiener" originates) and Frankfurt, Germany (where the name "frankfurter" was created) are credited with bringing their unique concoctions to the United States. But it was good old American ingenuity that popularized the hot dog on a bun, and it was local cities and regions that created their own personal versions featuring unique toppings – like the Chicago Dog, the Kansas City Dog and the Corn Dog.

Hot dogs also are uniquely American because they are as creative and original as their makers. Ask people how they like their hot dogs, and they won’t hesitate to tell you clearly and emphatically. It might be plain; it might be with mustard and onions; it might be a Chili Dog. Whatever the case, everyone has an opinion about the best hot dog.

Ketchup and mustard are a classic combo, but why not get a little more creative with hot dog toppings at your next summer get together? Whether you prefer to grill or boil your hot dog, there is no limit to the ways you can top it.

The best thing about gourmet hot dogs is they're easy to make. Cook up those hot dogs and pull out your favorite toppings. Grilled dogs become Frito Pie dogs when you smother it in a bowl of Texas Chili. Can't decide between nachos and hot dogs for dinner? Pull out the cheese sauce and make a nacho dog! Watching the baseball game? Make up some Chicago dogs and feel like you're at the ballpark.

While there are a gazillion ways to make gourmet hot dogs, these unique combinations will take your picnic game to the next level.

BBQ Dog - Bellisari’s Barista Sauce, pineapple, diced capicola ham.

Saigon Dog - Bellisari’s Saigon Street Sauce and top with Saigon Slaw.

Calabrian Pepper Dog - Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread, jalapenos and top with crumbled queso blanco.

Fig Dog - Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread and top with caramelized onions and goat cheese.

Balsamic Shallot Dog - Warm Bellisari’s Balsamic Shallot & Black Garlic Spread and toss with cooked diced bacon. Spread generously and enjoy!

Happy National Hot Dog Month from all of us at Bellisari’s!

Read more


Last-Minute 4th of July Side Dishes

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Last Minute July 4th Dishes

Aahhhh.... sweet, sweet summertime is here! Long, lazy days by the pool with lots of time for everything else you want to do. Ha! Who am I kidding? Most of us rush through summer trying to successfully meet all our responsibilities, including working full time and driving the kids to their multiple summer activities. So, when Independence Day rolls around and you’re supposed to bring a side dish to share for the 4th of July BBQ, not only are you short on time, but you might also be short on ideas. Hopefully, these simple and quick recipes will get you through the holiday!

Fruit – this is an easy "go-to" since you can basically buy it all peeled, cut, and prepared, or if you want, even a bowl of whole fruits like apples, oranges, peaches, etc., is a perfectly acceptable side that many enjoy. To jazz it up, buy some star cookie cutters to cut our different fruit to match the holiday.

Raw Veggies – again, this could easily be purchased prepared at the store, but if you want to add a personal touch, mix together an easy veggie dip using Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, and salt and pepper.

Red, White, and Blue Trifle – this is sure to be a hit dessert! It looks so festive for the day, but it comes together in minutes. All you need is angel food cake, a sweet, creamy element like pudding, a cream cheese spread, or even plain cool whip, and some fresh strawberries and blue berries. Layer appropriately in a deep clear dish, and you have a beautiful, crowd-pleasing, and relatively healthy dessert.

Quick Quinoa – While quinoa must be cooked, it is done in 10-15 minutes making it an excellent base for a hardy, quick side dish. Try our Cucumber & Feta Quinoa salad recipe for a gourmet taste that is truly convenient.

Whatever you end up sharing at the party, remember to relax a little yourself. You deserve a day off too, so make it easy on yourself. Buy a dish already prepared if you don’t have time, and don’t feel guilty about it. Your friends and family want good food, but they want more to spend quality time with you. Happy 4th of July from all of us at Bellisari's!

Read more

Last-Minute 4th of July Side Dishes

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Last Minute July 4th Dishes

Aahhhh.... sweet, sweet summertime is here! Long, lazy days by the pool with lots of time for everything else you want to do. Ha! Who am I kidding? Most of us rush through summer trying to successfully meet all our responsibilities, including working full time and driving the kids to their multiple summer activities. So, when Independence Day rolls around and you’re supposed to bring a side dish to share for the 4th of July BBQ, not only are you short on time, but you might also be short on ideas. Hopefully, these simple and quick recipes will get you through the holiday!

