Dress Up Summer Salads

All Recipes | July 28, 2022 | By

One of our favorite easy dinners during the summer is “family salad bar.” We make a spread of chopped veggies, berries, mandarin oranges, seasoned chicken, quinoa, nuts, etc., and let everyone customize their salads.

Our new topping additions are getting rave reviews:

Fresh Gourmet Homestyle Butter & Garlic Croutons
Fresh Gourmet Homestyle Butter & Garlic Croutons

Salad-lover-size foodservice bag of croutons, seasoned with butter and garlic. 0 trans fat.

2.5 lb. bag

Fresh Gourmet Tri-Color Tortilla Strips
Fresh Gourmet Tri-Color Tortilla Strips

Generously-sized bag of a favorite crunchy tortilla topping for salads, soups, and rice bowls. Gluten Free.

1 lb. bag

Fresh Gourmet Wonton Strips
Fresh Gourmet Wonton Strips

Light, crispy wonton strips for topping salads, soups, and Asian noodle meals.

1 lb. bag

We love making homemade salad dressings and the cute Ergo Mini Spout (#3052) makes them easy to serve! With most dressing recipes you can just assemble in a mason jar, shake to mix ingredients, attach the Ergo Spout and serve!

The spouts are also perfect for oil and vinegar, vinaigrettes, melted butter, soy sauce, hot sauce, and even works with dish soap!

Orange Poppyseed Vinaigrette

A light, tangy and refreshing Orange Poppyseed Vinaigrette that pairs well with spinach and arugula salads.

Orange Poppyseed Vinaigrette



  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
  2. Then, transfer to a regular mouth mason jar with a Ergo Mini Spout (#3052).
  3. For best results, refrigerate before using.

Looking for more salad recipes?

Homemade BBQ Sauce: 101

With grilling season in full swing, we had to share our new favorite product: Shirley J Barbeque Sauce Mix 12 oz. Container (#3044). It is the most versatile BBQ product on the market and is perfect as a sauce, rub, marinade, or spice. Sprinkle on burgers or chicken as you grill, add water or your choice of liquids (soda, beer, fruit juice etc.) to make your own unique sauces. Just mix 1 part BBQ Sauce Mix to 3 parts water, and simmer for 2-3 minutes for best results. The whole container yields approx. 6 cups sauce, and this mix is Gluten Free! It really doesn’t get better than this. Keep reading to learn more about how we’ll be using this mix.

shirley j barbecue sauce

Variations –

  1. For a fruity surprise, add peach, strawberry or blueberries.
  2. Add espresso powder and use as a dry rub
  3. For extra sweetness, mix in honey or maple syrup.
  4. If you’re craving more heat, add dried chipotle chiles.
  5. To add southwestern flare, add roasted green chiles.

Uses –

bbq grilled chicken thighs

BBQ Grilled Chicken Thighs

  1. First, add the avocado oil, vinegar, and 1 Tbsp of the mix to a Ziploc Gallon Bag (#2777). Then, add the chicken and marinate for at least one hour, or overnight for best results.
  2. Then, prepare the sauce by mixing Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix with water in a small pot. Stir until smooth, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Heat your grill to medium low, then add the chicken. After 10 minutes, baste the sauce on top, flipping the chicken so it’s fully covered. Continue for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F and the sauce has thickened.
  4. Remove from grill and let rest before cutting into it. If desired, top with more barbecue sauce, making sure it isn’t the same bowl as was used for basting. Enjoy!

Embossed Sugar Cookies

anna christmas live
Watch Anna share tips & tricks for using our embossed rolling pin.

Mrs. Anderson’s Baking Paisley Design Rolling Pin (#2802) can be used for cookies, pie crusts, as a gift, or even just as a simple decoration. To clean the rolling pin, all you have to do is use a little brush to get the flour off. Don’t put it in water or submerge it, or the wood could warp or crack.

Anna Syme, one of our Regional Sales Managers, tested a handful of different recipes from her customers to find which one worked the best with our rolling pin, and found the one below from her customer Karleen Peacock. She shared, “embossed rolling pins are basically just rolling pins that have a design in them so that when you roll it out on a piece of dough, you get these fun designs. When you bake it, they usually stay, but you do have to use a tested embossed rolling pin recipe. We have found that not all recipes will work with this rolling pin. This recipe turned out beautiful and soft.”

