Slide Menu Navigation Slide Menu Navigation

Holiday Tastings

Holiday MealAt FRESH, we’re all about tradition when it comes to holiday meals, but we also think that some old favorites can be improved upon. So, with our holiday meals and holiday sides, we’ve updated and modernized some traditional family holiday dishes using fresh ingredients, from-scratch techniques and bright flavors to create new classics.

Many of these dishes are now regularly available in the chef case through the holidays, but you can also place orders for your holiday meals at our Catering Department for pickup at your convenience.

This weekend, December 6-7, we’ll be sampling many of these dishes. Just come by and have a taste. Have you tried any of these yet?

Green Bean Casserole: No canned soup or dehydrated onion flakes here. For this rich dish, we make our own mushroom cream sauce, combine it with fresh green beans and top the casserole with onion strips we fry ourselves.

Whipped Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are roasted then whipped until creamy and fluffy with butter, fall spices and real maple syrup.
Citrus-Glazed Brussels Sprouts: A sophisticated side dish, this brings together caramelized onions and sun-dried cherries with Brussels sprouts roasted in a light citrus-spiked glaze.

Southwest Dressing: We make croutons out of fresh bread then spice things up with chiles, pumpkin seeds and roasted butternut squash.

Cornbread Dressing: House-made, sweet cornbread is the base for this traditional, simple dressing with onions and celery.

Green Beans Amandine: Again, no cans here. We use fresh green beans, toasted almonds, and a bit of garlic and olive oil to bring out the flavor.

Giblet Gravy: Roasted giblets in a traditional, thick gravy seasoned with fall spices like sage.

Roasted Root Vegetables: The best, freshest winter vegetables – onions, parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes – slowly roasted, so they’re slightly caramelized and go perfectly with ham, turkey or a nice prime rib.

Cranberry Sauce: No mass-produced, gelatinous sauce here. We cook fresh whole cranberries with fresh-squeezed orange juice and our own secret blend of spices. (Sorry, I can’t tell you what they are. You just have to come try some.)





Oh JOY-full table

Oh Joyful TableThe holidays are full of JOY.  The joy of gathering with family and friends, the joy of giving, and most importantly, the joy that comes from a delicious meal.  Spread joy around your family table this season with our chef-prepared holiday meals.

We offer three complete dinners, sides packages, family packs and individual items by the pound.  Here are the highlights:

FRESH Turkey Dinner (serves 6-8)
12-14 pound turkey, brined and roasted to perfection with Cornbread dressing, Giblet gravy, Whipped sweet potatoes, Green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce for $99.99.

FRESH Ham Dinner (serves 6-8)
Spiral cut, glazed ham with Cornbread dressing, Giblet gravy, Whipped sweet potatoes, Green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce for $89.99

Beef Tenderloin Dinner (serves 6-8)
Roasted whole thyme scented beef tenderloin with Cabernet demi-glace, Cornbread dressing, Giblet gravy, Whipped sweet potatoes, Green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce for $169.99

Side Dish Package
Side dish package includes Cornbread dressing, Giblet gravy, Whipped sweet potatoes, Green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce for $49.99. For our whipped sweet potatoes, we actually use organic garnet yams!  Each side dish is also available in family packs or by the pound from the chef case.

In addition to full meals, we offer a large selection of small bites, party platters, and desserts.  Whether you are hosting a cocktail party or needing some appetizers to hold over the crowd until dinner, our amazing hors d’oeuvres are perfect for any gathering, whether casual or elegant.  Try some Freshie favorites — our unique potato sliders or assorted petit four platter.

Ordering is easy. All you need to do is pick up our Oh JOY-full table Holiday Guide and select the complete meals, sides or small bites that you desire and call our Catering Department at 903-747-3512. Or, you can stop by the Catering desk at FRESH to place your order.





FRESH and Festive: Holiday Entertaining

I hope all of you Freshies were successful in stuffing yourselves full of turkey yesterday!  Although, I too am still full from yesterday’s feast, I have already begun thinking about the upcoming month that will be full of holiday festivities and parties.

Of course, in my book, the barometer for the success of a holiday party is how good the food is.  So, don’t risk it this year by purchasing frozen hors d’oeuvres or serving the same old, same old.  Call our FRESH Catering Department and make it simple and amazing.

