Spending the Holidays With Fresh & Easy

Thursday evening, I was invited to the Fresh & Easy Holiday party, at Sur La Table in Scottsdale, to sample some of the mouthwatering recipes of Chef Cyndi Perez. 

When I arrived with my blogger friend, Kara from AZ Thrifty Mom, we discovered that not only would we be sampling holiday food, but we would get to cook too!  

Each table had a chance to create a holiday salad (all Chef Cyndi’s creations, of course), and our table created the best one of all-a roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli Salad with Brown Butter Dressing (see below). 

After we made our salads, we also had a chance to add cream filling to mini eclairs, make and add a chocolate ganache to the top of them, and then eat a few. 

 

Butternut Squash Ravioli Salad with Warm Brown Butter Dressing
Chef Cyndi’s recipe
Serves 4
 Ingredients:
Salad
·         1 package Fresh&Easy Butternut Squash Ravioli
·         1/3 cup roasted pepitas (Raw Pumpkin Seeds)
·         1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
·         12 oz. bag fresh, washed spinach
·         ¼ cup, thinly sliced red onion
Dressing
·         4 tablespoons butter
·         1 shallot, chopped
·         1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
·         2 teaspoons honey
·         Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Directions:
1.       Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil; salt generously.  Add ravioli and cook as per instructions on package.  Drain immediately and set aside.
2.       Place spinach in a large bowl, top with ravioli, pepitas, red onion and goat cheese.
3.       In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
4.       Add shallots and cook until tender and the butter turns a light brown color, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
5.       Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over the spinach in a bowl and toss lightly.

 

While we were cooking, Chef Cyndi and the Fresh & Easy folks put the finishing touches on a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner for us.  For us!  Chef Cyndi prepared all the regular Thanksgiving goodies, such as mashed potatoes and stuffing, but she also made the most delicious butternut squash risotto I ever ate. 

And her turkey…don’t get me started on her turkey.  Okay…fine…get me started.  Her turkey was incredibly moist and flavorful. 

I found out that she doesn’t wet brine her turkey, she uses Fresh & Easy dry brine.  I will never wet brine again!  She also showed us how to make a creamy cauliflower au gratin with pancetta and gruyere. 

The whole dinner was marvelous, but my favorites were the butternut squash risotto and the turkey.  I also loved the Fresh & Easy whole cranberry-orange sauce,which tasted so much freshier than the  canned that I usually get.   

At the dinner, I found out that customers can order entire holiday dinner boxes from Fresh & Easy.  For $60, you get a complete turkey dinner with gravy and three sides.  You can get a ham dinner for $50, and a Beef Rib Roast dinner for $65.  They also sell lots of pre-made side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, potatoes gratin, and or that dreamy butternut squash risotto I mentioned above, as well as cornbread-sausage stuffing and apple-cranberry stuffing. 

Fresh & Easy has a scrumptious dessert buffet set out, but frankly I was too full from dinner.  (They did let us take a few goodies home, which my family devoured.)

 

When Kara and I left the party, Fresh & Easy gave us lovely gift bags filled with lots of Fresh & Easy holiday goodies, such as Winter’s Tale Mulled Wine, Cinnamon Caramel Corn, and a container of their Dry Brine!  Thank you Fresh & Easy! 

Fresh & Easy has stores in California, Nevada, and Arizona.  To find a store near you, and to find out their weekly specials and other goodies, visit them at the website.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  

Disclosure:  I received a lovely holiday dinner and a goodie bag from Fresh & Easy, but was under no obligation to write a blog post.  My opinions are 100% my own!