Fruit – this is an easy "go-to" since you can basically buy it all peeled, cut, and prepared, or if you want, even a bowl of whole fruits like apples, oranges, peaches, etc., is a perfectly acceptable side that many enjoy. To jazz it up, buy some star cookie cutters to cut our different fruit to match the holiday.

Raw Veggies – again, this could easily be purchased prepared at the store, but if you want to add a personal touch, mix together an easy veggie dip using Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, and salt and pepper.

Red, White, and Blue Trifle – this is sure to be a hit dessert! It looks so festive for the day, but it comes together in minutes. All you need is angel food cake, a sweet, creamy element like pudding, a cream cheese spread, or even plain cool whip, and some fresh strawberries and blue berries. Layer appropriately in a deep clear dish, and you have a beautiful, crowd-pleasing, and relatively healthy dessert.

Quick Quinoa – While quinoa must be cooked, it is done in 10-15 minutes making it an excellent base for a hardy, quick side dish. Try our Cucumber & Feta Quinoa salad recipe for a gourmet taste that is truly convenient.

Whatever you end up sharing at the party, remember to relax a little yourself. You deserve a day off too, so make it easy on yourself. Buy a dish already prepared if you don’t have time, and don’t feel guilty about it. Your friends and family want good food, but they want more to spend quality time with you. Happy 4th of July from all of us at Bellisari's!

Read more


Potluck Possibilities

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Potluck Dinner

If you go to church, have kids in sports, or basically live in America, you will be invited to a potluck meal at some point. Potlucks are easy for the hostess, easy for guests, and you know there’ll be at least one thing you like to eat – whatever you bring! However, when choosing what to take to a potluck, there are definitely things that work better than others. Whatever you choose needs to feed several people, maintain its flavor/texture/temperature sitting out for a good bit of time, and still be safe to eat after sitting out for a while.

When it comes to deciding how much of something to make, don’t try to have a serving for every guest expected. Instead, plan your dish to feed about half the people there. First, not everyone will try your dish, and secondly, there should be plenty of offerings for the partiers to fill up on. Dishes like pasta bakes, salads, or soups and stews are classics for a potluck.

In the summer, I like to take our Saigon Slaw to potlucks. It’s the perfect crunchy side for almost any entrée! The fact that it is served cold makes it easy to pop out of the fridge and right on to the buffet table. As it warms to room temperature, it’s still quite good. If you wanted to keep it cold, a bowl of ice underneath or some of the portable containers come with cold packs that work nicely.

Even in cooler months, I often turn to a salad or other chilled side as my potluck offering. Again, the convenience and being able to keep it tasty and safe are always my considerations, but for some reason, I tend to take something a little more substantial like our chilled Orzo and Asparagus salad when the weather is fall or winter-like.

Of course, some hosts will assign a certain course for you to bring. Desserts, sides, entrees – there are so many great recipes from which to choose! And sometimes, you’re in a position where you can’t prepare something yourself, so you must get creative in the prepared foods section of your market. Prepared fruit trays, veggie trays, salads, even hot soups and other options are available at many grocery stores today. There’s certainly no shame in bringing something “store-bought” in this busy day and age. If you really don’t want people to know, transfer whatever you buy into one of your serving dishes. No one ever need know your secret! 😉

Finally, food safety is so important. Remember the "two-hour rule." Any potentially hazardous foods (dairy, meat, fish, cooked vegetables, rice, or chopped/sliced fruits and vegetables) that have sat out at room temperature for more than two hours should not be eaten. If the room temperature is more than 90 degrees, make it a "one-hour rule." Have a plan for keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot food should be kept over 140 degrees and cold food should be kept under 40 degrees. If the situation does not allow for temperature control of the food, consider taking (and eating) foods that are less risky. Think bread, chips, nuts, dried fruits, cookies, pretzels, or washed whole fruit.

For your next potluck, explore the recipe section of our website, to get some fabulously delicious and super easy and convenient ideas. Our gourmet sauces and spreads make preparing something special a snap!

Read more

Potluck Possibilities

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Potluck Dinner

If you go to church, have kids in sports, or basically live in America, you will be invited to a potluck meal at some point. Potlucks are easy for the hostess, easy for guests, and you know there’ll be at least one thing you like to eat – whatever you bring! However, when choosing what to take to a potluck, there are definitely things that work better than others. Whatever you choose needs to feed several people, maintain its flavor/texture/temperature sitting out for a good bit of time, and still be safe to eat after sitting out for a while.