We have some phenomenal bite-size treats that can help you create a platter like no other.  Check out our holiday guide centerfold and see for yourself.  Order a mixture of these and voilà yours will be the most popular party on the block.  We offer potato sliders (available in pimento cheese, andouille green onion, twice baked or pulled pork), crab cakes, bacon-wrapped medjool dates and beef churrasco, just to name a few.  Or, you can reserve a charcuterie and artisanal cheese platter with assorted flatbreads or crackers.

And the best part about FRESH catering is that we can work with you to create your perfect menu if you don’t see something on ours that strikes your fancy.  Just call our lovely catering manager, Linda, and talk to her about your gathering.  She is sure to come up with a perfect solution for you.

Try being a guest at your own party and see for yourself what a difference it makes.

Happy partying!





FRESH and Festive: Oh JOY-full Table

The holidays are full of joy.  The joy of gathering with family and friends, the joy of giving, and most importantly, the joy that comes from a delicious meal.

Spread joy around your family table this season with our chef-prepared holiday meals.

We offer three complete dinners, side packages, family packs and individual items by the pound.  Here are the highlights:

FRESH Turkey Dinner (serves 6-8)

12-14 pound turkey, brined and roasted to perfection with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce

FRESH Ham Dinner (serves 6-8)

Spiral cut, glazed ham with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce

Beef Tenderloin Dinner (serves 6-8)

Roasted whole thyme scented beef tenderloin with cabernet demi-glace, cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce

Side Dish Package

Side dish package includes cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans amandine and FRESH cranberry sauce. For our whipped sweet potatoes, we actually use organic garnet yams!  Each side dish is also available in family packs or by the pound from the chef case.

In addition to full meals, we offer a large selection of small bites, party platters and desserts.  Whether you are hosting a cocktail party or need some appetizers to hold over the crowd until dinner, our amazing hors d’oeuvres are perfect for any gathering, from casual to elegant.  Try some Freshie favorites — our unique potato sliders or assorted petit four platter.

Ordering is easy. All you need to do is pick up our Oh JOY-full Table holiday guide and select the complete meals, sides or small bites that you desire and call our Catering Department at 903-747-3512. Or, you can stop by the Catering Desk at FRESH to place your order.

And here is the best news of all — our Holiday Tastings are going on most weekends between now and Christmas.  Come by and sample our holiday offerings and see for yourself why you should choose FRESH for the holidays.  Click here to check our calendar of events for all of the details.

FRESH makes it easy to entertain like a chef this holiday season!





FRESH and Festive: Make a Memory For Your Family’s Future

Are your pumpkins too pooped to party right now? Does your turkey say “blah, blah” rather than “gobble, gobble?”  Not a lot of Feliz in your Navidad?  Let’s face it…getting ready for the holidays can leave you stressed out and in anything but a festive mood.  If looking ahead leaves you drained, then maybe it is time to look back.  Get an old photo album off the shelf and take a step back in time.

Some of the most wonderful memories I carry in my heart are from when I was a little boy.  I grew up on a farm. We didn’t have much money, but we were millionaires in the important things.  We spent time together, we did things together.  We didn’t have cell phones or Xbox—heck we had a black and white TV that got two channels and they still played the National Anthem at midnight.  Of course we also said the Pledge of Allegiance before school started and it was OK to pray before football games.

The reason I’m bringing that up isn’t to say something political.  It is, however, an attempt to make a statement.  Especially around the holidays, it is more important than ever for families to spend time together.  I’m not suggesting you cut strips of colored paper and turn them into rings which you turn into chains so you can decorate your tree like Charlie Brown.  But there are fun things, meaningful things you can do together, and those things could become your most precious family memories.

My friends the Watsons at Lake Palestine have made cookies with their grandkids since the kids were old enough to sit in a chair by themselves. Granted, they ate the flour and smeared the peanut butter in their hair.  But they did it together.  It didn’t matter that they ate half of an M&M before pressing it into the cookie.  In the 10 years I have known them, I have never gone to their house and not found a container of cookies on the counter.