Soft sugar cookies with a delicate embossed pattern for a fun way to step up your cookie decorating game.

Embossed Sugar Cookies



  1. Sift flour baking soda, and salt together. Mix sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. Beat in sour cream. Then add dry ingredients gradually. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Roll dough to 1/4″ thick, then roll over it with the embossed rolling pin and cut into desired shapes.
  3. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.

Check out these holiday desserts

Quick & Easy Ways to Shred Chicken

Shredded chicken is a staple for salads, sandwiches, casseroles, soups, and more. It can be time-consuming, but we’re sharing a handful of ways to make prepping it easier than ever! Once it’s prepped, it can be stored in the fridge or freezer to use for future meals. Or, give it a try in one of the recipes linked below!

Start with seasoning your chicken. This can vary depending on the recipe you’re using it in, but our go-to basic seasoning consists of Regal Spice Fine Sea Salt (#1146), AP Table Grind Black Pepper (#1029), AP Premium Garlic Powder (#1021), AP Mild Chili Powder (#1014), and AP Mild Paprika (#1697).

Cooking Methods

Whichever method you choose, try it on: Sun-Land Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts 4 lb. Bag (#5513), Pierce Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 12 lb. Case (#6519), Sun-Land Chicken Breast Tenders (#6829), or Kirkland Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (#1317).

1. Instant Pot

First, drizzle BBF Avocado Oil (#3516) into Instant Pot on saute setting. Add 3 seasoned chicken breasts and lightly brown. Then, add 1 cup water + 3/4 tsp Custom Culinary Master’s Touch Chicken Base (#1038). Add lid and cook on high pressure for 45-60 minutes, then let natural release for 10 minutes before quick release and shred. Allow to cool slightly before shredding.

2. Grilled

Preheat grill to medium heat. Add seasoned chicken to grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, flipping halfway through. Allow to cool slightly before shredding.

3. Crock Pot

Line a crock pot with PanSavers Slow Cooker Liner (#1089). Then, add 3 seasoned chicken breasts and 1 cup water + 3/4 tsp Custom Culinary Master’s Touch Chicken Base (#1038). Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high 3-4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Allow to cool slightly before shredding. Then, remove from crock pot for shredding.

4. Baked

Preheat oven to 350°F. Add 3 seasoned chicken breasts and 1 cup water + 3/4 tsp Custom Culinary Master’s Touch Chicken Base (#1038) to a baking dish. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Allow to cool slightly before shredding.

5. Boiled

This is our least recommended method. But, if you go with this one, cooking it in Custom Culinary Chicken Base (#1038) mixed with water will instantly improve the flavor! Simply season the chicken, add a splash of BBF Avocado Oil (#3516) to a pot, and brown the chicken. Then, add chicken broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Be careful not to overcook, or it will become rubbery. Allow to cool slightly before shredding.

Quick & Easy Ways to Shred Chicken

Shredding Methods

  1. Transfer cooked chicken into a kitchen aid bowl. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the chicken is shredded to your liking.
  2. Place cooked chicken on a Crestware Flexible Cutting Mat (#3840). Hold one fork in each hand, pulling apart the meat.
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Then, using a hand mixer with the whisk attachments, mix on a low speed until shredded to your liking.
  4. Use BBQ Bear Claws by pulling away from the center to shred the meat.
  5. If cooked correctly, you can shred the chicken with your hands by carefully pulling it apart. We recommend doing this with kitchen grade gloves over a cutting board.

Pantry Tips:

  • Allow the chicken to cool slightly before shredding. Shred while still warm, but not hot.
  • Prep meat for the week, split up for each day, and store in Deli Containers.
  • Reserve any juices from cooking the chicken. When you put it in storage containers, add the juices back in to prevent the chicken from drying out.

Now that you know how to shred chicken, try it in these recipes!