When it comes to deciding how much of something to make, don’t try to have a serving for every guest expected. Instead, plan your dish to feed about half the people there. First, not everyone will try your dish, and secondly, there should be plenty of offerings for the partiers to fill up on. Dishes like pasta bakes, salads, or soups and stews are classics for a potluck.

In the summer, I like to take our Saigon Slaw to potlucks. It’s the perfect crunchy side for almost any entrée! The fact that it is served cold makes it easy to pop out of the fridge and right on to the buffet table. As it warms to room temperature, it’s still quite good. If you wanted to keep it cold, a bowl of ice underneath or some of the portable containers come with cold packs that work nicely.

Even in cooler months, I often turn to a salad or other chilled side as my potluck offering. Again, the convenience and being able to keep it tasty and safe are always my considerations, but for some reason, I tend to take something a little more substantial like our chilled Orzo and Asparagus salad when the weather is fall or winter-like.

Of course, some hosts will assign a certain course for you to bring. Desserts, sides, entrees – there are so many great recipes from which to choose! And sometimes, you’re in a position where you can’t prepare something yourself, so you must get creative in the prepared foods section of your market. Prepared fruit trays, veggie trays, salads, even hot soups and other options are available at many grocery stores today. There’s certainly no shame in bringing something “store-bought” in this busy day and age. If you really don’t want people to know, transfer whatever you buy into one of your serving dishes. No one ever need know your secret! 😉

Finally, food safety is so important. Remember the "two-hour rule." Any potentially hazardous foods (dairy, meat, fish, cooked vegetables, rice, or chopped/sliced fruits and vegetables) that have sat out at room temperature for more than two hours should not be eaten. If the room temperature is more than 90 degrees, make it a "one-hour rule." Have a plan for keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot food should be kept over 140 degrees and cold food should be kept under 40 degrees. If the situation does not allow for temperature control of the food, consider taking (and eating) foods that are less risky. Think bread, chips, nuts, dried fruits, cookies, pretzels, or washed whole fruit.

For your next potluck, explore the recipe section of our website, to get some fabulously delicious and super easy and convenient ideas. Our gourmet sauces and spreads make preparing something special a snap!

Read more


Grilling Tips: Be the Best at BBQ

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Grilling Tips

Summer is in the air, and that means the smell of barbecue should be too! Whether it’s an all-day weekend gathering or just a normal night of preparing dinner for your family, if you want to serve the best grilled food on the block this year, keep these tips in mind the next time you're cooking out.

Of course, recipes are important, but with outdoor cooking, techniques matter most. Learn these essentials for better grilling, and you will become a true BBQ master.

  1. Preheat the Grill

Preheat your grill with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.

With all the coals glowing red, or all the gas burners on high, the temperature under the lid should reach 500F.

The heat loosens any bits and pieces of food hanging onto the grate, making it easy to brush them off.

Preheating your grill also helps prevent food from sticking to the grate and gets the grate hot enough to sear properly.

  1. Keep it Clean

When bits of food have stuck to your cooking grate, and the grate is hot, clean it with a stainless-steel brush. This step is not only for cleanliness. It also prevents your food from sticking.

Note: Replace brush if any loose bristles are found on cooking grates or brush.

  1. Oil the Food, Not the Grate

Oil prevents food from sticking. It adds flavor and moisture, too.

Lightly brushing or spraying the food with oil works better than brushing the grate.

  1. Keep the Lid Down

Here are 4 important reasons why the lid should be closed as much as possible.

  1. It keeps the grates hot enough to sear the food.
  2. It speeds up the cooking time and prevents the food from drying out.
  3. It traps the smokiness that develops when fat and juices vaporize in the grill.
  4. It prevents flare-ups by limiting oxygen.
  5. Time and Temperature -By monitoring your time and temperature you avoid overcooking your food.

Use a timer! If you are grilling in a colder climate or in a higher altitude, the cooking times will be longer. If the wind is blowing hard, it will lower a gas grill's temperature and raise a charcoal grill's temperature.

  1. Know When to Be Direct, Know When to be Indirect

Direct heat (when the fire is directly below the food) is best for relatively small, tender pieces of food that cook in 20 minutes or less.

Indirect heat (when the fire is on either side of the food) is best for larger, tougher cuts of meat that require more than 20 minutes of cooking.

  1. Tame the Flame

Too many flare-ups can burn your food. Keep the lid on as much as possible. This limits the amount of oxygen inside the grill, which will help extinguish any flare-ups.

If the flames are getting out of control, move the food over indirect heat temporarily, until they die down. Then move the food back.