Ginger in any form is one of my absolute favorite ingredients.  Here’s a recipe using ginger and orange for holiday cookies.  Make them together and make a memory.

Orange Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I substitute whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp grated Orange Zest
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg, room temperature
1 1/4 cups crystallized ginger
Icing sugar for pressing the cookies (gives them a crunch and sparkle)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and combine the mixture with your hands.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, oil, molasses and orange zest on medium for 5 minutes.  Turn the mixer to low, add the egg and beat for 1 more minute.  Scrape the bowl and beat again.  Slowly add dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes.  Add the crystallized ginger.

Scoop the dough with a small portion scoop.  Roll each cookie in your hands into a 1 ¾ inch ball and flatten them slightly.  Press both sides of the cookies into the sugar and place them on the sheet pans.  Bake for exactly 13 minutes.  Let the cookies cool 1 or 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Makes about 16 cookies.





FRESH and Festive: FRESH Tablescapes

I’m one of those weird people who think planning a party is nearly as much fun as the actual party. It’s easy during the summer…grilled everything, ice cream, your beverages of choice and you usually have two or three centerpieces…the grill, the picnic table and the kiddie pool.

We all breathed a collective sigh of relief when we finally got a few days that didn’t top 100 degrees, but for party planning, that means you need to move beyond the picnic table and start thinking fall. So, once you’ve picked the date, made your list and checked it twice, got your theme, got your menu (which of course you called FRESH catering to prepare for you), and picked out the music, you need to think of the decorations for your home, and more importantly, the centerpiece for your table.

Unless you’re doing a throwback to Billy Idol and planning a White Wedding and everything is ultra formal, take your cues from Mother Nature. Mother Nature is not uptight and she isn’t always upright. She is not rigid and doesn’t use straight lines. Even when I’m preparing large parties for four or five hundred people, I do my best to mimic nature.

What does that mean?

Think waterfalls…think of the way leaves are naturally blown into piles…flowing.  There is a high point, a mid point and low point (table level).  The principle is the same whether you are using a 10-foot table, or a card table…it’s all to scale and proportion anyway.

Another example I like to use is to think “Farmer’s Market” – simple, but bountiful. Or, put another way, the cornucopia (what we used to call the horn of plenty) on the Thanksgiving table…filled to overflowing and spilling out onto the table.

If you’re hosting a more formal party, your containers might be crystal or cut glass. If it is more informal, they might be baskets of different sizes, or copper or even pieces of natural stone like granite. Build different heights and let your “ingredients” flow from one level to the next. Whole clusters of grapes naturally follow that movement and make great filler. Fill up your vase, basket or bowl and tip it over a bit…gravity will help you decorate. Then fill in the blank spots.

There is a time and a place for the strange little pumpkins and gourds and I’ve used them a thousand times, but don’t get in a rut. Use artichokes and chili peppers. Brussels sprouts are really fun if you can find them still on the stalk. If you use a group of pomegranates, cut some in halves or quarters. I believe everyone has an artist on the inside. Most people just don’t know it, and they’re a bit afraid to try.

My grandmother and my mother never took an art class or hired a decorator or party planner in their lives, but they came up with some of the most beautiful displays I’ve ever seen. Their secret? They relied on nature and used what nature provided. (New slogan!! FRESH—Nature’s newest BFF).

Next time you are planning a party and aren’t sure what to do for a centerpiece, take your cues from nature…and don’t forget to say Thank You to the One who supplies it all.





A FRESH Point of View: The FRESH Bridal Expo

The FRESH Bridal Show is a one-stop experience where you and your entire bridal party can be among East Texas’s premium wedding vendors. Experts, owners and managers from the top wedding merchants will be on hand to answer all of your essential questions.

You will be able to enjoy a majestic wedding experience that will include a ceremony and reception feel, tastings, fashion show by Tyler’s own Brides & Belles, seminar FRESH florist Shellie Jacobs on wedding flower trends and some great tips on how to plan the perfect wedding from Esther Yeager of Plan It! Events.

Don’t forget to register for prizes that will be given away all afternoon!