Dog Days of Summer

Dog Days of Summer

Leave the basic hot dogs with ketchup and mustard to the kids. Treat yourself to a grilled Double L Ranch Angus Beef Frank (#2260) with Cornaby’s kicky Campfire Candy (#2121) (candied jalapeno relish) and you may never go back to basic again. We’re losing our minds over these gourmet dog ideas for this summer.

For any of these ideas, choose from: Double L Ranch Angus Beef Frank (#2260) or Hebrew National Beef Franks (#2765).

Load up the toppings!

  1. Keep is classic with mustard, ketchup, and relish.
  2. Who needs Taco Tuesday? Top with Simplot Jalapeno & Corn Blend (#1984), cotija cheese, cilantro, and Calavo Fiesta Guacamole (#1060).
  3. Jazz up a sauerkraut dog with sliced red onion, sweet pickle relish, mustard, and caraway seeds.
  4. If you’re a Hawaiian pizza lover, top with Simplot Flame-Roasted Pineapple & Pepper Blend (#2411), Daily’s Regular Slab Precooked Bacon (#4835), and barbecue sauce.
  5. Breakfast for dinner has a new meaning! Add a fried egg, Daily’s Honey Cured Center Cut Bacon (#3298), Tillamook Medium Cheddar Shredded Cheese (#1866), and Flav-R-Pac Roasted Redskins w/Rosemary Seasoning (#2068).
  6. Add your favorite panini toppings like Bridgerland Deli Craft Oven Roasted Sliced Turkey Breast (#2100), Daily’s Hardwood Smoked & Honey Cured Center Cut Bacon (#3298), swiss cheese, tomato, and mayo.
  7. Make Chili Cheese Dogs with homemade chili, Tillamook Medium Cheddar Shredded Cheese (#1866),, dill pickle, and Flav-R-Pac Chopped Onion (#5772)
  8. Classic Chicago Dogs with franks topped with dill pickle spears, onion, peppers, tomatoes, celery salt, and mustard.
  9. Finger food is truly the best. Turn your franks into Mini Corndogs and serve with ketchup and mustard.

We can’t forget about these honorable mentions… Moore’s Texas Toothpicks (#2493), Cornaby’s Savory Sauce- Peach Habanero (#1070) or Raspberry Jalapeno (#1490), Gehl’s Jalapeno Cheese Sauce (#6899).

The options really are endless! Which toppings would you add to our list?

bacon wrapped hot dogs

Get the most out of your dog.

Listen, there are much tastier ways to prepare a hot dog than boiling in water or in the microwave, and they don’t take too much longer. Throw them on the grill, in a frying pan, or even in the oven- and you’ll already notice a better flavor. But, there are still a few simple tricks to get the most out of your meal:

  • Carefully cut two or three X’s in the dog. This will help the dogs not shrink as they cook. Keep in mind that the dog may lose some of the juices, so be extra careful not to overcook it!
  • Don’t be afraid to use spices! Our secret ingredient is sprinkling celery salt on our hot dogs along with the other toppings.
  • Bacon makes everything better…wrap a slice of Daily’s Hardwood Smoked Peppered Thick Cut Bacon (#8465) onto a frank before placing on the grill.
  • Slather the buns with a simple garlic butter and toss on the grill until lightly toasted.

Tips for the Best Hamburger Patties

Tips for the Best Hamburger Patties

Who doesn’t love the smell of smokey burgers on the grill? It’s the essence of summer gatherings! Although we love how easy premade patties like our Thick N Juicy Holten Bef Patties W/Cheddar & Bacon (#8377) make barbecues, you really can’t go wrong with homemade patties, and it’s fun to give them a personal upgrade with your own spice blend or stuffing. Plus, with tools like our Norpro White Wax Paper Square (#2233) and Norpro Hamburger Press (#2234)– it’s easier than ever to make them! For International Hamburger Day, we’re sharing some tried-and-true tips for homemade hamburger patties.

Tips for the Best Hamburger Patties

We’re sure everyone has heard to start with a clean, hot grill and to keep the lid open…but, there are a handful of other tricks we’ve learned over the years to get the most out of your patties.