  1. Caramelization is Key

One of biggest reasons for the popularity of grilled food is its seared taste.

To develop this taste for maximum effect, use the right level of heat and resist the temptation to turn food often. Your patience will allow for caramelization or browning. That creates literally hundreds of flavors and aromas.

As a rule, turn food only once.

We know it's tempting to slather on sauce when you've got a sauce you love like our Bellisari’s Barista Sauce, but patience is key. Be careful not to sauce meats too early, especially if you are using a sweet sauce, as the sugars will burn. Sauce them during the final few minutes of cooking.

When checking for doneness, resist the urge to repeatedly poke, stab, or pierce your meat with a fork. The juices will escape, making the meat drier and less flavorful. Use a spatula or tongs to move and flip your food.

Food continues to cook after it comes off the grill, so it’s best to remove it just before it has reached the desired doneness. I always use a thermometer. A thermometer is the only way to guarantee that your meat has been cooked to the correct internal temperature, and it makes it easy to get consistently great results from your grilling efforts.

Read more

Grilling Tips: Be the Best at BBQ

Posted by Annette Bellisari on

Grilling Tips

Summer is in the air, and that means the smell of barbecue should be too! Whether it’s an all-day weekend gathering or just a normal night of preparing dinner for your family, if you want to serve the best grilled food on the block this year, keep these tips in mind the next time you're cooking out.

Of course, recipes are important, but with outdoor cooking, techniques matter most. Learn these essentials for better grilling, and you will become a true BBQ master.

  1. Preheat the Grill

Preheat your grill with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.

With all the coals glowing red, or all the gas burners on high, the temperature under the lid should reach 500F.

The heat loosens any bits and pieces of food hanging onto the grate, making it easy to brush them off.

Preheating your grill also helps prevent food from sticking to the grate and gets the grate hot enough to sear properly.

  1. Keep it Clean

When bits of food have stuck to your cooking grate, and the grate is hot, clean it with a stainless-steel brush. This step is not only for cleanliness. It also prevents your food from sticking.

Note: Replace brush if any loose bristles are found on cooking grates or brush.

  1. Oil the Food, Not the Grate

Oil prevents food from sticking. It adds flavor and moisture, too.

Lightly brushing or spraying the food with oil works better than brushing the grate.

  1. Keep the Lid Down

Here are 4 important reasons why the lid should be closed as much as possible.

  1. It keeps the grates hot enough to sear the food.
  2. It speeds up the cooking time and prevents the food from drying out.
  3. It traps the smokiness that develops when fat and juices vaporize in the grill.
  4. It prevents flare-ups by limiting oxygen.
  5. Time and Temperature -By monitoring your time and temperature you avoid overcooking your food.

Use a timer! If you are grilling in a colder climate or in a higher altitude, the cooking times will be longer. If the wind is blowing hard, it will lower a gas grill's temperature and raise a charcoal grill's temperature.

  1. Know When to Be Direct, Know When to be Indirect

Direct heat (when the fire is directly below the food) is best for relatively small, tender pieces of food that cook in 20 minutes or less.

Indirect heat (when the fire is on either side of the food) is best for larger, tougher cuts of meat that require more than 20 minutes of cooking.

  1. Tame the Flame

Too many flare-ups can burn your food. Keep the lid on as much as possible. This limits the amount of oxygen inside the grill, which will help extinguish any flare-ups.

If the flames are getting out of control, move the food over indirect heat temporarily, until they die down. Then move the food back.

  1. Caramelization is Key

One of biggest reasons for the popularity of grilled food is its seared taste.

To develop this taste for maximum effect, use the right level of heat and resist the temptation to turn food often. Your patience will allow for caramelization or browning. That creates literally hundreds of flavors and aromas.

As a rule, turn food only once.

We know it's tempting to slather on sauce when you've got a sauce you love like our Bellisari’s Barista Sauce, but patience is key. Be careful not to sauce meats too early, especially if you are using a sweet sauce, as the sugars will burn. Sauce them during the final few minutes of cooking.

When checking for doneness, resist the urge to repeatedly poke, stab, or pierce your meat with a fork. The juices will escape, making the meat drier and less flavorful. Use a spatula or tongs to move and flip your food.

Food continues to cook after it comes off the grill, so it’s best to remove it just before it has reached the desired doneness. I always use a thermometer. A thermometer is the only way to guarantee that your meat has been cooked to the correct internal temperature, and it makes it easy to get consistently great results from your grilling efforts.

Read more