1:30-2:30 pm Fashion Show by Brides & Belles of Tyler
2:30 pm Ceremony Showcase
3:00 pm FRESH Florist Shellie Jacobs ~  Learn about the latest floral trends
3:30 pm Esther Yeager of Plan It! Events ~ Learn how to plan your perfect wedding





A FRESH Point of View: Fall Party Planning

Ah, September. Kind of like the groundhog seeing its shadow, September could signal the end to the brutal heat of summer … or it could carry on for a few more weeks. When I was growing up between Lubbock and Amarillo, September meant you could be wearing shorts one day and a heavy winter coat the next. No matter where you live, Labor Day is the unofficial signal to the end of BBQ season, the end of jet skis on the lake, the time you savor those last few tomatoes fresh off the vine. .

But take heart—all is not gone and forgotten!! September also brings with it…well…a FRESH point of view! Coming are the days of Butternut Squash Soup, Stuffed Acorn Squash, this year’s FRESH crop of apples. You know it’s fall when you begin seeing Pomegranates filling the bins. Honestly, aren’t you just a little bit ready to give the grill a rest and get out the crock pot and use it for something other than icing down whatever it is you ice down??

For moms and dads everywhere, fall brings its own crazy hectic pace, dropping kids off to school, cheerleader practice, football practice, picking kids up from school….wait….FOOTBALL practice! That means Friday night football, Saturday college football and Sunday pro football. That means before the game parties, during the game parties, after the game parties…could make a body tired just thinking of all that cooking. DON’T DO IT!!

Blasphemy you say?? Not at all. For all your tailgating or man cave needs, call the FRESH Catering Department and let us do the work so you can relax before the onslaught of big weird wigs and painted faces.

As quickly as time flies by these days, it’s not too early to begin making holiday meal plans. I know there are still some folks who enjoy getting up in the middle of the night to put your turkey into the oven. But, why would you?? You do the planning, we’ll do the cooking. Don’t wait until the last minute, though. We are already getting inquiries for Thanksgiving meals and Christmas parties. And with Chefs Casey and Michael at the helm, you can bet that won’t be your Aunt Sadie’s Pecan Covered Cheese Ball in the middle of the tray.

Whether you’re a tailgater, a man caver, planning a girl’s night out, an office lunch, office party, wedding, or you just plain don’t feel like cooking FRESH catering has something to fit any want, need, desire or whimsy.

  • Our signature Brioche Slider platter—nobody makes ‘em like we do—fits any occasion. Choose from seven different sandwiches and mix, match, or order all of one kind. A flavor fave lately is our Apricot Chicken Salad on a Brioche Slider roll. A small platter (15 yummy sliders) is $40. A large platter (30 sliders) is $70. As with all our platters, we estimate a small platter will satisfy 8-10 guests and a large is good for 16-20.
  • We already said you could give the grill a rest—our house smoked BBQ is $8 per pound for Texas Brisket or our Sweet and Spicy Molasses Pulled Pork, and only $9 for St. Louis Ribs. Don’t forget your Yard Birds at $7 each. There’s nothing worse than a dried out bird, but ours are  succulent and full of flavor whether you buy Smoked or Rotisserie.
  • For early risers, we have more than our fabuloso breakfast tacos. We’ve just introduced our own House Made Signature Organic Granola made by….me! Crunchy pecans and walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut, oats and a fruit basket full of goodies like cranberries, blueberries, currants and dried apricots. There is no processed sugar—I use organic brown rice syrup and it is spiced with Cinnamon, Ginger, All Spice, Nutmeg, Orange Zest and Vanilla Bean. Pair it up with So Delicious Coconut Milk (I prefer the red carton) or yogurt, and you’re all set.
  • Our Taco Bar ($6 per person) has already become a Tyler favorite. You get all the traditional fixins’ to go along with them, and you can choose from Adobo Chicken, Carnitas, Carne Asada, Smoked Chicken and Texas Barbacoa. Even though the tacos come with their own salsas, you’d be making a mistake to pass up on a Dip Trio or our own recipe for Guacamole. And no one else has our FRESH tortilla chips.
  • Who doesn’t love a potato? Our New Potato Sliders are one or two bites of pure potato pleasure. You can get them stuffed with Pimento Cheese, Creamy Crab and Basil, Andouille Sausage or (my favorite) Pulled Pork with Sharp White Cheddar Cheese. Buy them by the dozen.
  • Maybe you’re looking for something on the lighter side. We offer seven styles of Salad in a box for $9. Each one comes with cut fruit, a baby French baguette and a homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie.
  • If your taste buds are jumping for something a little more upscale, we can fix you up with Beef Tenderloin, Smoked Salmon, Shrimp and Crab Cakes.