  1. Add an egg as a binder. This step isn’t necessary, but it does tend to help prevent the hamburger patties from falling apart. And, it adds extra protein.
  2. Season it simply; Regal Coarse Sea Salt (#1147) and AP Coarse Black Pepper (#1028) will do. But, be careful not to add the salt too soon before cooking as it can break down the proteins, resulting in a tough burger.
  3. Along with keeping the spices simple, wait to season until the patties are shaped to prevent overworking the meat. Simply sprinkle each side of the patty with the desired spices, and viola! They’re ready for the grill.
  4. For extra juicy patties- add a scoop of mayonnaise to the meat. Everyone will wonder what the secret ingredient is…but we don’t have to tell!
  5. Use good quality chuck, like Childer’s 85/15 Ground Beef (#2549), for more flavorful burgers.
  6. Mold the patties with a Norpro Hamburger Press (#2234) while the meat is still cold so it is less sticky. You can also use wet hands when forming the patties, too. Once they are formed, place onto a Norpro White Wax Paper Square (#2233).
  7. Lightly press your thumb into the middle to help the patty keep its shape. We all hate having a patty half the size of the bun!
  8. Preheat the grill before adding the patties. Otherwise, they are more likely to cook unevenly and have more chance of drying out.
  9. Try to only turn it once to help the juices stay in. Depending on how well done you like your patties, follow this guide: two minutes per side for rare, three minutes for medium-rare, four minutes for medium, and five minutes for well-done.
  10. Avoid pressing into the patties while they’re cooking. This will press out all the juices, and we don’t want dry patties!
  11. Let it rest after you remove it from the grill. This is an important step when cooking any kind of meat.

More tips for top-notch burgers:

6 Savvy Kitchen Tips From Mom


Savvy Kitchen Tips

Some of the most important things we know, we learned from our moms. Along with admonishments to be honest and always make your bed, she taught us lots of smart tricks in the kitchen. Mom-tips are the best! They’re simple, practical, and make things taste better. Today we’re sharing a few of those mom-tested tips that we use all the time in our kitchens.

chef shamy grilled cheese
  • For a gourmet grilled cheese, griddle your sandwich in melted Chef Shamy Garlic Butter with Parmesan & Basil (#8124). It adds perfect flavor and helps it cook to golden perfection!
  • When roasting veggies, keep your baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. When you add the food to the pan, it will speed up the cook time and also help to make foods crispier and tastier.
  • To keep fish fillets from sticking, place lemon slices on the BBQ grill grates under the fish. It’ll add great flavor and avoid a sticky situation when you remove them from the grill!
grated butter mom tip

From Catalog #5, 2021.

For more kitchen inspiration, check out these posts:

Mushroom 101: Subbing for Ground Meat

Want an easy way to increase nutrients in your recipes, while keeping them low-cal and cholesterol-free? Stretching meat with diced mushrooms is a healthy trick to increase nutrition in your meals, while also stretching your budget. Our Phillips Gourmet 1/4 in. Diced Tru-Roast Mushrooms (#2222) are diced, roasted, moisture-reduced and then frozen so they’re ready to use in your recipes. Simply use what you need for your recipe and store the rest in your freezer.

Meat > Mushroom Ratios

If you’re wanting to replace meat in recipes, just replace a quarter to a half the amount of meat with Phillips Gourmet 1/4 in. Diced Tru-Roast Mushrooms (#2222). So, if a recipe calls for 1 lb. of meat, you will use 1/4 lb. to 1/2 lb, adding more as needed.

If you’re wanting to extend the meat, just add enough mushrooms to equal the measurement you need. So, if you need 3 cups of meat but only have 1 1/2, you will use approximately 1 1/2 cups of mushrooms. Feel free to add more to the dish as needed.

Try swapping in these recipes:

  1. Ground Beef Penne Bake
  2. Homemade Hamburger Patties
  3. Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
  4. Ground Beef Tacos
  5. Chili Pasta Bake
  6. Homemade Chili
  7. Instant Pot Sloppy Joes
Mushroom Ground Beef

Mushroom Ground Beef is a simple way to extend ground beef for your favorite recipes while adding more nutrients (and flavor!).

Mushroom Ground Beef



  1. First, heat the oil in a pan and caramelize the mushrooms and onion, about 10 minutes.
  2. Then, add the ground beef and continue to sautee until the meat has browned.
  3. While the meat cooks, add seasoning for desired recipe.

