Last month I told you about a variety of gift baskets offered by Melissa's Produce. Today I'm going to give you an up close and personal look at one that is a personal fave, the Baby Veggie Basket. You might not think the word “beautiful” would come into play when describing such a basket, but beautiful is the word. Not only are the vegetables a feast for the eyes, but the basket itself is of high quality, and wrapped with tender loving care. It's also much larger than I expected and jam-packed with produce.
It arrives carefully packed in a study cardboard box. Once removed from the box you find this impressive basket wrapped in cellophane and tied with two colors of ribbon. A brochure giving a detailed description of each vegetable is included.
Remove the cellophane (I found it so pretty that, for a while, I enjoyed the basket as is before removing the cellophane), and you will reveal the vegetables wrapped securely in another protective layer to guarantee freshness.
Remove this and the vegetables are revealed! Aren't they gorgeous?!
I was curious as to just what this basket held, so I did a count (that, I am sure varies with each basket). I received:
5 baby cauliflower (1 pound)
26 baby carrots (1 pound)
1 dozen baby beets (1/2 pound)
7 baby onions (4 ounces)
22 mixed baby potatoes (1-1/2 pounds)
15 baby yellow squash (10 ounces)
13 baby green squash (10 ounces)
19 baby zucchini (1.6 pounds)
Haricot verts (5 ounces)
What does one do with all of these vegetables, you ask? I took full advantage of the carrots and zucchini immediately making this easy, delicious, make-ahead casserole. It is colorful and tasty, perfect for the holidays, and I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t love it (and look at those cute little slices of zucchini!)
Zucchini & Carrot Casserole
1 lb. baby carrots, cut in ½” diagonal slices
7 baby zucchini, sliced into coins ¼” thick
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup chopped onion
1-1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
½ cup grated Fontina cheese
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease (butter or spray with Pam) an 8” x 8” baking dish.
Fill a medium-large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. When water is boiling, drop in carrots all at once and cook for 3-5 minutes until tender crisp. Scoop out with a slotted spoon; drain in a strainer. In the same boiling water drop in zucchini all at once and cook for another 3-5 minutes until tender crisp. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a medium bowl, combine reserved cooking liquid, mayonnaise, onions, horseradish, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add vegetables and stir to coat.
Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with Fontina.
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and butter. Sprinkle over casserole.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
This dish can be made the day prior to serving. If making ahead, wait until just before baking to add the breadcrumb topping.
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After you’ve enjoyed the casserole and everything else in this ample basket what do you do then? Use the basket as a centerpiece for your holiday table. I had a small crowd for Thanksgiving this year, so here’s what I did. Cute, no?
Disclaimer: I received a Baby Veggie Basket from Melissa's Produce without charge in exchange for an honest review. But, honestly, I'd buy one anyway.
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