People!! Holler if you hear me…we’ve got you covered. If we don’t already have it, we can make it! Please remember, now that the kids are in school, we’re getting busier every day. Our request is that you give us as much notice as possible so we can fulfill your requests. Some things require more notice than others

Most orders can be filled within 24 hours, but some of our pastry items, items that are not on our menu, and even a few that are, take a little more lead time. If you find out at the last minute you have company coming, don’t fret. We can put orders together from items we have in our Chef Prepared case. Our pledge to you is to do everything we can to make your party happen with excellence, and you can count on FRESH to “share the wonders of food…..”





FRESH and Festive: Hors d’oeuvres—Bite Sized Foods Big on Taste

The Spanish have tapas, the English have high tea, the Mexicans have antojitos. They’re all a form of hors d’oeuvre, a word that comes from the French phrase for “out of the main course.”

Tapas, antojitos or hors d’oeuvres – they all translate to bite-size foods. Whatever you call them, everybody loves them. They are usually intensely flavored, and can be served on their own with cocktails when no other food is served, or as the first course of a more elaborate meal. But for some reason, many people are intimidated by preparing them, perhaps because they just don’t have the time or energy to deal with making dozens, or hundreds, of little snacks.

At FRESH, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Our Catering Department and our many talented chefs can take the work out of any party for you. We can cater full dinners, or just put together a great display of hors d’oeuvres. The top three bite sized morsels of delectability from the FRESH catering menu are:

New Potato Sliders: A creative take on the slider trend, these are stuffed with your choice of pimento cheese, creamy crab with basil, Andouille sausage and green onion, or molasses pulled pork, with sharp cheddar.

Red Grapes Rolled in Bleu Cheese Mousse and Crushed Pistachios: These are popular because they combine so many flavors and textures in that one perfect little bite: Sweet, crisp, juicy grapes; pungent, creamy cheese; and salty, earthy pistachios.

Bacon-Wrapped Medjool Dates with a Port-Vanilla Reduction: For some reason, many people seem to have an aversion to dates. Whether it’s a taste or texture thing, I’m not sure. But if you say “dates,” people often look at you kind of funny. However, just try them. A few weeks ago we offered tastings of these bacon-wrapped dates and even the people who said they don’t like dates LOVED them! The crispy, salty, smokiness of the bacon pairs beautifully with the sweet richness of the date. The warm depth of the port wine reduction flavored with bay leaf and vanilla bean rounds out the flavor.

Those three bites can form the basis for a great appetizer spread, but if you want to add something from your own kitchen, here’s a quick recipe for a modern rumaki, the cocktail party favorite. Traditionally, rumaki involve bacon-wrapped liver, but my updated version replaces the liver with apricots, walnuts and cream cheese for a sweet-savory bite.

Apricot Rumaki
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24

3 oz cream cheese
1 lb bacon or 12 slices/cut in half
24 medium size dried apricots
24 candied walnuts
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cut one pound or twelve slices of bacon in half, making 24 half slices.

Open dried apricot at the seam, peeling open to expose the center.

Place one half teaspoon Cream Cheese in the center of opened apricot.

Place one candied walnut in center and close apricot, encasing cheese and nut completely.

Place filled apricot at one end of each half slice of bacon and roll, be sure to roll so that the seam of each stuffed apricot is encased with bacon to avoid leakage.

Place each rolled Rumaki on a foil lined baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bacon is completely cooked and lightly crispy.

Remove cooked Rumakis from the oven and drain on a paper towel.

Splash each Rumaki with balsamic vinegar while still sizzling hot.

Transfer to a serving platter.

QUICK TIPS: For a spicy variation, add a single slice of pickled jalapeno inside the apricots with the cream cheese and walnuts. To cut down on oven time and the fat, place the bacon into boiling water for about a minute. Remove bacon from the water and drain on paper towels… then roll your appetizers.