Spring Cleaning 101

Once the winter weather gives way to warmer temperatures, we feel like dismantling and reorganizing every closet, cupboard, and drawer in our houses. Have you caught the Spring cleaning bug? Keep reading for some of our favorite cleaning tips, and cleaning products AP customers love to have on hand!

Keep it on a Schedule

Cleaning the house can feel like such a daunting task. To help keep on top of housework, divide your house into sections to tidy each day rather than trying to do it all as part of Saturday chores. If you have littles at home, having a routine that is split up can help keep them motivated in checking off their own tasks as well. While each day is assigned a designated area in the house, we still do daily 15 minute pick-ups to keep things tidy throughout the week.

Try this schedule:

Monday: Bathrooms
Tuesday: Living Room
Wednesday: Kitchen
Thursday: Bedrooms
Friday: Laundry
Saturday: Yard Work
Sunday: Rest day
Prep anything needed for the upcoming week.

Click here for printable cleaning checklists.


Store your go-to cleaning supplies in a basket under your kitchen sink so they’re ready to grab for quick cleaning.

Universal Cleaner

If you have an extra glass spray bottle lying around, fill it with 1/2 cup Clabber Girl Baking Soda (#2848) and 1 cup distilled white vinegar. This combo is great for disinfecting. For an all-purpose cleaner, simply mix 14 cup vinegar with 1 1/2 cup water. Try adding 15-30 drops of essential oils to the blend, too for a simple way to change things up with different seasons.

  • Lavender + Lemon
  • Tea Tree Oil. This is great for antibacterial purposes.
  • Lemon + Lime + Orange
  • Eucalyptus

Cleaning Products To Keep on Hand

Kitchen Extras

Keep your cupboards organized with Spice Jars or Deli Containers. And don’t forget about the AP Customer favorites!

Feel like a chef w/Custom Culinary Gravy

Custom Culinary starts with real pan drippings and select seasonings to create their professional gravy mixes. They’re rich and savory and eliminate the guesswork of adding the perfect seasoning or smoothing out flour lumps. All you have to do is whisk in water! This is why restaurant chefs love them.

To make a gravy just like the pros…

1. In small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup dry mix with 1 cup water.
2. Whisk until smooth.
3. Cook over medium heat until thickened.

Choose from:

Shop all Custom Culinary Gravy Mixes here.

custom culinary gravy

Upgrade your Gravy Mix

Start with a quality Custom Culinary mix and take your gravy to the next level with these chef tips.

  1. Stir in pan drippings from ham, turkey, prime rib, etc.
  2. Add fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or chives.
  3. For a creamier gravy, swap the water with milk or Gossner Foods Shelf-Stable Whipping Cream (#1696).
  4. Sauté Kirkland Minced Garlic (#1289) or Kirkland Chopped Onion (#5772) in Kirkland Salted Sweet Cream Butter (#1723) before adding the gravy mix and water.
  5. Stir in 1 Tbsp C & H Granulated Sugar (#1632) for a little bit of sweetness.
  6. For beef or pork, add Worcestershire sauce or red wine vinegar. For poultry, add a splash of white vinegar.

Here’s What AP Customers are Saying

“I have been using this gravy mix for as long as I have been ordering from AP which is so many years I can’t remember how many! I always have extra bags on hand because my kids also have to have a bag or two at their houses. My grandkids most requested meal is biscuits and gravy when they are at Grandmas whether it’s for dinner or breakfast. Just cant say enough great things about this gravy mix!”

-Teresa Demers, Grand Jct., CO

“I LOVE the Turkey Gravy Mix #1254 (well actually, ALL of the gravy mix flavors) and I use it often! It’s super easy to prepare and the flavor is fabulous! I always have several different bags on hand at a time! It’s one staple I hate running out of!”

Heather Farr, Lewistown, MT

“I wholeheartedly recommend the Custom gravy mixes and bases. These are very popular with my customers as well. Any of the gravies, Country, Peppered Biscuit, Brown, Chicken, etc. are easy to use and taste great. I always make sure I have some on the shelf!”

-Sue Anderson